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NO2ID Supporters' Newsletter No. 140 – 14th January 2010: ID Minister goes head to head with NO2ID

*Contacting us:* Call or email the office – 020-7793-4005 or (


The plan for a National Identity Scheme, whether disguised as “upgrades to passports” or not, depends on collecting and checking fingerprints and face-scans from everyone who applies. There are all sorts of technical difficulties with security, infrastructure and the inevitable false matches, but even the logistics seems to be a struggle for the Home Office.

A trial in 17 Post Offices (details here: is now testing fingerprinting and other equipment as part of another front operation, the 'ID cards for foreign nationals' from the UK Border Agency.  A Freedom of Information request (

has just revealed some interesting information about the government's struggle to ramp up 'biometric enrolment' of the general population. The plan is to enrol you on the scheme and take your fingerprints, facial photo and signature in Post Offices across the UK, if you apply for a passport from the end of 2011.

The UK Border Agency's 'Commercial Strategy On Future Biometric Enrolment Accommodation and Services' makes it quite clear the Home Office doesn't have the capacity to handle mass registration: “We have considered using IPS (which is part of the Home Office anyway) to provide these services… but they provide scant geographical coverage, and have limited space for processing the additional footfall of enrolment applications.”  So much for the value of the interrogation centre network, expensively set up in the past few years, and now being quietly wound down again.

The official documents have been mysteriously – and inconsistently – blotted out in places. Most references to costs are excised; the planned timetables are shown, but what logically should be references to how much has been done, where, are all black. Confident? In different versions of the same documents the same bits are not redacted. Competent?

Will it actually work, if it is available on time? They don't seem to think so. One Post Office presentation refers bizarrely to people whom the system can't even record: “The system can allow up to three attempts, before offering to accept and forward the last photograph if the Customer agrees, on the basis that not all people are ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organisation] conformant.”

As David Blunkett put it in another context, “impossible, not nearly impossible, impossible”.

What just happened?

+ ID Minister goes head to head with NO2ID +

NO2ID's North of England co-ordinator James Elsdon-Baker went head to head with ID scheme minister Meg Hillier on Liverpool radio station City Talk last week (4th Jan). Hillier tried to play down the cost, fines and data sharing at the heart of the ID database but James put her straight despite the fact that he only got a little over 2 minutes to make his points whilst Hillier was given almost 4 and a half minutes of air time. Hillier tried to sound like a hard working mum and sell ID cards to young people when she said: “I was talking to a young woman only today who said you know it's very handy for proving age if you look a bit young; sadly I don't get asked for that as a tired mother of three”. What Hillier actually revealed was that she hasn't been out to pubs and clubs in the UK lately, where being 40 years of age does not exempt you from illiberal systems like 'clubscan' whereby establishments trade civil liberties for booze – asking customers to have ID documents scanned before they are allowed to enter, even though such systems are meant to be voluntary. Clubscan doesn't require an ID card – they'll happily breach your civil liberties with existing forms of ID. Listen to the exchange online at: (start 1hr 6mins into the programme)

       + NO2ID's General Secretary Nominated for Liberal Voice of 2009 +

NO2ID's General Secretary Guy Herbert has been short-listed for the Liberal Voice of the Year 2009 award by the Liberal Democrat Voice blog. The award seeks to “find the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in this country in the past 12 months”. Guy has been nominated “for his campaigning work against the database state” and it indicates the impact of NO2ID's campaign in the UK. We should point out that NO2ID is a strictly non-partisan organisation and that Guy is not a member of the Liberal Democrat party. See

       + ID Card Service Chief Podcasts +

James Hall, Chief Executive of the UK Identity and Passport Service recently took part in a podcast for Consult Hyperion. According to Consult Hyperion: “In this podcast he explains some of the challenges of delivering large-scale IT-enabled change and talks about the status of the project now that the first ID cards have been issued”. Hall spoke about those of us who campaign against ID cards when he said: “the level of insight from those who are sort of fundamentally disagreeing with what we are seeking to do – I think its been a little bit disappointing really [..] it hasn't really evolved”. Hall on the other hand showed an amazing amount of evolution from usual nonsense about the ID card database not holding very much data when he claimed: “we've narrowed down at the same time exactly what information that we're going to hold, and when you look at that information I think a lot of the fears that are put around that somehow this represents the universal database of personal information I mean just don't stand scrutiny, its a minimum set of information sufficient only for the purpose of identifying you”. Perhaps Hall should stop 'evolving' and remind himself of the Identity Cards Act which states that the database will store fifty categories of information about each citizen who signs up, and can be changed or added to without your consent. Listen at

       + ID database will track NI numbers +

The Home Secretary has admitted in a Parliamentary answer (5th Jan) that the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is collecting National Insurance numbers from every person who applies for an ID card, and storing them on the National Identity Register – the ID card database. For more info see

     What's next?

