Updates to this story
The immigration minister has admitted that it will cost around £400k to destroy the personal data that's on the now-scrapped National Identity Register.
The huge price tag has compelled rights groups to claim that the database should not have been deployed in the first place.
Damiam Green confirmed the costs in a parliamentary written answer to Labour MP, Paul Goggins, who also asked what security standards would be applied in the “in the destruction of the National Identity Register”.
He said the destruction of the Register would be carried out by a CESG accredited and approved supplier in compliance with the HMS IA Standard No. 5-Secure Sanitisation of Protectively Marked Sensitive Information. He said the estimated costs to dismantle the systems and securely destroy the personal data held totted up to £400,000.
He tried to justify the cost, claiming: “The destruction of the NIR data will involve the physical equipment holding that data being both degaussed and physically shredded.
“It is estimated that cancelling ID cards and the NIR will realise net savings of £86 million over the next four years. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) will incur some one-off expenditure and asset write-offs during 2010-11, including the secure destruction of the NIR. The net costs in 2010-11 will be near to £5 million.”
This has not appeased Alex Deane, director at rights group Big Brother Watch. Deane told TechEye: "This is yet another reason we should never have begun with this monolithic database in the first place.
"Not only was it absurdly intrusive, not only was it eye-wateringly expensive – it costs a pretty penny to take apart, too. Still, we should all be very grateful for its demise."
Last month Green also revealed that there's now £6.5 million worth of pre-purchased IT hardware, which was meant for the ID Card scheme sitting in boxes which will probably never see the light of day.