Melon Farmers Original Version

ID Cards in UK

UK introduces ID cards


Wrong think...

Think tank considers that Brexit is an excuse for the revival of the British ID cards idea

Link Here30th July 2018
Full story: ID Cards in UK...UK introduces ID cards
Policy Exchange is a think tank that describes itself as:

The UK's leading think tank. As an educational charity our mission is to develop and promote new policy ideas which deliver better public services, a stronger society and a more dynamic economy.

And now it has been considering post Brexit visa arrangements and has taken the opportunity to call fro the revival of ID cards, or at least an ID number that can be used for to identify everybody in official and unofficial databases throughout the world. Policy Exchange writes:

As national borders are being transformed by new technologies and new thinking about how to manage flows of goods and people as quickly and safely as possible, the UK border needs continuing innovation and reform.

The report's main recommendations include:

  • Roll out ID system for EU citizens . A unique digital reference for interactions with the state is being developed for the 3.6m EU citizens settled here after Brexit. This experiment with a unique number system should be a trial run for an initially voluntary system for UK citizens.



Backdoor Politics...

Scotland attempts to create a new ID card based upon NHS registration

Link Here26th February 2015
Full story: ID Cards in UK...UK introduces ID cards

Government proposals to expand the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) will pave the way for a national ID register in Scotland. The proposals have been made public in a little-known consultation that closes at the end of February. Digital rights campaigners, the Open Rights Group (ORG) believe that the consultation is flawed, misleading and could fundamentally change the relationship between citizen and state.

Open Rights Group Executive Director, Jim Killock said:

Government proposals that jeopardise our right to privacy need proper consideration. The SNP rejected a national ID register when the UK government tried to introduce ID cards. These proposals could pave the way for a similar scheme in Scotland and are being introduced without a proper debate by the public or MSPs.

Most Scottish citizens already have a unique identity number in the NHS system. This plan is to share this unique identifier with up to 120 other Scottish public bodies - including Glasgow Airport, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd. Scottish residents could then be tracked across all their interactions with public bodies, including your benefits, bus pass travel or library usage.

ORG believes that this is building an ID card system in Scotland and that any such changes should be introduced as primary legislation, which would allow a proper public and parliamentary debate.

ORG has published its response to the consultation.

ORG is also urging its supporters in Scotland to contact their MSPs about the proposals.



Update: By the Bus Back Door...

Open letter pointing out the remarkable similarities between the UK ID card and an Edinburgh Entitlement Card.

Link Here10th June 2013
Full story: ID Cards in UK...UK introduces ID cards

The Scottish Identity Card Scandal, John Welford

Most people will recognise the card pictured: it's the pensioner bus pass, first introduced by the Scottish Government in 2006. Well no, actually it isn't. In fact, it's a fully functioning Scottish identity card. And its covert and dishonest introduction has been a gross national scandal. I think that it's time at last for the Scottish people to know the truth...

This is one of the most shocking governmental scandals that I can ever recall. It has involved a deliberate, systematic deception of the Scottish people by their government over several years. Stealthily creating a National ID scheme and supporting database represents a most sinister and despicable conspiracy against the people. And yet it continues today...

Please do take whatever action you can. This Trojan Horse ID card has absolutely no place in Scotland, so complain to your MSP and council about it...

Demand honest government and transparent, privacy-friendly entitlement systems.

We deserve nothing less - take action now.


17th February

Update: G-Cloud...

UK ID database is reborn

  Now the Home Office has destroyed its prototype ID database in a publicity stunt, the government is putting the finishing touches to plans that would put the real Identity Scheme databases at the heart of a powerful government data sharing system.

The Government Cloud (G-Cloud), an ambitious Cabinet Office scheme to share IT resources and data across the whole of government, is seeking to remove all technical and organisational barriers to public sector data sharing.

