*Contacting us:* Call or email the office – 020-7793-4005 or (firstname.lastname@example.org).
+ REPORT FROM LONDON LAUNCH OF ID CARDS FOR 16-24s +
This Monday (8th Feb) the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) began the next phase of the ID Card Con – targeting 16-24 year olds living in London.
Minister for Identity, Meg Hillier invited the media to come and see the first ‘volunteer’ be fingerprinted at 8:30am. A dozen or more hardy NO2ID supporters mounted a chilly white protest in biting winds and the odd flurry of snow outside Victoria passport office. IPS security decided to stay in the warm, and keep an eye on us through the window.
Getting there half an hour before the minister meant we caught the media going in – and also coming out. Phil Booth gave interviews to ITV news and the Press Association cameras, and reporters from several London university newspapers. Guy Herbert spoke to news radio.
Inside the passport office, according to one person watching, the volunteer actually referred to himself as a guinea-pig. Shame he didn’t get the full message on the flyers we were handing out, which is *don’t* be a guinea-pig.
Bizarrely, one young man walking past our protest waved what looked like an ID card at us. He was turned away from the front door, but headed in by the side entrance. Members of the media said later he was a member of an IPS Public Panel – “independent scrutiny” groups, hand-picked by IPS – which may explain how he came to be issued with a card before the ‘first’ volunteer…
Glimpsing Ms Hillier through the glass around 9:30am, we rapidly relocated our protest round the corner. But to no avail. The Minister snuck out another way, leaving another decidedly low-key media event without directly engaging her critics.
For more information, flyers to download and print off, and notice of upcoming ‘Stop the ID Card Con’ events in London and across the North West, please visit: www.no2id.net/idcardcon/
+ NO2ID in Europe +
Project STORK is a European Union programme to set up standards for the interoperability of electronic ID systems across Europe. It has hitherto been a somewhat obscure process in which organisations such as the IPS and its equivalents have been discussing the matter with industry. That is not calculated to produce good results for privacy. After careful negotiation over several months, NO2ID has been formally admitted as a member of the Project STORK industry group as a representative of civil society interests. As far as we know, we are the first non-governmental and non-corporate organisation to be given such a level of access. A grant from Microsoft’s corporate social responsibility fund will cover the expenses of NO2ID representatives attending group meetings. As things stand the Home Office’s scheme is by far the most pernicious ID scheme in the continent, if not the world. But if developing European standards starts to present a threat to privacy and civil liberties, then we are now in a much better position to know about it and lobby against it.
What just happened?
*+ THANKS for Summary Care Records info +
*Many thanks to everyone who sent in details about Summary Care Records (SCR) mailings in response to our lead item in the last newsletter (‘PROTECT MEDICAL CONFIDENTIALITY NOW’). The information we have received looks like forming a good basis for a complaint to the Information Commissioner. If you receive a letter about the SCR then please continue to let us know at (email@example.com).
+ The People’s Manifesto +
We would like to thank all the local groups across the country who have been helping out with Mark Thomas’ latest tour ‘It’s the Economy Stupid’. Mark has been collecting manifesto ideas from his audiences up and down the length and breadth of Britain. The brightest and the best (and not just most humorous) have been collected in his recently published new book the People’s Manifesto (www.markthomasinfo.com/section_store/). We would recommend taking a look to see if any of your NO2ID ideas got a mention!
+ Compulsion – the dreaded C word +
We have repeatedly pointed out the semantic gymnastics performed by the government in calling the ID scheme “voluntary” (e.g see Newsletter 126) and this week the Identity Minsiter Meg Hillier appeared on the BBC’s ‘The Politics Show’ to demonstrate just how bad at gymnastics (and databases) she is. When confonted with the dreaded question of compulsion with regards to entry onto the ID database the following exchange ensued between Hillier and host Tim Donovan: Hillier: “There are no plans to make the database complusory, no.” Donovan: “They haven’t got plans to make the database compulsory?” Hillier: “No, there are no plans to make the database compulsory.” Donovan: “Because you only go on that database if you take this card-” Hillier: “Yes … and a passport in time-” Donovan: “And a passport, so eventually everyone will go on this database, because you’ll have to renew your passport?” Hillier: “Well eight out of ten people currently have a passport that’s true, yes -” Donovan: “So they will …” Hillier: “Well that doesn’t make it .. it’s not ..” Donovan: “It’s compulsory-” Hillier: “Well I think that’s a bit of a jump to make it .. it’s not a compulsory .. it’s not compulsory to have a card or to go on the database but if you do have a card or a passport yes you’ll be on the database just as you are now on the passport database, just as in 1916 you had paper records”. The programme is online until 14th Feb at: (www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/the_politics_show_london) – item starts 33 minutes in.
+ ID cards – the cheapest form of losing it and then rebuying it +
The first young Londoner to get an ID card, 21 year old Peter Fawcett, was also featured on ‘The Politics Show’ this week, where he coined a new catchphrase to promote ID cards as a proof of age card, Fawcett told the BBC: “I’ve looked at other ways of getting an Identity card, er you know, getting a provisional license – and that’s more expensive, and really this is the cheapest option for me, so I can put this er identity card in my wallet which is really good, er and plus also a passport, you know, if you lose it its so much more expensive to replace it, so err, yeah – its like its the cheapest form of losing it again and then rebuying it”. The only problem with this argument of course is that young people can buy a £10 proof-of-age card from an independent charity with no fingerprinting requirement, no government database and no fines regime.
