Urgent Action for Local Elections in May
The Bill has passed – now the real fight begins.
One of our key tasks is to make the ID scheme politically unsupportable BY ANYONE. We have to make running on a platform that supports (in fact, that does not actively oppose) compulsory registration, a National Identity Register and ID cards political suicide for any party or politician going into any sort of election.
This is a long term goal, but one that is absolutely achievable in stages. We are already winning hearts and minds – a 30% shift in public opinion to date – and will continue to do so.
The Government knows that it has to win people over, too – it can’t simply bully its way to its goal, like it did in parliament. But it’ll be hampered by the scheme’s costs spiralling out of control (with the attendant blast of bad publicity every 6 months), the technology failing (predictably or spectacularly), having to background-check and fingerprint perfectly law-abiding citizens, screwing up 1 in 10 (or more) people’s details, issuing a card that is basically no use for anything much but scraping ice off your windscreen until 2013 (except maybe ‘travel within Europe’ – but then you’re getting the thing alongside a proper passport…), etc., etc., etc. PLUS all the stuff we’re going to do!
In May, there are local elections.
We ask that, before the elections, every NO2ID supporter and ID opponent in the country asks every single one of their potential representatives their position on ID cards, and makes it clear to them (especially those who defend the ID scheme) that they will NEVER vote for a supporter of compulsory registration or ID cards. This is not (yet) a ‘decapitation’ strategy, nor are we proposing tactical voting in May – but if enough people do this, the aspiring political class will begin to sit up and take notice.
How many letters, e-mails or meetings will this take? We cannot say. But if you get no response, send another letter – always keep copies – and start writing to your local paper, too: “This candidate refuses to engage with the genuine concerns of a potential constituent, how fit for office can (s)he be?”. Turn up at hustings and wave copies of your unanswered letters. At some point you’ll get a response – and the longer it takes, the worse the candidate looks. If you do get an interesting response, e.g. vehement opposition to the scheme by a Labour candidate, do let us know [send an e-mail to email@example.com].
None of this is hard to do. It just requires that enough of us get organised and DO it.
Please start this weekend – find out who your candidates will be. Get their addresses. Write the first letter, construct a questionnaire, see if any of them will respond to e-mail (but don’t rely exclusively on it). And follow through.
In the next five weeks you could sow the seeds of defeat for the ID scheme in your area, but you’ll never know unless you try.
National Coordinator, NO2ID
A number of supporters have asked for information about when and how to renew their passport. We are in the midst of putting together a detailed fact sheet. Watch this space…
Pennine Way sponsored walk
One dedicated walker and supporter, Bob from the North, is taking his anti-ID card message out on the open road to raise money for NO2ID. Bob’s walk begins at the Scottish borders on 7th April and is scheduled to end in Derbyshire on 20th April. Bob said : “ID cards won’t make a difference to what the top of Cross Fell looks like, the rain on your hat in Ribblesdale or the peaty quagmire of Black Hill. It won’t change the ache in your calves or the blisters on your feet, but the existence of the ID card in your pocket is something of a metaphysical challenge to all the ideals of the English people – an abrupt and total obliteration of the quiet anonymity which we have cherished for so long.” Check the NO2ID website for details of how to sponsor Bob.
Web server appeal
The increased media attention and growing public awareness of the horrors of the government’s ID card scheme has meant that we have had to buy an extra web server to help us spread our message. We urgently need help in paying for the upgrade. If you can help in any way with a donation then please send a cheque payable to “NO2ID” to: NO2ID,Box No. 412,78 Marylebone High Street,London W1U 5AP. Details of other ways to donate can be found at www.no2id.net/getInvolved/donate.php .
New local groups
We have new local groups forming every week. Recent groups include Croydon, Leek, Lewes, Lincoln, Belvedere, Glossop, Reading, Southampton, Redbridge, Torbay and we have new group coordinators in Leeds (Roger Tattersall) and Southwark (Martin Smith). Local groups will be the key to informing the public about the National Identity Register and ID cards in the years ahead. If you are not already involved in a local group then please do get in touch or if there isn’t a group near you then consider setting one up. More details of local groups can be found at www.no2id.net/localGroups.
