City Workers First to Get Hi-Tech ID Cards Hundreds Issued to Staff Today

Article excerpt

Byline: SAM LYON

BRITAIN'S first hi-tech identity cards are being issued to London workers today, the Evening Standard can reveal.

The cards, containing details of credit history, criminal records and immigration status, are being introduced to combat identity theft and illegal working.

Hundreds of staff at City banks, blue chip companies and government departments are being issued with them.

Thousands more are expected to follow.

But critics condemned the scheme, which is being administered by a private-sector company, as an "unprecedented invasion of people's privacy".

Phil Booth, national coordinator of the No 2 ID campaign, said: "This is very worrying.

Soon there will be no aspect of our lives which isn't sucked into the identity system."

The cards are linked to a database containing personal details gathered during a vetting process and held by private investigators Crocker Stolten.

Unique identifiers such as fingerprints can also be added.

Former fraud squad officer Lionel Stolten, the man behind the London Identicheck scheme, said: "Companies need to know who is entering their buildings and that those people really are who they say they are, especially major corporations which hold sensitive information. …