Reports published last week by the Cabinet Office describe how G-Cloud will exhume the data sharing systems that underpinned ID Cards, along with the fatal data security risks that went with them. The principles will be applied to all government data. The plans have been overseen by the same executives who oversaw the ID Scheme's data-sharing system, the ill-fated CISx.

The principle was established a year ago in the G-Cloud Vision, which was drafted by Martin Bellamy, the same civil servant who advised ministers to proceed with the CISx as one of two core components of the ID scheme.

Bellamy's Vision cited the CISx as an example of the sort of data sharing that would be possible within the G-Cloud. The CISx plan had involved turning the Department for Work and Pensions Customer Information System database (CIS), which contains personal details of everyone in the country, into a system that could be accessed across the whole government.

The Home Office said last week its minister Damian Green had destroyed Labour's ID database. But he only destroyed the temporary system the Home Office erected in a hurry so it could get ID cards on the streets before the 2010 election. It had still not proceeded with integrating the real ID databases because it was still trying to work out how to resolve their excruciating data security problems.


11th February

Update: Scrapped...

British ID card database crushed

A database built to hold the fingerprints and personal details of millions of ID card holders has today been publicly destroyed.

Around 500 hard disk drives and 100 back up tapes containing the details of 15,000 early adopters have been magnetically wiped and shredded.

They will soon be incinerated in an environmentally friendly waste-for-energy process.

This signals an end to the National Identity Register which was built to hold the details of people who applied for an ID card.

The scheme was scrapped by the coalition government and the cards ceased to be valid legal documents on 22 January.

Home Office minister Damian Green helped shred the last of the hard disk drives at an Essex industrial site today.

Laying ID cards to rest demonstrates the government's commitment to scale back the power of the state and restore civil liberties, he said: This is about people having trust in the government to know when it is necessary and appropriate for the state to hold and use personal data, and it is about the government placing their trust in the common-sense and responsible attitude of people. This is just the first step in the process of restoring and maintaining our freedoms.'


22nd January

Update: Identified as Scrap...

British ID cards no longer valid

As of 22nd January 2011 identity cards can no longer be used to prove identity or to travel in Europe.

The cards have been scrapped by the government under the Identity Documents Act.

Within days the National Identity Register - which was designed to hold the details of card holders - will be destroyed.

Immigration minister Damian Green said:

Laying ID cards to rest demonstrates the government's commitment to scale back the power of the state and restore civil liberties.

It is about the people having trust in the government to know when it is necessary and appropriate for the state to hold and use personal data, and it is about the government placing their trust in the common-sense and responsible attitude of the people.

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) (new window) has written to all existing cardholders and informed international border agencies, travel operators and customers of the change in law.


23rd December

Update: National Identity Improves...

Labour's ID card scheme now officially trashed

Labour's ID cards were officially trashed when the Bill to abolish them received Royal Assent.

The few thousand cards that people bought voluntarily will be cancelled within a month.

In addition, the database holding the biographic information and biometric fingerprint data of cardholders, known as the National Identity Register, will be physically destroyed within two months.

The ID card scheme was symbolic of the last administration's obsession with control and nannying. It was put up as a panacea, capable of preventing everything from benefit fraud and illegal immigration to terrorism and organised crime.


28th May

Update: Expiry Date...

UK ID cards set for an early demise

ID cards will be history within 100 days, the government said as it published laws to destroy the scheme.

The Home Office, for years tasked with promotion of the project under Labour, said it aims to pass the Identity Documents Bill before the Parliamentary recess starts in August.

It is the first legislation introduced by the ConDem coalition. Both parties campaigned against the scheme at the election.

The National Identity Register, the database that was set to centrally store an array of personal information about every British citizen, will also be consigned to the political dustbin. The next generation of biometric passports, which would also have fed the National Identity Register, will be scrapped in separate legislation.

The wasteful, bureaucratic and intrusive ID card scheme represents everything that has been wrong with government in recent years, said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg: By taking swift action to scrap it, we are making it clear that this government won't sacrifice people's liberty for the sake of Ministers' pet projects.

