Contacting us: Call or email the office - 020-7793-4005 or (email@example.com).
DOOMED, DUMPED, OR BUSINESS AS USUAL?
You may well have seen reports suggesting that the Home Office ID
in trouble. A series of e-mails leaked to the Sunday Times  from OGC
(the Office of Government Commerce, part of the Treasury) and UKIPS
new Identity & Passport Service) revealed that senior civil
servants believe the project to be yet another fiasco in the making.
Government spin has been predictable, first claiming that the ID scheme
was 'under review', then "broadly on track", and now proceeding "at the
same pace" .
So what is fact and what is fantasy?
FACT: the ID scheme that the government has been selling for the last
two years or more is a lie. With no clearly-expressed goal or
justification, 'feature creep' almost every time ministers opened their
mouths, and a complete unwillingness to listen to real experts in the
field, the Home Office has lumbered itself with something impossibly
complex, horrendously expensive, and utterly unworkable.
FACT: they passed the Act anyway, spending tens of millions in the
process. The biggest threat to everyone's civil liberties is leaving a
law on the statute books which permits compulsory registration,
lifelong surveillance and population control by ID. But we also risk
seeing billions of pounds of taxpayers' money (which could be far
better spent elsewhere) being thrown away in pursuit of this
authoritarian delusion. Even worse, a botched attempt could expose all
our most personal information - leaving some with no control over their
private lives or identities for the rest of their lives.
FACT: the government will proceed regardless. This programme has been
politically driven from the outset and will remain so. Blair can't
afford a U-turn, and the ID programme (or more accurately, the National
Identity Register) is at the heart of government strategy . The
bureaucrats would love for us to all be neatly numbered, so our data
can be shared ever more 'efficiently' - and the suppliers still stand
to make billions, whether they deliver or fail.
The danger from the ID scheme is greater than ever.
Now the government is looking at issuing cut-down 'early variant' ID
cards that would 'protect' your identity with nothing more than a
four-digit PIN. A gift to fraudsters. The government will still
scan, background check and interrogate you for a passport - but then
simply store all your data in their database. No 'benefits' or services
for the public. Just all the costs, risks and intrusion.
We have to redouble our efforts. It is more important than ever that we
get the message out to a public that may think 'ID cards' are off the
agenda. Street stalls, leafleting - even going door-to-door. Now is
the time to wake people up to the real and present danger of the ID
If you can't spare the time to get involved with a local group, or even
set one up (send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for
more info) then
please help support those who are fighting hard on your behalf. Join
the campaign at http://www.no2id.net/getInvolved/join.php - it's just £15 per year - or send a donation.
The battle continues...
Waltham Forest Council to vote on anti-ID motion
The LibDem group on Waltham Forest council has proposed an anti-ID card
motion to be voted on at tonight's (20th July) full
council meeting. The motion includes a proposal to affiliate to NO2ID.
The agenda for the meeting, including the proposal can
be found at: http://www1.walthamforest.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.asp?CId=335&MId=1515&Ver=4&J=5
25th July - Glasgow NO2ID meeting
Tuesday, 25th July at
7:30pm in Mono, the next meeting of Glasgow NO2ID. If Mono is
unsuitable on the night, we will instead go
to Laurie's across the road. All are welcome! For more details see www.glasgow-no2id.org.uk/meeting.html
27th July - Lewisham NO2ID leafleting
Thursday 27th July, leafleting in Catford, setting off from the Goose
on the Green. For more details see http://lists.warhead.org.uk/pipermail/no2id-announce/2006-July/date.html
1st August - NO2ID Aberystwyth Monthly meeting
Tuesday, August 1, 2006 (8:00 PM - 9:00 PM) at Fresh Ground café, 14
Cambrian St, Aberystwyth, Wales SY23 1NX. The first Tuesday of each
month, we meet to discuss ways of campaigning against the introduction
of ID cards and a National Identity Register. Event Website: http://aberno2id.blogspot.com
14th August - "Scrambling for Safety 8" meeting about internet surveillance
Monday 14 August 2006, at the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, South Wing,
UCL, Gower St, London WC1. The UK Home Office is currently consulting
over plans to give the police powers to require the production of
decryption keys and of plain text. They have also produced a draft code
of practice on government access to "communications data" - phone
numbers and e-mail addresses contacted, web sites visited, locations of
mobile phones, etc. 'Scrambling for Safety 8' will bring together
representatives from government, industry and human rights
organisations to discuss these consultations with interested members of
the public. This is the only such meeting during the consultation
period, it is free to attend but space is limited. For more details go
Come along and make sure your voice is
July & August - Inverness NO2ID Campaign stall
NO2ID Inverness will have a campaign stall at various locations in and
around Inverness throughout July and August. See http://www.no2id-scotland.net/local/inverness.html
Saturdays 1pm - 3pm - NO2ID Edinburgh Campaign stall
A campaigning stall is held three weeks in each month to raise public
awareness of the Identity Cards scheme, collect donations and entries
for our petition, and also to increase membership of our group. The
usual location is the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral
Hotel See http://www.no2id-scotland.net/edinburgh/.
