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Privacy Government News

UK Compulsory ID Plan Shelved 201

Posted by kdawson
from the keep-your-papers-in-your-pocket-please dept.
e9th writes "Despite a bump or two along the way, it seemed that compulsory ID cards were a done deal in the UK. Now, the Financial Times is reporting that the scheme has been shelved. Unfortunately, it seems that this was more a matter of convenience than of concern for citizens' privacy."
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UK Compulsory ID Plan Shelved

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  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:47AM (#28540981)

    What's all the uproar about ID cards? It's not like you don't use photo ID (and credit cards) everywhere already. This looks like it just standardizes the process.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by corsec67 (627446) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:55AM (#28541045) Homepage Journal

      When they aren't required, it is harder for the police to force you to show them. In the US, if you aren't driving a car, then you don't need to carry anything showing who you are.

      I am currently living in Japan, so I have an ID that has my identity, and I am required to carry that (or my passport) on my person at all times. This means that if a police officer stops me, they can require my producing identification documents.

      Having a standard format for an ID maybe be useful, but then the next step is to require people to carry it, and then making it a crime to not present that to a police officer when requested.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jackharrer (972403)

        If it comes to UK it was mostly about database that should store them and information there. And UK.gov ineptitude when it comes to anything IT.

        ID cards can be very useful - I came from country where those are the norm. But I strongly oppose them in UK as last thing I want is UK gov to lose a disk with all those details (like it never happened). Also cost quoted was ridiculous, just like all IT projects in that country.

        • by MindKata (957167) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:25AM (#28541323) Journal
          "UK.gov ineptitude when it comes to anything IT"

          Its a shame their deviousness isn't as inept as their technical knowledge, but then they are more interested in manipulation and power games than they are in specific details of technology.

          They are still bring in ID cards. This move isn't stopping the cards. But now they are bring them in more slower over a long time scale, at first voluntary. Its bring them in by exploiting feature creep. It starts off as its voluntary for this and its voluntary for that. Then it becomes it helps this and it helps that. Then it becomes its important to this and its important to that. Then it becomes its required for this and its required for that. Then finally it becomes its mandatory for this and its mandatory for that and then eventually you can't do anything without the ID cards. Then finally they get what they aimed to do all along.

          They know ID cards are very unpopular and so now they are starting to tread more carefully. They know their ever present power grabbing nature is very unpopular, (in this case power grabbing via information grabbing on people for their own gain (after all, information is power)) and so they are now treading more carefully.

          So now they are just boiling the frog more carefully. Yet now many people are initially fooled into believing its not going to happen. Exactly what the control freaks want, as it means over time they will now face less resistance to them bring them in more slowly.
        • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

          by infolation (840436) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:25AM (#28541333)
          Anyone applying for a UK passport from 2011 onwards [guardian.co.uk] will have their information stored on the National ID database.

          If you don't keep your address and personal information up to date you have committed a criminal offence and you can be fined GBP1,000.

          80% of the UK population own passports. In essence, anyone who wants to leave the UK must register with the ID database.

          The ID database is primarily a scheme that enables the government to identify you, and that is made clear in a dubious little paper called Safeguarding Identity, produced by the Home Office last week, which describes how the ID database and the transformational government scheme mesh together in one glorious structure where data about the individual passes between departments. That is the prize and why they will use any argument and spend any amount to achieve it.
        • by SimonGhent (57578)

          it was mostly about database that should store them and information there

          The same information will still be held when anyone applies for or renews a passport, so in 10 years (passport validity term) they will have the full database anyway.

          They are suggesting that those under 25 get one as proof of age for buying alcohol/tobacco (as the current trend is that ID is required under that age, minimum age for both is now 18), plus anyone working in secure areas like airports.

          The voluntary card will cost you

      • by jrumney (197329)

        I am currently living in Japan, so I have an ID that has my identity, and I am required to carry that (or my passport) on my person at all times. This means that if a police officer stops me, they can require my producing identification documents.

        Only in the course of their duties. Japanese police cannot stop you for the purpose of checking your ID, but if you are a foreigner over the age of 18, then you are required to carry it at all times and show it to police if they have another legitimate cause for s

      • by Candid88 (1292486)

        ...but then the next step is to require people to carry it, and then making it a crime to not present that to a police officer when requested.

