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NO2ID Supporters' Newsletter No. 49 - 6th July 2006

Contacting us: Call or email the office - 020-7793-4005 or (office@no2id.net). Please DO NOT reply to this email. The from address is the mailing list for all our thousands of supporters, so you can't send to it.


The Mirror [1] this week revealed that over 700,000 schoolchildren have been fingerprinted without the prior consent, and sometimes even knowledge, of their parents. Although not directly linked to the National Identity Register (NIR), concerns have been raised about who will have access to data gathered for this and other databases - most notably the Children's Index, which has been in the spotlight again [2].

As well as riding roughshod over the principle of consent, it appears that parents are left largely in the dark about which agencies in what circumstances will have access to their child's information - not just data derived from their fingerprints, but all associated records.

There has been a worrying proliferation of child-focussed databases in recent years, as highlighted by Action on Rights for Children(ARCH)'s recent 'Database Masterclass'[3]. And the recommendation of the Citizen Information Project (which was quietly merged with the NIR, shortly after the passing of the Identity Cards Act) that a register of under-16s be created [4] and 'aligned' with the NIR shows that at least some in government are actively promoting the notion of cradle-to-grave surveillance. (See our report on the growing number of children's databases below)

NO2ID applauds the efforts of concerned parents to draw attention to the dangers of non-consented capture and sharing of children's data, and the trivialisation of biometrics in the context of an impending programme of compulsory national registration. We encourage parents to check out their new campaign site, LeaveThemKidsAlone, and cast a vote in the online poll at http://www.leavethemkidsalone.com/poll.htm

[1] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=17324161&method=ful

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=392629&in_page_id=1770
[3] http://databasemasterclass.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_databasemasterclass_archive.html
[4] http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=589352006

What's next?

Activ8 launches on the web

The community channel has now launched the Activ8 project online. Activ8 is a community television channel set up by the BBC's Action Network. The channel will follow eight social activists (one of which is NO2ID's national co-ordinator Phil Booth) and their campaigns on TV, the web and broadband for the rest of 2006. Towards the end of July, when there are some more videos on the site,  the BBC & the Community Channel will do a more public launch to the media nationally, regionally and locally. See http://www.communitychannel.org/content/blogcategory/115/101/

The summer is a good time to contact the press

During the summer months the press are often short of news, so an article for or letter in your local newspaper is very likely to be published and will pay dividends. Something to emphasise is the changes in passports in the autumn (compulsory interviews for first time applicants) so that people can't say they weren't warned. Eventually all passport applications, including renewals will require an interview. Letters explaining the Renew for Freedom campaign have often been published, such as a letter in Kent on Sunday written by Ron Kipps of Dartford, which concisely set out compulsion linked to passports, the new interrogation procedure, the insane cost, and the fact you can renew at any time to postpone the process.

Calling all London based supporters

If you live in or around London please consider helping NO2ID Highbury on Saturday 8th July at the RISE  festival in Finsbury Park. It's a big event and a great place to promote our campaign. Just an hour on the stall or distributing leaflets would be greatly appreciated, see the listing below for more details.

8th July - Luton NO2ID - Town Centre campaigning

Saturday, 8 July at George Street in the town centre from about 11am, the Luton group will be out to gather yet more petition signatures & distribute campaign materials in particular the 'renew for freedom' A5 leaflet. For more details contact luton@no2id.net

8th July - Rise Festival - Higbury NO2ID stall

Saturday July 8th at Finsbury Park. Entrance is free, and the line up can be found at (http://www.risefestival.org/). Last year one campaigner handed out over 100 NO2ID leaflets in about 20 minutes. Come along to one of the biggest free events in London this summer and help to spread the word. Please note: a stall has been booked but no written confirmation has been received yet. For more information contact highbury@no2id.net

11th July - Glasgow NO2ID Meeting

The next meeting of Glasgow NO2ID will be on Tuesday 11th July at 7:30pm in Mono. If Mono is unsuitable on the night, we will instead go to Laurie's across the road. www.glasgow-no2id.org.uk/meeting.html All are welcome!

13th July NO2ID Volunteers Meeting Central London - 'ID cards: bad for your health'

Thursday, 13th July at 7.00pm in the Brockway Hall at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1 (nearest tube: Holborn). All are welcome to NO2ID's next regular volunteers' meeting. The meeting will be on the theme of ID cards and health. The meeting is free to attend but we will be asking for donations to help cover the cost of the room hire.

