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UK MPs Approve Compulsory ID Cards 679

Idimmu Xul writes "BBC News is reporting that the UK House of Commons has approved legislation making identity cards compulsory." From the article: "The plans, rejected by peers last month, will now go back before the House of Lords. Tories warned of "creeping compulsion" and Lib Dems said the "fight against compulsory ID cards" would go on."
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UK MPs Approve Compulsory ID Cards

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  • by Elessar ( 8997 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:09PM (#14711170)
    Actually it is only compulsory when applying for a passport. It will not be compulsory otherwise.
    • The real question is, will it be compulsory to apply for an ID card? Cuz that'd be a bummer...
      • The real question is, will it be compulsory to apply for an ID card? Cuz that'd be a bummer...

        okay,, both the article and the parent post stated that the id card was only mandatory for people applying for passports...

        so, the situation is this: you submit to enumeration by the state or you are not allowed to leave the country.

        i submit that before 2008 we'll see people 'defecting' from britain.

        • i submit that before 2008 we'll see people 'defecting' from britain.

          You're entirely correct.

          Right now, I'm not in a position to move to another country and leave my life in Britain. In the future, it's something I see myself doing.

          With CCTV cameras on every corner, Government intrustion to subjects' personal lives, and this new ID card farce, the UK is not a country in which I wish to live. In 2007 I plan to renew my passport for 10 years (the standard renewal period) which will give me time to learn the n

    • I'd rather rephrase it like this "Actually it is only compulsory when applying for a passport. It will not be compulsory otherwise for now". Once the system is in place, its only a matter of time when it becomes common place. All they have to do is prove to public that they either caught a terrorist or prevented a subway bomb somehow. Fear is the easiest thing to sell to public.

      • by Pantero Blanco ( 792776 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:52PM (#14711664)
        At this point in the US, ID cards are mandatory if:

        1. You want to drive.
        2. You want to travel on an airplane (and most inter-city bus systems say you have to show one when asked, though they don't usually check).
        3. You want to buy a firearm or ammunition (in most states).
        4. You want to cash a check (read: get paid).
        5. You want to pay for anything with a check or credit card (and places that sell expensive items don't always accept cash!).
        6. You want to enroll in school.
        7. You want to buy cigarettes or alcohol.
        8. You want to get an ID (Yes, really, even if this isn't exactly what the law says. I've been through this).

        I'd say that's pretty damn compulsory.
        • Using New Hampshire (the state I live in) as my basis here...

          1. You want to drive.
          Though you don't need to have it with you to drive.

          2. You want to travel on an airplane (and most inter-city bus systems say you have to show one when asked, though they don't usually check).
          Our great friend + activist Russel Kanning attempted to board a plane at Manchester international last year without ID, and was informed that he would be allowed if he submitted to the "selective screening" proceedures. He refused and ther
      • No need for any -actual- event, even. If you can get away with shooting an unarmed man with no connection to terrorism, just on the grounds of terrorism in general, one would imagine you could push this through pretty easily with the same tactics.

    • by NoMercy ( 105420 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:21PM (#14711304)
      So, in other words, it's compulsory.
    • Well that's O.K then, because I never need to renew my passport. I also trust the government to not abuse such a scheme and I'm totally confident in their ability to competent and cost effective contractors such as EDS to implement the ID card database and biometric identification system.

      Excuse me one moment. Nurse! It's time for my medication!
    • by IIH ( 33751 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:36PM (#14711495)
      Actually it is only compulsory when applying for a passport. It will not be compulsory otherwise.

      So if you disagree with the idea, you can't even leave the country. Nice.

    • Today, but if you dont believe that will be expanded into 'everyday life', then you are either a fool or blind.

      Once you accept this, its a small step to the next level.
    • by askegg ( 599634 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:08PM (#14711818)
      I don't know what it's like in the UK, but in in Australia a passport is considered a very good means of identification. Of course this raises the question of how to I provide enough evidence to prove who I am in order to obtain a passport? Making a identification card compulsory add another layer - now how do I prove who I am in order to obtain an identification card so I can get a passport (no, you can't use your passport)?

      The ultimate question is: How can you *prove* who you are?

      In the end it comes down to webs of trust.

      Of course, all of this misses the point. Are these measures meant to make us safer? From what? Terrorism? The guys who blew themselves up on the London undeground and on the buses were not hiding their identities. They were British citizens and in walked freely.