        You do know that if a police officer requests your identity it is already a crime not to provide it. ID card or no ID card.

        If you say "I'm not going to tell you who I am or where I live" all the policeman's ears would hear is "please put me in a cell copper, please"

      • Doesn't have to be that way. In Germany, everyone have to own an ID document but noone is forced to carry it.

        Better that way than having the SSN misused for all kinds of identification (in Germany only your employer needs to know the SSN).

      • In the US, if you aren't driving a car, then you don't need to carry anything showing who you are.

        Unless you want to buy a house, buy a gun, take out a loan, buy cigarettes or alcohol, go to college, get a job, get a library card, open an account at a bank, start a business, buy insurance...

        There are many more examples I'm too tired to think up right now. I'd say you could go live in the wilderness and not need an I.D. but I think you need one to get a camping permit in our national parks.

        -b

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      To those who modded this up, rather than the original troll: do you understand the difference between voluntary and obligatory? Between free trade and force?

      As it happens, I do have a credit card, but I only use it where I want. And I don't walk around with photo ID. In fact, the only form of vague ID that I do make a point of always carrying is my organ donor card, because, you know, unlike state ID, that's actually going to help "protect" my fellow countrymen from the real scourge of organ failure, as opp

    • A) Every other ID you cite is voluntary, this was going to be compulsory (eventually).
      B) There was going to be a database behind it that allowed the government to data mine and track what you were up to in numerous areas. With a reasonable government, not neccessarily a problem but they could enact any number of new laws making something you did illegal such as reading political books, fishing or importing DVDs then use the system to scoop up the 'bad' guys.
      C) As you say, there are already any number of w
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ledow (319597) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:02AM (#28541107) Homepage

      I'm from the UK, just to clarify things.

      I can't remember the last time my photo ID was *required*, except possibly to put on my driver's license (so, by a government-only department that already had all the information about me it required), and my driving license has *never* been requested or required for anything. I don't have *anything* else with my photo on, at all. I'm pretty sure the only other "photo ID" I've ever had was a student card, because it got me student discounts. Even that was optional.

      Additionally, credit/debits cards are *not* as big over here as over countries and a lot of people only "trust" cash. Cheques have only just stopped being accepted in most stores (as in, the last year or two). Although, inevitably, their use will increase over time.

      Also, the problem with ID cards *isn't* either of the above. The problem with ID cards is that we were going to be required to pay for them, that they would "link" several disparate databases together and that there was *no* demonstrated need for them at all. There was also going to be a legal requirement to carry them (such a requirement doesn't exist in the UK at all and is, in fact, very alien to us... the nearest equivalent we have is that we have to produce a driving license at a police station of our choice within 48 hours if a policeman so demands it in connection with a driving offence) and therefore a requirement to HAVE them. It was a £100 "compulsory-voluntary" stealth tax to make us carry a card we would never use unless "needs" were created for it (anti-terrorism crap, basically). It was never required before and nobody could justify why it was required after (terrorists normally have valid or plausible ID, for example).

      The stink wasn't about "ID Cards" so much as the pathetically poor method of introduction: Hey, you. I want you to carry a card around for the rest of your life for no reason, and I'm going to "invent" excuses to make you need to have it on you. And now you owe me £100 and a day filling out forms in order for me to give you that card. Cough up.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Important point about the database, the article neglects to mention that the database is not being scrapped. The database is the real privacy concern, not the card itself. All the card is a way of proving identity in relation to the database.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xaxa (988988)

        I'm from the UK, just to clarify things.

        I can't remember the last time my photo ID was *required*

        They want my passport to leave the country ;-)
        I'm young (or at least, young-looking), so sometimes I'm asked for photo ID when I purchase alcohol (or certain medicines, knives and chemicals).
        Some nightclubs demand photo ID to enter them. Some even *scan* the ID, I don't know how common this is as I don't go to the big mainstream clubs.

        I'm pretty sure the only other "photo ID" I've ever had was a student card, because it got me student discounts.

        Most university/college-issued student IDs now have a photo. Whether you need to carry it depends on the university's rules though -- I needed to carry mine to unlock doors.

