» Wednesday, February 2, 2005

ID Cards

Asked if it wasn’t time to put plans for ID cards on hold given that the Joint Committee on Human Rights said that the plans would potentially be in breach of 14 different elements, the PMOS said that the case for ID cards remained as we had set out. If we were going to biometric passports there was an international need to go down this route. It was believed that this would help in the fight against terrorism and was therefore the right thing to do. Asked if the Prime Minister believed this legislation satisfied the UK’s commitment to international human rights conventions, the PMOS said yes.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news


  1. The ‘case for ID cards’ still doesn’t make any sense and they still haven’t explained how an ID card will combat terrorism.

    When are we going to get any proper journalists who don’t let the PMOS get away with spouting non-answers and meaningless phrases?

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 3 Feb 2005 on 10:21 pm | Link
  2. Don’t you just love that? "It is believed"… and therefore, on the strength of a "belief", it’s ok to squander billions of pounds of taxpayers money and trample all over human rights.

    Let’s also not forget that these are the same people who not only BELIEVED, but KNEW BEYOND DOUBT that there were WMD in Iraq. There weren’t, and we know now (as many of us did at the time) that we were lied to. Equally the government is LYING when the PMOS says he "believes" it would help the fight against terrorism. The government knows as well as you or I that terrorism isn’t the issue here; equally they won’t back down on this point because to do so would be tantamount to an admission that the "war on terra" is nothing but a figment of their imagination.

    The real thrust of proposals such as these, both here and in the US, is simply to put in place a framework from which the authorities can even further erode civil liberties in preparation for the day when the rule of law breaks down finally and irrevocably and martial law is needed to protect the elite against their own populations. This is not so far in the future – look at the American dependance on oil, then look at projections about how long known oil reserves will last. Try to picture the reaction of your average Redneck when the cost of filling up his pick-up doubles overnight; then try and picture that on a national scale. Look at the almost complete dependance of modern industrial societies on hydrocarbon energy sources, and try to picture what will happen when things we take for granted on a daily basis are no longer available in the shops because it’s too expensive to transport them around the world. Try to picture what London will be like with blackouts every other day, empty shops and so on.

    This to my mind is what our government is afraid of. Because they know that they have made too many concessions to too many people with too much influence and power to be where they are now; even if they WANTED to do something about global warming, peak oil and so on (which I don’t think many do, because they realise they themselves will no longer be around to see it) they couldn’t because the system they have perpetuated is so tied up with self-interests that to do anything would bring the whole house of cards down. And therefore so much better to continue with the deception, even to the point of convincing themselves it is real, than risk exposure.

    Sorry all, these night-shifts leave me with too much spare time on my hands…

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 4 Feb 2005 on 1:48 am | Link
  3. The question is – exactly ‘who’ believes these things? When the PMOS makes this sort of crass statement he/she should immediately be required to identify which particular authority ‘believes’ whatever is being asserted, on what basis and on what evidence. Otherwise we’re just dealing with the vague ‘thoughts’ of unqualified loonies.

    Let’s not kid ourselves that these statements are the being made made by persons with any real intellectual ability and/or integrity.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 4 Feb 2005 on 2:40 pm | Link
  4. The people who will benefit most from the introduction of ID cards – that’s after the Government has taken its cut – are the forgers.

    As there will always be some doubt as to the authenticity of any ID card, we may be asked to prove that we are using an official card.

    If I can prove that the card is mine, I don’t need the card. Except of course to protect myself from terrorists. Remind me, please, how that works?


    Comment by Lesley Silver — 26 Feb 2005 on 5:26 pm | Link
  5. Lesley, You will not need to carry the card. There will be no money to be made from forgery as long as fingerprint readers are introduced. All you will need to take with you are you fingers, iris or other relevant body parts. The police can carry a simple PDA wifi/phone fingerprint reader connected to the central computer. Checking ID will be as fast and simple as using a pin card but with fingerprints not numbers (both would be better).

    Once you have been logged onto the computer as a citizen the card becomes virtually redundant. Sure, your doctor’s surgery might ask to see it but they may eventually use fingerprint readers as well.

    The problems will occur when trying to decide if you are who you claim to be when you are first registered. Once a false positive (ie a who is person approved and registered but under a false identity or who passes under another’s identity) gets on to the system then the whole thing is a waste of time. It will be relatively easy to register the long term majority of legals (who are the least likely to be of interest to the security services) the real fun will be trying to pin down the odd million or two who have less than perfect paperwork or who dodge or refuse to play ball. Short of mass stop and search, those who live and work here illegally (eg the al Qaeda sleeper they want to catch) will just continue to do so. More likely, if intnent on suicide, they will simply walk in through our open borders and do their business without bothering with an ID card at all. FOr the system to even half work there will be huge costs, both economic and social, the \xA33bn price of initial registration is a red herring and huge underestimate.

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 27 Feb 2005 on 11:50 am | Link
  6. (It’s worth remarking that on-line "biometric" checks of the sort Mr. Pooter describes have rather poor reliability; very frequently they don’t work at all. Would you be happy with your ATM card if it failed completely to work about a tenth of the time?)

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 28 Feb 2005 on 11:27 pm | Link

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