      How does a compulsory id card to obtain a passport (which is already compulsory for travel) going to prevent this?
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry ( 598897 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:10PM (#14711177)
    But I have to ask. Is there any legal recourse if this is passed into law? Any equivilent of the US Supreme Court?
    • no but maybe a few illegal riots will do the trick a la poll tax
    • Yes, you can challenge the law itself in .... the House of Lords :) While the lower courts deal with application of the law, if you take the case to the House of Lords, they deal with the validity of the law as applied (if they choose to hear the case that is).
      • The first part of what you said is misleading: the house of lords cannot thwart the will of parliament, with the sole exception (and this is very recent) of those cases that impact the European Convention of Human Rights. The final statement you make ("they deal with the validity of law as applied") is kind of right of you mean they interpret what parliament ment when it passed the law.
    • by mikerich ( 120257 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:25AM (#14714800)
      But I have to ask. Is there any legal recourse if this is passed into law? Any equivilent of the US Supreme Court?

      Britain lacks a written constitution, so it is much harder to prove that a law falls foul of any fundamental rights (see below for Human Rights legislation in the UK). The House of Lords acts as the Supreme Court in the UK and can rule on whether a law is unjust or has been unjustly applied in a particular case. However, and this is crucial, British law holds that Parliament is supreme and that the judiciary cannot overturn a piece of legislation.

      Having said which... There has been at least one case, Factortame, involving European (Community) law where the House of Lords, after guidance from the European Court of Justice, ruled that an Act of Parliament fell foul of European law. EC law is considered supreme over domestic law because of the wording of the Treaty of Rome to which Britain is a signatory. The Lords placed an injunction on the government forbidding them from using the Act. The government had to repeal the offending Act and bring British law into line with European law.

      That is unlikely to be the case here as there is no universal EC law covering identity cards; the closest is the Schengen Agreement for border controls to which Britain is not a signatory.

      The only reason the Lords overturned the Act was because of the implied supremacy of EC law in the Treaty of Rome - and even then they were loathe to do so. I strongly doubt that they would dare overturn purely domestic legislation.

      The best hope (apart from hoping that EDS screw things up as well as usual) is that there could be a challenge under the Human Rights Act 1999 which embodies most of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law. If the ID cards system were found to fall foul of the HRA (and I'm not going to say if it could - INAL) then the courts could make a 'declaration of incompatibility' between the ID Cards Act and the HRA.

      In such a case the government is not obliged to change the law, but it must at least review the offending legislation. The law would continue to apply, but people would still be able to take their cases before the courts and claim damage. If the British government refused to repeal or amend the law then plaintiffs could take their claims to the European Court of Human Rights which has the power to lay down massive fines against the government in the hope of shaming it into compliance.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:10PM (#14711183)
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety are probably British and should be shot at."
    • "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety are probably British and should be shot at."

      Didn't he also say "Identity cards will become easy targets for identity thieves and hackers??"
  • I'm all for anything that will stop terrorism. I think people who are afraid of this are only those with something to hide. Honest, law-abiding citizens have no need to fear this legislation passed by our benevolent and wise MPs.
  • Is it 1984 yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:11PM (#14711187)
    > "I think we've won the argument on it. People have this idea that there's a problem in civil liberties with people having an identity card and an identity registered today when across all walks of our life this is happening.
    > "And with the real problems people have today with identity fraud, which is a major, major issue; illegal immigration; organised crime: it's just the sensible thing to do."

    Because having an identity card - that you have to carry with you at all times - is the sensible solution to the problem of identity theft. Because we all know that nothing you carry with you 24/7/365 can ever be stolen.

    "I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The US Government will lead the American people - and the West in general - into an unbearable hell and a choking life."

    - Osama bin Goldstein, ca. November 2001

  • Well, not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:12PM (#14711198) Homepage
    To be fair, in order for them to become compulsory, they'll have to go back and get legislation passed through both houses. Of course, anyone who gets their passport renewed will be required to get an ID card anyway (which in the UK is a large percentage of the population) so they'll be compulsory in everything but name.

    Either way, it's a massive blow for civil rights in this country - they'll be storing obscene amounts of personal information, including the buzz-word of the moment, 'biometrics' in a central database that will need to be accessable by essentially every government department. Given this government's record for IT projects, I'm almost looking forward to the ID cards being introduced just to see how spectacularly the whole system fails.
    • Re:Well, not quite (Score:5, Informative)

      by deacon ( 40533 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:39PM (#14711531) Journal
      Especially chilling considering how the police are retaliating against people who make official complaints about police brutality.

