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Friday, March 17, 2006 3:56 PM
NO2ID Supporters' Newsletter No 41 - 17th March 2006

Time to redouble our efforts - lobbying crossbench peers

This week the government overturned the Lords' amendment on 'creeping compulsion' twice! But peers are standing firm and the mood and strength of feeling in the Commons, with regards to compulsion, appears to have changed - yesterday MPs voted to reinstate compulsion by a narrower margin(51 majority) than 'glorification' of terrorism(59 majority).

An important point to note is that in the Lords the Crossbenchers, who constituted the significant part of the Government gain at the last Lords vote on Wednesday, are NOT actually supporting ID cards.  They are supporting a particular notion of the Constitution / Parliament, i.e. the primacy of the elected House. They are absolutely within their rights to keep sending the bill back though and they are in the almost unique position that the very matter over which the two Houses are at loggerheads is the interpretation of the manifesto promise itself. Consequently the Salisbury convention, by which legislation meant to deliver a manifesto promise is traditionally unopposed by the House of Lords, can hardly be expected to apply.

For this reason, when you write to crossbench peers you need to bear in mind that their shift is probably not *towards* ID cards, but is tending to favour the Government's position / interpretation on constitutional matters. People have already noted the difference in the content of the debates in the two Houses - you can expect this to continue.

The thing to emphasise to a crossbencher right now is not therefore an argument on ID cards (though, of course, we must still continue to make these) but rather to make a case on, e.g. Government deception and abuse of Parliament, misleading the House, etc. This week Lynne Jones sent an excellent letter to Charles Clarke asking him to apologise for misleading the Commons over ID cards and highlighting the lack of transparency and disrespect for Parliament. Read the letter at http://www.epolitix.com/EN/MPWebsites/

A list of broken manifesto promises of this government can be found on our forums at http://www.no2id.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4878 (scroll down the thread).

See http://homepage.ntlworld.com/ajwatson/no2id-peers/ for help in contacting Cross-benchers.
A useful chronology of the bill's passage so far can be found at

What's next?

Calling the young!

Anyone under 26 (or thereabouts) out there? Young people are a huge untapped resource in the battle against ID cards, and underrepresented in the resources of NO2ID. We're trying to get a bunch of younger members together to launch a youth website and produce some materials aimed at a younger audience. Obviously this should be organised and led by young people! Anyone interested, please send an email to: guy@no2id.net or ring 07956 681 328 and we'll get the ball rolling.

18th March - NO2ID Swindon leafleting

Saturday 18th March 2006, 11.00 - 2.00pm, outside BHS, Swindon town centre. A fabulous way to spend a Saturday - good company, a good cause and friendly locals. Leaflets provided, just need you. If you can spare some time lovely. If you can't - drop by and say hello. Contact Lynda Warren (swindon@no2id.net).

22nd March - Science and Technology Committee to hear evidence on ID cards programme

Wednesday 22nd March 2006, 9.30am in Committee Room 8, Houses of Parliament. The Science and Technology Committee will hold its third evidence session in this inquiry on Wednesday 22 March when evidence regarding the technology supporting the Government’s Identity Card proposals will be heard from: Home Office - Ms Katherine Courtney, Director, Identity Cards Programme, Dr Henry Bloomfield, Technical Lead, Identity Cards Programme, Mr Nigel Seed, Project Director, National Identity Register and Operational Technology Infrastructure.

18th April - NO2ID Planning meeting, Central London

Tuesday, 18th April 6.30pm at University of London Union, Room 3a, Malet Street WC1 (Nearest tubes: Goodge Street, Warren Street, Russell Sq). NO2ID invites you to an open meeting to discuss how best to carry the campaign forward. The meeting is free to attend but we will be asking for donations to help cover the cost of the room hire.

What just happened?

NO2ID's position

Some people have asked why NO2ID is encouraging peers and MPs to vote for an amendment to make registration on the National Identity Register voluntary, saying a voluntary ID card is as bad as a compulsory one. This is a good question.

NO2ID remains entirely opposed to the government's ID scheme. But few people understand that the Home Office idea of "voluntary" means compulsion via 'designated documents'. Making a stand on this exposes the fraud on the electorate at the very outset of the scheme.

At this stage in the Parliamentary process there are very few options, but we do know that the government cannot accept such an amendment without derailing their whole plan, which relies on hidden compulsion. Very few people will enjoy the interrogation of their entire life that the scheme requires, so to make it properly voluntary will quickly kill it as the
guinea pigs tell their stories and rejection spreads. Meanwhile, each refusal by the Lords draws the attention of more people to the true nature of government plans.

Far from modifying or toning down our opposition, this is just one means by which we can build future resistance.

New NO2ID events manager

This week Steve Coast was appointed as our new events manager. Steve will collate NO2ID events and information from across the country and feed it to the website and others. Local groups should let him know whenever you are doing something - street stalls, public meetings, Council votes, etc. (please bear in mind that Steve is interested in forthcoming NO2ID activities and unfortunately cannot offer free advertising for any old event). Steve can be contacted at (events@no2id.net).

