Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/10/id_cards_trashed/

UK.gov shreds last ID scheme hard drives

Damien Green waves 'freedoms' flag

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Government, 10th February 2011 15:57 GMT

The government destroyed the final 500 hard drives that contained the national identity register today.

Immigration minister Damian Green turned up for the photo opportunity to demonstrate the government's commitment to trashing the unpopular ID card scheme.

He fed some of the drives into a huge crushing machine at RDC in Witham, Essex this afternoon.

In total about 500 hard drives and 100 back-up tapes that contained the details of around 15,000 holders of the ID cards were magnetically wiped and shredded.

The government said that it will chuck the trashed drives and back up tapes into an "environmentally friendly waste-for-energy" incinerator soon.

Late last month the ID card scheme hit the end of the line, when the government said the cards were no longer valid.

The taxpayer copped a £400,000 bill for contractors to delete the data collected during the scheme, which was brought in by the previous Labour government.

Part of the cost included the Identity and Passport Service writing to those few people with an ID card to tell them that it was no longer worth the plastic it was printed on.

"Laying ID cards to rest demonstrates the government’s commitment to scale back the power of the state and restore civil liberties," said Green.

"This is about people having trust in the government to know when it is necessary and appropriate for the state to hold and use personal data, and it is about the government placing their trust in the common sense and responsible attitude of people." ®