STUART Chapman, I see you wrote from Ireland (Letters, The Bolton News. October 18).

I assume you have a biometric UK passport. On the back of the page which carries your photo and identification details, there is an electronic chip.

This chip stores a copy of your photograph and the identification details recorded in print and on the machine-readable zone on the identification page, and nothing else.

This is clearly stated in the leaflet issued with your passport. You are presumably happy with this, and confident that your personal data are as securely stored as possible on the Home Office’s Identity and Passport Service, though we both accept that no data storage system is 100 per cent proof against hackers.

My national ID card issued in 2010 also has an electronic chip embedded in it. The face of the ID card bears my photograph and exactly the same identification details as on the photograph page of my passport.

The leaflet I received with my ID card states that "the chip will store the information listed on the face of the card, images of two of your fingerprints recorded when you submitted your application (usually images of your index fingerprints) and technical information which helps make the chip secure".

You may not like the idea of your fingerprints being taken as part of an identity scheme, but I had no such concerns.

The key point I take from all this is that both the chip on your passport and on my ID card are read-only chips, which cannot, in your words, be "updated and added to every time the card [is] in contact with a 'terminal' linked to the national ID register".

If the personal details shown on a passport or ID card change, and that is very unlikely, you have to apply for a new one, as they cannot be updated electronically.

Information on someone’s race, religion, political affiliations, medical records, sexual orientation…and DNA form no part of applying for a passport or ID card.

If a ‘malevolent government’ ever got into power, I’m sure they could "exercise draconian controls over the population" without using stored information from passports or ID cards.

I know you don’t agree with me, but I remain disappointed that the UK government decided to scrap the national ID card scheme, which would have been a simple, portable way of proving identity whenever required, including the long overdue proposal that proof of ID should be shown when casting our votes.

Margaret Gilmour

Sutherland Road