1st October - NO2ID Comedy fund raiser gig at the Hackney Empire
Tickets will be available soon for NO2ID's comedy event. Acts include:
Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Andrew O'Neil and Lucy Porter.
What just happened?
NO2ID's first 'Activ8' video blog posted on web
NO2ID's first video blog was launched on the Community Channel website
this week. The video, shot around Westminster and the nearby NO2ID head
explodes the myth that the government is going to drop its ID scheme
and explains some of the issues behind our campaign. Over next year
NO2ID will produce 12 pieces for Activ8. Our thanks to Charles and Fred
for their sterling work in putting
this film together during the recent heatwave.
Many thanks also to all who have volunteered to help out with filming
and editing for Activ8. We had a fantastic response to our request, and
we are looking forward to working with as many of you as possible. N.B.
If you are holding an event and have a video camera that shoots on
miniDV tape*, then why not record it? We're going to need plenty of
footage from around the UK for future films. If you are arranging a
photo-opportunity or public meeting with well-known speakers, please
let NO2ID HQ know well in advance by sending an e-mail to email@example.com - we may now be able to come and film it.
*Technical point: these films are (eventually) intended for TV
broadcast, as well as webcasting, so we have to work on uncompressed DV
format not, e.g. VHS.
See the first video blog at: http://www.communitychannel.org/content/view/908/101/
Rise Festival - Highbury NO2ID stall
On 8th July Highbury NO2ID ran a stall at the Mayor of London's RISE
festival in Finsbury Park. RISE is a free music event which celebrates
London's ethnic communities. Group co-ordinator, Caroline Day said: "It
was very easy to set up a stall, Kevin from our group contacted the
organisers and they allocated one. At the last minute our stall
was upgraded from an outside stall to an inside one. We
ended up bang slap next to the main stage!" The group handed out around
5,000 leaflets and collected around 400 petition signatures.
London Volunteers meeting hears about ID cards & health
Last Thursday (13th July) the NO2ID volunteers meeting in London heard
about health, ID cards and the database state. Lyn Whitfield, a
freelance journalist, who has written for IT and public sector
journals, spoke about the NHS plans to build a huge database of patient
care records. Lyn said that later this year there will be publicity
about it and "that will probably be your only chance to opt out". She
warned people to look out for local NHS trust leaflets that may be
distributed at this time. Carla Rosa from the Alzheimers (speaking in a
personal capacity) spoke about the difficulties that the National
Identity Register and ID cards will cause for 250,000 people in the UK
with dementia. The face to face interviews and fines for incorrect or
out of date information will be particularly onerous for this group of
IT firms to cash in on increased ID checks
BBC News on-line this week reported that research has shown that "by
2010 Britons will be asked to produce ID an average of 17 times a
year". They went on to explain that the research was commissioned by
technology firm GB Group who they say said: "UK firms and government
agencies were making up to half a billion identity checks on customers
each year". It sounds like GB group are as concerned as we are about
the plethora of ID checks. However, a June 7 press release from GB
group puts the story rather differently when it states: "In a recent
piece of research conducted on behalf of GB by Manchester Business
School, it was estimated that the market for electronic identity checks
in the UK will grow to over 300 million electronic checks per annum by
2010 and be worth over £200 million. It is GB's aim to secure a
significant share of this market together with BT." The GB Group
happens to have developed the URU on-line identity checking system
alongside BT. They also own the UK’s most extensive set of population
data — eerily named "The National Register". Odd that the BBC failed to
mention GB groups thirst for more ID checks.