19th July - North Staffs NO2ID Meeting

Wednesday, 19th July at 8pm in the Swan, St. Edward's Street, Leek. It's very important that as many people as possible attend as we will be making final preparations for our stall at the Leek Show. As this is our first stall, and a chance for us to get a big audience, we need as many volunteers as possible to help man the stall so if you can't come to the meeting, please let us know if you can help man the stall. The Leek Show is on Saturday 29th July from 9am to 5pm. The Labour Party always have a stall at the show too. We CAN'T allow them to think that there is minimal opposition to ID cards and they will if we don't have enough people there. So, if you can do nothing else for this cause PLEASE help us run the stall - you need only give an hour. Thank you. For more information, contact (leek@no2id.net).

What just happened?

Torbay council votes against ID cards

Torbay last week became the 27th local council to pass a motion against ID cards. The council agreed to affiliate to NO2ID and "only co-operate with the national identity card scheme where specifically required to do so by law". A small minority of councillors suggested that the council was acting outside its remit but as Jim Camp of Torbay NO2ID points out: "the council is thinking ahead and calculating the impact of the ID cards scheme on the citizens of Torbay, citizens whom it has a duty to represent to the best of its ability". Current Home Office policy is that every Local Authority must compile a 'business case' and choose whether to opt in to the ID cards scheme. The funding for the hardware and software that ID cards will need will have to come from each council's own budget. Or, to put it another way, the council tax will have to be increased or services will have to be cut.

Edinburgh NO2ID hears from passionate MSP

Members of NO2ID Edinburgh were addressed by Colin Fox MSP, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party(SSP), at a meeting last week(28th June). The SSP has pledged to support the campaign and their 6 serving MSPs have said that they will refuse to register for an ID card. Mr Fox gave a wide-ranging talk, outlining the anti-libertarian practices in British politics today. He said that countering crime was basically a matter requiring collaboration between communities and the police. ID cards he said would weaken this collaboration by changing the presumption of innocence towards one of guilt. The scheme would be counter-productive and would be brought down by  non-cooperation by the public. Quoting Pastor Niemoeller ("..then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me") he said it was now time to stand against these infringements of individual rights.

Survey on ID cards wants your views

The Future of Identity in the Information Society(FIDIS) has launched a survey to gauge Europeans’ attitudes to ID cards. The FIDIS website states that: "The EU aims to facilitate freedom of movement of citizens in Europe with an electronic ID card. The new electronic ID card system would allow seamless access to governmental services, no matter where the card is issued. The system would also hold personal information on all citizens in Europe." FIDIS say that they want to make EU policymakers aware of the perceptions of EU citizens on whether and how their personal information is made available to other agencies and states. The survey can be found online via the FIDIS website (www.fidis.net) though at the time of going to press the survey was mysteriously closed.

Children: Over Surveilled, Under Protected - the growing number of children's databases

Delegates at the 'Children: Over Surveilled, Under Protected' conference at the London School of Economics last week (June 27th) heard about the worrying  array of databases used to monitor children. Terri Dowty of Action on Rights for Children(ARCH) presented an outline of a few of the information-sharing systems, these include: School Census, National Pupil Database(NPD), Connexions, ONSET, Youth Inclusion and Support Panel Management Information System (YISPMIS), Youth Inclusion Programme, Junior Youth Inclusion Programme (YIP and Junior YIP), Prolific and Other Priority Offenders Performance Management System, RYOGENS (Reducing Youth Offending Generic National Solution), NOTIFY, Nipper, MERLIN, The Common Assesment Framework, The Integrated Children's System(ICS). These systems will soon be linked together by the 'Children's Index', a complete directory of all children from birth that acts as a central hub connecting all of the other databases. Consideration is also being given to linking the Children’s Index to the National Identity Register (NIR) in order to create a single population register. More details of the conference as well as presentation materials and podcasts of speakers can be found at http://childrenoversurveilled.lse.ac.uk/programme.htm

Teenage 'entitlement' card delayed

It has been announced that a Department for Education and Skills scheme to give teenagers a Youth Opportunity Card(YOC) has been delayed. The card is expected to be delayed because councils lack the technology infrastructure to support the smart card. The government describes the card as an "entitlement card", which according to the Youth Matters green paper: "would provide discounts on a range of things to do and places to go and could also be topped up by young people and their parents with money to spend on sports and other constructive activities". However the Commission for Racial Equality in November said: "given that the cards would carry a photo and act as proof of age, we are concerned that such cards may operate as 'ID-cards' for young people. This may lead to patterns of discrimination where certain groups are more likely to be asked to produce their card to verify identity".

