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What is proposed in the Government Draft Bill

On 11th November 2003 the British Government announced its decision to introduce a compulsory national identity card scheme. The scheme is to be introduced on an incremental basis with the first identity cards being issued in 2007-2008. In April 2004 a draft bill was published for further scrutiny and consultation. The Government has however already made a decision on whether to introduce ID cards this consultation exercise is to be on the details of proposed legislation.

The proposed scheme is to be carried out in two stages.

Stage one will consist of the establishment of a National Identity Register, the replacement of passports and driving licences with those that contain biometric data and the creation of a voluntary plain identity card. In addition foreign nationals coming to stay in the UK for longer than 3 months will be required to have a biometric identity documents.

The second stage will be a move to a compulsory card scheme in which it would be compulsory to have a card - though not to carry one - and to produce a card to access public services in ways defined by those services.

The Bill will also establish additional legislation associated with identity cards and the National Identity Register.

• Data-sharing powers to conduct thorough background checks on ID card applicants.
• Creation of new criminal offences of identity fraud and misuse of identity cards and the creation of a civil penalty for failure of notification of changes of identity.
• To provide access to the National Identity Register by public and private sector organisations with an individual's consent to validate identity and residential status before providing services.

The National Identity Register will hold the following information about an individual.

• Full name and other names which he or she currently or has previously used (e.g. a stage name or maiden name).
• Date and place of birth.
• Gender.
• Address, this will include the person's principal residence together with any other addresses at which they reside.
• Photograph.
• Fingerprints or other biometric information such as an iris image.
• Nationality, and for foreign nationals, immigration status.

In addition each person will have a "national identity registration number" together with other relevant reference numbers recorded (e.g. national insurance number or existing passport number).

The register would also hold a password or PIN to enable a person to identify themselves remotely and an audit log of each occasion an individual's recorded information has been accessed.

The National Identity Register will only hold information on UK residents aged 16 or over and foreign nationals intending to stay for longer than 3 months. It would not hold information such as criminal convictions or medical conditions.

next Contents previous
Next: Why do we need an identity card scheme? Up: Contents Previous: History of ID cards in Britain

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