Gordon Brown told the Labour party conference that new passport applications would require no more information than was required at present. The Identity and Passport Service said this was true… except for applicants having to give their fingerprints.
In his speech to the Labour party conference on 29 September 2009, the prime minister said: “We will reduce the information British citizens have to give for the new biometric passport to no more than that required for today’s passport.”
However, the IPS said it is making no changes to its plans, and confirmed that this includes adding fingerprints to British passports. “Identity cards and biometric passports will hold all the same information — the same information that is currently held on existing passports plus an individual’s fingerprints,” said a spokesperson.
“As the prime minister made clear we will not be requiring people to provide large amounts of additional biographic information to apply for the new biometric passport. Information that will be collected as part of the application process for the new biometric passport will be what is necessary to confirm your identity and nationality, not tax, health or criminal records.”
“Gordon Brown was simply talking nonsense,” commented shadow immigration minister Damian Green. “A biometric passport requires you to give biometric information, which is different from that held on the current passport. Either he does not know what he’s talking about, or is deliberately pulling the wool over people’s eyes. The government is in complete chaos over the whole issue of identity and biometrics.”
Brown also said the government will not to make ID cards compulsory during the next Parliament, repeating what home secretary Alan Johnson had said several months ago.
“This is the same misleading line as before,” said Guy Herbert, general secretary of pressure group No2ID. “Whatever he says about a card, the plan remains the same: to treat the entire population like dangerous sex offenders and keep us all on a Home Office database for life.”
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