A separate ID cards scheme for foreign nationals will go ahead.


23rd December

Update: Identifying Shambles...

ID cards to be extended to London but are not valid on ferries

The Government's identity-card scheme has been branded a farce last night after it was revealed it will be expanded this week - despite Alistair Darling casting doubt over the future of the project.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson is expected to announce within the next few days that 16 to 24-year-olds in London will be able to apply for £30 voluntary ID cards.

But the move comes just days after the Chancellor appeared to suggest that he would cut the funding for ID cards.

It also follows a shambolic launch of voluntary ID cards in Liverpool last week when Home Office Minister Meg Hillier turned up to promote them, but left hers at home.

Based on article from

An early adopter of the UK's controversial ID card was refused passage when he tried to board a ferry to Rotterdam.

Norman Eastwood and his wife had booked a passage from Hull with P&O Ferries on Saturday. The ID card, which has been offered on a voluntary basis to the public in Greater Manchester as part of a limited trial since last month, is meant to allow travel across Europe as an alternative to a passport.

However P&O staff at check-in had never seen the card before and didn't know it was a valid travel document. The unfortunate Eastwood was told he would need his passport - which he had left at home - to travel.

We had no idea the ID card was being trialled, a P&O spokesman explained. Mr Eastwood turned up with a form of ID we didn't recognise. He was told that he wasn't going anywhere without a passport.

Eastwood was left with little option but to abandon Xmas shopping plans and head home, some 105 miles away. He told the BBC that the incident left him feeling humiliated and like a second-class citizen .

The ferry firm has offered Eastwood free ferry tickets and an apology for the mix-up. P&O has informed staff at all its UK ports about the ID card in order to prevent a repetition of the incident.

In a statement, the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said: We have a standard and well established process for informing border agencies and carriers around the world of any change to international travel documents, which we followed in this case. We are speaking to P&O to understand why this happened and ensure that there can be no repeat of it.


15th October

Update: Hardly a Perk...

First British ID cards go to Home Office staff

Phil Woolas, the Immigration minister, faced ridicule last night after announcing that his own civil servants would be the first Britons to be issued with identity cards. He told MPs that applications for the £30 cards could be made by UK nationals from next Tuesday.

Woolas added: This will apply to people working in the Home Office, the passport service and elsewhere, who are engaged on work relating to the issue of identity cards.

The scheme will be extended by the end of the year to residents of Greater Manchester and airside workers at Manchester and London City airports. Next year people across the North-west of England will be invited to apply for cards.

Damian Green, the shadow Immigration minister, said: This would be funny if it wasn't so expensive for the taxpayer. The Government is reduced to selling ID cards to its own staff in a desperate bid to prove that someone, somewhere, thinks that they would benefit from the identity card scheme.

A David for this surveillance Goliath?

See also article from by Henry Porter

Before the Conservative party conference I questioned the party's commitment to liberty, but I have to concede that there is some sign that David Cameron has taken on board the arguments being made here and elsewhere. In a part of his conference speech that was not well covered he said: To be British is to be sceptical of authority and the powers-that-be. That's why ID cards, 42 days and Labour's surveillance state are so utterly unacceptable, and why we will sweep the whole rotten edifice away.


2nd August

Update: Brits Shown the Card...

Alan Johnson unveils final design for British ID card

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has unveiled the final design of the British national identity card.

The card will be offered to members of the public in the Greater Manchester area from the end of this year. Volunteering for a car will also incur a lifetime of having to keep the state informed of address changes etc under duress of enormous fines.

Ministers plan to launch the £30 biometric ID card nationwide in 2011 or 2012 - but it will not be immediately compulsory.

Opposition spokesmen said it was a colossal waste of money and civil liberty groups said it was as costly to our pockets as to our privacy.

Ministers say the card, which follows the launch of the foreign national ID card, will provide an easy way of safely proving identity.

