back to article Post Office aims to collect ID card fingerprints?

Ministers are in talks with the Post Office over proposals for the latter to handle biometric enrolment and distribution for ID cards and biometric passports, reports the Guardian. The Post Office already operates a 'check and send' service for passports, and there is therefore some logic to extending this to the collection of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Another way for the failing Post Office to make a bit more money. An extra charge for fingerprints on it's way me thinks.

  2. Anonymous John

    and helping keep branches open.

    A bit late for that. My nearest sub PO closed several months ago. The next nearest closed last month as £250K seems to have gone missing. Supposed to be reopening, but I have my doubts. I have a three mile round trip now. Not that I need to use a PO vey often.

    Even the main Post Office in the own centre closed a few years back.

  3. James

    But ...

    there won't be any Post Offices left.

    (They're trying to remove all the rural Post Offices within 10 miles of our office!)

  4. Gilbert Wham

    Post office? What post office?

    Errrr, didn't they just shut them all? So, what they mean is 'Ministers propose that WH Smith collect biometric details'.

    no likee.

  5. Greg

    Don't matter nohow...

    This Labour government won't be around long enough to implement this hair brained nonsense.

    In general, their attitude is "don't trouble us with the facts, we've made up our minds". Well let them stew on it in opposition until the facts have a chance to sink in to their stubborn political bonces.

  6. Steven

    Two F'ups Don't Make A Right

    Oh great the government AND The Post Office. Gee my data's bound to be safe now...

    The day the post office takes my fingerprints for the governments databases is the day I leave the UK for good.

  7. Ash

    A quote from ITPro

    '"I am convinced that our increased awareness as a nation of the dangers of data loss and identity fraud makes the case for participation in the national identity scheme more pressing, rather than less," she said, in defense of the scheme after it came underfire following the HMRC data loss.' - Jacqui Smith

    There you have it, folks. Data loss by HM Govt. is selling point for ID cards.

    I told you it would happen.

    I'm not having an entry in the National ID Database, or an ID card. Ever.

  8. Onionman
    Thumb Down

    Even longer queues

    So, they've closed all three of my local sub-offices (generally small queues, if any) and replaced them with long queues at my local big office (one desk open at 3:45 last Friday afternoon - 20 mins wait). Now they are all going to take fingerprints with all the delay that implies?

    You really could not make this up.


  9. Anonymous Coward

    This is great news....

    ....because by 2012 there will be no post offices still open to take the fingerprints!

    Another great piece of New Labour forward-thinking!

  10. Eponymous Cowherd

    Really great!

    Plenty of opportunity for crooks to enrol with fake prints, bribe/blackmail underpaid PO workers and generally make the Post Office a one-stop ID theft shop.

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

    Think again!

  11. michael

    the more I read about id cards

    the more worried I get

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I knew something was up...

    The sly bstrds!

    Name me an old person/concerned citizen who would now object to ID cards. "If you don't get an ID card we'll close your Post Office!!, We have them in black or black and they're cheap to you, sir, at £150 inintially and £10/yr renewal when you submit your tax return!"


  13. Dave

    Another Me too post

    I work in the centre of Leeds, and live in a little village about 15 miles away.

    What are these Post Offices of which you speak?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh terrific

    I need to post a letter and the queue in front already contains a family claiming a wheelbarrow load of benefits; a semi-literate teenager completing a passport application at the desk so that he can spend his gap year contracting some of Southern Europe's most exciting sexually-transmitted diseases; a Sun reader changing five billion Vietnamese Dong into Sterling one Dong at a time whilst recounting their nights of bliss at the Hanoi Hilton Happy Slapper LadyBoy Passion Parlour to anyone within earshot; someone whose actually bought one of those 'you've never heard of this movie' DVDs for £1.99 - in copper; three Lottery players trying to pick their almost certainly unlucky numbers, and a Patagonian waiter looking to send a 1/2 tonne box complete with air holes to one of the lesser-travelled parts of the Andes - and now they're going to be scanning people's eyeballs???