        Also, the problem with ID cards *isn't* either of the above. The problem with ID cards is that we were going to be required to pay for them, that they would "link" several disparate databases together and that there was *no* demonstrated need for them at all.

        Ex

      • by Jurily (900488)

        I can't remember the last time my photo ID was *required*, except possibly to put on my driver's license (so, by a government-only department that already had all the information about me it required), and my driving license has *never* been requested or required for anything. I don't have *anything* else with my photo on, at all. I'm pretty sure the only other "photo ID" I've ever had was a student card, because it got me student discounts. Even that was optional.

        I take it you don't open bank accounts too often, travel internationally, or buy cigarettes and alcohol. Being a smoker kind of made it a necessity when I started travelling around. The £100 really is fucked up though.

        • I'm also from the UK and:
          * You don't need photo ID to open a bank account - current utility bill will do - no photo on that. If that fails in the past i have opened a bank account with just cash, no ID needed at all. They did of course there post the bank book to the address I supplied...
          * Well, yes, I'd be worried though if entering/leaving a country they didn't want to check my identity.
          * That's not proof of identity, that's proof of age - there are plenty of ways to achieve that without all the other rub

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IBBoard (1128019)

        I think half of that depends on your age group. I'm 25 and in the past few years I've needed photo ID for buying alcohol (which they're now raising to "if you look under 25 then prove you're over 18") as well as getting on to some works sites (although that's a more specialist case).

        As for debit/credit, I don't have trust issues with plastic and rarely have cash on me. Supermarkets (even small Co-op stores) and most high street chains will take plastic for any value, but some shops have a £5 minimum s

        • by chrb (1083577)

          No-one has proved any use for those either, and it all seems a little excessive.

          There are many criminals who have travelled on false passports. Hypothetically, linking authentication to biometric data will stop most of this - you will no longer be able to travel on the passport of another, and the old "apply for a passport of a dead person" scam will probably disappear. According to investigative journalists, the current price of a valid UK passport in a fake name with your photo on it is about Â

      • by chrb (1083577)

        my driving license has *never* been requested or required for anything

        Maybe not requested directly from you, but all of that license information, including home address and the photo, is stored in the DVLA database. You have no idea who has access to it, or what they have done with it.

        I don't have *anything* else with my photo on, at all.

        Perhaps you don't, but most adults will also have a passport.

        Additionally, credit/debits cards are *not* as big over here as over countries and a lot of people only "trust"

        • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:40AM (#28541491)
          yeah but all those database are separate entities and there is practically impenetrable firewall of bureaucracy and privacy laws stopping them being cross referenced.
          • by chrb (1083577)

            As far as I know, there are no privacy laws that protect the data held in databases from being shared between different government departments. The government is exempt from most of the Data Protection Act.

            I doubt this is a bureaucratic issue either - getting some databases cross referenced is technically easy, and I would be surprised if the capability didn't already exist. I would be very, very, surprised if MI5/6 couldn't cross reference DVLA, passport, mobile phone, and police records, which means that,

            • by janrinok (846318)

              The government is exempt from most of the Data Protection Act.

              Not so - they are suppose to comply with all of the DPA unless they have previously claimed a waiver which, in most cases, they haven't because they cannot justify it. You are correct in the implication that the Government rarely get taken to task when they do not comply with the DPA whereas others do, but that is not because they are exempt from it. I have worked in a Government department and I have had responsibility for data protection as part of my job. The Data Protection Registrar has also publicl

        • >then the government already have most, or all, of the info that would be stored on the I.D. card
          Sort of. The ID card database is introducing the ID card as the primary key then using that to update and thus link all the disparate databases into one big searchable system. Right now, they'd have to trawl multiple systems and manually sift the data to get the big picture on you. If the ID database goes live, they'll have a single system that shows the lot and can then be used for data mining on whatever c
        • by RMH101 (636144)
          "Maybe not requested directly from you, but all of that license information, including home address and the photo, is stored in the DVLA database. You have no idea who has access to it, or what they have done with it."
          Yes I do! It's frigging anyone who wants it. As an example, private car clamping firms can get it from them to send you a bill - see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/17/dvla_review/ [theregister.co.uk].
          Major supermarket chains have automatic numberplate recognition cameras that will automatically post
      • by Xest (935314)

        £100 to start with.

