A database built to hold the fingerprints and personal details of millions of ID card holders has today been publicly destroyed.
Around 500 hard disk drives and 100 back up tapes containing the details of 15,000 holders have been magnetically wiped and shredded.
They will soon be incinerated in an environmentally friendly waste-for-energy process.
This signals an end to the National Identity Register which was built to hold the details of people who applied for an ID card.
The scheme was scrapped by the coalition government and the cards ceased to be valid legal documents on 22 January.
Home Office minister Damian Green helped shred the last of the hard disk drives at an Essex industrial site today.
‘Laying ID cards to rest demonstrates the government’s commitment to scale back the power of the state and restore civil liberties,’ he said.
‘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.’
Change in law
People can no longer use the cards to prove their identity or as a travel document in Europe.
The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has written to all cardholders and informed international border agencies, travel operators and customers of the change in law.
For more information about the decommissioning of the National Identity Scheme and for frequently asked questions, visit the IPS website.