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UK delays implementing national ID card system

[JURIST] The UK Identity and Passport Service [official website] will delay issuing ID cards [Home Office backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to British nationals until 2010, according to documents leaked from the UK Home Office [official website]. Plans are still underway for foreign nationals living in the UK to be issued biometric visas [eGov backgrounder] later this year, while people in "positions of trust," such as security guards, will be required to have IDs by 2009. The IDs are part of an effort to clamp down on illegal immigration [JURIST report] in the UK, but have met with criticism from both Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians who fear they will waste government money and infringe on civil liberties. BBC News has more.

The UK House of Lords and House of Commons [official websites] approved [JURIST report] the controversial Identity Cards Bill [PDF text; JURIST news archive] in March 2006. The legislation had bounced back and forth between both houses of parliament for months with the Lords objecting to a Commons provision to effectively make the cards mandatory by requiring ID registration for all British citizens applying for passports. A compromise bill mitigated the provision somewhat by allowing passport applicants to opt out of taking an ID cards until January 2010 so long as they registered in a national computer database.

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