Brown misleads Conference on ID cards

For immediate release, Tuesday 29th September 2009

Brown misleads Conference on ID cards

Gordon Browns remarks to Labour Party Conference today on ID cards are ‘the same misleading line as before’ according to NO2ID [1]

Mr Brown said:

‘We will reduce the information British citizens have to give for the new biometric passport to no more than that required for today’s passport.

‘And so conference, I can say to you today, in the next Parliament there will be no compulsory ID cards for British citizens.’

The campaign pointed out that ministers have repeatedly denied the ID scheme is compulsory throughout the last five years. Instead it has been designed to force people to volunteer for a system they cannot leave [2].

Mr Brown’s words cannot be true even if taken literally, since biometric passports must have at least the biometrics in addition to the information already on existing ones. But he is also contradicting the plans published by the Identity and Passport Service to build a
biographical database that will be shared between the passport and identity schemes, and integrated with the DWP’s systems.

They are also at odds with the raft of regulations defining the information to be held and the masses more information involved in the application process, set out in regulations passed earlier this summer[3].

Guy Herbert, General Secretary of NO2ID said:

‘Mr Brown is a Lewis Carroll character: he imagines ‘What I tell you three times is true.’

‘But even if it repetition makes it easier for ministers to delude themselves, this is the same misleading line as before. Whatever he says about a card, the plan remains the same: to treat the entire population like dangerous sex offenders and keep us all on a Home Office database for life.’

-ENDS-

Notes for editors:

  1. NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing, and http://www.no2id.net/datasharing for how it all fits together.
  2. As explained here: http://www.no2id.net/pledge/how
  3. See: The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Prescribed Information) Regulations 2009
    and The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Application and Issue of ID Card and Notification of Changes) Regulations 2009

“Patronising hype” for ID scheme

22nd September 2009

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) will unveil the marketing campaign for its ID scheme this Friday, based on animated fingerprint characters [1].

Anti-ID scheme campaigners NO2ID [2] accused the government and officials of misleading the public and business about the scheme.

IPS chief executive James Hall has already begun a ‘charm offensive’ in the licensed trade press, attempting to undermine existing well established proof of age schemes and talk up the inclusion of biometrics [3] – despite the fact that shops and pubs will not have machines to read fingerprints, and that IPS’ own guidance predicts problems with visual checks in pubs and clubs [4]. The IPS claims “thousands” have registered an interest in its card using an online form, but is not issuing application forms yet. Millions already have a PASS-accredited proof-of-age card.

Phil Booth, National Coordinator of NO2ID said:

‘This latest, desperate attempt to market the ID scheme is patronising hype. Having failed to come up with any convincing benefits, officials are set to waste millions shoving ID cards down the throats of shops, of licensees, and of young people who already have alternatives. The IPS is treating the public and businesses like children if it thinks giving fingerprints smiles will make us all happy to be fingerprinted.

‘Let us be clear: anyone signing up for a Home Office “identity card” has agreed to report to an official database for life, and lost control of their
own identity information for ever. It is nothing to smile about.

-ENDS-

Notes for editors:

  1. http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/news/939903/Conservative-Party-slams-marketing-launch-ID-cards-wasteful/ – Marketing Magazine, 22/09/09
  2. NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing, and http://www.no2id.net/datasharing for how it all fits together.
  3. See, e.g. http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=65083&c=1 or http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/news.ma/article/84353
  4. Home Office guidance on the ‘security features’ of the card says: “You won’t always be able to check all the security features on a card. For
    example, if you’re checking ID in a pub or club, it might be too dark to see the colour-changing sections. But you can still make sure the card has
    raised information on the front – just by touching it.” – http://www.ips.gov.uk/cps/files/ips/live/assets/documents/id_card_security_guide_low.pdf

NO2ID ad is ‘decent and true’

For immediate release, Wednesday 16th September 2009

Following a single complaint from a reader of the New Statesman in July, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that NO2ID’s advert ‘Database Man’ is decent, true and substantiated [1].

The ad, designed to highlight the threat to privacy posed by the proposed existence of a National Identity Register, specifically insider abuse, and indirectly to highlight the data sharing, collating and cross-referencing functions of the Register, has been run in various publications since 2005.

This is the second adjudication to vindicate the campaign’s adverts, the previous ‘Blair barcode’ ad [2] having been cleared in November 2006. NO2ID’s current advertising campaign explains “How your next passport could own YOU”.

Guy Herbert, General Secretary of NO2ID said:

‘NO2ID aims to be controversial, because the Home Office’s plans to change our whole way of life ought to be controversial. The facts of the ID scheme are shocking. So everything we do relies on the facts.’

-ENDS-

Notes for editors:

If you would like a copy of ‘Database Man’, ‘Blair Barcode’ or any of NO2ID’s ads please contact Guy Herbert on general.secretary@no2id.net.

  1. The ASA investigated the ‘Database Man’ ad under CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Principles), 3.1 (Substantiation), 5.1 (Decency) and 7.1 (Truthfulness), but did not find it in breach. The full adjudication can be found here: http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_46940.htm
  2. The previous adjudication by the ASA, on NO2ID’s ‘Blair Barcode’ ad, can be found here: http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_42007.htm
  3. NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing, and http://www.no2id.net/datasharing for how it all fits together.

ID Scheme Commissioner ‘toothless and irrelevant’

14th September 2009

Alan Johnson today announced the appointment of Sir Joseph Pilling as the first ‘Identity Commissioner’ for the ID cards scheme [1].

NO2ID [2] branded the Scheme Commissioner ‘toothless and irrelevant’. The new Commissioner cannot investigate criminality, issue any sanction for
breach or misuse or even demand compliance with the Act which he is supposed to oversee [3].

Campaigners also questioned how independent Sir Joseph, who began his career with the Home Office in 1966 [4], would actually be.

Phil Booth, National Coordinator of NO2ID said:

The ID Scheme Commissioner is just window-dressing. The role is designed to be toothless and irrelevant. And to appoint a time-served securocrat to the post virtually guarantees that the one power he has – to comment on the Scheme – will never embarrass his former masters.

How can a man who has spent his entire career being the soul of discretion in various Departments of State be expected to act as a whistleblower?

-ENDS-

Notes for editors:

1) http://www.ips.gov.uk/cps/rde/xchg/ips_live/hs.xsl/1227.htm

2) NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing, and http://www.no2id.net/datasharing for how it all fits together.

3) The ‘Candidate Brief’ for the ID Scheme Commissioner, advertised in January 2009, stated:
The Scheme Commissioner does not have the power to demand compliance with the Identity Cards Act 2006, to undertake investigations of any allegation of criminality, or to issue sanctions in the event of breach or misuse. When the Scheme Commissioner reviews the matters outlined in legislation, they will make a report to the Secretary of State, who is obliged to lay a copy of all such reports before Parliament. However the Home Secretary can exclude a particular matter from that copy if its publication would be prejudicial to national security or the prevention or detection of crime, though Parliament must be informed if this course of action is taken.

4) Sir Joseph Pilling’s biography:
http://www.relationshipsfoundation.org/about/biogs/joseph_pilling.php?p=2&c5