      Here is a page of peaceful, middle-class English protesters who have been beaten bloody.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/gall/0,8542,1305225,00.h tml [guardian.co.uk]

      Here is an article documenting their continued persecution, due to their daring to speak out against police brutality: www.horseandhound.co.uk/competitionnews/article.ph p%3Faid%3D62246+Hunt+supporters+who+made+complaint s+against+the+police+officers'+behaviour+in+Parlia ment+Square+last+September+are+now+being+arrested+ for+public+order+offences&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1 []

      Another example of police terrorizing their critics:

      http://prisonerjw7874.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

      Despite all the jokes about "McChimpyBushHitler", it is interesting to see how US critics of the US State get rich and famous, while critics of the British State get their heads bashed in...

      Hopefully something will change before it is too late.

      • Re:Well, not quite (Score:3, Interesting)

        by metamatic ( 202216 )
        Here is a page of peaceful, middle-class English protesters who have been beaten bloody.

        Yes, but they're in favor of bloodsports, so what's the problem?

    • Re:Well, not quite (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jimicus ( 737525 )
      To be fair, in order for them to become compulsory, they'll have to go back and get legislation passed through both houses.

      True, but you're confusing "in theory, according to Government" and "in practice, according to Reality".


      "As of 1 July 2008, we will only serve alcohol to people who can produce ID, regardless of their apparent age. The only acceptable form of ID is a UK ID card or passport".

      "As of 1 July 2008, this company will be taking positive steps to ensure illegal immigrants aren't empl
      • Re:Well, not quite (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kraut ( 2788 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @09:43PM (#14712925)
        As a German living in the UK for far too long, I'll happily sue each of these companies.

        >"As of 1 July 2008, we will only serve alcohol to people who can produce ID, regardless of their apparent age. The only acceptable form of ID is a UK ID card or passport".
        Here's my EU passport. Will you serve me my lukewarm cervisia, or should I sue you for racial discrimination?

        >"As of 1 July 2008, this company will be taking positive steps to ensure illegal immirants aren't employed. To that end, anyone applying for a job must show a UK ID card before they will be offered a role".
        Any reputable company already takes a copy of your entitlement to work in the UK - i.e. passport or EU ID card. Or foreign passport and work visa.

        > "In order to combat Identity Theft, as of 1 July 2008, you will be required to show your ID card when paying by debit/credit card".
        Pull the other one, it's got bells on.
        In big shops in the UK, you can pay for £0.20 worth of chewing gum on your credit card if you want; they're not going to want to ask for your ID. Why would they? Together with the banks they've just swapped the "If we can't prove you made the payement, you're not liable" system for the "If someone can observe or guess your 4 digit pin, you're fucked" chip and pin system. More ID would only hurt the retailers and the banks.

        "In line with Money Laundering Regulations, we will only open a bank account for people who can demonstrate their identity. As of 1 July 2008, we will only accept an ID card issued by an EU member state."
        That's already pretty much the case. Of course you could get a birth certificate instead, which is obviously fairly useless. But you'll need that to get the ID card in the first place, so it's basically a coverup.

        What really needs to be addressed with the UK Scheme is that:
        1. It's ridiculously expensive. Whether you pay upfront or through taxes is really irrelevant.
        2. It is completely ineffective against all the things it is supposed to solve:
        2.1 Benefit fraud: The government admits that 95% of it is "misrepresentation of circumstances", not ID fraud. You can throw biometrics at me 'til the cows come home; if I say my back hurts you still can't prove me wrong. Until you catch me playing sqash, but ID cards don't help much on that.
        2.2 Terrorism. All the tube bombers would have been able to get their squeaky clean ID cards. As would Richard Reid. Ok, so identifying bodies might be a tad quicker, so clearly that would be 19.2 billion well ( spent [lse.ac.uk], Not like we need that money anywhere else.
        2.3 Immigration. If you're an illegal immgrant without any documets, will you fret about not having another document? No? Exactly. Earth to Labour, Earth to Labour - bugger, they're not receiving common sense anymore.
        2.4 Health Care. Health care. At the moment, if you show up at a hospital with a non-life-threating problem, it will take hours before you're seen. Fair enough, in a nasty sort of way. On the other hand, if you're actually about to die, you will get treated, with the full whack that modern medicine can deliver. And it's not cheap. I know an old gentleman of foreign extraction who managed to rack up about £40K before leaving the High Dependency Unit. Are they going to let old men die on the street for lack of ID?

        Anyway, the UK government has no respect for human rights. In some former governments, that would have been expected; in a nominally labour government, it's shocking. Intercepting people's private communications without warrant; locking people up indefinitely without trial; making the political system even less accountable. Shame I can't blame them for the first past the post system, but they only benefit from it rather than introducing it. On the other hand, they repl
  • Bad movie script? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nevtje(hr ( 869571 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:12PM (#14711201)
    "Sir, may I please see your ID?"

    -Umm, I forgot it at home.