  15. Stiggy
    Black Helicopters

    They'll have to record some new tannoys

    "Interrogator number six, please..."

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. yorksaint
    Thumb Up

    @ Mike Richards...

    ...Absolutely superb!

  18. Mark

    Other prints to use

    The markings on the penis head is unique and doesn't lend itself to being placed everywhere for someone with a gummy bear to pick up.

    So how about I whip the Staff Of Might out, dip it on the reader and prove my credential.

    Unless someone cuts my wing dang doodle off and stuffs it down their trousers (eewww), this one is not going to be faked.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    you read it here first:

    just in case teh authoriteez are reading this, have you considered rounding people up in the local football stadium?

  20. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down


    > What are the governments other options?

    How about "well, we were considering closing your Post Office, but if you agree to take fingerprints, we'll let you stay open..." :-(

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Sniffy

    Yesterday's experience...

    My experience at a post office yesterday led me to the conclusion that the Post Office is in collusion with the government to make it more and more difficult to use traditional forms of ID as proof of identity...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You read it here first

    They'll be forcing people to have their fingerprints scanned every time they use a Post Office service soon enough.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Chance

    They're not getting any part of my biometrics, I'm off to Iran; it's less oppressive there. (and they've got nuclear).

    Where's the Icon of Fuhrer Braun in a Braun shirt?

  25. zyxyzx

    Data transfer

    So, are the government farming the jobs out to the private sector, i.e. branches of your friendly neighbourhood post office, with the intention that the post office will have easy and cheap access to blank cds, envelopes and stamps?

    As we all know, these could be password protected with a strong 4-character pin, to allow all of our bio-metric data to be safely lost .. er .. shipped to the appropriate location, so cutting out the need for expensive and complicated things like encryption or secure connections.

    Cheaper and more effective?! Will they never learn.

  26. Guy Herbert

    Note provenance of story

    This comes via the Guardian's political editor, not in the business pages. It doesn't quote any Post Office executives.

    It is also economically moronic. Pouring uncounted billions (you don't really think the Home Office has the capacity either to count or to care about the budget, do you?) into the ID scheme, in order to give a rounded-up £200m a year in notional turnover to the Post Office, is a spectacularly bad bargain for the taxpayer compared with a direct subsidy.

    It is also not as good as a direct subsidy. The 'endangered' post offices wouldn't get enough extra business to save them this way, because it would be spread across the country in proportion to population, maybe with a weighting towards areas of higher economic activity, given it'll be forced in with passports and CRB certificates. Them as 'as gits.

    Conclusion: this is spin out of government, still looking desperately for excuses that will make the public love ID. "It'll save Post Offices," looks very desperate indeed.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Ash - Sign up if it comes.

    Sorry, Ash but that's really stupid, as what will happen is that someone else will assert themselves with your identity, you will then have one hell of a job getting it back again.

    If ID comes, then sign up for it as soon as you can don't wait, even if it means renewing your passport nine years early.

    The government want this to be the gold standard for identity, they just don't want to pay for the trouble of making sure you are who you say you are, so will make the initial sign-up easy. Show me your passport, or a couple of utility bills for your address, oh yes you're on Experian, so off you go with your brand new ID card.

    Various sorting offices have had problems with gangs extracting bills and statements before they even get to your door. So do you want to bet that they won't do this not only to gain credit, but to gain a gold standard for ID.

  28. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Sign up if it comes

    "Sorry, Ash but that's really stupid, as what will happen is that someone else will assert themselves with your identity, you will then have one hell of a job getting it back again."

    That's just what Gordon wants you to think.

    Fact is, if you don't sign up, then no card will be issued in your name with your biometrics. Stealing your identity will be no easier than it is today. It is the compulsory participation in the scheme that opens the door to unlimited misery for the entire population. Your best chance of escape is to avoid contact with the scheme for as long as possible, and hope that the misery blights enough lives in the first few months to persuade the population to rise up and overthrow the morons responsible before you are forced to join in.

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