*Contacting us:* Call or email the office – 020-7793-4005 or (firstname.lastname@example.org).
+ IMPORTANT NEWS +
** The ID scheme has NOT been shelved, cancelled, or even significantly changed **
Once more government spin has triumphed and much of the media has got it wrong. The new Home Secretary Alan Johnson has not made any significant changes to the scheme. Compulsion by stealth is still the order of the day, just as it always was. Someone joining the ID scheme ‘voluntarily’ will still be placing control of their identity in the hands of the IPS for life.
The Home Office line remains the same. No compulsion (as the Home Office defines it) was going to be applied until almost everyone had ‘volunteered’ and then it was only a matter of rounding up a minority of resisters and marginalised people.
The Home Office’s idea of “voluntary” is not the same as yours and mine. Since 2004 the scheme was (and it still is) to proceed by “designating” one-by-one under the Identity Cards Act 2006 other documents issued by official bodies — in the first place passports.
Once a document has been designated, you won’t be able to apply for one without also applying to be entered, for life, on the national identity register. If you don’t agree to be registered it won’t be that you are refused (say) a passport; you’d have voluntarily decided not to apply. There’s no compulsion to have a passport. It is useful for travelling. But you aren’t compelled to travel.
Or (say) to drive. Or to work as a security guard. Or with children. Or in healthcare. To get parole from prison. To practice as a lawyer. … Any official licence, registration certificate or permit can be designated, and — in the home office’s skewed logic — handing control of your identity to the Home Office’s Identity and Passport Service will still be entirely voluntary.
That they were due for a confrontation with the airside worker’s unions over designating new passes at Manchester and City Airports is an illustration of just how voluntary “voluntary” really is. But the fact they have now ducked that fight for political convenience suggests saying no does work – if you say it loudly enough.
--- It is still not too late for MPs to derail the scheme by repudiating the regulations due to be debated next week and detailed in the last newsletter. Only one of those statutory instruments has been dropped. If you have not done so already, please contact your MP:
(NO2ID’s lobbying guide, written for us by the former assistant of a very distinguished retired minister, is brusque but absolutely to the point:
Peers will also have a vote on this; so if you happen to know one (or be one), then it would be a good idea to alert friends in the Lords now that the matter is soon to come up.
What just happened?
+ A brief history of the government’s definition of voluntary +
Back in March 2006 as the then ID cards bill ping-ponged between the House of Commons and the House of Lords the issue of the voluntary nature of the ID scheme was a major bone of contention. Labour’s manifesto said they would introduce a voluntary scheme but when it emerged that passport applicants would also be forced to go on to the ID database the Lords objected to this “creeping compulsion” and introduced an amendment to remove the connection to the passport. However MPs (by a majority of just 33) re-introduced de facto compulsion. During the Commons debate Nick Clegg MP pointed out that: “The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition of voluntary – ‘done, given, or acting of one’s own free will’”, adding that the debate was not just about “one of the most expensive, illiberal follies in recent times, it is also about our specific disagreement on the meaning of that one word”. When the bill finally received Royal Assent and became the ID Cards Act it was reported that the Lords had accepted an offer from the Home Office that anyone applying for a new biometric passport before January 2010 could opt out of having an ID card. The government’s skewed logic is that nobody is required by the state to apply for a passport, therefore forcing people who apply for a voluntary document to go onto the ID database is not compulsion, it’s just complying with regulations required to obtain the voluntary document. Such semantic gymnastics can be found in George Orwell’s fictional language Newspeak. Perhaps “compulantary” sums it up nicely.
+ BBC makes outlandish claim of ID card applications +
In a week of media dis-information the BBC reported on their website that “Some 3,500 UK citizens have already applied for the cards”. This statement simply cannot be true as the regulations that specify the content and manner of application have not yet been approved by parliament. The BBC may be referring to a web page on the UK Identity and Passport service (UKIPS) that allows visitors to “register your interest in identity cards and the National Identity Service”. They don’t mention how many forms were filled out by Mickey Mouse or Mr NO2IDcards and filling out a web form for more information is clearly not the same as “applying”. The Home Office clearly agrees, as the registration page warns: “Registering for information on the National Identity Service does not provide evidence that the Identity and Passport Service has verified or confirmed the identity details provided by the registrant as being accurate or reliable. This information should not be taken as proof of identity in any way”. Even if the figure of 3,500 were anywhere near to the number of people who “want” to be locked into the ID scheme for life, the figure is dwarfed by the number of people who have completed NO2ID’s newsletter signup and registered their opposition to the scheme.