The card is very similar in look to a UK driving licence but holds more data, including two fingerprints and a photograph encoded on a chip. This chip and its unique number in turn links the card to a national identity register which, under current legislation, will hold more information about the identity of the individual.

If the scheme goes ahead, the card could be used as a travel document within Europe, separate to the passport, similar to arrangements between other EU member states.

Like the UK passport, the front of the card displays the royal crest as well as the thistle, the rose, the shamrock and the daffodil to represent the four parts of the UK.

No2ID, a national pressure group, is launching a counter-campaign across North-West England to derail the Home Office's plan. Dave Page, from the organisation, said: Once you are on that database, you can never come off it.

From the moment you're registered you'll have to tell the authorities of any change in your circumstances for the rest of your life - and pay whatever fees they ask for the 'service'.

You'll never know who's looking at your details. It won't protect our safety. It won't be convenient - except for Whitehall. This scheme is an expensive and dangerous con.


7th July

Update: ID Card Fines...

MPs increase the cost of ID cards to £1000 for some holders

MPs have approved fines of up to £1,000 for those who fail to tell the passport and identity service of changes in their personal details including address, name, nationality and gender.

The fines are part of a package of secondary legislation being pushed through parliament designed to implement the national identity card scheme, and which will allow sensitive personal data on the ID card/passport database to be shared with the police, security services and other government departments.

The regulations were approved as the Conservative party made clear for the first time their commitment to scrap not only the identity card scheme but also its underlying database.

The shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, told MPs: One of the first acts of a Conservative government will be cancelling the ID cards scheme. The scheme and the register are both an affront to British liberty and will have no place in a Conservative Britain. They are also a huge waste of money.

The Conservatives' home affairs spokesman, Damian Green, asked how the scheme could be voluntary when they were penalties for failing to provide information for the database: If it is a voluntary card, why are there penalties attached for failing to provide that information? he said, adding that the government should warn people that once they volunteer for a passport or ID card it was then compulsory for the rest of their lives.

Fines starting at £125 and rising to £1,000 are to be levied on those who fail to notify the authorities of a change of name or address, or to surrender an identity card, or to report a card lost, stolen, damaged, tampered with or destroyed.


2nd July

Update: ID Cards Mandatory for Passport Holders...

£1000 fines for not keeping UK up to date with one's address

Brits who apply for or renew their passport will be automatically registered on the national identity card database under regulations to be approved by MPs in the next few weeks.

The decision to press ahead with the main elements of the national identity card scheme follows a review by the home secretary, Alan Johnson. Although Johnson claimed the cards would not be compulsory, critics say the passport measures amount to an attempt to introduce the system by the backdoor.

Johnson said he had halted plans to introduce compulsory identity cards for airline pilots and 30,000 other critical workers at Manchester and London City airports this autumn in the face of threats of legal action. Longer term plans to extend compulsory ID cards to other transport industries, such as the railways, as a condition of employment have also been scrapped.

But two batches of draft regulations to be approved by MPs tomorrow and next week are expected to include powers to make the passport a designated document under the national identity card scheme. This means that anyone applying for or renewing their passport from 2011 will have their details automatically added to the national identity databases.

The regulations also include powers to levy a fine of up to £1,000 on those who fail to tell the authorities of a change of address or amend other key personal details such as a change of name within three months.

Johnson said he wanted to see the introduction of identity cards accelerated for foreign nationals resident in Britain and for young early adopters for whom they would act as a useful proof of age. This trial is to be extended from Manchester to other parts of the north-west.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy at the human rights group Liberty, said the home secretary needed to be clear as to whether entry onto the national identity register was going to continue to be automatic when applying for a passport.

If so, the identity scheme will be compulsory in practice. However you spin it, big ears, four legs and a long trunk still make an elephant, she said.

Guy Herbert of the No2ID campaign said the pressing ahead with making the passport a designated document made a nonsense of the home secretary's assertion that the scheme was not compulsory: It is not compulsory as long as you don't want to leave the country.


8th May

Updated: Manchester Muggins...