    "Did you forget it at home or are you an illegal immigrant?"

    -No, seriously, I forgot it at home!


    Officers club down suspect and drag him to jail.

    I can only assume this is to counter illegal immigrants- and homeless people? Any regular citizen cannot not have an ID (job, bank transfers, rent etc).
    • This is England you are talking about. Real illegal imigrants and criminals will buy fake ID cards on e-bay. Organised crime will mass produce them, and the related database will be hacked by almost everyone before EDS can get it working properly.

      Only honest citizens will be jailed.

      But dont worry. If they complain they can be charged with the new offence of "Glorifying someone other than Tony Bliar" and jailed for 90 days without trial - More if Muslim or Christian or not actually unemployed, slightly les

  • by adavies42 ( 746183 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:12PM (#14711207)

    What the hell is wrong with England?!? You people invented modern democratic society and civil rights, and you've been happily flushing it down the drain, piece by piece, ever since the end of WWII. (Would you really be any worse off at this point if the Nazis had won?) Gun control, CCTV, now ID cards--every time I look at America's problems, I can always cheer myself up by remembering that whatever we're doing wrong, you're guaranteed to do something worse.

    And what kind of politics have you got going now where the Conservatives are for civil liberties and Labour are the fascists? That's just bizarre.

    • I think you're confusing 'Labour' with 'New Labour' - making the BNP look decidedly left wing since 1997
    • Gun control

      You obviously don't realize that the United Staties is almost the only country in the world where "gun control" is an issue. In most countries you can't just walk into a store, purchase a shotgun & shells, then carry the firearm right out of the door with you.

      • by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:40PM (#14711537) Journal
        In most countries you can't just walk into a store, purchase a shotgun & shells, then carry the firearm right out of the door with you.
        Remember, the United States is a big place. You'd only be able to walk out of the store on the same day, provided you pass the instant background check AND you're in a state that does not impose its own waiting period. Add to that various local restriction on the purchase of ammo.

        However, yes, there are places in the US where you can walk into your local hardware or sporting goods store in the morning, pick up a shotgun, a box of shells, and some clays, and drop by the local range in the afternoon. Unfortunately, with urban creep, and the diaspora of urbanites who tend to bring their laws with them, these places are starting to become fewer and fewer.
    • Conservatives are for civil liberties

      I think you will find their policies involve taking liberties.

    • You people invented modern democratic society and civil rights, and you've been happily flushing it down the drain, piece by piece, ever since the end of WWII. (Would you really be any worse off at this point if the Nazis had won?)

      Depends. Are you Jewish? If so, you're likely going to be somewhat worse off. Is it possible to be angry at the loss of freedoms in the UK or the US without resorting to hyperbole?

    • What the hell is wrong with England?!? You people invented modern democratic society and civil rights, and you've been happily flushing it down the drain, piece by piece, ever since the end of WWII.

      That is exactly the problem- a democracy is mob rule, rights be damned. If the masses can be purchased or persuaded into giving away their rights or the rights of a minority, piecemeal, for safety or noble ideals you end up with a dictatorship. After all the people no longer have any rights.

      The founding fa

    • The ancient Greeks invented the modern society essentially. Sparta had the first real social contract for its citizens. Athens is set on a pedestal of the herald of democracy. England in the eyes of many is merely seen as a constant oppressor to the advancement of these ideals throughout their history. Sure they made some progress, but one step forward and two steps back is hardly anything to give them credit for.
    • Have you read Edmund Burke's [wikipedia.org] Reflections on the French Revolution [bartleby.com]? England lasted as a Republic for only eleven years between 1649 and 1660. King Charles II took care of that little rabble rousing "social experiment." All hail the King!!!
      • A sobering thought, then, that this Bill has been pushed through by the elected House of Commons, when the unelected, archaic, undemocratic, etc. House of Lords, constitutionally unable to kill it outright, attempted to amend it into toothlessness and mire it in feasibility studies?

        I'm waiting for a particularly odious Bill not to receive Royal Assent. Elizabeth II is probably too apolitical to refuse, but Charles looks as if he knows what happened at Runneymede [www.bl.uk]

  • Papers, please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:13PM (#14711213)
    I don't get it. Did the British learn nothing from World War II?!
    • Least this time the'll have our DNA on file, so when the goverment goes against an ethnic group, the'll be no escape *hopes geeks don't have a genitic group*
    • Do you really believe that during WW2 that suspicious citizenry were not required to prove their identities in order to prove they weren't German spies?

      British counter-intelligence was incredible during WW2. There are reasons for that. Many, many times 'privacy concerns' were flatly ignored by both the Brits and the US. Stuff that would make this current 'wiretapping' business, or ID cards look like nothing.