European Commission introduce unnecessary passport regulation

Last week the European Commission announced specifications for the introduction of fingerprints into passports and other travel documents issued by EU states. Franco Frattini the commissioner responsible for 'freedom, security and justice' said: "the EU is among the first in the world issuing passports requirements with a high level of protection against unauthorised access by providing 'Extended Access Control', whilst at the same time complying with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in order to ensure interoperability". The ICAO ePassport standard only requires a digitised photograph to be included on a chip. The UK government have repeatedly claimed that our passports need to have fingerprints and iris scans added to comply with EU and ICAO requirements. In fact the EU directive does not apply to the UK, but the government are pressing ahead with biometric passports on the back of the ID cards Act. The best way to avoid being fingerprinted and iris scanned is to renew your passport now (see www.renewforfreedom.org).
The commission's announcement is at  http://tinyurl.co.uk/xxg4

Facial Recognition Song available to download

Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has written a song about, of all things - facial recognition. Barocas is part of 'Eddie B. and the G-Spots' together with Dave and Jeff Gellis. They perform comedy song parodies which they describe as "the melodic equivalent of pelting a subject with rotten tomatoes". You can download 'Facial Recognition Technology Blues' from the group's website (www.eddiebandthegspots.com).

"ID" in the news

Whitehall fights ID costs demand - BBC News Online 5/7/06

The government is battling to ensure that estimates of the benefits and risks of identity cards remain secret. The freedom of information watchdog ordered the Department of Work and Pensions to publish its findings about how the cards could fight ID fraud. Now the department has decided to appeal against the information commissioner's ruling.

ID and Passport Agency call centre deal up for grabs - Silicon.com 4/7/06

A contract for outsourced call centre services and customer support at the newly formed Identity and Passport Service (UKIPS) is up for grabs. UKIPS, a Home Office agency, is inviting expressions of interest from suppliers to replace the existing deal with MM Teleperformance for the old UK Passport Service, which expires at the end of October 2007. From October this year, under new 'Authentication by Interview' passport rules to cut down on fraud, some 610,000 first-time applicants per year will have to attend one of a network of 69 local offices around the UK for a face-to-face interview, and the UKIPS call centres will be responsible for helping to arrange and book these locations and times.

Fingerprint Scandal of 700,000 kids - Daily Mirror 3/7/06

Fury erupted yesterday after it emerged an estimated 700,000 children are being fingerprinted at school. Systems in 3,500 primary school libraries allow pupils to take out books by scanning their thumb prints instead of using a card. But campaigners warn the technology is a massive invasion of privacy and a step towards a "database state".

Man United plan to chip players - Manchester Evening News 30/6/06

A chip the size of a grain of rice could be embedded just under the skin of stars including Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville. Satellites would track its exact position so that United's training staff can pinpoint players' movements during a match or training.

Call for ID cards to curb teen boozing - Greenock Telegraph 28/6/06

Big-brother style identity cards could be used to stamp out teen boozing in Inverclyde. Licensing bosses want under-18s to carry proof of age to ban young drinkers getting served. It's hoped the scheme will be brought in through secondary schools. "If the uptake is poor, compulsory ID cards should be brought in. I don't think it would be well received, but we're not here to win any popularity contests — it's about facing up to a serious problem.

As for ID cards, I predict a riot - The Observer 25/6/06

Close to where I live in London, a NO2ID group has sprung up to persuade Conservative, Lib Dem and Green councillors to order the local authority to refuse to co-operate with ID cards. Similar campaigns are getting going in all kinds of towns - Glossop, Rhyl, Leek, Chippenham - places you don't normally associate with militant civil disobedience.

Pointing the finger at banks - The Banker 5/6/06

In the UK, the government’s roll-out of a national identification system requires biometric iris and fingerprint data to be used by banks for customers wishing to open new accounts, to avoid fraud and money laundering. So why do so many banks object to using biometrics with their customers?

US: Workers Sue Union Pacific Over ID Theft - Associated Press 4/7/06

Omaha, Neb - Concerns about identity theft prompted a group of nine Union Pacific Corp. employees to sue the nation's largest railroad over the way it uses Social Security numbers to identify employees. The company said in May that a computer with names and Social Security numbers of 30,000 current or retired Union Pacific employees had been stolen from a personnel employee on April 29.

US: ACLU objects as two companies offer 'mind reading' technology to government - The RAW Story 28/6/06

Two private companies have announced that they will begin to offer "lie detection" services using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), as early as this summer. Experts in the field have told the ACLU that the science to back up any reliable use of fMRI as a "lie detector" or "mind reader" simply does not exist. At most, correlations have been observed between certain brain patterns and particular, highly controlled behaviors produced in laboratory experiments.

(Please send me any items of interest you encounter - Editor(newsletter@no2id.net) )

What you can do

You can help us by:

1. Helping to spread our message

Tell your friends and any organisations that you belong to about the NO2ID campaign and that you are supporting it. Most people are scarcely aware of the government's ID database project, and few understand the dangers. Feel free to redistribute this newsletter to acquaintances.

2. 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

* 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
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