Just a reminder that our events manager Steve Coast is our new point of contact for events information. Local groups should let him know whenever you are doing something – street stalls, public meetings, Council votes, etc. Steve can be contacted at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
6th April – Swindon NO2ID meeting
Thursday 6th April 2006, 7.30pm at the Clifton Inn, Clifton Street, Swindon, NO2ID Swindon will be holding their next meeting. All welcome. For more info contact Lynda at (email@example.com). Swindon also have their own website at www.NO2IDSwindon.org.uk
7th April – Brighton NO2ID Public Meeting
Friday 7th April, 7.30pm, upstairs at Circus Circus, Preston Circus, Brighton (opposite the Duke of Yorks cinema). NO2ID Brighton Public meeting: ‘How do we beat ID Cards now?’ Speaker: Phil Booth (NO2ID national co-ordinator). For more details contact NO2ID Brighton & Hove: firstname.lastname@example.org
8th April – Swindon NO2ID, leafleting with ‘Charles Clarke’
Saturday 8th April, 11.00 am – 1.30pm outside BHS. Campaigners will join a Charles Clarke lookalike in the town centre distributing leaflets and answering questions on the ID card bill. All welcome. For more info contact Lynda at (email@example.com).
12th April – NO2ID Edinburgh Meeting
Wednesday 12th April, 7.00pm in The Hall, Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL (map: tinyurl.com/lubac), the NO2ID Edinburgh Group will be holding their next meeting.The speaker will be Kenny MacAskill MSP, Scottish National Party. All are welcome. New NO2ID supporters can find out more about the Edinburgh Group at www.no2id-scotland.net/edinburgh/ .
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). Following the passing of the Identity Cards Act 2006 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?
Ping pong ends after record breaking 6 bats
On Wednesday the Identity Cards Bill was passed by parliament. The endgame began on Monday the House of Lords voted by 219 to 191 to amend the ID cards bill and duly sent it back to the Commons for a 5th time. At issue was the nature of voluntary ID registration for passport applicants. Lord Armstrong proposed an opt-out clause, whereby with a passport application/renewal an ID card and National Identity Register entry would be made unless the applicant specifically requested to opt-out. On Tuesday afternoon this amendment was rejected by MPs and the bill returned to the House of Lords once again. On Tuesday evening Lord Armstrong offered up another amendment that was dubbed “a compromise” and which the government indicated they would accept. The so called “compromise” was that up until 1st January 2010 passport applicants can opt out of receiving an ID card – but they will be compulsorily registered on the National Identity Register. Those of us that know what is wrong with the government’s scheme know that it is the database behind the cards that is the issue, not the plastic card itself. The Lords however seemed to miss this crucial point and voted to accept Lord Armstrong’s amendment by 287 to 60.
The bill then returned to the Commons for a sixth and final time last night, when MPs voted by 301 to 84 to accept peers’ amendments. A shocking 250 MPs abstained. The Home Secretary revealed that even if passport applicants opt not to have a plastic ID card they will still have to pay the full price of a combined passport and ID card. He also revealed that passport holders entered onto the National Identity Register would be subject to the database’s audit trail, the building blocks of total surveillance.
A few MPs did speak against this abysmal piece of legislation.
Nick Clegg MP said: “The introduction of identity cards will usher in one of the most far-reaching changes in British public life in recent times. […] It will revolutionise the capacity of the state to monitor the movements and behaviour of each and every one of us. It erodes privacy, and in extremis it will curtail freedom”.
Bill Cash MP said: “The Bill should be excoriated and put in the dustbin. I shall not support it under any circumstances whatsoever.”
Simon Hughes MP said: “If the Home Secretary thinks this is the end of the matter, he is wrong. Many of us have made it absolutely clear that we will do everything in our power, personally and on behalf of other people, never to have identity cards or to be on a national identity register. I encourage everybody listening and watching to renew their passports now so that they will not have to be subject to the ID card regime for the next 10 years. I hope that many will do so.”