See BBC story: http://tinyurl.co.uk/t6v0 and GB
Group press release: http://tinyurl.co.uk/38io
Germany to launch ePassport fingerprinting
Fingerprints will be added to German ePassports in 2007. The European
Commission's adoption this June of Extended Access Control (EAC)
specifications has launched "intensive preparations for the second
phase of ePassport introduction," Secretary of State Altmeier declared.
EU ePassports are "highly secure documents that are reliably protected
against forgery and misuse," he said.
That view is disputed by the Chaos Computer Club, a German group
opposed to undue electronic surveillance. "If the aim is to improve
checks on whether an ID and its bearer belong together, then
registering the fingerprints of all German citizens is a
disproportionate measure," the Club insists. Back in 2004, it
demonstrated that fingerprints taken with coloured powder or with
cyanoacrylate, the main ingredient of superglue, are detailed enough
for use in identity theft. Clear fingerprints can be obtained from
doorknobs, glossy paper or, for instance, a glass left in a pub. The
prints can then be digitalised and used for electronic fraud. But they
can also be transferred in relief on to thin sheaths that can be glued
over the fingertips.
"Networked identities" - cross-border talks
Networked identities" were the main topic when government IT
specialists from Austria, Germany and Switzerland met this June. After
the symposium, the Swiss federal IT strategy unit noted that a central
register covering the entire population already exists in Austria,
while in Switzerland "an unambiguous personal identification number is
planned, but has not yet been introduced". But the Swiss government
unit sees problems ahead: "Of course, there is a lot of technology
behind digital identity. But what it requires most of all is the
population's trust in the State which is processing the data. As long
as that trust is in scarce or insufficient supply, it will be difficult
to use eGovernment applications." Austria and Germany are "wrestling
with similar problems," the Swiss report adds. "However, the Austrians
have a slight lead, as they have already introduced the eCard as a
substitute for health insurance certificates for the entire population.
Since its introduction in 2005, the card has been used about 70 million
times." Clearly, somebody has been counting.
The European e-Identity Conference
A report of the European e-Identity Conference that took place in
Barcelona last month has been released by eema ('European Electronic
Messaging Association'). David Goodman, eema Chairman, predicted that "by 2020 digital identities will have a significant impact on the lives
of everyone" and that "businesses will be predicated by a plethora of
ID-based trust relationships supporting billions of transactions, day
and night, worldwide". During a panel discussion the conference heard
that: "It may have been easier to implement national identity schemes
in Asia and Eastern Europe because the push from government in those
areas is probably stronger than in Western Europe."
A report of the Swedish NIDEL(National ID card with electronic
identification) scheme revealed what lengths governments will go to to
bribe citizens to sign up for electronic ID cards - in Sweden
apparently "the killer application last year was in the form of a tax
rebate for citizens: those with the card received it three months
earlier than usual". The conference also heard about the EC-funded
FIDIS(Future Of Identity in the Information Society) initiative. Last
week we reported that FIDIS were conducting a survey into EU citizens
opinions on ID cards. However the supplied link to the survey merely
displayed a page stating that the survey was closed. FIDIS told us
that: "unfortunately the scheduled ending date set for the survey was
June 30th. We do realise that the survey was picked up by one or more
websites after this deadline and are sorry for any inconvenience that
this may have caused". FIDIS updated their website to inform visitors
on the 10th July.
GeneWatch release updated DNA database information
This week GeneWatch have published an updated parliamentary briefing on
the UK Police DNA Database. The briefing points out that: "In May 2006,
the Scottish Parliament rejected proposals to bring its legislation
into line with England and Wales, after concerns about the implications
for human rights were raised by all political parties. This decision
leaves England and Wales isolated internationally as the only countries
where DNA from thousands of innocent people, including children, can be
kept permanently by the police." Also contrary to the spin put out in
the mainstream media GeneWatch point out that "only 0.35% of crimes
were detected using DNA in 2004/05 and this percentage has stayed
constant for the last three years". This despite the ever growing
number of DNA samples contained in the database.
