Feeds

Smith's airport ID card plans cut back to small pilot scheme

Small pilots still angry, though...

Jacqui Smith's plans for ID cards for airport workers are in deeper trouble, with the news that next year's rollout has been downscaled to an 18 month trial at only two airports, Manchester and City of London. According to a report in today's Financial Times, the Home Secretary is due to announce the trial on Thursday - but the paper adds that no agreement has yet been reached on whether or not the trial would cover existing workers, or only new employees.

The first ID cards are scheduled to be issued to non-EU foreign nationals this month, with airport workers intended to be the first employees in "sensitive roles or locations" to be forced to apply, in the second half of 2009. Opposition within the airline industry has been virtually unanimous, however, and the sudden appearance of a lengthy trial at two smaller airports - as opposed to a general rollout across the industry - suggests strongly that the Home Office is losing this fight.

According to the FT, Manchester and London City only signed up to the scheme "in principle" after the government agreed to provide a further £500,000 for pre-employment checks for airport staff. Nor, says the paper, is there any guarantee that the scheme will be extended to the rest of the airline industry after the trial concludes.

In addition to officially announcing the trial, on Thursday Jacqui Smith is expected to announce a "prospectus of market engagement" which the paper says will invite organisations with a high street presence to bid "for contracts in areas such as fingerprinting, application checking and photographing linked to the new biometric passports and ID cards."

An Identity & Passport Service cost reported published earlier this year indicated that the government would attempt to transfer biometric enrolment for the ID scheme to the private sector, and Thursday's announcement would therefore appear to be the next phase of this.

Given the timescales, however, there may well be nothing for them to do. The first phase of the rollout, to foreign nationals, will proceed gradually as it is applied slowly to individuals renewing their leave to remain. Unless the government finds a more tractable group of victims, ID cards for key workers have been stalled until mid-2011 by the 18 month airport trial, and the plan to offer ID cards to young people 'on a voluntary basis' from 2010 will, Home Office research recently revealed, need to find more receptive young people than the ones who actually live here.

Essentially, the whole show has been effectively kicked into touch until after the next election, which will be 2010 at the latest. ®

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.