        If it's anything like driving licenses or passports they'd eventually make you renew it too.

        I was quite suprised when I got a letter from the DVLA the other day saying I had to renew my driving license because photos now have to be updated every 10 years at the cost of £20. Not a massive amount of cash, but £20 for every driver in the UK every 10 years probably amounts to £250 million or so for them over that period (or £25 million a year in other words) so c

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The issues in point were not that it was ID, but that it was
      1. Compulsory
      2. Seen as being imposed without popular support or adequate consultation
      3. Backed by a database of information, rather than "just another card"
      4. Expensive
      5. Being misleadingly promoted as an effective anti terrorism measure
      6. of widely distrusted security, in light of recent data-loss scandals
      7. Likely to become tied to the provision of other services

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by twostix (1277166)

      Well I don't know about anyone else but I refuse to be told that I must submit myself to the sitting government so that they may provide me with identification to prove that I'm a citizen of MY country.

      It's MY country, not theirs.

      Any ID I have at this time I have because I choose to have it, for business that I choose to engage in.

      Would you send someone to gaol for refusing to submit themselves to the government to get a government Identity Card?

      If not then it's not compulsory.

      If so, then you're an authorit

      • by fractoid (1076465)
        What about having no direct penalty for refusing an identity card... but make virtually everything require said identity card? "I'm sorry, sir, you cannot use a pharmacy without showing your Medicare card. I'm sorry, good citizen, you may not drive your car without having your drivers' license on your person. I'm sorry, sir, if you wish to buy a long-distance train ticket we require your passport." Since all of the above have the same key details on them, they're pretty much equivalent. It's not what I like
    • by Angostura (703910)

      What the UK government want is to assign a compulsory primary key to every UK citizen and then make the hand-over of that key compulsory. What the anti-campaign wants to do is be allowed to leave that as 'null'.

      Giving ever UK citizen a primary key is tremendously useful to a government. It makes a number of administrative tasks much simpler. Unfortunately in the hands of an oppressive totalitarian regime, ownership of the database becomes a nasty weapon against freedom.

      On a more pragmatic level. The scheme

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by infolation (840436)
        The 'index' is the important point. The National Insurance Number used to be the method of linking information, but it's now flawed. The government want a 'cradle to grave' index that they can relate to all other databases.

        It's what New Labour have called 'joined up government', which translates as join up the relational databases of our subjects.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RivieraKid (994682)

      The point is - the security tradeoff of credit cards, passports, driving licenses, etc makes them worth it. You don't say it, but its implied in your standadisation argument, but a national ID card does not give us, the public, anything at all. The only thing an ID card will do is shift the balance of power ever further in the favour of the government. That is not something any free citizen should accept.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Jack Sombra (948340)

      The problem was Gov originally tried to make ID cards a LOT more than just your name and photo, to just list some of the things they were talking about putting on them

      * Home address
      * Telephone number
      * National Insurance number (the equivalent of the U.S. Social Security number)
      * Medical records
      * Criminal record
      * Iris scan
      * Fingerprint record

      And to boot they wanted to put in on pretty unsecured RFID chips and build a massive central database that would also contain all this info and that god only knows how m

    • by xelah (176252)

      It also puts it in the hands of government and adds legal compulsion. Aside from the privacy problems associated with the database which has been talked about endlessly, there's the 'dealing with government' and incompetence factor as well. Here's one story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/04/idcards-biometrics [guardian.co.uk]. In short: a foreign national required to get an ID card paid 600 pounds and got thoroughly pissed about, and was too scared to complain in cased her immigration status was sabotage

  • Poor ickle Labour rolled over before the next general election on a main selling point of the other two main parties.

    What's betting that as soon as the sheeple have picked up on this they cry for Labour to stay, and the whole scheme comes back in 18 months?
    • by jeremyp (130771)

      Identity cards are not a big issue at the moment with the majority of the British electorate. In fact, last time there was a survey on id cards I think there was a majority in favour - a lot of people have bought the government's argument that they will help stop terrorists (even though all the recent terrorist attacks have been committed by previously upright British citizens).

      No, most of us are more concerned about the apparent veniality of our politicians when it comes to expenses and the government's e

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:48AM (#28540987)

    they don't really need ID cards.


