According to the government department, business and public sector organisations are to be given graded access depending on need.
Citizens will be able to ask for a record of when their identity has been checked and by whom. But no details were given on how simple such a procedure might be or at what cost.
Katherine Courtney, ID card programme director at the Home Office, told the Financial Times: "There will be a verification scheme that requires the user to justify to us the level of verification they want to use."
She added that there are plans to link the card into next-generation credit and debit card readers to provide a lower level of identity confirmation. This could be used by car hire firms, for example, to check identity.
Cards will start being issued in 2008 but the Home Office said that the main verification service is unlikely to be available until 2010 after trials during 2008/9.
Ian Watmore, the government's chief information officer, conceded that a system on such a scale had not been demonstrated anywhere in the world, and that "in some areas we will be pushing the boundaries".
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