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Britain begins national identity card plan

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081125/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_identity_cards

LONDON – Britain has begun a national identity card plan for some foreign nationals in an attempt to combat terrorism and identity fraud.

Opponents say it represents a costly erosion of civil liberties. The program has been debated heatedly for several years.

The cards are expected to store biometric data and information about the cardholder's nationality and work eligibility.

The first group to receive the new cards will be foreign students and permanent residents' spouses who apply for visa renewals.

Officials expect more than 50,000 cards to be issued in the next four months and that the program will be expanded in coming years.

Officials say the application process opened Tuesday morning .

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The UK has taken the first significant step down the road towards rolling out a controversial new national ID card system.

The UK has taken the first significant step down the road towards rolling out a controversial new national ID card system.

15107038.jpg A sample of the new ID cards

Foreign students applying to study in Britain and those entering on marriage visas will now have to obtain a biometric identity card.

The Home Office expects 50,000 to 60,000 students will be affected in the first phase between now and March.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the scheme would demonstrate "our commitment to preventing immigration abuse and protecting the prosperity of the UK".

She added: "In time identity cards for foreign nationals will replace paper documents and give employers a safe and secure way of checking a migrant's right to work and study in the UK."

However, the move has been criticised by opponents of a national identity card scheme.

They accuse the government of using some of most vulnerable groups in society as guinea pigs for an untried and controversial system.

The shadow Home Secretary, Dominic Grieve, said the likelihood of a full roll-out of identity cards now looked slim.

He said: "It will still be possible for large numbers of people to be in this country without having visas.

"If they want to overstay and be here illegally this system will provide no protection whatsoever against their being here."

The development is the first main phase of the government's plans for identity cards for every British citizen within a decade.

Next year the cards will become compulsory for what the Home Office describes as "critical workers".

Initially this will mean around 200,000 airport workers will be forced to sign up as a condition of employment, because they work in highly sensitive positions.

In 2010, British students will be encouraged to register for an identity card before they open bank accounts.

From 2012, the cards will become available to the general population.

People applying for a new passport will asked to register their biometric data - although they will be able to opt out of being issued with a card.

What data will ID cards store?

Fears have been raised by opponents of identity cards about the amount of information which could be stored on the database. Here is the full list of the 49 types of information which the Identity Cards Bill says may be on the register. Personal information


  • full name
  • other names by which person is or has been known
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  • gender
  • address of principal place of residence in the United Kingdom
  • the address of every other place in the United Kingdom or elsewhere where person has a place of residence.

Identifying information


  • a photograph of head and shoulders
  • signature
  • fingerprints
  • other biometric information

Residential status


  • nationality
  • entitlement to remain in the United Kingdom where that entitlement derives from a grant of leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, the terms and conditions of that leave

Personal reference numbers


  • National Identity Registration Number
  • the number of any ID card issued
  • allocated national insurance number
  • the number of any relevant immigration document
  • the number of their United Kingdom passport
  • the number of any passport issued to the individual by or on behalf of the authorities of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom or by or on behalf of an international organisation
  • the number of any document that can be used by them (in some or all circumstances) instead of a passport;
  • the number of any identity card issued to him/her by the authorities of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom
  • any reference number allocated to him/her by the secretary of state in connection with an application made by him for permission to enter or to remain in the United Kingdom
  • the number of any work permit relating to him/her;
  • any driver number given to him/her by a driving licence;
  • the number of any designated document which is held by him/her and is a document the number of which does not fall within any of the preceding sub-paragraphs
  • the date of expiry or period of validity of a document the number of which is recorded by virtue of this paragraph.

Record history


  • information falling within the preceding paragraphs that has previously been recorded about him/her in the Register
  • particulars of changes affecting that information and of changes made to his/her entry in the Register
  • date of death.

Registration and ID card history


  • the date of every application for registration made by him/her
  • the date of every application by him/her for a modification of the contents of his entry
  • the date of every application by him/her confirming the contents of his entry (with or without changes)
  • the reason for any omission from the information recorded in his/her entry
  • particulars (in addition to its number) of every ID card issued to him/her
  • whether each such card is in force and, if not, why not
  • particulars of every person who has countersigned an application by him/her for an ID card or a designated document, so far as those particulars were included on the application
  • particulars of every notification given about lost, stolen and damaged ID cards
  • particulars of every requirement by the secretary of state for the individual to surrender an ID card issued to him.

Validation information


  • the information provided in connection with every application to be entered in the Register, for a modification of the contents of his entry or for the issue of an ID card
  • the information provided in connection with every application confirming entry in the Register (with or without changes)
  • particulars of the steps taken, in connection with an application mentioned in paragraph (a) or (B) or otherwise, for identifying the applicant or for verifying the information provided in connection with the application
  • particulars of any other steps taken or information obtained for ensuring that there is a complete, up-to-date and accurate entry about that individual in the Register
  • particulars of every notification given by that individual for changing details in the register.

Security information


  • a personal identification number to be used for facilitating the making of applications for information recorded in his/her entry, and for facilitating the provision of the information;
  • a password or other code to be used for that purpose or particulars of a method of generating such a password or code
  • questions and answers to be used for identifying a person seeking to make such an application or to apply for or to make a modification of that entry.

Records of provision of information


  • particulars of every occasion on which information contained in the individual's entry has been provided to a person
  • particulars of every person to whom such information has been provided on such an occasion
  • other particulars, in relation to each such occasion, of the provision of the information.


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