    • The tide is turning I'm pleased to say.
      The screwing over of our civil liberties is nearly all down to the current, rather authoritarian government we have had since 1997. Our current government is well aware of how unpopular they are, that there is a general election coming up in the next year and that they expect to loose

      Consider, every other major UK political party has been against ID cards. The Lib-Dems and Tories have always been against the idea, and even the uber right wing UKIP party were questi
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)

        Even the right wing Daily Mail newspaper has taken to refering to "Jack Boots Jaqui"... our former Home Secretary with a CCTV obsession.

        She resigned last month. [theregister.co.uk] New, same as old etc etc.

    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      But the CCTV cameras just see the criminals and let the police track them through the city centre (rather than losing them after the first corner, or never having sight of them because they just get a crime reported). They don't tell you who they are (beyond just being an unknown face on a grainy camera image) ;)

  • by geegel (1587009) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:50AM (#28541001)
    I somewhat doubt that convenience had anything to do with it. The recent elections and the beating Labour took are probably the reason behind this move. Democracy at work fellas! And it's a really beautiful sight
    • It's just a shame that the BNP had to be a part of it.

      I once asked a BNP member (Red-Tie meeting in my local pub) what he thought of Polish immigrants. He didn't even know they could work here legally.
      • by geegel (1587009) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:15AM (#28541239)
        The ascendance of BNP from a fringe party to a main stage party is in my opinion a good thing. I don't agree with their agenda, but they are the voice of a segment which didn't have a voice before. The "solutions" they propose are as sharp as a brick, but the problems they raise are real. This step forward will highlight these problems and as the less extremist parties propose more reasonable solutions, the support for BNP will wane. I know that the first instinct is to remind everybody of Hitler and his rise, but a better equivalent is I think France. Jean-Marie Le Pen and the National Front had a similar path to that of BNP and they are nowhere to be found nowadays precisely because the main parties found a way to solve these problems.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Xest (935314)

          "The "solutions" they propose are as sharp as a brick, but the problems they raise are real."

          They are? I suppose that depends if you dislike foreign immigrants who often work harder (particularly the Polish) than 90% of the native British population simply because they're not British. If you think stirring up sectarian violence in Northern Island is a good idea and if you think having no idea about running the budget of a country but decide it's a good idea to have a French style subsidised agricultural sys

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mike2R (721965)
          I agree to a very limited extent - that a side effect of the rise of the BNP may be beneficial, in that they are raising issues the major parties have been avoiding.

          I strongly disagree that the BNP are "the voice of a segment which didn't have a voice before". They would like to portray themselves as this, the platform they stand on is, although fairly extreme on some issues (immigration), not a nazi one.

          The thing is the BNP are a bunch of lying nazis. Their platform is carefully constructed to win dis

          • For this reason I hope they sink without trace. We have enough evidence in Europe, within living memory, of where this road leads, to condemn nazis out of hand.

            Ditto, for the communists, yet they still have parties throughout Europe, funny that.

        • by VShael (62735)

          This is similar to the rise of the Green Party (in various countries) through the 1980's. As their fringe status grew into mainstream status, the main political parties started advocating more green policies, and began to win back some of the votes they had lost to green protest voting.

          I imagine something similar will happen with the BNP.

    • i think the collapsing economy and public purse has something to do with it too

  • Not a complete waste (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ragein (901507)
    At least some of the four billion pounds spent on this scheme's tech can be used for biometric passports. Other than that the govt seems to have pissed alot of people off and left everyone else indifferent to a huge waste of tax payer money.
  • It's a trap! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jagen (30952) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:53AM (#28541029) Homepage

    No really, they are publicly scrapping the ID card compulsion, but they are still planning to build and populate the back end database which was the real bad idea behind the ID cards anyway. I imagine they will make it a requirement of new passports or renewals that you have to give the same information they would have requested for the ID cards, they're just hoping enough people fall for the con that because they don't have to have an ID card anymore the problem has gone away.

    • "If you want a puppy, ask for a horse."

