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ID cards have three databases, says minister

Biometrics, passport data and in-betweenies

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Identity minister Meg Hillier says that the Identity and Passport Service has "custom built" its own database for the identity card scheme.

Following reports that the IPS had scrapped plans to store biographical information on the Department for Work and Pensions' database, Hillier said that the controversial scheme has three databases. "There is the one that holds the fingerprints and facial image, the biometric data, and then the other information which is broadly what is on your passport already and the third bit is the one that links the two," she said.

Speaking at a meeting on identity cards at the Social Market Foundation in London on 15 March 2010, she said that her department needed to explore the remote use of the card.

An example of an ID card reader, visually like a larger version of a card reader used by retailers, was available at the conference. Hillier said that the government "needed to do more work on this" and was keen to hear the views of industry about how this will work, particularly about security.

She said that what was important about the identity card was the chip and suggested that in the future it may be possible to install the chip in another device, such as a mobile phone.

Referring to many of her constituents who are without any form of identity document, Hillier emphasised the importance of the ID card to people who are "socially disadvantaged".

Responding to a question from an LB Harrow councillor about the government "moving the goal posts" in relation to the purposes of the card, Hillier said that the "9/11 had put the cast on the ID card" about terrorism, but that the card has always been a multi-faceted project.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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