Government's case destroyed on Sussex airwaves in seconds

On Tuesday NO2ID Brighton's Harry Metcalfe was interviewed on Bright FM's lunch time news bulletin. Harry managed to attack the government's position on ID cards with relation to immigration, benefit fraud and terrorism in under two minutes. NO2ID Brighton are regularly out on the streets of Brighton campaigning against ID cards, they can be contacted at (brighton@no2id.net).

Campaigner addresses local Labour party

On Monday 6th March NO2ID Wandsworth's Serena Martin addressed the Labour party's Bedford & Nightingale Branch in Tooting Bec, at the invitation of the ward secretary.  Lively discussion ensued, with one staunch advocate of nothing to hide, nothing to fear, though others were concerned about errors, cost, and people being denied access to services.

1st regular NO2ID planning meeting looks at road ahead

On Tuesday evening the first of NO2ID's regular planning meetings took place at the University of London Union(ULU). The meeting discussed a variety of campaigning strategies for the aftermath of the government's oppressive ID cards bill becoming law. National co-ordinator Phil Booth echoed the views of many others when he said: "we must keep telling people about what ID cards will mean to them". Issues discussed included encouraging councils & unions to pass motions against ID cards and the importance of interacting with members of the public via stalls, leafleting and sign-up sheets. The next planning meeting will be 18th April, once again at ULU, all are welcome.

ID bill in parliamentary ping pong

This week saw the ID cards bill move between the House of Commons and the House of Lords in a process known as parliamentary ping pong. On Monday night MPs voted 310 to 277(a majority of 33) to reject the Lords' amendment to the bill and re-introduce defacto compulsion(whereby people renewing their passports must register for an ID card). During the debate only the Home Secretary spoke in favour of ID cards. Nick Clegg MP pointed out that: "The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition of voluntary - 'done, given, or acting of one's own free will'", adding that the debate was not just about "one of the most expensive, illiberal follies in recent times, it is also about our specific disagreement on the meaning of that one word".

On Wednesday the bill returned to the House of Lords where peers voted by 218 to 183(a majority of 35) to remove compulsion. On Thursday evening the bill returned to the Commons once again. The fruit of anti-ID card campaigners' work was evident in the Lords as Lord Phillips pointed out that he had "never had such a unanimous mailbag in my eight years here [...] I have not had a single representation made by any organisation or individual in support of the Government’s position in making this card compulsory for every citizen".

On Thursday afternoon the bill returned once again to the Commons where MPs voted once again to introduce back door compulsion (by 292 votes to 241, a majority of 51). The bill will return to the Lords on Monday (20th March).

Home Secretary bigs up NO2ID in commons debate

During Thursday afternoon's debate Charles Clarke once again bent the English language to near breaking point. He mentioned a poll commissioned by NO2ID ,(see last newsletter), to claim that ID cards are a popular measure and went on to say that: "the NO2ID poll explicitly asked whether the card should be issued with a passport". In fact the poll asked people what they thought of the fact that "the Government has proposed the introduction of identity cards that, in combination with your passport, will cost around £93". Having redefined the word voluntary Clarke now seems to have found a new definition of the word explicitly.

Home Office Minister says renew your passport now

On Tuesday 7th March Home Office Minister Andy Burnham told The Times newspaper that someone who does not want to be on the National Identity Register "should renew their passport before the introduction of the scheme proper", likely to be 2008 or 2009. More details of passport renewal emerged in the commons on Monday when ex-ID card rebel Neil Gerrard asked for clarification on the rules for renewal. The Home Secretary said: "My understanding is that an individual can renew their passport at any time." On Wednesday the UK Passport Service(UKPS) website was updated to reflect these comments.

Passport website update

" You do not have to wait until your passport is nearly expired to renew it, but we can add no more than 9 months unexpired validity from the old passport to the new one. You can renew your passport whenever you wish, but you must pay the full fee and no refund can be given for the unexpired validity in the old passport."
See http://www.ukps.gov.uk/passport_renewing_eligible.asp

ID Cards could go chip and pin

Home Office Minister Andy Burnham, speaking at the 'Smart Cards & e-Government Conference' on Wednesday, revealed that ID cards could us chip and pin technology instead of biometrics. Burnham said a "chip and pin" style code number could be used to verify cardholders' identities in some cases, rather than fingerprints, face and iris scans which will be encoded in the card."
See http://www.24dash.com/content/news/viewNews.php?navID=7&newsID=3874

Passport offices deal won by Mapeley

The contract to set up a new network of passport offices has been won by Mapeley, the property company that bought the offices of the Inland Revenue in a controversial outsourcing deal five years ago. Mapeley will set up interrogation centres to be used for passport and ID card applications. The government sold Mapeley hundreds of Inland Revenue buildings which they now lease from them and will pay an estimated £2 billion in rent over the next 20 years. As reported extensively in Private Eye, Mapeley maximise their profits by using tax havens, thus depriving the Inland Revenue of yet more money.

