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Identity Cards

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many identity card readers he expects to be provided for use by the general population; what estimate he has made of the cost of such readers; and what plans he has to determine the location of such readers. (294290)

Identity cards issued to British citizens can be used for travel in the European Economic Area, and so can already be read, in the same way as machine readable passports, at border controls at all significant points of entry to the United Kingdom. While identity card readers are likely to be used very widely eventually, there will need to be a critical mass of identity cards in use before this becomes feasible.

However, we have published information on how to recognise the new identity cards, and their security features and so anyone presented with an identity card will be able to verify the card by conducting a visual or tactile check of the card, without the need to invest in specialist equipment. As the number of identity cards in circulation builds up, we will continue to explore opportunities with the commercial sector and Government agencies for reader based identity services.