      It's easy to look back on WW2 as a battle of freedom vs dictatorship, but in reality it was far mo
      • Yes, GB had ID cards during WW2, for reasons you imply. On the other hand, I believe it was in the early 50s that they were abolished, a move that was in part sparked by an incident of the police demanding to see a taxi driver's ID card, and arresting him when he didn't/couldn't show it. The case went to court, and the court ruled that the police had overstepped the mark, and that this was very much not how they should be dealing with ID cards, and especially not in peace-time.

        As far as I recall the det

        • Re:Papers, please. (Score:3, Informative)

          by mikael ( 484 )
          That was the court case involving Clarence Willcox

          Since the 1939 National Registration Act was repealed in 1951 after Clarence Willcox, the manager of a dry cleaning shop, challenged the principle that a policeman could demand to see his wartime identity card,

          The Guardian: ID Cards [guardian.co.uk]
    • Re:Papers, please. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:34PM (#14711467)
      The UK had ID cards during WW2, so your point may not be as valid as you think.
      • Re:Papers, please. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by biglig2 ( 89374 )
        Yes, and we stopped having them when the war ended, and we didn't need them when the IRA were blowing things up left right and centre. Explain again exactly what has changed since then?
    • Re:Papers, please. (Score:4, Informative)

      by nbert ( 785663 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:52PM (#14711672) Homepage Journal
      That's a typhic black-white reasoning scheme at it's best. Just because ID-cards were introduced in the Third Reich (and have been used for doing a lot of bad things) doesn't mean that they are evil by definition.

      By that kind of logic we should get rid of the olympic torch right away, because it was introduced in 1936 in Berlin (look it up if you are in doubt).
      • Valid association (Score:3, Insightful)

        by alienmole ( 15522 )
        There's a valid association in this case, though. South Africa issues "ID books" to all its citizens, a practice which started way back in the apartheid days, to be able to better keep track of who should be considered a first-class citizen and who shouldn't. By the late '80s, they were fingerprinting everyone and keeping that on file. It's not a coincidence that the most draconian regimes love to maintain detailed databases on their citizens - it helps them maintain control in all the wrong ways.

        When le
  • Commons? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by airship ( 242862 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:13PM (#14711219) Homepage
    Isn't Britain's House of Commons somewhat akin to the U.S. House of Representatives, in that they are always passing lots of ill-thought-out, brain-dead legislation that their wiser, older brothers in the other house (Lords for them, the Senate for us) has to vote down?
    • Re:Commons? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Spad ( 470073 )
      Yes and no. The lords will almost certainly strike down any crazy legislation that the government tries to put through, however, as Tony Blair proved with the Fox Hunting Ban, if the Lords block him repeatedly he'll just force the legislation through under the Parliament Act [schoolnet.co.uk].
    • Re:Commons? (Score:5, Informative)

      by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:25PM (#14711368) Journal
      unfortunately (or not depending on the law) the House of Commons has the suprime authority over all issues and can use the Parliament Act of 1947 to push a law through that the Lords reject after 3 tries to get it through regularly. the system is different in this respect; the house of representatives can't over-rule the Senate.

      Still if you think thats a bad system the Prime Minister could pass the law overnight, all he'd need is to get the Privy Council (which is made up of cabinet ministers - some past and present - and a few others) to agree and then the Queen to sign it (still the Queen can refuse to sign any law and then it doesn't become law - a power which hasn't been used since queen Anne - but still exists). Then it'd be law tomorrow... and the best thing is we don't need to worry about the seperation of powers or people's rights... oh, wait...
    • The process as it is now:

      First reading: Commons propose the bill.

      Second reading: Lords point out that the bill is generally undesirable, and much of the wording is either ambiguous or meaningless.

      Third reading:Bill returns to the commons, where the Lords are overruled on the grounds that they are old codgers.

      "if" it passes the third reading, it becomes law. (There is no "else").

  • They have already and mainly (from the debate that I heard) on the basis of this 'creeping compulsiom' - ie if you apply for a passport your name goes on the register, and then after a while a compulsory card is issued.

    The British public were told this was an 'opt in' system. I have to travel abroad to work effectively. This gives me no choice at all.

    I have already signed the No2ID [no2id.co.uk] refuse pledge, and I will do everything in my personal power to prevent myself from ending up with one of these.

    I feel disgusted that my government feels free to treat me like a criminal in my own country. They want ID cards, they want to take my DNA if I'm arrested for a crime I haven't committed, cameras on the roads tracking vehicles.

    If the Tories pledge next election to scrap the legislation altogether, I'll vote for them on that basis alone. And.. I just don't vote that way... but the Blairite government deserve a kicking for the way they've treated the electorate since they arrived.