Manchester will be the first town where £60 ID cards are available to volunteers

Manchester will be the first city where people can voluntarily sign up for an ID card.

Anyone over 16 in the city who holds a UK passport will be able to apply for a card from the autumn at a cost of £60. People will be able to enrol in post offices and pharmacies.

The Manchester launch will mark the beginning of the main phase of the ID scheme which ministers say will culminate in cards being available nationwide by 2012.

No mention in the article about whether volunteers will become liable to nasty fines should they not inform the state about changes of address etc


8th February

Update: Rudderless and Readerless...

No budget for ID card readers

This has to be one of the dumbest things I've heard in a long time. The UK has spent £4.4 billion ($6.6bn US) on a controversial high-tech National Identity Card scheme for the whole country. But they forgot one thing. No police or border station, to say nothing of licensing and job centers, has a machine capable of reading the damn things.

Incredibly, they neglected to include in the budget the absolutely necessary counterpart to the card: the card reader. Like an inexperienced shopper who buys a digital camera but not a computer to view the pictures on, they are now in possession of a far-reaching and complete ID tracking solution that they can in no way use. What a boondoggle!

The official word is that the reader rollout may cost taxpayer money (brilliant, Sherlock) and is not really being pursued that actively. While it would make sense to get a few IDs out there first and then follow up with the readers after six months, perhaps, that was not at all included in the budget and in fact the readers' manufacturers haven't been convinced it's worth their while to make the things.


24th November

Update: 'Voluntary' Fines...

ID cards holders open to £1000 fines if they fail to keep details up to date

People who fail to tell the authorities of a change of address or amend other key personal details within three months will face civil penalty fines of up to £1,000 a time when the national identity card scheme is up and running, according to draft Home Office regulations.

The Home Office made clear that repeated failures to keep an entry on the national identity register up to date could ultimately be enforced by bailiffs being sent round to seize property.

But detailed regulations to implement the national identity card scheme make clear that they intend to avoid the creation of ID card "martyrs", by levying no penalty on those who refuse to register for the national identity card database in the first place.

But the regulations show that the main sanction they are likely to face is being barred from leaving the country when it is time to renew their passport.

The regulations confirm ministers' intention to make passports a designated document which means anyone applying or renewing their passport will be automatically issued with an ID card at the same time. Ministers claim that this does not amount to compulsion but ID card critics disagree.

The consultation on the fine detail of how the ID card scheme will work in practice published yesterday also makes clear:

  • The £30 initial fee for a standalone ID card valid for travel in Europe only is capped for the year 2009/10 when it will be compulsory for airport workers and on a voluntary basis for students. The regulations allow for this fee to be increased in future years including by 2012, when it is anticipated that mass rollout will take place with 5-6 million combined passports/identity cards a year expected to be issued. Passport fees will be on top of this basic charge.
  • If it necessary to change any of the details held on the card, such as name or fingerprints which entail a new card being issued, a further £30 will be charged. Changes of address or other details which do not appear on the card will not be charged.
  • Transgendered people: those moving from their birth gender to an acquired gender will be able to apply for two ID cards - one for each gender. The second ID card will use a different name, signature and photograph although they will be linked as one entry on the national ID card register. Nevertheless they will be charged two fees for the privilege of holding two cards.
  • Homeless people and others who live transient lifestyles will also be able to register under the scheme. The Home Office expects to be able to agree with homeless people a suitable place to be registered as their residence - presumably even if it is only a railway arch. Those who move around frequently for work will be able to register their principal residence without notifying each move.

But the draft regulations also set out in detail the escalating series of fines for those who fail to keep their ID card register entry up to date or fail to correct errors on it.

The kind of details that must be provided within three months are a change of address, a change of name perhaps because of marriage or by deed poll, a change of nationality, a change of gender, or a significant change in an individual's face or their fingerprints perhaps because of an accident.