      Ihre papiere, bitte.
    • by owlnation (858981)

      No really, they are publicly scrapping the ID card compulsion

      Yep. And the key word there is "publicly". There are plenty of ways of making it extremely difficult for people to get products and services without ID cards. Compulsory by stealth, in effect. This is even easier where one of the principal areas where people need ID is banking -- especially when your Government owns most of the banks -- which they currently do. It's very easy to make it hard for anyone who doesn't have an ID card to get any serv

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:57AM (#28541071)

    A bit offtopic, but allow me to use the (halfway topical) reason to post something.

    I spent some time in the US, and wherever I went, I took my passport with me. Mind you, this was in the days before 9/11, when the land of the free actually was a lot more free than it is today (in today's climate, I'd take my passport and my visa EVERYWHERE as a foreigner, just to be sure...).

    Asked why I stared blankly. In my country, you're required to carry means to identify yourself (passport, ID card, driver's license or someone who can identify you and can produce said papers for himself) with you all the time. Essentially, any police man can stop you for no reason and ask you for your ID card, and arrest you 'til he can find out who you are if you can't produce any.

    I never questioned it. Only when I took a moment to think about it, I wondered why we simply accepted it as fact. I guess when you're used to something from the moment you were born, when something has become the norm, you simply accept it as given.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      That is pretty messed up. In the US your need to carry ID if you are driving, or want to do something restricted (buy alcohol or get into a R rated movie if you look young enough). If I go ride my bicycle I may take my ID in case I get into an accident, but I never bother if I go for a walk. Of course, I am a white guy in the suburbs; I don't look like a Muslim, and I don't look like a black man in a city. I'm fairly sure that these 2 groups get a lot more attention/harassment daily than I get in a year

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        FYI, the MPAA rating system is voluntary. There's no law requiring you to carry ID to be let into a R-rated movie.

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:01AM (#28541099) Journal

    Whilst this is a great step forward, one of the big problems with this scheme is that over the last few years, the Government has been basically turning the British passport into the ID card (the plan was that anyone getting a passport would have a "combined" passport and ID card).

    So my fear is that we'll still end up with the same problems for anyone who wants a passport:

    * Being put on the National Identity Register database (which is actually what the ID card criticism is mainly about - it's not about the physical "card" as such), along with regulations such as being fined £1,000 for failing to notify authorities of change of address [bbc.co.uk].
    * Biometric passports. TFA says these have "cross-part support" - it's unclear if this means fingerprints (currently we already have "biometrics" in the sense of digital photos, which I don't have a problem with, but fingerprints are another issue).
    * The cost. Passports have risen from around £30 to £72 in recent years [wikipedia.org], much of this is due to basically turning the passport into the ID card. This is expected to rise to at least £93.

    Even though a passport is not compulsory for everyone, for those of us who want to travel to another country (and remember, the UK isn't a big place like the US - most of the population have passports, and a lot of us like to travel), so my fear is that unless you are giving up your ability to travel, it will still be a compulsory ID card in everything but the name.

    Does anyone have more info as to whether the National Identity Register itself will be shelved, or is it simply stepping back the plans on who will have to have one?

    • by notseamus (1295248) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:12AM (#28541207)

      The Guardian is reporting:

      British citizens 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, of the £4.9bn project. Although Johnson said the cards would not be compulsory, critics say the passport measures amount to an attempt to introduce the system by the backdoor.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/30/passport-details-id-card-database [guardian.co.uk]

      I wrote to my local MP, but he's a useless cunt, and didn't even bother writing back.

      From further down that article:
      He also denied that there were any significant public spending savings to be made by cancelling the project saying: "This scheme pays for itself. If you cancel all you will get is diddly squat."

      This is a reference to the self-financing nature of the project under which it is to be paid for through increased charges for passports and the £60 cost of a biometric identity card.

      I had hoped that the new Home Sec would at least have a bit of sense not to emulate his predecessors, but it seems that was misguided. Did Labour even look at the last election results? They have no council mandate, little popular support, they've lost Scotland, and are losing the north, yet they still press on with misguided schemes like ID Cards that are universally unpopular. They've lost all touch with reality.

      I remember hearing that Jacqui Smith said that people had approached her saying that they couldn't wait to get ID cards. Even worse, in the long term they've brought back unpopular people like Mandelson, in the hope that nobody would notice or remember how insidious he was.

      Sad thing is that I have no faith in the Tories to do any better. No wonder people are voting for UKIP and BNP. If Nigel Farage is seen as more honest than Labour, things are grim for them indeed.