+ More Creeping demands for ID +
More evidence of the shift towards an ID culture in the UK has been supplied by a NO2ID supporter who runs a Bed and Breakfast in Cornwall. They told us about a strange ID check requested by a guest: “She was a librarian working for Liverpool Council. In response to my invoice, I was informed that my National Insurance number was required before any payment could be approved. I refused. On speaking to the lady who stayed, she said she thought she could circumnavigate the problem.” Eventually the payment was made without the National Insurance number being supplied.
+ Don’t Visit Britain — You Have Been Warned +
Inflight magazines are always a good place to boost your country as a travel destination. The February issue of ‘b.there!’ is no exception. The Brussels Airlines magazine promises a ‘Fiesta of Flavours’ in Andalucia, catwalk chic in Milan and moonlit ski slopes in France. All lavishly illustrated. As there is also a write-up of the airline’s new improved services to the UK, the time was ripe for the sceptred isle to blow its own trumpet. Sure enough, the British taxpayer has taken out a half-page ad. What does it show? A nice red phone box? No. Smiling bobbies bursting to tell you what time it is? Nope. A pink-washed B&B with roses round the door? Wrong again. Perhaps the most striking images are taken from body scanners. One is skin-deep. The other will appeal more to those who like bones and internal organs. Skull bowed, the apparition seems to be walking on crutches. We are also treated to a swarthy digit being squashed onto a fingerprinting pad by plastic-gloved officialdom, a man staring at something through a magnifying glass and a still life of what looks like a ticket machine but turns out to be a passport gate. Proudly, the ad explains all: “The UK Border Agency uses new technologies to support our staff, combat fraud and secure the UK border.” Welcome to the UK.
*+WANTED – leaflet distribution in London + *
*+ Volunteers Needed +*
***+ Call for North West Volunteers +*
*+ POWER2010 public vote +*
*+ Have your say – National Identity Service Public Panels +*
“ID” in the news
*+ ID commissioner sees risks in IPS’s two-stage IT – ZDNet 9/2/10 +*
*+ Government petitioned to abandon centralised IT projects – Computing 9/2/10 +*
*+ London SCR roll out complete in a year – e-Health Insider 9/2/10 +*
*+ Gov tempts young London onto ID database with booze, ‘games’ – The Register 8/2/10 +*
*+ 500,000 EU computers can access private British data – The Guardian 7/2/10 +*
(Please send me any items of interest you encounter – Editor(firstname.lastname@example.org) )
*+ LOCAL GROUPS NEWS + *
To see if there’s a group in your area check our list at www.no2id.net/localgroups/ Or, if you’re interested in starting a group yourself, please contact Matty on email@example.com to discuss what’s involved and what we have in place to support coordinators and their groups.
_*+ Birmingham +*_
*+ 24th February – Birmingham NO2ID Meeting +*
_*+ Cambridge +*_
*+ 27th February – Cambridge NO2ID Street Stall +*
*+ 3rd March – Cambridge NO2ID Pub Meeting + *
For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07710 469624.
_**__*+ Canterbury +*_
To stay up to date join the Canterbury NO2ID mailing list on: lists.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.canterbury
*_+ Coventry +_*
*+ 18th February – Coventry NO2ID Meeting + *
*+ 20th February – Coventry NO2ID Street Stall +*
_*+ Dorking +*_
*+ 2nd March – Dorking NO2ID Monthly Meeting (first Tuesday of month) +*
*+ 13th March – Dorking NO2ID Street Stall in Guildford +*
*+ 25th March – Election Question Time on Civil Liberties +*
If you would like to help or get involved, email Geoff Cox at email@example.com or come along to our monthly get-togethers.
_*+ Dover +*_*
*To stay up to date with Dover NO2ID join our mailing list on: lists.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.dover
_**__*+ Edinburgh + *_***** ****+
Saturdays 1pm – 3pm – NO2ID Edinburgh Street Stall +*
_**_ *+ 23rd February – NO2ID Edinburgh Meeting +*
_*+ Exeter +*_
** _*+ Hull +*_
If you are interested in the work of this group, or planning on attending the meeting, please join the Hull mailing group here: www.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.hull
_**__*+ Ipswich +*_* *
If you are interested in the work of the Ipswich group, please join their mailing list on: www.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.ipswich
_*+ Lancaster +*_
*+ 13th February – Lancaster NO2ID Street Stall +*
If you are interested in the work of this group please join the Lancaster mailing group at www.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.lancaster
_*+ Liverpool +*_
If you are interested in the work of this group, or planning on attending the meeting, please join the Liverpool mailing group at no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.liverpool
_*+ Manchester +*_ _* *_*+
10th March – Manchester NO2ID Monthly Meeting +*
*+ 13th March – Manchester NO2ID Street Stall +*
**_*+ Norwich +*_ * **+
13th February – Norwich NO2ID Street Stall +*
*+ 16th February – Norwich NO2ID Meeting +*
* + 19th February — Norwich NO2ID & Power2010 Event +*
If you are interested in the work of the Norwich group, please join their mailing list on: www.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.norwich
_*+ Oxford +*_
*+ 13th February – Power2010 Meeting +*
See the website for more info on Oxford NO2ID: no2id-oxford.org.uk/
_*+ Portsmouth +*_
Join the Portsmouth mailing list at lists.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.portsmouth/
_*+ Reading +*_* *
_*+ Sheffield +*_
*+ 24th February – Sheffield NO2ID Meeting +*
If you are interested in the work of this group, please join the Sheffield mailing group here: lists.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.sheffield
_*+ Watford +*_* *
_*+ York +*_ * *
Publication details: © NO2ID 2010 – 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