The Home Office say they will not need to police this aspect as it will soon become apparent when somebody tries, for example, to get on a plane with a ID card/passport with an out of date address that does not match that the bank debit/credit card they used to book the flight.

They say they may well find themselves not being allowed to travel. Those who lose their ID Cards or have them stolen will have to report the loss within a month.

Fines for failure to update the register start at £125 going up to £1,000 for repeatedly failing to comply. As a civil penalty the bailiffs may be sent in to enforce payment.


9th November

Update: Identifying Price Escalation...

UK ID Cards and passports to increase in price to pay for fingerprinting

Jack & Jacqui
Jack: Have you got your ID card yet?
Jacqui: Yes, but I lost it!

Passport fees to jump by a third to more than £100 to pay for fingerprinting. The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith also revealed that the cost to taxpayers of new identity cards will double from £30 to £60.

The huge rises were necessary to pay for taking facial readings and fingerprints for new biometric passports and ID cards.

From 2012 identity and passport service estimates that around seven million UK residents will apply for a card or a passport - with each person having to provide their fingerprints, photograph and signature in person.

This means that the additional cost of a biometric passport or identity card will be £28 each, on top of the £72 charge for a new passport. The cost of paying for an identity card will jump from £30 to £58.

The fee for a new passport has increased fourfold in the past 10 years, from £18 in 1997 to £72 today. If the fee in 1997 had increased by the annual rate of inflation it would be £23.67 today.

In a speech by Smith at the Social Market Foundation in London, Smith also revealed that some ID cards will be handed out next year to members of the public who were keen to have one.

Anyone who wants a card can register their interest on a website. They would be then selected at random to become early adopters of the cards. The cards will enable holders to travel around Europe without a passport.

ID cards will be compulsory for 20,000 airside workers at two airports - City of London and Manchester - from next Autumn, although the cost of registering them will be paid for by the Home Office.

From Nov 25 this year, ID cards are compulsory for foreign nationals who come to Britain for more than a holiday.


19th October

Update: Identifying Failed Propaganda...

Government website for youths to discuss ID cards taken down

The Home Secretary's opinion-harvesting site for young 'uns,, has shut up shop and looks likely to drag its feet on publishing the research.

Jacqui Smith launched the site back in July to kickstart debate amongst the yoof about government ID cards. The only trouble was that opinions expressed by those using it were overwhelmingly negative.

The views posted did not seem to match the Identity and Passport Service's claims of majority support for ID cards among young people - the site being only for 16-25 year olds.

This morning, as scheduled, the survey ended and the site disappeared. This was despite promises from site admins that the results of this penetrating research would be published on the site itself.

Site admins asked the pesky yoofs to summarise the views posted by people on this site about the National Identity Scheme. And they did: ID cards are expensive, intrusive, unnecessary and just plain wrong and Don't need, don't want and won't have one were two of the pithier contributions.


13th October

Update: Airing Opposition...

Airline pilots oppose the introduction of UK ID cards

Plans to build support for identity cards by introducing them among 'guinea pig' groups, such as airport staff and students, are in crisis after 10,000 airline pilots vowed to take legal action to block them and opposition swept through Britain's universities and councils.

In a move that could wreck the government's strategy for a phased introduction beginning next year, the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said it would seek a judicial review rather than see its members forced to adopt ID cards at a time when pilots are already exhaustively vetted.

Balpa's vehement opposition is a hammer blow for the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, who had hoped to win the wider public over to ID cards by demonstrating that they were crucial to anti-terrorism policies. She intends to introduce them among groups who operate in positions of trust in our society.

Balpa, which represents more than 10,000 pilots working on 28 airlines, backed by the Trades Union Congress, insists that ID cards will do nothing to enhance airport or flight security, and it fears that information about its members stored on a National Identity Register could be abused.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of Balpa, told The Observer: Our members are incensed by the way they have been targeted as guinea pigs in a project which will not improve security. We will leave no stone unturned in our attempts to prevent this, including legal action to force a judicial review if necessary.