  • ID Cards for the Brits, wait, here's why they can get angry!

    From the Association of British Drivers press release [abd.org.uk]: "The EU is already planning to use Galileo to enforce continental-wide road tolling, and the car-hating British government wants to be first. You won't be able to drive anywhere without the EU knowing where you are going, who you are travelling with, and what speed you are travelling at."
  • Got Mine! (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashbob22 ( 918040 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:19PM (#14711281)
    .. and it looks great. What's this antenna sticking out of it?
  • How quaint (Score:4, Insightful)

    by big c0ward ( 935848 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:22PM (#14711317)
    ID cards? How pleasantly old fashioned. Wouldn't compulsory RFID implants make so much more sence?
  • impractical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geoff lane ( 93738 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:25PM (#14711363)
    Given the population of 60 million people and taking some very conservative estimates there will be about 20 million card updates a year (people move, people die, new cards for kids, replacements for lost cards and there is a requirement to renew each card every 10 years no matter what.)

    That's about 100,000 card updates per working day.

    Does anybody think that there will be any kind of real checks performed on those updates?

    • There is already a large industry that can produce this kind of volume.

      Do you own a debit/credit card? One of their worst-case-scenarios they manage well at a gigantic scale is identical cards in the field.

      They've got the software to manage them all too.

  • Not to get into this whole flame war about pros and cons of One-Card-That-Does-It-All, but these kinds of things are only to be expected. If the technology can do it, people will start thinking about it, even people who have the legislative power. GB wants to have the one card, France wants to somewhat legalize P2P, it's called progress, it has good and bad sides, get used to it.
  • by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <(tukaro) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:30PM (#14711425) Homepage Journal
    I've not been paying attention to this piece of government legislature, and I don't feel like pouring through news archieves to get the whole store.; can someone get me (and those in the same situation) up to speed on exactly what this is all about? The article stated some sides, and that people are protesting, but not what exactly they found bad about the ID cards.

    Personally, I don't see a government ID as a bad thing; while it would be another piece of information to worry about, it would allow people to dissassociate themselves with their SSN (at least, in the states,) to companies. This would greatly decrease identity theft; if someone got your National ID number and went to town getting credit cards, there would be some process where they'd have to prove to the government (perhaps through the companies, perhaps not) that they are who they claim, using the SSN (and, upon failing, would be arrested). If someone did swipe your NID, then you'd prove that you're you, get a new NID, and have the old one invalidated.

    While it wouldn't be impossible for someone to get both the National ID and SSN, it would add an extra layer of personal protection, and be that much harder. To add to this, SSNs would only go on important government documents; non-public military files, tax forms, FBI records, etc.

    Unless they're implanting RFID tags or something into these cards, I don't see where the great harm is coming from. It would be no different than having your drivers liscense or SSN now.
  • Operation "Barcode Britain" has begun
  • by spacefiddle ( 620205 ) <spacefiddle@gmai ... m minus caffeine> on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:52PM (#14711666) Homepage Journal
    Article clearly states, right of the bat, that it's when you apply for a passport. So that's a point against hysterics.

    However, it also states "...and will be put on a registry," so might as well leave the 1984 alarm running. Let's see:

    Some random thoughts, concerns, questions for the crowd and more than a bit of polemic inspired by this latest tidbit in the Tony Loves George show:

    This is effing ridiculous. Why not just rebuild the Berlin Wall, only turn the gun towers around t'other way? As Carmichael says in the linked article, "the only way to opt of the system is to give up your right to travel abroad."

    Here's another amusing bit:

    "Tony Blair was not able to attend the debate after his plane was grounded by engine troubles in South Africa."

    Is this "engine trouble, wink wink nudge nudge"? He still found the time to utter that gem about it being "just sensible," and never mind all this Liberty rubbish... but maybe they felt it'd be easier to pass along without him there for opposition to focus against... or maybe he just didn't feel like getting yelled at today :D.

    (Before you object to any of the above speculation, please convince me that at any given moment, a plane actually cannot be found for the Prime Minister of Anywhere, and it is more secure to be a known grounded sitting duck? Right. If so, fire your entire staff now please, your life is in grave danger...)

    Anyway. Interesting that the US and the UK are making two halves of the citizen lockdown; we talk about a US ID card, but first went ahead with the RFID passports. The UK looks like it stands a good chance of having the ID cards first. From there, it's pretty easy for each to point to the "success" of the other, and respectively pass their missing halves. Yum, compulsory RFID Citizen Cards.