"ID" in the news
Thelma, Louise ... and Joan - The Guardian 18/7/06
ID cards are going to make every other botched new system look like the
merest blip, a minor accident, the equivalent of getting an email
asking if your penis is too large and needs to be reduced.
Round up the youthful suspects! Govt to target crime at birth - The Register 18/7/06
Children's Minister Hilary Armstrong was due today to outline what
could become one of Project Blair's most ambitious, misguided and
hubristic projects yet. According to the Independent, midwives, doctors
and nurses are to be "asked to identify 'chaotic' families whose babies
are in danger of growing up to be delinquents, drug addicts and violent
ID cards 'could increase identity theft' - ePolitix.com 17/7/06
Shadow home secretary David Davis told MPs on Monday that ministers had
exaggerated the justifications for introducing the biometric cards and
reported that the database holding the information could be open to
abuse. Speaking at home affairs questions in the Commons, he argued
that the government's claim that the cards are needed to tackle
identity fraud is dubious.
Police DNA database 'is spiralling out of control' - The Observer 16/7/06
The security of the police National DNA Database is in question
following the disclosure of confidential emails which reveal that a
private firm has secretly been keeping the genetic samples and personal
details of hundreds of thousands of arrested people.
School in data row over plan to fingerprint pupils - The Guardian 15/7/06
Pupils at a Berkshire secondary school are to be fingerprinted and have
their details kept on a database in a controversial scheme to be
launched this autumn. The plan to scan pupils' prints every time they
enter or leave the school has been criticised by sixth-formers who
their human rights are being infringed. They believe the storage of
their biometric data on computer systems will breach their right to
privacy. Several pupils said using the scanners would make them feel
Review delays start of ID card procurement - Computing 13/7/06
Procurement for the multibillion-pound national biometric identity card
scheme will start only once the current Home Office review is
completed. And an increasing emphasis on the concept of ID management,
rather than just the cards themselves, suggests any final scheme could
be quite different from the original security-focused plan.
Online passport applications halted - The Times 11/7/06
A backlog of 5,000 passport applications has built up after serious
problems developed with a computer system only weeks after the
inception of a new online service. The Home Office agency in charge of
issuing the travel documents has
now withdrawn the online application service because of mounting
difficulties in issuing passports.
Beware of card tricks - The Guardian 11/7/06
The real point is that everything that is known about you will become
linked up on the NIR[National Identity Register]. The register will
take on a life of its own, for once you set up a system like this it
becomes ineluctably compelled to find out more and more about you. That
will be its hardwired purpose.
Iraqis turn to fake IDs for safety - Associated Press 10/7/06
Baghdad, Iraq - A bookstore in eastern Baghdad is getting more
customers these days, but they aren't looking for something to read.
The owner sells fake IDs, a booming business as Iraqis try to hide
their identities in hopes of staying alive.
Finland: Cost of Biometrics Spurs Run on Old-Style Passports - YLE 10/7/06
The demand for the older style of Finnish passports is increasing. The
new biometric passports will be available beginning just over a month
from now, on August 21. However many Finns want to get the old type of
passport before then because it is cheaper than the high-tech new
Blair's Big Brother Legacy - Vanity Fair 19/6/06
By introducing ID cards, the government is creating new paradigms of
state power. Being required to produce your papers to show who you are
is a public manifestation of who is in control. What we seem to have
forgotten is that the state is there courtesy of us and we are not here
courtesy the state.
(Please send me any items of interest you encounter -
What you can do
You can help us by:
1. Joining NO2ID / donating
Please become a NO2ID member, if you have not already done so. Our
thanks go to those that have.
(There's a membership form at http://www.no2id.net/downloads/membForm.pdf)
Donate some money towards campaign expenses.
NO2ID, Box 412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP
2. Writing to your local paper
Personal letters to your local press can be effective persuaders. Point
out that ID cards and the National Identity Register will not go away
until the Identity Cards Act is repealed.
* We also maintain a list of things you can do on our website at http://www.no2id.net/getInvolved/other.php
Publication details: © NO2ID 2006 - 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 No.412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP