Thursday, February 05, 2009

ID cards are go

The first UK biometric ID cards have been issued but naturally they are no use to anyone. From
"The first UK ID cards have already been issued - but no UK police officers or border guards have any way of reading the data stored on them.

Currently no police stations, border entry points or job centres have readers for the card's biometric chip, the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) revealed in response to an FoI (Freedom of Information) request by about the £4.7bn identity cards scheme.

The news comes in spite of the first ID cards being issued to foreign nationals in November last year, with the IPS expecting to issue 50,000 ID cards by April this year."

Update: Henry Porter has a story in yesterday's Guardian indicating what a mess the issuing of ID cards and the correction of errors is going to be in practice. A US citizen married to a UK citizen traveled to an ID card centre and paid nearly £600 for a "premium service" to get her fingerprints and face scan and other details taken for her ID card. She waited for hours before eventually being told the system had crashed and she should go home and wait for the card in the post. It arrived eventually with a mistake regarding her citizenship of the US. Then started the process of trying to get it put right, which as well as spending hours waiting in phone cues to different places, dealing with unhelpful people on a spectrum from those who tried to be nice through those who thought it was funny to the downright rude; in addition to sending the error ridden ID card along with her passport off to get the card corrected. Both seem to have disappeared into a black hole and the woman concerned is now uable to travel abroad since she has no passport. And these were people who were prepared to volunteer early, pay £600 and just get no with it. What a shambles. I hope the couple concerned gt their problems sorted out soon.

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