    Do you have a reason for crossing the border, Comrade? Why did you spend 3 hours at that truck stop, Comrade? Did you know you've been travelling with an Enemy of the State, Comrade? Please step out of the car now, Comrade.

    Think that's BS? I wish. Sadly, only when more and more people who consider themselves the "normal" folks are being stopped and searched will they start to realize that maybe this isn't Liberty after all - if, of course, they haven't completed their indoctrinations into thinking it is.

    As long as it looks like just black-wearing tattoed freaks and foreginers are being harassed, that's still Liberty, right?

    Final, desperate plea/question to those who still doubt how this is going: Since when, in the history of Ever, has information been collected and compiled - and not used? Since when has power been sought and gained - and not abused? Explain to me how, exactly, you can collect and correlate so much data on so many private citizens with increasingly efficient and effective means of making it meaningful, finally - but when it comes to suspect uses of that information, oh don't worry, just trust them with no accountability or oversight.

    "They wouldn't do that! They're the good guys!"

    someone kindly wake up the great sleeping mass in the center of the country - they're used up all their Snooze button hits already.
  • Why the fuss? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PineGreen ( 446635 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:52PM (#14711670) Homepage
    Every time ID/privacy/RFID comes up I am completelly baffled by the slashdot response. And if I write a comment they mod me down. So, please, don't do it this time, I really want to know what is behind this.

    Basically, my question is, why do people bother if their personal infromation is stored in a computer somewhere? Forget about possible abuses - it seems that this is an argument that is always pulled up later, the real problem is deeper. There seem to be a deep irrational anxiety in majority of people (epecially brits and americans) about releasing their private information. Is this the case? I would like that at least someone admits it is irrational. I personally don't have a problem if a someone knows who many times I day I shit, what kind of tea I buy, what party I vote, etc. so I have real trouble comprehending this strange fear... Elaborate, but don't mod down! Plus, again, don't come with silly abuse arguments - at least in principle the system can be made secure (though UK doesn't seem to have a good track record with IT projects, but that is a different story).
    • Re:Why the fuss? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:13PM (#14711883) Homepage
      Take a look at what is happening in Zimbabwe if they find out you vote against Mugabe's party. How about what happened to the Jews because the Nazi's knew there religion. Or how about Cambodia where the wrong shape head could get you killed? This isn't a Utopia, thing about how the information could be used in good times and in bad.

      What's depressing about your point of view, is your think everyone is being worried for no reason. Simply because you didn't take the time, or use your brain to think things through.
    • Re:Why the fuss? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by crabpeople ( 720852 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @08:04PM (#14712302) Journal
      "I personally don't have a problem if a someone knows who many times I day I shit, what kind of tea I buy, what party I vote, etc. so I have real trouble comprehending this strange fear"

      Please kindly reply to this comment with the following:

      1) your full name and home address
      2) a history of your shopping record, including times and dates so i can pattern match to see when your most likely to be not at home
      3) Detailed purchase information from your local big box store so that when i come to your house and murder your wife, i can do it with a recently purchased like model knife or blunt object.

      Honestly, the only people who are for mass databases really have no imgination.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:29PM (#14712031) Journal
    It always seems to be some distant apparatus over wich mere mortals have no control. Yet obviously we in the west are better then dictatorships because we can elect our goverment.

    If you truly do believe that the various western goverments are not answerable to the voter then what exactly is the difference between living say in the US/UK and the Soviet Union/China? Either the west has democracy and then anything the goverment does is by the will of the people OR you liven in a dictatorship. Remember, the soviet union did have elections. Just you could chose between a communist and a communist, not at all of course like the US where you can choose between a capatalist and a capatalist. Or the UK where you can choose between a corrupt party, a party that doesn't matter and a left-wing party so right-wing it makes the right-wing party look left-wing.

    If you believe that it the west is a democracy then shut up. This is obviously what the majority of voters want. Democracy can only work if the minority accepts the rule of the majority. The only difference between dictatorship and democracy is really the size of the group that does the telling.

    The older I get the more I come to believe that democracy is fundementally flawed. The majority of voters are to stupid to truly consider the results of their voting (voting for parties that are for policies the voter is totally against), you got only 1 vote for a generic candidate so screw you if on some issues you lean to the left and other you lean on the right. Myself I am dutch. I am pro socialism when it comes to helping people who are in trouble but I am right wing when it comes to people leeching from the system. Or put another way. A single mother with kids should be able to get good social security to raise her kids but uni graduate who can't find a job in whatever useless field he studied can go sweep roads. Wich party do I vote for? Tax me for the needy but put the whip on the lazy.

    Of course with just 1 vote every four years how can I make my views known? Do I vote against the mess that is the current health care change over (left) or do I vote against the current mess with imigration (right)?

