24/9/04 NO2ID NEWSLETTER – Supporter's Newsletter No.5

NO2ID NEWSLETTER – Supporter's Newsletter No.5 – 24th September 2004

+++ Stop ID-cards and the database state

This is the latest (in both senses – we promise to be prompter in future – Ed.) regular email newsletter 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 the NO2ID Newsletter 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.

You've been sent this (if you are a first hand recipient) because we believe you registered as a supporter of the campaign. If not, or if you just don't want the newsletter, let us know and please accept our apologies. We don't want to spam anyone.

(Equally, if you were a supporter in the past, but have now decided that you do want yourself and your family to be tagged like cattle at huge and unnecessary expense, please let us know.)


++ NO2ID Cards Launch

+ Campaign Launched – Few Casualties

Some three dozen people gave up a Saturday morning to attend the Covent Garden launch of the campaign, and it was good to put some faces to names. Mark Littlewood, Neil Gerrard MP (Lab), and Debbie Chay of Charter88 spoke, lunch was lunched, and afterwards three parties were dispatched to different parts of the capital to make their presence known. A good time was generally had, and lots of leaflets distributed, in Covent Garden, Brixton and Westminster.

Two disparate reports on the web for alternative perspective (and pictures)

+ Brixton Warms to NO2ID

From Guy Taylor, Local Groups Coordinator

As part of the launch day on Saturday 18 September, half a dozen NO2ID activists go down to Brixton to test the water amongst a significant section of the Afro-Caribbean population of London. Brixton is one of those places where there are always leaflets being handed out, and accordingly many people walk by with a 'stick yer leaflet' attitude. Shouting out “Stop ID cards!” has an interesting effect. Many people stop in their tracks and actually ask for leaflets.

The fact we were hampered by drizzle doesn't dampen our spirits as we can see for ourselves the opposition to ID Cards there is. Our e-mail list grows and the support for our campaign is very evident amongst people who know they are going to be at the sharp end of the ID legislation.

If you would like to get involved in doing more stalls in different areas of London (or further afield if that's where you live) please contact Guy Taylor (guy@no2id.net)

+ Least convincing pro-ID argument of the week

A new occasional feature: These are real things that real people have said to NO2ID volunteers. We couldn't make them up.

“I want an ID card so that people can find out everything about me when I get knocked down by a bus and killed.” – Anon, Covent Garden


++ What Just Happened?

+ More Idiot Spin

The Government hasn't stopped inventing ludicrous excuses for introducing ID technology. And we won't stop mocking them when they do.

According to a press release reprinted on Public Technology Net, UK passports will include information in Welsh from late 2005.
This is being presented as a benefit of the new biometric passports which are intended to be one the foundations of the ID system. (The Government says you won't be allowed to have a passport unless you “voluntarily” become an ID-database subject.)

The Home Office appears to think idea that passports could be printed bilingually in Welsh tomorrow, without any new technology, won't occur to us. Given that most Welsh internal official documents already are bilingual, it is hardly a technical challenge to have a few standard phrases. Indeed, it wouldn't be beyond the administrative ability of most large organisations to provide any second language the applicant cared to choose from a list on the application form. No biometrics required.

+ Genuinely 'Liberal' Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats on the other hand, do get it. ID certainly wasn't a centrepiece of their conference, but then, it isn't high on the public's priorities—yet. Nonetheless, they made it very clear that they are opposed in principle as well as understanding the practical and financial problems. There was an implicit pledge from Mr Kennedy that the LibDems would scrap any ID scheme that is introduced.

When the public wakes up to the gigantic implications for privacy and
personal security, such an unequivocal position may do his party a lot of good at the ballot box.

+ NO2ID Scotland Launched

NO2ID Scotland now has its own website
which will be carrying specifically Scots new relating to the campaign and act as a focal point for opposition north of the border. The recent JRRT “State of the Nation” poll showed support for ID cards at its lowest in Scotland, around 50%. However, Trevor Mendham, NO2ID Coordinator for Scotland, says, “From my experience, a lot of people up here think it's just a piece of Westminster stupidity and don't realise it'll apply to them as well.” If you want to help rouse the nation contact Trevor (scotland@no2id.com)

+ Home Office tackles Harrogate

The “ID roadshow” as the Guardian's Martin Wainwright put it
arrived in Harrogate as part of the government's ongoing trial of biometric identifiers. This may have been an undramatic, almost covert, event, but it provided an good occasion for Mark Littlewood to talk on Radio York and bring the ID scheme to the wider attention of the people of Yorkshire.


++ What's Next?

+ Labour Party Fringe Meeting

NO2ID is holding a fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference in
Brighton in the coming week. If you are attending the Conference, or just in the area, do come along and make it a lively event.

29 September, 6:00pm – 9:00pm (meeting from 6:30 – 8:30)
Courtlands Hotel
15 – 27 The Drive
Brighton & Hove
East Sussex

Don't let the formal address fool you: this is in Hove, actually.
Map here

We will also be displaying our new limited-edition T-shirt aimed at
conference delegates.

+ Only The Tories Left

Since the Labour government is the one with the ID plan, we've concentrated on getting a fringe meeting with them, but if anyone reading this is planning to attend the Conservative Party Conference (4th – 7th October) we'd love to hear from you. It is difficult to see more state power over the individual and the abolition of traditional British freedoms as compatible with Conservative philosophy. But though it has been very busy with policy announcements, and though David Davis (Shadow Home Secretary) has given the impression that he is sceptical, the Party has yet to come out unequivocally against the big database.

