Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lynne Featherstone announced that -
All ID cards will be cancelled within one month of Royal Assent and the National Identity Register, the database which contains the biographic information and biometric fingerprint data of card holders, will be physically destroyed within two months.The Bill formally invalidates the identity card for UK citizens (although not for aliens) -
The Identity Card Scheme represented the worst of government. It was intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive.
The coalition Government is committed to scaling back the power of the state and restoring civil liberties. This is just the first step in the process of restoring and maintaining our freedoms.
meaning that within one month, holders will no longer be able to use them to prove their identity or as a travel document in Europe. Following Royal Assent, a counter will be placed on the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) website counting down the time until cards become invalid.Can't have too many gimmicks - clocks in countdown mode and so forth - to distract the voters.
In an article for Privacy Law Bulletin earlier this year I noted the diligence with which Ministers of the Cameron-Clegg coalition have stayed "on topic" when dealing with the Card. That has continued, with the Home Office announcing that -
ID cards have been scrapped by the government after the Identity Documents Bill received Royal Assent.The Identity & Passport Service Office (indeed complete with a clock ticking away the seconds) indicates that -
This means that all ID cards will now be cancelled within one month and the National Identity Register, the database which contains information of card holders, will be destroyed within two months.
Home Office Minister Damian Green said: 'The Identity Card Scheme represented the worst of government. It was intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive.
'That is why the first Home Office Bill of this Coalition Government has scrapped ID cards and the National Identity Register.
'The Government is committed to scaling back the power of the state and restoring civil liberties. This is just the first step in the process of restoring and maintaining our freedoms.'
The Government began the process of scrapping identity cards by introducing the Identity Documents Bill to Parliament on 26 May 2010. The Bill made provision for the cancellation of the UK National Identity Card, the Identification Card for EEA nationals and the destruction of the National Identity Register. This Bill has completed the parliamentary process and the Identity Documents Act 2010 [PDF] received Royal Assent on 21 December 2010.The IPS goes on to note that -
The passing of the Act means that identity cards will cease to be valid legal documents for the purposes of confirming identity, age or for travel in Europe after 21 January 2011.
Under the terms of the Act the National Identity Register will be destroyed within two months of the Act coming in to force. This means all personal information supplied during process of applying for an identity card, including photographs and fingerprints, will be destroyed by 21 February 2011.
Refunds will not be provided and identity card holders are not required to return the card to IPS. As the card will cease to be a legal document, if you have an identity card you should consider securely destroying it. If you choose to retain your identity card, you should ensure that it is kept in a safe and secure place.
The statutory post of Identity Commissioner, set up under the Identity Cards Act 2006 to provide independent oversight of the National Identity Service, is also terminated under the terms of the Act.
We will be writing to all existing cardholders at their registered address to inform them of the position.
If you are currently travelling overseas using an identity card and don't have a valid British passport, you will need to make arrangements to obtain a passport to continue your travel. You can either renew your last passport or if you are overseas and need to travel quickly you can apply for an emergency travel document at your local British Embassy/High Commission or Consular Office.
Is the biometric residence permit also being scrapped?and that
No. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) will continue to issue biometric residence permits to non-EEA foreign nationals (formerly known as Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals). The biometric data is not kept on the National Identity Register.
European law requires non-EEA foreign nationals to be provided with biometric residence permits.
They are separate from the programme to introduce the UK National Identity Card and the Identification Card for EEA nationals, and are issued under entirely different legislation.
Is it now against the law to use my identity card when they are cancelled?
It will not be illegal to use your Identity card as proof of identity after 21 January 2011. Whilst the identity card is no longer valid for official purposes some organisations may still be willing to accept them as proof of identity without the ability to check against the National Identity Register.