New 'smart' identity cards could be used for a range of government functions, including as driving licences and voting cards. They could even be used for non-official purposes such as e-commerce, consultants say. Government consultants have delivered their feasibility study on the new cards, which are scheduled to replace existing ID cards after 2002. The new cards will capture the cardholder's facial image and thumb prints. Laser-engraving technology will be used to ensure security. The consultants laid out two options for the card: A narrow application to support only the core business of the Immigration Department, for example updating the conditions of stay of temporary residents. A general government services card, including functions such as driving licences, voting and health records. The use could be extended to non-government applications such as e-commerce. Following approval of funding, a new computer system will be developed to be introduced by 2002. New ID cards will then begin to be issued.