+ AGM Again

A reminder of NO2ID's first Annual General Meeting on 9th October in
Westminster. It will be for paid-up members only. Nominations for elected officers close this Saturday (25th September), but there's still time to join and participate.

+ European Social Forum

Tens of thousands of people will be descending on Alexandra Palace in North London for the European Social Forum in mid October.
It is a huge event gathering together radical causes of every kind (anti-globalists, anti-capitalists, environmentalists, trades unions, and NGOs) for three days of discussion and networking.

NO2ID will be holding a workshop at the event, and we'll also be having a stall at the main site. We will be able to meet people from continental Europe and use their experience of ID card problems. We'll also be able to introduce NO2ID to thousands more who have a specific interest in political activism.

We're looking for volunteers to help out with a stall open from 8am – 9pm on Friday/Saturday 15/16 October and 9am – noon on Sunday 17th. If you can lend a hand, please contact Guy Taylor at guy@no2id.net or on 07956 681 328.


++ “ID” In The News

+ UK school cans 'world-beating' biometric scanner
So what happens when you don't know the person scanning you and it breaks down?

+ Biometrics 'not yet ready to secure corporate IT'
So why does David Blunkett want us to think they are magic?

+ Home Office stacking the decks in ID scheme pilot?
We aren't the only ones to think that the biometrics roadshow is empty PR.

+ Immigration and Nationalities Directorate (IND) already has powers to demand ID papers from you, and has been busily using them since at least
May 2003. Not a good sign for what is to come.

+ Data Protection expert from Masons, a major law firm, points out that the Home Office misrepresents [surprise – Ed.] the privacy issues in the Draft Bill

+ 'Potential suppliers for the government's identity cards scheme are being invited to a series of workshops to help ensure a smooth purchasing process' according to Computing
Is Parliamentary approval for major constitutional change a mere formality?

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

++ What You Can Do

Like any campaign we need funds and people. Any help or expertise of any kind you can spare will be most welcome. Most important is to get others involved and to understand the issues. ID-CARDS sound innocent. When people know that they (and their children) may be fingerprinted like criminals and will be made to register every change of address with the authorities, their attitude changes. So:-

1. Tell your friends about the 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. (But please do introduce it personally and don't spam.) Your personal witness will help others understand that this is an important real-life matter, and not just the province of hyper-political nuts.

2. Let us know if you have time or special expertise that you can give to the organisation, even if only a couple of hours a week. The campaign is getting bigger, but needs to grow some more. We urgently need an experienced Press Officer, more secretarial staff, and policy researchers. We can use any amount of professional creative and marketing expertise as we begin to lift public awareness of the issues.

3. Get together with others in your area to form a local group. A national campaign needs a national network. Guy Taylor (guy@no2id.net) can give you advice on how to do this. If you are close to London come to the Launch rally on September the 18th. Details of other meetings are posted on the website.

4. Write to the local and national press, to express your concerns whenever there is relevant news. Phone-in to appropriate radio and TV programs. There is plenty of information on (and linked to) the website to help you do this.

5. Write to your MP and MEP expressing your disquiet and ask for _their personal opinion_. (Big-party MPs in particular sometimes avoid controversial issues, or may pass on your letter to the Home Office rather than answering for themselves.) Let us know what they say.

6. Buy a T-shirt, and wear it. This publicises the message—people will ask you what it means—and raises funds. Details on the NO2ID website. Or buy online at: www.ntkmart.co.uk/ntkmart.cgi#No2ID

7. Join. Membership starts at GBP15 a year (higher contributions encouraged) and entitles you to a say in the running of NO2ID. Membership form on the website at www.no2id.net/content/join.html

8. Give generously. A few weeks back we had no money. Now we have a little money, but we will always need more. The Home Office is planning to spend billions. But we will spend your money better. Funds can be transferred to our HSBC Treasurer Account in the name of NO2ID, A/c no: 91339427, Sort Code 40-28-15. You can send a cheque, payable to “NO2ID”, to: NO2ID, Box 412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP. Special donation or sponsorship enquiries should be made to Phil Booth (phil@no2id.net). Help in kind is equally welcome.

9. Link to us. Help us gather support on through the internet by displaying a button or banner (available on the website) and linking to us.


++ NO2ID Who's Who and Resources
First port of call should be the website: www.no2id.net/

+ If you have specific assistance or information to offer, you can contact the following NO2ID people:

National Coordinator – Mark Littlewood (mark@no2id.net)
National Secretary – Adam McGreggor (adam@no2id.net)
Treasurer/Fundraiser – Phil Booth (phil@no2id.net)
Marketing/Communications – Andy Robson (andy@no2id.net)
Newsletter Editor – Guy Herbert (newsletter@no2id.net)
Public Affairs and Parliamentary Liaison – Dave Walker (dave@no2id.net)
Local Group Coordinator – Guy Taylor (guy@no2id.net)
Technical Manager – Owen Blacker (owen@no2id.net)

+ Please, please remember that everybody on this list will be getting a
huge amount of email, so you should only direct enquiries to the relevant person. We are grateful for all specific offers of help, but can't give detailed answers to individual general queries. There is a lot of information on the website and there will soon be much, much more.

++ Publication details: (c) NO2ID 2004 – 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.

*********** Support the campaign, buy (wear!) a T-shirt ***********

NO2ID T-shirts are now available in a range of sizes for men and women.
Order yours now from www.no2id.net/content/tshirt_order.html or buy them online at NTK [www.ntkmart.co.uk/ntkmart.cgi#No2ID] or The Register [www.cashncarrion.co.uk/cnb/shop/cashncarrion?listPos=&op=catalogue-products-null&prodCategoryID=28].
All profits go towards funding NO2ID campaign activities.

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