Comic anti-ID website

A satirical UK website has been taking a wry look at the governments ID card plans. The site includes sample application forms and news reports, such as a story about the use of ID cards to tackle identity fraud in schools. The report says that "last year, hundreds of children arrived at their schools only to find that adult imposters had completed their mathematics homework for them and their marks suffered as a result". Other headlines include "ID Cards 'Will Not Lead to an Orwellian Nightmare', Says Citizen 447T/236496QH-Delta" and "Government Shelves Id Cards, Introduces Ego Cards Instead".
See http://www.socialscrutiny.org/doss1er-index.php

US Government Accounting Office(GAO) raises smartcard concerns

A series of reports have been released by the US Government Accounting Office highlighting problems with the US government's Federal employees and contractors smartcard scheme(FIPS 201). Many of the issues highlighted are relevant to the UK's ID card scheme. One report(GAO-06-178) points out that: "Under the original plan, the smartcards were to hold the data of two fingerprints. But that would take so much memory it would take as long as 30 seconds to read the cards". The UK ID card scheme is to have 10 fingerprints as well as a facial image and an iris scan. Another report (GAO-05-849T) warns of the dangers of profiling, which is "the reconstruction of a person’s movements or transactions over a specific period of time" which "can compromise an individual’s privacy and anonymity". Such profiling is built in to the UK ID scheme, which has an "audit trail" that stores a record of every use of the ID card.
See http://www.gao.gov/

Commission wants European RFID policy

A debate on Europe’s approach to Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) was launched by the EU Commission on 9 March.

Supermarket ’scanners’ get whole new meaning

In a disturbing new development, the Guardian today reports that the Co-Op is introducing ‘payment by fingerprint.’

More news is available from the NO2ID newsblog at http://www.no2id.net/news/newsblog/

"ID" in the news

EU Data Protection concerns: no excuse for govt databases

Following a formal Opinion issued by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) criticising governments' embracing of biometrics as being likely to lead to uberdatabases and creepage in use, identity verification experts TSSI agrees that there is no technical need for government databases.

Beware the IDs of March

Forcing identity cards on the public would play into the hands of terrorists, it was claimed yesterday. As the House of Lords inflicted another defeat, Conservative Baroness Park of Monmouth warned that compulsory ID cards would expose people to great dangers. She said they would "expose the innermost secrets of their lives to identity theft".

Oyster data is 'new police tool'

Police are increasingly turning to Oyster travel cards to track criminals' movements, according to new figures. The smartcards, used by five million Londoners, record details of each bus, Tube or train journey made by the holder over the previous eight weeks. In January, police requested journey information 61 times, compared with just seven times in the whole of 2004.

Implanting a GPS-microchip in the body of a human being

According to their marketing material, the ID Sniper Rifle is used to implant a GPS-microchip in the body of a human being, using a high powered sniper rifle as the long distance injector. This micro chip enters the body and remains there without causing any internal damage.

New software removes ID from patient reports

American researchers have developed new open-source software to remove identifiers from patient reports. Researchers say the new open-source computer programme, managed to remove 98.3% of all identifiers from 1254 pathology reports processed.

UK issues first biometric passport

The UK has issued its first biometric passport in line with international standards, the government announced today. The scheme will be rolled out gradually over the next few months and by August all passport renewals will be replaced by new-style documents which include an electronic chip holding a facial biometric.

Spain: Spain’s eID ready to go

Spain is the latest EU country to launch an eID card system. The Minister of Home Affairs, José Antonio Alonso, presided over an official ceremony marking the beginning of Spain’s ‘Password Generation’ and the culmination of several years’ preparation for the new electronic identification (ID) system.

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

What you can do

As the ID card bill moves back to the Lords yet again you can help us by:

1. Lobbying a Lord , particularly crossbenchers

Ideally you should write to any Lords with whom you may have a connection. A list of Lords with e-mail addresses can be found at http://www.parliament-square.org.uk/lobby.htm#email. Lords can also be written to by post at the House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. All male peers (except Dukes and Archbishops) should be addressed as "My Lord", all female peers simply as "Dear Lady [surname]". Dukes and Archbishops should be addressed as "Your Grace".
Lords Lobbying Tips: http://resource.nusonline.co.uk/v1/pdf/3913.pdf
How to address Lords: http://www.parliament.uk/directories/house_of_lords_information_office/address.cfm

2. Getting involved with your local group

Organise leafleting, a stall or a public meeting to educate the public about the database that lies behind the proposed ID card scheme. See http://www.no2id.net/localGroups

3. Writing to your local paper

Personal letters to your local press can be an effective way of getting the facts about ID cards to a wider audience. The topic will be back on the news agenda as the bill moves between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Also remember that MPs always read their local papers.

We also maintain a list of things you can do on our website at http://www.no2id.net/getInvolved/other.php

Publication details: © NO2ID 2005 - 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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