The government has guaranteed virtual immortality for every British citizen - as long as they join the National Identity Register.
In a Commons answer yesterday ID card minister Meg Hillier confirmed that once you're on the register, nothing will remove you - not even death.
She was answering a question from Francis Maude MP, who asked "whether (a) biometric and (b) personal data of individuals stored on the National Identity Register will be removed from the register if (i) they die and (ii) they decide not to renew their identity card."
Hillier replied: "Information will be retained for as long as is necessary, but only where it is consistent with the statutory purposes set out in the Identity Cards Act 2006."
Which puts the time limit firmly on a par with a piece of string. Luckily, Hillier explained what this means:
"For example, the Identity Cards Act 2006 provides that the date of death may be held on the National Identity Register. This information may be required to help prevent an individual's identity being stolen after death."
A quick skim of the legislation itself doesn't seem to throw up any examples of when someone might be expunged from the National Identity Register; but considering that it could take as long as 3,342 years for the government to shoehorn the entire UK population onto the database, most of us might only ever be dead entries. ®