** *+ Call for North West Volunteers +*
If you fancy doing something practical then we have a large supply of our new “Don't be a Guinea Pig” leaflets, that warn of the dangers of being foolish enough to volunteer for the scheme. Ensuring as many people as possible are aware of what they are really signing up for helps us ensure people are not conned by the marketing. If you fancy helping out then email with the number you would be happy to distribute and we will send them to you. Even better, come along to the next meeting of your local group to pick some up and meet some like-minded people. Check out for a list of groups in your area.

*+ POWER2010 campaign wants your ideas +*
NO2ID supporters are invited to contribute ideas for the POWER2010 campaign, which will set out a reforming agenda at the next general election.  Naturally NO2ID would like ideas about curtailing the database state to feature, but you are certainly not limited to that. You can contribute ANY ideas for governmental reform on the campaign's website at: ( The ideas with most support will become the POWER2010 Pledge, which the campaign intends to invite every candidate standing at the next general election to make the pledge into their own public commitment, so that the new parliament will be fully aware of what the public thinks of those building-blocks of government which are fundamental but seldom covered by manifestos.

*+ Have your say – National Identity Service Public Panels +*
The UK Identity and Passport Service (UKIPS) is setting up public panels around the country to get the views of members of the public as they build the “National Identity Service”. Public panels will be made up of 11 members, and will meet for half a day up to three times a year. The aim is to “produce an Identity Rights Charter. This will set out the rights and responsibilities people, businesses and the Government have under the NIS”. To join a panel you can fill in the online form at or call 020 3356 8174. More details at

     ”ID” in the news

*+ Debate on DNA database continues to rage – Computing 12/1/10 +*
In the run up to a general election the DNA database is likely to act as a lightning rod for debate around civil liberties and technology.

*+ Stockport becomes seventh Lorenzo site – eHealth Insider 11/1/10 +*
NHS Stockport has become the seventh site to implement iSoft's Lorenzo electronic patient record system. The primary care trust has gone live with Lorenzo Regional Care Release One (LRC 1) clinical documentation model.

*+ No budget for NPfIT agreed post March – eHealth Insider 8/1/10 +*
No budget for the NHS National Programme for IT has yet been agreed after the end of March, now less than three months away. By the end of March the programme will have spent in excess of £6 billion, almost the whole of the original £8.14 billion budget.

*+ Tiger Woods could need ID card – Computer Weekly 7/1/10 +*
Sports personalities Tiger Woods, Kevin Pietersen and Andriy Voronin may have to apply for national ID cards following a change in the rules announced by border and immigration minister Phil Woolas.

*+ ID card scheme for foreigns extended – The Register 7/1/10 +*
The government's much loved ID card scheme was extended yesterday – from now on Tier 2 foreign nationals will have to apply for a card if they wish to extend their stay in the UK. Tier 2 includes skilled workers, ministers of religion, sportsmen and women, representatives of overseas businesses and dependants.

*+ Johnson reveals ID register linked to NI numbers – The Register 7/1/10 +*
Home Secretary Alan Johnson has confirmed that the National Identity Register contains National Insurance numbers and answers to 'shared secrets'.

*+ Identity crisis in Cumbria – News & Star 5/1/10 +*
After more than 15 years of debate and controversy, ID cards have arrived in Cumbria. Available to anyone over 16 with £30 to spend, they have been promoted as the safest, most convenient way to prove your identity.

(Please send me any items of interest you encounter – Editor ( )


To see if there's a group in your area check our list at Or, if you're interested in starting a group yourself, please contact Matty on to discuss what's involved and what we have in place to support coordinators and their groups.

_*+ Birmingham +*_

*+ 27th January – Birmingham NO2ID Meeting +*
Wednesday 27th January, 7:30pm at Bennett's Bar, Bennetts Hill, Birmingham.

*+ 30th January – Birmingham NO2ID Street Stall +*
Saturday 30th January in Birmingham city centre. Call 07943 951 816 or email for more details.

_*+ Cambridge +*_

*Ministerial No Show*
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas was scheduled to visit Cambridge's main Post Office in St Andrew's Street at 8am on 6th  January to inspect an ID card fingerprinting machine. A large crowd of NO2ID stalwarts gathered unreasonably early in the cold outside the Post Office to let the Minister that the ID card scheme isn't welcome in Cambridge. However, the ministerial visit was cancelled at the last minute, apparently because of the “extreme weather”. Nevertheless, we got some good coverage in the local paper (with a photo), on 209 community radio, and on various Cambridge blogs:

Well done to everyone who turned out to greet the Minister!

*+ 16th January – Cambridge NO2ID Street Stall +*
Saturday 16th January, in the usual spot outside Cambridge Guildhall ( from 1pm (note earlier time). Please contact Andrew on 07710 469624 if you'd like to help.

*+ 17th January – Cambridge Student NO2ID Social +*
Sunday 17th January, 8:00pm in Newham College Bar, Cambridge students are invited to join us for informal drinks and chat, to get the term off to a good start! For more details, email or call 07710 469624.

_*+ Camden and Islington +*_

*+ 2nd February – Camden and Islington NO2ID Meeting (first Tuesday of month) +*
Tuesday 2nd February, 8.00pm at the Kings Head, 59 Essex Rd, Islington. All welcome.