From late 2010 ministers intend to start issuing ID cards to young people , particularly students, on a voluntary basis in a further attempt to win the population round. Then around 2012 everyone applying for a passport will have to be on the National Identity Register.

However, the anti-ID card campaign group, NO2ID, is mobilising what it says is a wave of student opposition to ID cards on campuses across the country.

More than 40 local authorities, as well as the Scottish parliament and the Welsh and London assemblies, have passed motions opposing ID cards. Without the co-operation of councils, which would use ID cards to verify benefit claimants and those wanting to use public services, the entire project would fail to get off the ground.


27th September

Update: I am a Number, I am Not a Free Man...

UK ID cards unveiled

Jacqui Smith has unveiled the UK's new identity card.

The credit card-sized plastic cards carried a picture of a bull - in common with other European Union identity cards - as well as five stars drawn from the stars on the official flag of the EU.

The card is to be initially issued to people outside the EU renewing their permission to stay in the UK as students or on the basis of marriage.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 cards, which will initially cost £30 each, will be issued by the end of next March and ministers predict one million a year will be handed out from 2010.

The cards contain the individual's name, their photograph, the card's expiry date and details of how long they can stay in the country.

Other information includes people's date and place of birth, their gender, nationality, and whether they are entitled to benefits.

Biometric data, including copies of all of the person's fingerprints, will be stored on a special security chip.

The card will start to be issued on November 25 to foreign nationals at offices in Croydon, Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff.

From next year anyone working in the restricted areas in Britain's airports would need to have an ID card and it will be made generally available to British citizens from 2011. Those cards, which will be voluntary, may look different and display different information but they will enable the holder to travel without a passport around the EU.

The Conservatives reaffirmed the party's commitment to scrapping ID cards if they win the next election, likely in 2010. Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: ID cards are an expensive white elephant that risk making us less - not more safe. It is high time the Government scrapped this ill-fated project.


7th July

Update: Identifying Open Government Behind Closed Doors...

'Consulting' the public about the government's wretched ID Cards

The poisoned chalice of trying to pretend to be seen to be "consulting" the public, about the labour government's wretched Identity cards and centralised biometric database, the National Identity Register, has currently been palmed off onto the most junior Minister at the Home Office. the hapless Meg Hillier MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Identity).

She is currently touring the country, at a series of not exactly secret, but certainly deliberately unpublicised meetings, with invited audiences, with notifications to the local media and invitations only being sent out less than a week beforehand.

This "consultation" appears to be a vain hope that somebody, anybody, will think of a way to "sell" the alleged benefits of ID cards to "young people" or indeed, to any substantial groups of people at all.

The NO2ID Campaign or anybody else who might ask awkward questions, are deliberately refused admission to these meetings.

The Edinburgh "consultation" meeting was held at a local hotel, and, nine NO2ID supporters were arrested and charged, despite their protest being peaceful and lawful.

Read Geraint Bevan's first hand description of the events - it would be a comical farce, if it was not actually so serious:

Nine of us have been charged for breach of the peace. Eight for causing "alarm and distress" for walking into the hotel wearing white suits and masks, and me for "alarm and disturbance" for infiltrating the meeting, putting my hand up to speak, taking the microphone when offered, speaking, and refusing to leave immediately while speaking after the minister requested that I do so.

There was a bit of heavy handed policing (they were responding to a 999 call and didn't know what they were facing) but it calmed down instantly the moment one of them realised they were being filmed by professionals and warned his colleagues. All protesters were entirely peaceful at all times.

I must emphasise that once the police realised that there actually wasn't any danger, they were all entirely courteous and professional throughout for the rest of the day.

The police have told us that after speaking to groups of people inside, no one has any complaints about our conduct inside, there is no suggestion that we were anything other than peaceful. It is the "alarm" that has led to the charges "masked people in today's climate ...". Given that we had negotiated with the hotel manager to film an interview with STV inside (possibly after the 999 call had been made - that is still to be established), and were on our way out when the police arrived, I am surprised at the charges.