+ Government names next ID scheme victims +
This week the Home Office announced that airside workers at Manchester and London City airports will not be required to register on the ID scheme as a condition of work, though they will “be encouraged to obtain an identity card”. In response the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) said: “we have never seen the national ID card as an improvement to security and we are glad that the new Home Secretary has listened to BALPA”. But as the Home Office backed off airside workers (supported by angry unions) they announced their next ID scheme targets – stating that “the Government also intends to focus attention on young people, for whom they [ID cards] will act as a proof of age, helping prove an individual’s right to enter premises or buy goods” and also they will “be looking at options which could allow pensioners aged 75 and over to receive an identity card free of charge”. They also announced an expansion of the trial in Greater Manchester where residents “will be able to apply for an Identity card before the end of this year” to “residents in locations across the North West will be entitled to apply from early next year”. Read the Identity and Passport service press release at
+ LSE releases Interception Modernisation briefing +
The London School of Economics (LSE) has released a ‘Briefing on the Interception Modernisation Programme’. The briefing aims to provide “some depth of understanding of the nature of the Home Office’s latest proposals on communications surveillance”. The briefing is related to the Communications Data consultation that closes on 20th July (see What’s Next section). The document warns: “The range of tools available to law enforcement to track and link activity and database content is now vast and growing all the time” and points out that: “What is being proposed under this [sic] modernisation powers is that every communication transaction, and all forms of future transactions, is now ‘suspicious’, worthy of later consideration by the police”. Download the report at
+ NHS IT Gateway reviews published +
The Department of Health have released 31 Gateway Reviews of the NHS IT project (aka Connection for Health (CfH) or National Programme for IT (NPfIT)). Gateway Reviews are independent financial reviews carried out by a team of experts at certain fixed key decision points over the lifetime of a programme. Many of the reviews are critical of the project including ‘OGC Gateway review 0 — Strategic Assessment, NHS National Programme for IT’ from November 2004 that states: “the current lack of engagement with the hearts and minds of the staff within the NHS at all levels, the lack of a coherent benefits realisation strategy and the absence of clarity regarding the organisational structure that will address these problems means that the overall status of the National Programme is Red — to achieve success the programme should take action immediately”. Download the reviews from
** *+ 11th July – London ID-Action Training Session +*
The first day of coordinated London-wide action will take place on Saturday 11th July, starting with a training session on how to engage the public, how to argue our case and the details of setting up and holding a stall. Depending on numbers, volunteers will then go and set up stalls near key Tube stations on a day when Londoners will be out and about shopping. After that, we will reconvene for a few drinks and to gather feedback on this new type of London event.
* + 30th July – Magicians against ID Cards +*
*+ Communications Data consultation +*
*+ DNA Database consultation +*
+ LOCAL GROUPS NEWS +
To see if there’s a group in your area check our list at
_*+ Alexandra Palace +*_
If you are interested in the work of the Alexandra Palace group or are planning on attending the meeting please join the mailing list on:
_*+ Birmingham +*_
*+ 28th July – Birmingham NO2ID Meeting (last Tuesday of month) +*
_*+ Cambridge +*_
*+ 11th July – Cambridge NO2ID Street Stall +*
_*+ Camden and Islington +*_ *
* Camden & Islington NO2ID meet on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 8pm at The The Kings Head, 59 Essex Road, Islington, N1 2SF. For more info email email@example.com or join the mailing list at: (www.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.camden).
_*+ Canterbury +*_ ** *+ 16th July – Canterbury NO2ID Meeting*
Thursday 16th July, 7:30pm at the Bell and Crown, Palace Street, Canterbury. Very low turn out at last meeting so would be great to see some more faces this time. For further details contact Jen Leighton on (firstname.lastname@example.org). To stay up to date join the Canterbury NO2ID mailing list on: (lists.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.canterbury).
_*+ Daventry +*_
*+ 4th July – Daventry NO2ID Street Stall +*
*+ 8th July – Daventry NO2ID Meeting (2nd Weds of month) +*
_*+ Derby +*_
*+ Derby NO2ID Street Stall +*
_*+ Dorking +*_
*+ 7th July – Dorking NO2ID Meeting +*
_*+ Dover +*_
*+ 4th July – Dover NO2ID Street Stall, Deal +*
_*+ Edinburgh + *_
*+ NO2ID Edinburgh “Members’ Evening” +*
_*+ Epsom +*_
I have mapped out a promotional programme to market the Question Time on Civil Liberties on 9th September in Ewell. Already we have written to the relevant teachers of 25 local high schools who have 6th form courses on Government and Politics to invite them and their students to come along. We will also contact the press, do more street stalls than ever and picket Ewell’s 2 railway stations. All we need is your help to volunteer for an hour or two, here and there. Come and meet up at the Dorking Group’s monthly get together at The Lincoln Arms, by Dorking mainline station, every first Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm.