_**__*+ Canterbury +*_

To stay up to date join the Canterbury NO2ID mailing list on:

*_+ Coventry +_*

*+ 18th February – Coventry NO2ID Meeting + *
Thursday 18th February, 18:30-19:30 at the Squirrel Pub [New Union Street, city centre]. We'll be discussing arrangements for the Saturday stall and other ways we can get involved in the fight against the database state. Everyone welcome; bring a friend.

*+ 20th February – Coventry NO2ID Street Stall +*
Saturday 20th February, 9:30am onwards. The street stall is back. We'll be setting up by the Bull-Yard, near the Glasshouse Bar in the city centre. If you're free to lend a hand, even for an hour, please get in touch with Claire [] or come to the meeting on Thursday 18th to find out more.

_*+ Dorking +*_

*+ 2nd February – Dorking NO2ID Monthly Meeting (first Tuesday of month) +*
Tuesday 2nd February, at 7.30pm – our monthly get-together at South Street Wine Bar, 43 South Street, Dorking. Planning has begun for our special Election Question Time on Civil Liberties. We are holding it in Crawley for a change. If you would like to  help or get involved, email Geoff Cox at or come along to our monthly get-togethers.

_*+ Dover +*_*

*To stay up to date with Dover NO2ID join our mailing list on:

_**__*+ Edinburgh + *_*****

****+ Saturdays 1pm – 3pm – NO2ID Edinburgh Street Stall +*
Every week, weather permitting, you will find our campaigning stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.  Do drop by for a chat.  New volunteers – please contact John (, and for more group information see

_*+ Epsom +*_

If anyone wants to get involved in the Epsom area, please email or phone NO2ID South East Regional Coordinator Geoff Cox on or call 01306 631377.

_*+ Exeter +*_

If you would like to join the Exeter group, please email and say hello! Do also join the Exeter group mailing list at

_*+ Hull +*_

*+ 30th January – Hull NO2ID Meeting and Street Stall +*
Saturday 30th January, 12 noon at The Mission pub in the city centre (11-13 Posterngate, HU1 2JB — very close to Princes Quay shopping centre). Following the meeting the group will head out and do a stall for a couple of hours (weather permitting). For those not able to make the meeting, please keep an eye out for the stand in the city centre and come and say hello. Email us at for further details.

If you are interested in the work of this group, or planning on attending the meeting, please join the Liverpool mailing group at

_**__*+ Ipswich +*_*

* If you are interested in the work of the Ipswich group, please join their mailing list on:

_*+ Lancaster +*_

*+ 16th January – Lancaster NO2ID Meeting and Street Stall +*
Saturday 16th January, 12pm in the function room of the Robert Gillow, 64 Market Street, Lancaster, LA1 1HP. Weather permitting, the meeting will be followed by a street stall. The Lancaster group is being re-launched as part of the ongoing 'Don't Be A Guinea Pig' campaign in the North West. For further details contact Owen Pearman at

If you are interested in the work of this group, or planning on attending the meeting, please join the Lancaster mailing group at

_*+ Liverpool +*_

*+ 16th January – Liverpool NO2ID Meeting and Street Stall +*
Saturday 16th January at 11:30 am in the Tuebrook Hope Centre (Rear St John's Church, 1B Snaefell Avenue, Liverpool, L13 7HA). Come along and have a coffee & chat about the scheme, and to discuss practical things you can do to help oppose it. After the informal meeting we are planning to head out to Norris Green in an attempt to reach out to ordinary people who will be negatively affected by the scheme. Further details – James Elsdon-Baker (

If you are interested in the work of this group, or planning on attending the meeting, please join the Liverpool mailing group at

**_*+ Norwich +*_ *

**+ 13th February – Norwich NO2ID Street Stall +*
Saturday 13th February, 1-3pm at The Haymarket, Gentleman's Walk. Support for Gordon Brown, New Labour and ID cards is crumbling – come along to make sure that we decimate them all for good.

*+ 15th February – Norwich NO2ID Meeting +*
Tuesday 15th February, 7:30-9pm, Norwich NO2ID will be meeting at The Workshop Cafe (opposite The Black Horse), 53 Earlham Road, NR2 3AD. Find out how you can stick it to Charles Clarke and Co in the upcoming election.

If you are interested in the work of the Norwich group, please join their mailing list on:

_*+ Oxford +*_

See the website for info:

_*+ Portsmouth +*_

Join the Portsmouth mailing list at

_*+ Reading +*_*
Contact Reading NO2ID on or join our web group at*
_*+ Watford +*_*
Please contact Colin Simmons on if you are interested in giving a couple of hours a month to join us.

_*+ York +*_ *
Apology for Meeting Cancellation*
A re-launch meeting for York NO2ID was scheduled for 9th January but had to be cancelled at the last minute. Many apologies to those who turned up, and thank you for getting in contact afterwards. Further events will be scheduled (and will happen this time!) so please keep an eye out.

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

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