|10/9/04||NO2ID NEWSLETTER – Supporter's Newsletter No.4|
Stop ID-cards and the database state
This is the latest regular email bulletin to keep you informed about the campaign against the Home Office's plans to fingerprint and track the entire population of Britain for its National Identity Register. As soon as practicable NO2ID NEWS will also be produced in printed form to let us reach people without email. Meanwhile, if you want to forward this email to friends or print and distribute hard copies, then we have no objections.
COME TO LAUNCH WITH US (LUNCH TOO)
NO2ID's official launch is on September 18th at:
Saturday 18 September 2004 11am – 2pm
The Corner Store
Nearest tube: Covent Garden | Map at
Bring your friends. Some media coverage is already assured, but the more support we can show, the better.
If you would like to be involved in an alternative event closer to home on that day contact Guy Taylor guy@no2id for help.
Want glory and the chance to do some good? Enter NO2ID's new Flash Competition for short internet movies making a case against the database state.
Shortlisted movies will be put on the No2ID site, where visitors will be able to vote for their favourite and send an e-mail link to others. Each month the movie with the most votes will be presented on the No2ID homepage. We also hope to show the best entries at meetings and events.
– Try to keep size the size of the movie down. Not everyone has broadband so files must be less than 4mb.
– Movies must be original work and not infringe copyright. See
Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject of the email should be: “Flash competition”
A PRACTICAL VIEW
We don't often quote blogs in this Newsletter, since they are usually commentary on other media, but here's a jaundiced first-hand view of ID-cards from a serving policeman:
“The only positive thing to come out of ID cards will be a few extra jobs in offices in my police station. I'm sure another department will have to be created solely for the processing and verification of ID details, which will have to be staffed…”
WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
An exciting new pretext for ID control may just have appeared. In setting out his stall for the coming year, the Prime Minister didn't mention the scheme directly.
See “Blair sets out seven policy challenges for election run-up”
That you might think is a good thing—maybe he's dropped it—until you reflect on items 2 and 4 on the list. Number 4 is old hat: “balancing tougher law and order policies with respect for civil liberties” — respect here being a synonum for “contempt”.
But the innovation is in Number 2: “personalised public services”. Mr Blair has maybe been listening to the supermarkets as suggested by The Ecologist (see Newsletter No.3)—the difference being no one forces you to have a loyalty card. It is difficult for public services to be personalised for you without the government knowing _and using_ all your personal details as a matter of course.
The new head of egovernment, is Ian Watmore, former UK managing director of Accenture (aka Andersen Consulting). He wants us to love ID-cards, too.
“Head of egovernment outlines culture shift”
And he thinks about their role in the same way. E-government is no longer about providing information to the citizen on demand. 'I think we need a new purpose and that is around transactions touching people's lives and not about volumes using web sites,' he said.
Mr.Watmore, the article tells us “says government needs to resolve the question of how citizens identify themselves, and suggests a central approach such as ID cards is needed.” That's plainly what government wants. What is needed by the people of Britain, however, may not be the same thing.
Of course we shouldn't be surprised at Mr.Watmore's views. He'd scarcely have been appointed were he an obvious dissident. And Accenture's policy document “Accenture's Technology Vision for Government” (p5) states:-
“As part of this digital security infrastructure we envision that every constituent will have a highly secured, multi-purpose, government-provided electronic ID card that will serve not only for government purposes but also for online activities in the private sector-the electronic equivalent of today's ID cards, passports, driver's licenses and social security cards.”
This is a bit more ambitious than Mr Blunkett's nominal “security” agenda. Accenture supplies consultancy on government PFI schemes and has been involved in IT systems such as the Libra project.
There seem to be a lot of people who think it would be neater (and perhaps more profitable) if your whole life was run through their—infallible, naturally—system. Atos Origin which is involved in the trial of iris, fingerprint and facial biometrics on behalf of the UK Passport Service, is another:
In their paper “A Smart Move is on the Cards”
which boosted several possible routes for the government to set up a national system, they wrote: “The Government must now give a clear sign of intent to use smart card technology and thereby pave the way for public sector and other organisations across the UK to start using this technology for the benefit of the populace.” And, no doubt, for the benefit of smart card technologists.
The breathless gee-wizz tone is wearying after a while: “We believe that the electronic entitlement card will have the same empowering effect on society as the electronic credit card had on the economy in the 1960s [sic]. Both forms of electronic smart card posses the ability to generate enormous dynamism, liberating both economic and productive forces.”
But neither the government nor its commercial partners have any interest in discussing drawbacks. They are busy finding excuses for doing what they want to do. Whether for administrative convenience or the benefit of their businesses, their interests are alligned. But they should not get away with claiming that they care about the interests of citizens
You may get this in time for:
Defy-id Resisting Identity Cards Gathering
The direct action network defy-id www.defy-id.org.uk/ is holding a free gathering to organise resistance to the Government's plans. You can email email@example.com or phone 07980 291478 for details of the venue, or more information.
Political Conferences. Anyone who'd like to help—particularly Labour Party members who may be attending their Conference, where we are planning a fringe meeting—please get in touch.
Liberal Democrat Party Conference (Brighton) 19th – 23rd September
A reminder of NO2ID's first Annual General Meeting on 9th October in Westminster. It will be for paid-up members only. So join now and have your say.
Individual membership is open to anyone who supports our aims and who pays an annual membership fee. Membership starts at 15 GBP (with an 8 GBP concessionary rate). We have deliberately set the rate low to make membership affordable to as many people as possible, but encourage you to pay what you feel you can afford as a membership fee, since we are not a charity and gifts to us are taxed. Membership forms are available on the NO2ID website, or you can write in with your name and address, enclosing a cheque for your membership fee to NO2ID. It is our policy not to pass on the details of members and supporters to any outside organisation.
EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUM
Volunteers are needed to help run a stall at the European Social Forum on 14th -17th October in London.
In is own words, the ESF is “a unique opportunity where social movements, trade unions, NGOs, refugees, peace and anti-imperialist groups, anti-racist movements, environmental movements, networks of the excluded and community campaigns from Europe and the world can come together.” So it is a chance to get our message across to a diverse range of activists and organisations—and to meet unusual people. If you can spare even a few hours, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Queen's Speech, expected to contain the Identity Bill, has been announced for 23rd November 2004. It is quite late this year.
BUTTONS & BANNERS
Website buttons are now available for download on the NO2ID website.
Please display them on your website to show support and link to us.
“ID” IN THE NEWS
Two items in one week that show how confidential databases can't be secure.
The Daily Telegraph — Criminals blackmail bank staff for information
The Guardian — Police database used to spy on dissidents for the Saudis
Ron Paul, MD (Rep.) – Reject the National ID Card
The Scotsman – We are the most watched nation in the world
In case you were wondering, Russia doesn't currently have an official national ID-card system. But most regions (including South Ossetia as far as we can tell) continue to use a version of the Soviet “Propiska” residence permit system. Production of a Propiska is widely and frequently demanded by the police, and used by the states to track and identify people, even though it has been several times ruled unconstitutional. It doesn't stop terrorism.
The Guardian – DNA fingerprinting 'no longer foolproof' www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1300068,00.html
(Please send me any items of interest you encounter – Editor email@example.com)
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