a compulsory identity card scheme, as it launched a trial of
biometric technology involving 10,000 volunteers.
facial, iris and fingerprint recording and recognition. Each
volunteer will receive a personalised smart card carrying both
printed and electronic information. Results from the trial will help
inform the government's plans to introduce biometric passports and
driving licences, and build a base for the national identity card
Home Office minister Beverley Hughes said:
'Through identity cards, the government is determined to put Britain
at the forefront of international developments in the use of
biometrics to protect our citizens from identity theft and to prevent
abuse of our immigration system.
'We are building the foundations for a compulsory national identity
card scheme, and are moving ahead with the development and testing of
this cutting-edge technology.
'This large-scale trial into the practicalities of recording and
verifying biometrics will play an important part in that process. The
issuing of upgraded biometric passports from 2005 will help build the
base for the identity card scheme.
'By using biometric data, linked to a national database, we can
provide a modern, secure means of confirming identity, helping us to
crack down on identity fraud, immigration abuse, illegal working and
organised crime. We will also be in a much better position to ensure
that our free public services are only used by those who are actually
entitled to them.'
Chief executive of UKPS, Bernard Herdan, said:
'The biometric trial is an important stepping stone in developing the
use of biometrics in the British passport and the national identity
card scheme. The trial will help us understand how the enrolment of
biometrics will work, what it w ill cost, and how our customers will
react. Biometrics will further enhance the security features of
passports and are an essential element in the UKPS drive to
strengthen identity authentication and reduce identity fraud and
Working in close collaboration with the Home Office and the DVLA, the
UKPS will carry out the trials at various locations involving a
representative group of the UK population. The pilot, which will run
from January to June 2004, will employ four fixed, one mobile and one
portable unit. The technical delivery will be undertaken under
contract by SchlumbergerSema, and the recruitment of volunteers will
be managed by MORI.
The UKPS intends to begin issuing passports incorporating a chip
holding a facial biometric in mid-2005.
1. The UK Passport Service (UKPS) signed a contract with
SchlumbergerSema on 27 November 2003 to deliver the six-month
biometric enrolment pilot, to be carried out from January to June
2004. Over a six-month period 10,000 volunteers will have their
facial, iris and fingerprint personal identifiers - known as
biometrics - enrolled.
The objectives of the UKPS biometric pilot are:
- to test the use of biometrics through a simulation of the passport
- to include exceptional cases, eg people who may have
difficulties in enrolment;
- to measure the process time and hence estimate costs;
- to assess customer perceptions and reactions;
- to assess practical aspects of incorporation of biometrics into a
- to trial the use of biometrics to prevent duplicate identities;
- to test fingerprint and iris biometrics for one-to-many
identification and facial recognition - for one-to-one verification;
- to identify issues and risks and produce an outline implementation
2. The UKPS and SchlumbergerSema are in the process of selecting the
sites for the biometrics t rial, which will include a passport office.
The locations of the other three fixed sites will be decided during
the course of the trial. The mobile and portable units will enable
the UKPS to cover other parts of the country.
3. The recruitment of volunteers will be managed by MORI to ensure a
representative sample of the UK population. Any requests to take part
in the trial should be directed to Melanie Briere, MORI, on telephone
number 020 7347 3023 / email email@example.com.
4. Facial recognition, iris pattern and fingerprint images were
nominated the most suitable biometrics for use at border controls and
passport issuance by the International Civil Aviation Organisation
(ICAO) in May 2003.
5. One-to-one verification is where identity is checked against a
document to ensure that the holder is the person it was issued to
(eg comparing the facial image on the identity card against the
person or against the database). For one-to-many identification the
biometric (iris pattern or fingerprint) is compared against a
database to verify a person's identity. Such a check would reveal any
previous application, preventing issuance of documents to the same
person under different identities.
6. The UKPS will implement initially a facial recognition biometric
(which can be derived from a passport photograph) in the British
Passport book in accordance with emerging international standards in
2005. The UKPS is giving consideration to include a secondary
biometric, either the image of the bearer's iris or fingers, in a
later version of the passport. The UKPS will subsequently launch a
passport card also holding biometric information.
7. The government is planning to start introducing identity cards on
a phased basis from 2007/08. Together with the incremental roll-out
of biometric passports and driving licences, this would mean that
that 80% of the economically active population could be covered
within five years.
< p/="">8. The UKPS is also in partnership with SchlumbergerSema for
facilities management of the UKPS administration IT system. For
further information on SchlumbergerSema, visit
9. The contract award will be announced in the Official Journal of
the European Union (OJEU) in due course.