Database recording biometric details to go up in flames
11th February 2011: As the database recording the biometric details of thousands of people goes up in flames, identity cards will be relegated to history.
And, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will welcome the move as proof of the Liberal Democrats’ weight on the Coalition’s agenda.
As a part of the process, hard disk drives from the national identity register are expected to be cut up and reduced to ashes. The move is being seen as an emblematic display of restoring to civil liberties. This is not all. People will be taken off the national DNA database.
Already, 500 hard-disk drives and 100 back-up tapes with personal details of early ID card applicants have already been destroyed. These are being carried off to an Essex industrial estate to be shredded. The remains would be burned in a factory furnace in Birmingham.
Home Office minister Damian Green is expected to oversee the entire process of destruction. In an interview with The Independent, he said this was the final stake through the heart of the identity card scheme, adding the destruction went beyond its symbolic value.
He added this wasn’t just a one-off – but a significant step on the Coalition Government’s move towards greater freedom for the British people," he said.
The development is significant as freedom of information request had only recently revealed attempts by the Home Office to link biometric visas to the criminal database.
The request by campaign group No2ID last year, in fact, showed the Home Office planned to cross-references its database of legal immigrants with criminals’ fingerprints.
It substantiated the argument put forth by the civil libertarians that all citizens are eventually treated like common criminals with dependence on databases.