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BAE and Accenture pull out of identity card scheme

An Identity & Passport Office volunteer has his fingerprints scanned in a file photo. BAE Systems withdrew from the process to pick prime suppliers for the proposed national identity card scheme, a further blow for the unpopular project. REUTERS/File

LONDON (Reuters) - Defence company BAE Systems withdrew from the process to pick prime suppliers for the proposed national identity card scheme, a further blow for the unpopular project.

U.S.-listed technology services company Accenture also said on Thursday it had pulled out.

The moves by Accenture and BAE come days after media reports said the venture will be delayed or watered down, as public opinion, lukewarm at best towards the venture, turned against it in the wake of a series of cases of the government losing personal information.

Accenture and BAE were on a shortlist of eight unveiled on October 19 by the Identity & Passport Office, which is seeking final tenders for the framework arrangement.

BAE said it had withdrawn because “at this stage of the competition our assessment is that our bid would not contain every element necessary to deliver to the customer’s requirement. We continue to monitor the programme with interest”.

Accenture gave no reason for its withdrawal but said: “We remain committed to our work in UK government”.

CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM, Steria and Thales remain in the running.

The Identity Cards Act of 2006 specifies January 1, 2010 as the date from which anyone applying for a passport will have to be entered on to the ID card register.

Newspaper reports this week, based on leaked government documents, said that date could slip to 2012.

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