The UK government published a summary of responses to its consultation of ID cards and a response to the UK Home Affairs committee’s report into the introduction of the cards. “am announcing today will make our planned scheme simpler, clearer and more effective. I will now bring forward legislation to bring in a compulsory, national ID card scheme.” David Blunkett said. These minor changes include:
- A single, universal ID card for all UK nationals, to be issued alongside passports. This will simplify the operation of the scheme, and reflects public support for a universal card.A simpler, more effective structure to deliver and run the scheme.
- A new executive agency will be set up incorporating the UK Passport Service and working closely with the Home Office’s Immigration and Nationality Directorate.
- The verification process will be simpler and more secure. There will be a standardised on-line verification service which will make the system more secure against fraud and provide a full audit trail.
The government still fails to address to fact that the scheme can not be classed as voluntary in any way, when issuing of the cards and entry onto the national database is linked to renewing or applying for other documents such as passports. No compelling argument is given as to why ‘address’ information is needed, especially as it has nothing to do with identifying someone. Also the government has still yet to provide any evidence on how having the cards would protect against ID theft, terrorism or crime. In the Cases of 9/11 and the Madrid bombings for instance, all the terrorist had legitimate documentation (and in the Madrid case, Spain also already has ID cards). Also if you’re a foreign national coming into the country for less that 3 months you will also not need a card – just as well no potential terrorists will visit for less than 3 months then.
And that’s the point, ID cards are primarily for monitoring the UK’s citizens.The bill gives the government wide powers to record, retain, and disseminate personal data, and continues the governments erosion of the civil liberties of the UK population.
UK Labour MP Neil Gerrard introduced a Early Day Motion “That this House believes that a convincing case for the introduction of identity cards and a national database has not been made, that they have no discernable benefit, that the introduction of identity cards will fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state, diminish personal privacy and threaten civil liberties, and that identity cards are a solution in search of a problem; and calls upon the Government to abandon any plans for their introduction.”
There is almost no prospect of the motion being debated by Parliament. A large number of Early Day Motions are proposed in each Parliamentary term to publicise the views of individual Members of Parliament. The most significant of such motions attract over 200 signatures from Members of Parliament. This one currently has 11.