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don't confuse the biometrics on passports with ID cards, they are very different things. The government implied that we would save money on ID cards because we had to put biometrics on passports anyway, to comply with the civil ICAO requirements and US visa requirements.
However, the ICAO biometric requirements are completely different to the ones required for the ID card scheme, so doing one won't save any money on the other. The ICAO requirements also don't require a huge central database containing lots of personal details, and basically require a facial biometric (e.g. a good photograph).
We also "had" to put fingerprints on passports to comply with US visa requirements. The US has now backed down on these requirements several times as the reality of how difficult it will be sinks in. Not that I have any desire to visit the US anytime soon.
The magic word "biometric" covers a multitude of things. Please don't believe that all these schemes are equivalent in terms of privacy invasion, or that we can justify cost savings on the ID cards by the work we may do to comply with international agreements on passports.Matt Palmer, 12 years ago.