    • by chrb (1083577)

      What information is held in the National Identity Register database that the government doesn't already have access to via bank records, tax records, drivers license and DVLA database, mobile phone subscriber and call logs, passport, etc.? If the government already has access to all of this information in its various databases, then what difference does it make if it gets centralised into a single database?

      The vast majority of British people care about privacy from their neighbours, but don't care about pri

      • >Tesco, so this is not an insubstantial amount of data.
        You're not wrong - it's a very large and powerful chunk of data but alas Joe Public hasn't quite grasped that one yet and is happy to have their shopping habits tracked. Tescos has used this data to great effect with highly targetted ads and offers and probably selling on the data to 3rd parties. To be fair, some of it is also to the consumers benefit - when shoping online for groceries their wbesite will prompt 'you often buy xxx but haven't this t
  • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:06AM (#28541151)

    The cards are still around, and still mandatory for anyone who's not a UK citizen. So if you're planning to get a visa to live in the UK for any reason, you're still going to have to pay out the £1000-ish and get your biometrics taken, and then carry around a card which any official can ask you to produce at any time, and which is extremely likely to be stolen because of its black market value.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      So you're saying this is really a move to limit immigration?

      The Fat Cats from the USA have been moving to Costa Rica for some time, CR is now trying to pass some laws to make it harder to move there. I guess they only want rich fuckers. Unfortunately when economies tank these people are worse than useless. CR is planning for a dark future.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        No, it's a move to appear to be limiting immigration, because it's a big deal with voters. Immigration from the EU, which probably accounts for most of the traffic in and out of the UK, is constitutionally unrestricted because we're an EU member. And honestly the government's not done a great deal to control illegal immigration. The people coming in on skilled worker or spousal visas are getting harassed instead, which is easy to do and appeases the Daily Mail and all the other right-wing bullshit artists.

  • by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:18AM (#28541267) Homepage

    All they have said is that they won't make it compulsory.

    In the same breath, they said that it would be optional 'like a passport'

    Passports are not optional if you want to travel

    They could well make id cards not optional if you want to
    -open a bank account
    -get a drivers licence
    -get a mobile phone

    Unfortunately, the current british government has a history of such cynical manouvers. Like saying that they are stopping the giant email/call database, then instantly announcing that the private sector will be required to build much the same capability for them.

    The ID card project is not cancelled until it is cancelled

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chrb (1083577)

      The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002, already requires photographic I.D. to be presented when you engage in certain financial dealings. The only valid photographic I.D. I've managed to use is a drivers license or passport, both of which are already government issued. Opening a bank account requires showing such I.D. I think I might've had to show my drivers license when I got a mobile photo as well. And drivers license obviously requires photo I.D. because it's printed on the card and held in the DV

  • The problem with the scheme as I see it is not the ID cards themselves.

    The ID cards are linked to national databases and originally was going to store a massive amount of data on people, but now is *ONLY* going to include personal & biometric details, details of all other formal IDs (passports and licenses), Immigration data and a history of every time the id is used. The Home Office can also add to this list as they want.

    Combine this with other eroded civil liberties such as:

    Government pushing for

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      My problem with ID cards is EXACTLY the cards themselves. I don't want one cluttering up my possessions. I don't want to fill forms in to get one. I don't want to pay for a piece of plastic I have no use for. I don't want people to tell me what I have to carry around with me. I don't want to have to reapply for YET ANOTHER compulsory piece of red tape shit if ever I get my wallet stolen.

      In summary, I don't want to encourage anyone to imagine for one second they have any designs whatsoever on my personal spa

  • The Home Office also confirmed that a long-term contract for large-scale production of the cards was being delayed until 2011 or 2012. The Conservative party has pledged to scrap ID cards, meaning that a contract will not be signed if it wins the forthcoming general election.

    And so the game continues. The conservative party has no real intention of scrapping the compulsory national ID measures. There is a global agenda that involves this issue. Compulsory national IDs are just a step on the way to the real goal of inserting microchips into populations. It is an upgrade to the livestock management practices.

    Since this is part of the global agenda, it will be played as other similar issues are. While one party is in power they move the agenda forward and the opposition powerles

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