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Government will shred ID card data

Hard disks and back-up tapes will be binned too

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The IPS plans to order Thales and 3M SPSL to shred the hard disks and back-up tapes holding the personal information on the National Identity Register (NIR), according to a document released through Parliament's library.

The document, CWIC-NIR destruction and equipment decommissioning, says that IPS will order shredding, compliant with the IL5 standard for secret data, for the "Core NIR" data. The central store of this is held at Thales' primary data centre in Doncaster, with a live copy held at disaster recovery site in Crawley, as well as back-up tapes at an Iron Mountain site in Wakefield.

The document says that all NIR data should have been stored on this central system and its back-ups – but says of the six "front office" enrolment centres that "there is evidence that these systems have on occasion incorrectly retained data. Consequently the front office equipment is considered to be core NIR data".

As a result, the equipment from four IPS centres, in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Blackburn, as well as two non-IPS centres at London City and Manchester airports, will be "collected and securely transported to a secure location for disassembly" by Thales, with data physically destroyed.

IPS says the process of destroying the NIR data will take place within two months of royal assent for the Identity Documents Bill, which last week passed its committee stage in the House of Lords.

IPS will also have to pay 3M SPSL for the equipment which processes biographic and biometric data to produce identity cards, in order to be able to destroy it.

The hard disks from two workstations located at the UK Border Agency's office in Croydon, used to match fingerprinting data, will also be destroyed in the same fashion as the NIR database, as will data from the early interest website, which collected names and email addresses of those interested in applying for identity cards, will also be physically destroyed. The site was closed on 30 June 2010.

Computers which were used to access the central system, for background checks and application processing, security, operational intelligence and other reasons, will be "rebuilt and their disks cleared down". This equipment was used in Durham, London, Peterborough, Glasgow and Liverpool.

Other associated personal data, including letters sent to customers and appointment booking data, will be deleted in a standard fashion. However, the storage media will be securely decommissioned when it reaches the end of its life, using the IL3 standard for restricted data.

IPS will not delete records extracted for "ongoing fraud investigations and aggregated management information that cannot be attributed to an individual," which will be retained if necessary "to ensure watch lists are up to date and that the integrity remains in place for further applications to IPS for travel documents".

This article was originally published at Kable.

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