If anyone wants to get involved in the Epsom area, please email or phone NO2ID South East Regional Coordinator Geoff Cox on email@example.com or call 01306 631377. **
_*+ Glasgow +*_
*+ 7th July – Glasgow NO2ID Meeting +*
*Glasgow NO2ID meet on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 8pm in Mono. All welcome. Please contact Geraint for further details: firstname.lastname@example.org
_*+ Hammersmith & Fulham + *_
*+ 22nd July – ‘The Surveillance Society’ evening +*
As hardly anyone in our borough seems to support ID cards, we would also be interested in hearing from anyone who might like to help out with a stall in say Ealing or Acton shopping centres. Please contact as above, or via (email@example.com).
_**__*+ Ipswich +*_
*Calling Ipswich supporters*
_*+ Kingston-Upon-Thames +*_
*+ 4th July – Kingston NO2ID Meeting +*
_*+ Lancaster +*_
Subscribe to the Lancaster NO2ID e-mail list at
_*+ Manchester +*_
*+ 11th July – Manchester NO2ID Street Stall +*
*+ 15th July – Manchester NO2ID Meeting +*
_*+ Newcastle Upon Tyne + *_
*+ 14th July – Newcastle Upon Tyne NO2ID Meeting +*
If you are interested in the work of the Newport group, please join their mailing list on:
_*+ Newport + *_
If you are interested in the work of the Newport group, please join their mailing list on:
* *_*+ Norwich +*_
*+ 11th July – Street Stall and Lord Mayor’s Procession Fancy Dress Identity Parade +*
*+ 14th July – Norwich NO2ID Group Meeting With Special Guest Speaker +*
*+ 17th July TBC – Norwich North By-Election ‘What A Flipping Liberty’ Debate +*
If you are interested in the work of the Norwich group, please join their mailing list on:
_*+ Oxford +*_
*+ 2nd July – Oxford NO2ID Meeting +*
*+ 4th July – Oxford NO2ID Stall at the Faringdon Peace Fete +*
See the website for more:
_**__**__*+ Shrewsbury +*_
*+ 11th July – Shrewsbury NO2ID lunch club and street stall +*
_*+ Southampton +*_
Southampton NO2ID holds a regular monthly meeting and plotting session on the first Wednesday of the month at 8:00pm in the Dolphin Pub next to St Denys railway station
*Southampton NO2ID Street Stalls* We are keen to move the stall to different locations in and around Southampton. If you would like to have a stall near you, then please get in touch with the group via firstname.lastname@example.org.
_*+ Watford +*_
*+ Call for Volunteers** +*
_*+ Worcester +*_
*+ 14th July – Worcester NO2ID Meeting – TBC +*
Our numbers in the last few months of meetings have dwindled to the extent that we are considering switching to email based contact only for the running of the group. Increasing the local population’s awareness of the issues is as important as ever. With this said and the numbers attending the monthly meetings low, we would like to take a register of interest (via email at email@example.com or call Mark Walker on 07926354866) of those who would be interested in attending the next meeting and those who wish to be *active* members.
“ID” in the news
*+ No U-turn on ID cards, insists Mandelson – Yahoo News 2/7/09 +*
*+ ID cards: mistaken identity – The Guardian 2/7/09 +*
*+ Q&A: Identity cards – BBC News Online 2/7/09 +*
*+ ID cards: ‘A project nobody wants and the nation can’t afford’ – silicon.com 1/7/09 +*
*+ Country cannot afford this ID shambles – Telegraph 1/7/09 +*
*+ Government faces court battle over £400m contract for hi-tech passports – Daily Mail 30/6/09 +*
*+ Home Office ditches compulsory ID card trial – The Register 30/6/09 +*
*+ Conservatives question OGC oversight of NPfIT – Smart Healtcare.com 24/6/09 +*
(Please send me any items of interest you encounter – Editor(firstname.lastname@example.org) )
Publication details: © NO2ID 2009 – This document may be freely redistributed in one-to-one communications or physical copies as long as it is reproduced in its entirety including this notice. It may not be mass-mailed without the prior permission of NO2ID.
NO2ID, Box 412, 19-21 Crawford Street, LONDON W1H 1PJ