Jessops is among thousands of photographic stores in line to provide photographs and fingerprint data of individuals taking part in the government's controversial national identity card scheme.

Page 1: Thousands of photo stores in line for ID card sign-up

Jessops

Jessops is among thousands of photographic stores in line to provide photographs and fingerprint data of individuals taking part in the government’s controversial national identity card scheme.

The Photo Marketing Association (PMA) – whose members include Jessops – is in talks with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) over the proposals, which also include the collection of biometric data for new passports.

More than 4,000 UK photographic outlets belong to the PMA.

Jessops – Britain’s biggest photographic retailer with 211 shops – has yet to confirm whether or not it will take part in the scheme.

But PMA’s UK director Nigel McNaught, who is in discussions with the IPS, said: ‘If a National Identity Card Scheme is launched then our members want a slice of the action.’

McNaught claimed stores that already provide customers with passport photographs are best placed to collect biometric fingerprint and facial recognition data.

Last week the Home Office announced that people living in Greater Manchester will be the first to be able to volunteer for ID cards – a scheme which has drawn criticism from civil liberties campaigners.

Unanswered questions

However, McNaught does not expect all photo retailers to sign up to the scheme because some will question whether there will be enough profit in it for them.

He explained that the Home Office has not yet made clear how much photo retailers will benefit from such a move, in financial terms.

Neither has the Home Office outlined how much investment shops would need to make, nor the computer systems and training requirements.

McNaught said that some of these issues will be addressed at PMA’s upcoming meeting with the IPS, a date for which has yet to be set.

Asked whether Jessops is among those in talks with the Home Office about the scheme, a spokeswoman for the store said: ‘Due to confidentiality issues we are not able to answer this at this stage. However, when we are in a position to talk then, of course, we will.’

Page 2: Retailers fear losing out to Post Office

A Home Office spokesman confirmed that the Photo Marketing Association is among the bodies that have ‘expressed an interest’ in taking part in the ID card scheme.

But the spokesman declined to name the photographic retailers involved in talks, telling us that details will be released by the end of this year.

Camera shops criticised

Last week Phil Booth, from civil liberties group No21D, told the Daily Express that camera shops should not be trusted with such private information.

McNaught hit back at the criticism, telling us that the Home Office will need to ensure that it vets individual retailers and set quality standards.

‘It’s not up to me whether to endorse or otherwise a National Identity Card Scheme. It’s up to retailers whether they take part.’

Before the ID scheme was announced, PMA had already been in talks with the government after retailers feared they would lose out to organisations, such as the Post Office, if paper passport photos were to be replaced by electronic data.

In a separate the move, last week Jessops announced the refurbishment of its passport suites nationwide in response to ‘legal changes and guidelines issued by the Home Office’.