ID trials reveal scan problems
25 May, 2005, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Trials of ID cards have revealed problems with the scanning systems
central to the project, it has emerged.
"Biometrics" such as fingerprints, iris images or face scans will be
used for the cards but the trials found that not all people could use
all the systems.
It was harder to scan the irises of black people and over-59s.
And some fingerprint scanners did not work with large fingers.
Ministers say they were only "teething" problems and the technology is
Some experts argue the technology may never be good enough.
Professor Angela Sasse, a biometrics expert who has advised MPs on the
home affairs select committee, said biometric technologies were "a lot
less mature" than manufacturers made out.
"To be honest, I think it is a possibility that eventually we will
conclude it isn't good enough or that the current systems we're using
aren't good enough for a large scale public domain application such as
an ID card," she said.
The trials involved 10,000 volunteers, although the detailed research
centred on 2,000 "quota" people chosen to match the general population
and 750 disabled people.