UK: ID cards abolition update

By way of a follow-up to an earlier post I wrote on the Identity & Passport Service’s post-election announcement about cancelling Identity Cards and the National Identity Register, this post at BBC News online reports the following:

example national ID cardThe Home Office is to reveal later how it will abolish the national identity card programme for UK citizens.

The bill, a Queen’s Speech pledge, includes scrapping the National Identity Register and the next generation of biometric passports.

None of the 15,000 people who have voluntarily taken out ID cards since the roll out in Manchester in late 2009, will be refunded the £30 fee.


The cards that are already in circulation will remain legal until Parliament has passed the legislation to abolish them and the register.


Despite the demise of the national identity card, a separate but technically similar scheme for some foreign nationals will continue. That scheme is run by the UK Border Agency and is still being rolled out.

Some 200,000 cards – known as biometric resident permits – have already been given to migrant workers, foreign students and family members from outside the European Economic Area.

But, as NO2ID points out on its website:

The database state is already too much assumed as an administrative goal for it to be killed by the loss of the ID scheme. Even during the election, despite the skepticism of parties now in government, ‘Connecting for Health’ was pushing forward with its plan to control all medical records in England.

Whitehall will not give up these empires without a fight. And the agendas that have been prepared for years may be expected to reappear under new names. The official obsession with identity and information-sharing remains, as does the idea that “personal information is the lifeblood of government”.

Holding the new government to its promise is the first thing. Rolling back the database state will involve more battles.