You are here:   Columns >  Guest Speaker > ONLINE ONLY: ID Cards to be Labour's Final Fiasco?

On 21st November what is now known as the Identity and Passport Service launched a 12 week consultation on the secondary legislation required to introduce identity cards. The Identity Cards Act 2006 needs to be supported by regulations before it can be brought into force. Until now only sections establishing criminal offences and concerning forged passports or driving licences have been in use. Now foreigners married to UK citizens or in civil partnerships will need to apply for ID cards to extend their legal stay in the UK, as will foreigners working here or foreign students. Despite vociferous opposition and the threat of legal action from the British Airlines Pilots Association, many workers at airports will also need them. Pilots are threatening a strike.

It will be interesting to see what kind of protest there will be, and no doubt the Government has decided to introduce compulsory cards with salami tactics to head off mass protest. In 1982 Kathy Morikawa, a Canadian married to a Japanese academic, who had been in Japan for 9 years and intended to stay there permanently, just said no when asked to give her fingerprints. Kathy went public, the New York Times picked up the story, and others began to refuse. Eventually the number of resident foreigners refusing reached 13,000 and an Imperial Amnesty was declared. Also a subsequent attempt to introduce universal identification registration resulted in widespread protest, and in January 2006 the High Court in Osaka ruled that the "Juki Net", the residence register, infringed on people's privacy if they objected and that people could refuse to allow their personal details to be recorded.

But will people in the UK simply roll over and allow the State to know all about them? Many people associate the giving of fingerprints with an accusation of criminal behaviour, and no amount of bland reassurance is going to prevent distress.

The cards will carry a photograph and the name of the person. However, all the card will prove is that the person who applied for the card is the person carrying it. It will not prove identity, since it is very easy to obtain a fake referee and false documents, and most inspection of ID cards will inevitably be done without reading the fingerprints. There is nothing to stop a person equipped with someone's birth certificate - easy to obtain - from applying for an ID card in the name of that individual. I have worked for many years as a solicitor. Most of my clients are criminals. I have often been asked to countersign photographs for passports or driving licences, and have been happy to do so, knowing that I am protected by having to sign the application and to endorse the photographs with my personal signature. With ID card applications, countersigning will no longer be required, making fraud very much easier. Also anyone wishing to obtain a false card, who does not want to go to the trouble of applying properly, can easily obtain one speedily over the internet.

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December 21st, 2008
4:12 PM
Ref:'Jummy' - 'Irish' commit more crimes. So? 'Blacks' commit lots more still.Just helping your point.

December 11th, 2008
4:12 PM
I can see no reason why for reasons of state security citizens should not merely be forced to have ID cards but to carry them with them at all times. Such things are necessary in the state of perpetual terrorism that has now engulfed us, a terror supported by a significant part of the population. The more information it contains the better and this should include religion as well as ethnicity. All our financial affairs have long been subject to surveillance but no one ever protested. It would seem that the state is more concerned to protect its revenues than our safety. I have never seen a human rights case about the level of taxation or the intrusiveness of the collectors or their use of anonymous denunciations. Why should we care about the rights of terrorists ? Are terrorists to be more protected than tax-payers or motor car drivers?

December 8th, 2008
6:12 PM
I think the whole business is appalling and invasive. Surely there's a better way?

December 7th, 2008
1:12 PM
The ethnic categories are merely political.They are not useful ones nor do they have any social reality. This is true generally.If you are an organ donor it is useful to have a record of racial ancestry for matching the organ donated to a recipient so it will be accepted. But they ask you whether you Irish or British which is irrelevant.How much do the Irish differ genetically from the Scots? The category Irish is there to placate Sinn Fein not to help the NHS.The reason Irish ought to be a category on police forms is because they commit more crimes ( according to the prison chaplains and a Jesuit report there are twice as many RCs in jail as in the general population) but that is not why it is there.It is there because the Irish are defined as underpriveleged and discriminated against and need government meddling to put this right.

December 6th, 2008
2:12 PM
Brianson, I vauguely recall that during the 1930s a one time German chancellor wanted people who his government classified as Jews to carry a form of identifiaction on their person, the better to effect 'social engineering'. However, I can't remember exactly what came of it. You may have better luck & be able to find a book or two about this episode in your local library.

Guy Herbert (General Secretary, NO2ID campaign)
December 6th, 2008
7:12 AM
At present "ethnicity", or perhaps officialdom should be more honest and talk about "colour", is not required, but it was initially required in the Bill before it passed into law..." This is news to me, and I lobbied against the bill at every stage. What is your source. Also there is no longer a requirement to state all your addresses. Not clear. The power remains in place, but the draft regulations for applications appear not to require all addresses. These could just as easily be added later, or even when the actual regulations are laid. The bill was amended by government to encompass all places of residence anywhere in the world, not just all UK places of residence.

December 3rd, 2008
1:12 PM
This might worry me if I had ever seen an example of a European gov't using such information against its citizens for the purpose of social engineering in the last hundred years or so... This seems a little over the line. Are your politicians and civil servants that much more trustworthy than ours? Wow, want to share because there is no way Canadians are going to trust the ones we have do this. Not the ones I know anyways. There are no leading roles in a cage.

December 2nd, 2008
6:12 PM
It was reported recently that the Govt has not ordered any of the scanners required to read the biological data on the cards which are already being issued!

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