However, STV caught almost everything (except my contribution to the consultation) on camera. They followed the costumed protesters in, filmed them trying to negotiate entry, caught me being thrown out, an interview with me, our attempted departure, followed by the arrival of the police. Apparently we have made the main news programme, but couldn't see it ourselves.

We have all been bailed to appear before Edinburgh Sheriff's court on 24 July. I fully intend to use the occasion to highlight again how the Home Office are refusing to engage in debate with the public.

We urge the Borders and Lothian Police and the Procurator Fiscal to drop these charges against the nine NO2ID Campaign supporters. , and to purge the centralised database records of the personal details which have been taken from them as a result of the political arrests.


5th July

Update: Airport Workers Taken for a Ride...

Political pawns forced to get ID cards

The aviation industry is being used as a political pawn with the introduction of ID cards for its workers, airline bosses claim.

In a strongly worded letter to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, airline bosses said that forcing airport workers to have an ID card from November next year was "unnecessary" and "unjustified".

Under the requirements those working "airside" beyond the departure security checks and on the runway will have to carry the card from next year. It will affect 200,000 airport workers.

But this triggered a furious reaction from major figures in aviation including Willie Walsh, British Airways' chief executive and his counterparts at Virgin Atlantic, Steve Ridgway and EasyJet, Andy Harrison. The letter was also signed by the pilots' union, BALPA.

In the letter, they complained that forcing them to do so would provide no additional security: Indeed, there is a real risk that enrolment in the National ID scheme will be seen to provide an added, but ultimately false, sense of security to our processes.

They accused the Government of using aviation industry for political purposes on a project which has questionable public support.

The first wave of the ID card scheme will see the cards becoming compulsory for non-EU foreign nationals living in Britain this year, airport workers and Olympic security staff from next year.


16th May

Tesco Fingerprinting...

Government dismantle ID card security to leave only functionality for state snooping

Almost unnoticed last week, the Government announced it had shaved another £1 billion off the cost of its proposed identity card scheme.

It did so by deciding to let the "open market" capture citizens' biometrics, effectively outsourcing the cost of enrolling people on to the ID database. You could end up getting your fingerprints taken at a supermarket, rather than at a passport office as originally proposed.

Almost imperceptibly, the security architecture originally built around the ID card project has been dismantled.

Does any of this sound secure to you? It seems to defeat the purpose of the whole exercise, which is to protect identities, capture terrorists, bear down on benefit fraud and stop illegal immigration. But of course none of these will be ameliorated by the possession of an ID card, which nobody will be required to carry with them.

As one perplexed campaigner said after the publication of the new costings: The Government now appears to have junked the primary pretext for the scheme. So what is it for?

...Read full article


9th February

Update: Coerced to Get Voluntary ID Card...

Government plot how to make ID Cards mandatory

Young drivers are to be FORCED to get ID cards when they apply for their first licences.

The People has seen sensational leaked Home Office documents revealing the secret plan.

It says newdrivers and those applying for fresh passports will be “coerced” into getting the controversial identity cards.

PM Gordon Brown has always said the scheme will be voluntary unless Parliament decides otherwise.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis stormed: “This is an outrageous plan. The Government has seen their ID card proposals stagger from shambles to shambles: Now they plan to use coercion in a desperate attempt to bolster a failed policy.

Civil rights group Liberty said: This memo confirms that compulsion is the ultimate ambition of this scheme.And it can be achieved by stealth even without the need for further parliamentary debate.

The secret document from the Identity and Passport Service is headed: Options analysis - outcome.

It says: Various forms of coercion, such as designation of the application process for identity documents issued by UK ministers (eg passports) are an option to stimulate applications in a manageable way.

There are advantages to designation of documents associated with particular target groups, eg young people who may be applying for their first driving licence.
The report says: universal compulsion should not be used unless absolutely necessary because of the ID controversy.


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