The UK's passport office is working with high street banks Abbey and HSBC on a controversial plan for cross-referencing passport details of new account applicants against information held in its database, according to a Financial Times report.
In the article, which discusses the government's plans for introducing biometric passports and a national ID card scheme, Bernard Herdan, chief executive of the UK passport service, says that data acquired when customers get a new passport could be used by private companies, such as banks, to verify customer identities.
Although the UK's Home Office has denied reports that personal details acquired for passports and ID cards would be sold to private firms, Herdan says companies such as banks that have doubts about a passport may be able to call a special hotline to check customer details. He says private companies wouldn't have direct access to the database but staff at the passport office could verify details.
According to the report, the service is likely to be rolled out at the end of this year.