Richard Sheperd MP said: “One day, this Government will experience the wrath and indignation of a country that understands that this is not a small social measure; it is in fact a declaration by Government that the centralised state is more important and greater than the sum of every individual free citizen of the country that we were sent to represent.”
Stuart Hosie MP said: “When the scale of the opposition to carrying an ID card or to being included on a central biometric database rises to the scale of the opposition we saw to the poll tax, I fear that the entire edifice will collapse.”
Science & Technology committee hear evidence against ID card scheme
Last week(22nd March) the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee held a session on the proposed ID card scheme. It emerged that the Home Office does not know what technologies they will use, nor have they tested any systems – apparently that will take place during the procurement phase. The chairman of the committee was surprised at the Home Office’s optimism with regards to delivering the scheme, as the committee had, he said, been talking to the US Department of Homeland Security about ID in the US. US officials said that “the technology was not there and that they were not in a position even to recommend to the administration that a procurement process should start”. Maybe the US are waiting to see what kind of a mess the Home Office make of ID cards here first.
RFID Viruses and Worms
It has emerged that RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips are susceptible to viruses and worms. A report produced by the University of Amsterdam details ‘Well-Known RFID Threats’, ‘RFID-Based Exploits’ and ‘RFID-Based Viruses’. The report warns that “data from RFID tags can be used to exploit back-end software systems”. The UK will begin rolling out biometric passports containing a facial biometric from October. The new passports will contain an RFID style contactless chip containing the facial image and biographical data.
Torqay NO2ID begin campaigning
Spring is the season of regrowth and so this morning the fledgling Torquay NO2ID started campaigning in Lower Union Street (outside what used to be Dixons) from 10am to 1pm. Torquay co-ordinator, Jim Camp, would like to pass on his appreciation to Brighton NO2ID for the invaluable experience he gained with them. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the Torquay group.
Blue Peter badge ID cards
The BBC announced this week that they are considering issuing a photo ID card to accompany Blue Peter badges after the coveted trinkets have appeared on the auction website ebay. The badges have been touted on ebay as a way of gaining free entry to zoos and stately homes. The BBC are considering issuing bona-fide badge winners with a photo ID card, though they have made no mention of a centralised database or the inclusion of biometrics. We imagine the government will be watching this one closely for ways to cut the astronomical ID card scheme budget using washing up bottles and sticky back plastic.
Correction: newsletter 41 – ID Sniper rifle – Reality stranger than fiction
In the last newsletter an item, ‘Implanting a GPS-microchip in the body of a human being’, appeared in the ‘ID in the news’ section. The story was actually about a hoax engineered by Danish artist Jakob S. Boeskov together with writer Mads Brugger and designer Kristian von Bengston. In June 2002 they founded a fake company ‘Empire North’ and touted their non-existent weapon at an arms fair, ‘China Police 2002', in Beijing. Looking at current trends in GPS tagging they thought it would “merely be a question of time before the technology would be used pre-emptively on suspicious persons”. Delegates at the fair clearly agreed and were eager to get their hands on the technology…
Policy laundering and the EU
This week it was reported that the Home Office intends to link implementation of an Identity Card and National Identity Register with an EU Directive on the content of passports. In fact, as we have repeatedly reported, the UK is not bound by the EU biometric passport regulations because it is not a signatory to the Schengen Agreements that remove border controls between EU countries. It has also emerged that EU member states are to replace national drivers licences with EU licences that will only last 10 years and look set to contain a microchip containing data about the owner. The issuing of new licences will be obligatory from 2012. The government will no doubt use this directive as an excuse for linking licence renewal to national identity registration. In November 2005, during the UK’s presidency, EU ministers attending a summit in Manchester unanimously approved the ‘Manchester Declaration’ which says: “Member States will, during 2006, agree a process and roadmap for achieving the electronic identity objectives and address the national and European legal barriers to the achievement of the electronic identity objectives. Work in this area is essential for public administrations to deliver personalised electronic services with no ambiguity as to the user’s identity.”