    This move to compulsiry indentification is nothing new and is happening in various stages throughout the west. The reasons are simple. In the view of the currently elected goverments it needs to know who its people are and what they are doing. Simple stuff like knowing who is holding what job so you can collect the taxes. Oh sure you can rely on the honor system but apparently that ain't working well enough.

    Who has judged it not working well enough? Well us the voters it seems. If you voted for tax cuts then you voted for the taxman needing more powers to make sure that everyone pays the reduced taxes. 1 person not paying taxes equals another person paying double to raise the same amount after all.

    Same with imigration, if you ever complaint about illegal immigrants then you vote for indentification since that is the only way to find them.

    At times it is easy to feel that the goverment doesn't listen to the voter but when you spend some time trying to understand what the voter wants you start to realize that the goverment has no choice.

    Everyone wants cheap electricity, nobody wants a powerplant in their district. So what choice has goverment got? Build no powerplant and upset everyone a bit, build one and upset whatever district it is in a lot.

    The whole discussion about identification needs to get out of the "the mean goverment is forcing me' moaning and into a debate about what we are willing to live with. Do we want anonimity even when it costs us a lot in taxes because of fraud OR do we want to be tracked througout our life?

    Considering that the best election result still goes to the guy who promises he is going to cut taxes I think the answer is clear. We may moan about id cards but seem unwilling to live with effects of not having them.

    Put it simple, your driving license is an ID card. We as a soc

  • Missed the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lga ( 172042 ) * on Monday February 13, 2006 @08:03PM (#14712299) Homepage Journal

    The scary thing about this is not the card itself, it is the database that will be set up.

    The bill calls for an Identity Register [theregister.co.uk] that will contain not only all of the information that is provided at signup, along with biometric identifiers such as fingerprints and iris scans, but also a record of every access of that information. Think about this - the database will know that your identity was checked by the doctor, the hospital, leaving the country, maybe even your bank or your employer. A corrupt official with access to this information could build up one hell of a profile about you. Got nothing to hide? Are you sure? This database could unocover whatever it is that you don't think you have to hide.

    Before this bill there were specific laws that prevented government departments from sharing information in their databases because of potential abuse of it by government or otherwise. The Identity Cards bill demolishes those laws and establishes a database containing all of the information that was previously scattered around and impossible to link, and it shares that database with every government department there is.

    A few months ago I pledged that I would not sign up for an ID card [pledgebank.com] and that I would give money to fight it in court. Given that Passports renewed after 2008 will be accompanied by an ID card, the question I now have to answer is whether I should renew my passport 5 years early to avoid registration, or if I should become one of the first cases to fight in court as far as I can.

  • by Garry Anderson ( 194949 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @08:36PM (#14712547) Homepage
    As I wrote on another forum: they will make ID cards compulsary by clever manipulation of thicko MP's and public.

    At the time it is brought back to Parliament for compulsion, they will say, "The many billions we have spent so far is wasted and ID cards are not fully effective - unless the database is complete with entire population - as the thieves and terrorists are not registering".

    You can see it coming a mile away.

    http://www.hosted-forum.com/index.php?boardid=notn ews&showtopic=671&st=0&#entry16962 [hosted-forum.com]
  • Only in Texas (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) * <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @05:55AM (#14714572) Homepage Journal

    British constitutional arrangements have always been moderately hard for outsiders to understand, and are now even more difficult. The Union parliament (in Westminster) happens to be the same institution as one of the National parliaments (for England). It isn't the same as the parliament for Scotland or Wales, and it doesn't (in general) make laws for Scotland or Wales, except with regard to things like foreign policy.

    In principle Northern Ireland also has its own parliament. In practice it doesn't, because the Loyalists won't co-operate with the Republicans so the province is governed from Westminster - but nevertheless has its own laws.

    So while it is true that 'UK MPs approve compulsory ID cards', this only applies in England, because 'UK MPs' don't have legislative authority over the rest of the UK. Of course, England is by far the largest of the nations of the United Kingdom. It's also by far the most authoritarian and right-wing nation of the United Kingdom.

    The Scottish Executive have already said that Scotland will not have compulsory ID cards [scotland.gov.uk]; I don't know what the position is for Wales and Northern Ireland, but in any case this law won't apply there. What will happen if someone from Scotland (who does not have to have an ID card) is stopped by police in England (where people will have to have ID cards) isn't clear, but doubtless this will get sorted out by the courts.

    So this is a bit like the Texas legislature introducing compulsory ID cards, and the headlines saying 'US introduces compulsory ID cards'. It is true, sort of, but... only in Texas.

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