Thursday, June 16, 2005

No 2 National Identity Cards: The musical

Click on picture for flash animation.

Public trust evaporates as Government’s case for ID collapses

The Chinese Council of Grand Justices has just stopped in its tracks the Taiwanese government’s plans to impose compulsory fingerprinting on all Taiwanese citizens, declaring the move unconstitutional. This, after the People's Republic of China abandoned universal fingerprinting due to cost and logistics.

Not so in the UK, where the Home Office still insist that “international obligations” tie their hands, ‘forcing’ them to fingerprint and iris scan every UK resident – conveniently populating the National Identity Register that lies at the heart of the government’s ID card scheme at the same time.

This obligation is fiction: the EU requires only a facial biometric – that’s “digital photo” to you and me. And last week Ireland shelved its plans for biometric passports as the US looks like it will abandon its demands for biometric travel documents amid concerns about technical infeasibility and unreliability.

An ICM poll commissioned by NO2ID last weekend shows that public support for the government’s ID proposals, far from being “overwhelming”, has fallen over the last six months to just 55%. Labour’s “80% support” touted up to and during the election has evaporated, just as it did in Australia – where an 80:20 split in favour of ID cards shifted to 80:20 against, as citizens discovered the details of the ‘Australia card’ scheme.

Unreliable, unworkable and unconstitutional technology, no ‘obligations’ to hide behind, and plummeting public support. With terrorism and immigration no longer a credible excuse justification for the scheme, what’s next on the list? It’s the fear of the moment… identity fraud. But wait. The government’s own figures reveal on closer scrutiny that an ID card scheme costing £6billion (and the rest) would save a mere £35m a year.

As if that were not enough, experts now suggest that fraud would actually be increased by a centralised system. “The stakes are raised”, said Dr James Blackhouse, Director of the LSE’s Information Systems Integrity Group, “when the master key is cracked.” High levels of fraud in the US, where a single social security number is a universal key to most administration, provide incontrovertible evidence of this.

On May 6 th, Tony Blair said he was listening – we can only hope that he still is.

To let the government know that you will not accept this invasive, expensive and dangerous scheme, why not sign NO2ID’s new pledge?


The pledge was started by using Pledgebank, basically you promise to do something but only if a certain amount of people also pledges to do the same. They started it last week and I saw 8-9 pledges, I pledged on monday it was around 1300 pledges, it now stands at 3244 pledges, 6756 more needed at time of writing, deadline 9th October.
"I will refuse to register for an ID card and will donate £10 to a legal defence fund but only if 10,000 other people will also make this same pledge."

— Phil Booth, NO2ID National Coordinator


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