“ID” in the news
Tories promise to ditch ID Cards
The Conservatives will scrap ID Cards if they win the 2010 election, shadow home secretary David Davis declared: “My first act when I take over as home secretary after the next election will be to do away with the bill.”
Labour isn’t wicked – but it’s doing just what the Nazis did
Imagine we had a really bad government. I mean morally bad, wicked. It couldn’t happen, right? We wouldn’t let it, would we? Tyranny is sidling in. It is entering with face averted, under cover of a host of laws whose ostensible purpose is the reverse of their actual effect.
Privacy zealots distort ID debates
The ongoing debate over identity cards is a good reflection of public attitude towards large-scale government IT projects.Perhaps those in the privacy camp would do better to call for guarantees that any central identity database will be totally secure and subject to strict access controls.
Government taking EU lead over ID cards
A fresh row over ID cards has erupted after a leaked Home Office memo showed that the Government is trying to cover up the way the scheme is linked to new EU laws.
Giffard attacks ‘muddled’ card bid
Staffordshire’s top cop has attacked government plans to introduce identity cards to help police in the battle against serious crime. Chief Constable John Giffard criticised the controversial hi-tech scheme during an exclusive interview with the Newsletter. The 53-year-old, due to stand down on March 31 after the Royal visit, said: “Identity cards are a bit of a muddle. My own view is that we would have been better doing a national DNA database if we were going to go the whole hog.
ID data may be split between companies
Personal data gathered for the government’s proposed ID card scheme could be held by several different companies rather than in one central government database, according to Home Office officials. The plan was presented to MPs as a counter to the “honeypot” problem – huge quantities of data held in one place being vulnerable to attack. But sceptics say splitting up the data could add to security problems.
Identity cards a ‘present’ to terrorists and criminals, spy heroine says
A national identity card scheme will be a “present” to terrorists, criminal gangs and foreign spies, one of Britain’s most respected former intelligence agents has told ministers. The warning from Daphne Park, who served for 30 years as a senior controller for MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, came as the parliamentary power struggle over the identity cards bill dragged on.
Passport data checks go live
A scheme for verifying the personal details of passport applicants, which is intended to provide the basis for an ID cards checking system, has gone live. The UK Passport Service (UKPS) confirmed on 13 March 2006 that the Personal Identity Process (PIP) has begun to check information provided by first time applicants against data held by credit reference agency Equifax. PIP is now live and is being rolled out to UKPS regional offices in stages through to the summer.
China: Name for baby? Check out national database
Chinese parents may have to ponder less longer over their babies’ names with a regulation on name registration being drafted. Instead of using whatever characters they want, parents might choose from a special database. Some parents choose names from the gigantic Kang Hsi Dictionary that lists 50,000 characters while the largest standard computer database contains only 27,000.
Spain : Spanish province of Cuenca leads the way for electronic registration of citizens
Cuenca has just become the first province in Spain to set up an electronic register of citizens. Set up in collaboration with Red.es, the official government agency for the promotion of the information society, the register will allow citizens wider, and more secure access to on-line public services.
A US site set up to resist the US Real ID Act.
(Please send me any items of interest you encounter – Editor(email@example.com) )
What you can do
As the ID card bill moves back to the Lords once again you can help us by:
1. Joining / donating
Please join NO2ID, if you are not already a paid-up member.
(There’s a membership form at www.no2id.net/downloads/membForm.pdf)
Donate some money towards campaign expenses.
NO2ID, Box 412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP
2. Promoting our flash animations
Send a link to our comedy flash animation (eclectech.co.uk/swizz.php), our new ID cards quiz (www.no2id.net/IDSchemes/quiz.php) and others at www.no2id.net/downloads/flashcomp.php to all of your friends.
3. Writing to local elections candidates and your local paper
Now that the ID bill has passed into law it is essential that we keep compulsory registration of citizens on the National Identity Register in people’s minds. The media debate is likely to mis-report the plastic card opt-out.
* We also maintain a list of things you can do on our website at 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