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IBM and CSC win big ID card contracts

CSC will be paid £385 million and IBM some £265 million to rollout biometric passport and ID card systems.

ID card

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has awarded two major contracts for e-passports in addition to the controversial identity card system to CSC and IBM, bringing ID cards "a step closer".

The deals replace existing passport application processing contracts, which expire this year and next, and will see the creation of the database of photographs and fingerprints for ID cards. The overall cost for upgrading passports and rolling out ID cards over the next decade will top 3.5 billion, with 1.2 billion of that for identity cards alone.

CSC was awarded a 385 million contract for the application and enrolment system, which will process passport and ID card applications, and allow "customers" to apply or update their personal data online. Under the ID card system, people will be required to keep their data up-to-date or face fines.

The CSC contract also includes new IT infrastructure and phone systems for the IPS.

IBM will be paid 265 million to build and run the database that will hold photographs and fingerprints for passports and ID cards, which a report earlier this year said could be an illegal database. IBM will also build a replacement for the UK Border Agency's fingerprinting system.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith claimed in a statement: "These contracts bring ID cards and more secure British passports a step closer, taking advantage of the best technology available to bring real benefits."

IBM and CSC are part of a framework contract, which means they are preferred bidders for IPS contracts, alongside EDS, Fujitsu and Thales, which won the first contract last year.

The new passports featuring a chip with fingerprints and digital photographs will be issued starting from 2011, when ID cards will also be available.

The cards have been issued to so-called foreign nationals overseas students and foreign-born spouses since last year, while airside staff at Manchester and London City airports will trial the cards this autumn.

Click here to read what you need to know about ID cards.

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