File photo showing Home Secretary Jacqui Smith holding a sample identity card at a news conference in London September 25, 2008. (REUTERS)
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it was dropping plans to bring in compulsory biometric identity cards for airport workers and that the multi-billion pound scheme would remain voluntary for all Britons.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the government was going ahead with the introduction of the 30 pound cards, which contain personal details, fingerprints and a facial image, but ruled out making them compulsory.
Civil rights campaigners and opposition politicians have long opposed the project, saying it was unnecessary, expensive and an intrusion into private life.