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Originally posted October 11 2004 at 14:10 under General. 0 Comments. Trackbacks Disabled.

Serial No. 1984

I won't reveal that until it's on my card

Interesting Register article detailing how the UK’s Home Secretary (read control freak) David Blunkett sneaked out the fact that new “biometric” passports will come complete with a nice shiny ID card, which he will of course charge you for (the information is in the middle of his party conference speech, the text of which has only just become available):

To protect our country, our identity – to avoid fraudulent misuse of our identity, of our public services, the undermining of our jobs and our conditions, the use of multiple identity for terrorism and organised crime, we need to use the new unique identifiers – what are called biometrics. To match the steps that are now occurring on visas, on passports and ID cards, on entry travel arrangements across the world. That is why we will legislate this winter to upgrade our secure passport system, to create a new, clean database on which we will understand and know who is in or country, who is entitled to work, to services, to the something for something society which we value. As people renew their passports, they will receive their new identity card. The cost of biometrics and the card will be added to the total of passports. We will have, for the first time, an opportunity to use the card not simply in terms of protection, but to promote our citizenship, to value the fact that being a citizen, taking on citizenship is a tremendous step as part of a our mutuality, as communities and a nation. These are difficult areas but community and citizenship can even play its part in the criminal justice system.
Party Conference Speech

This is a bad thing. ID cards won’t do what it says on the tin, by any means. Another register article, linked at the bottom of the first, is good reading. So why are we supposed to get them? Well, the government would have you believe that the ID card will help with illegal immigration (that thing which is under control according to Blunkett about three paragraphs previous to his ID card statement). Or to combat terrorism—how exactly? It’s not going to stop a determined terrorist (and there isn’t really any other kind). If it’s so effective why weren’t they introduced when the IRA were posing a much more clear and present danger? It is only since the UScentric version of terrorism has came about. And remember, they got hit and they have ID cards.

Lobby your MP, or whatever. Make them see that this scheme (and it’s not voluntary unless you’re playing with the semantics—you won’t have to get one in the first wave, unless of course you want to leave the country) is ill advised, badly thought out, overly costly and an infringement of their innocent (it used to be till proven guilty but that’s pretty much gone) citizen’s rights. When you do, remember to include your unique PIN so they can look you up in the database.

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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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