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UK destroys National Identity Register

Britain`s National Identity Register (NIR), built to hold the fingerprints and personal details of millions of ID card holders and considered direct assault on liberty of the people, was publicly destroyed.

Updated: Feb 10, 2011, 23:48 PM IST

London: Britain`s National Identity
Register (NIR), built to hold the fingerprints and personal
details of millions of ID card holders and considered direct
assault on liberty of the people, was publicly destroyed
on Thursday.

Home Office Minister Damian Green visited an
industrial site in Essex today to shred the last of 500 hard
disk drives and end the National Identity Scheme.

"I have always called in the strongest terms for the
National Identity Register to be scrapped, and it was one of
the first things the Coalition pledged to do. I am delighted
that Damian has today laid it to rest once and for all, Deputy
Prime Minister Nick Clegg said.

"The ID cards scheme was a direct assault on our
liberty, something too precious to be tossed aside, and
something which this government is determined to restore. The
government is committed to rolling back as much state
interference as humanly possible, and the destruction of the
register is only the beginning."

Green said that laying ID cards to rest demonstrates
the government`s commitment to scale back the power of the
state and restore civil liberties.

"This is about people having trust in the government
to know when it is necessary and appropriate for the state to
hold and use personal data, and it is about the government
placing their trust in the common-sense and responsible
attitude of people.

"This is just the first step in the process of
restoring and maintaining our freedoms."

The destruction of the NIR has been carried out within
two months of Royal Assent of the Identity Documents Bill.

Around 500 hard disk drives and 100 back-up tapes
containing the details of 15,000 holders have been
magnetically wiped and shredded in line with Cabinet Office
rules and will soon be incinerated.

ID cards can no longer be used by holders as a valid
legal proof of identity or as a travel document in Europe.

PTI