I notice that you claimed in Parliament on April 28th that "The 2,000
responses we have received from individuals ... have been about 2:1 in
favour of introducing [ID Cards]".
This leads me to suspect that my submission (and possibly many like) it
may have been mislaid. For your convenience I am attaching it here.
Come to think of it, I never did recieve any confirmation from the ECU
regarding my last letter. Perhaps you could briefly reply to let me know
you have received it this time?
FOR THE ATTENTION OF:
Entitlement Cards Unit
50 Queen Anne's Gate
Monday 20 January 2003
422 Manhattan Building
I believe you are seeking public consultation on the proposed identity
My first concern is the refusal to call it so. You persist in
euphemistically calling it an entitlement card, yet having read the
consultation paper (CM 5557) I see that almost every argument advance in
its favour is to do with discovering and legislating identity. Four out
of five of the bulletpoint in the executive summary are clear on this.
It is clearly a back door proposal for an national ID card scheme and
you are disengenuous and deliberately misleading not to call it so or
frame the debate in those terms. (I guess that 'Newspeak' is considered
double plus good at the Home Office?)
In response to objections that it is not a National ID scheme because it
is not compulsory, I observe a clear subtext that it will government
hopes and expects that it will be in all but name. As Mr Blunkett
advised Parliament: "The issuing of a card does not force anyone to use
it, although in terms of drivers or passport users, or if services -
whether public or private - required some proof of identity before
expenditure was laid out, without proof of identity and therefore
entitlement to do it I doubt whether non-use of it would last very
An national ID scheme is wrong because people have a fundamental right
to privacy. Government should work for the people not attempt to coerce
the people into giving that up or otherwise jumping through hoops merely
because it make administration easier. It is unnecessary because many
other means of demonstrating identity already exist.
One other huge concern is the inevitable high cost. Almost every other
large scale government IT project has been a failure or run vastly over
budget. (And yet the contractors responsible never seem to have any
liability, and the usual suspects continue to win tenders to mess up
again and again.) To put in place a secure and 'foolproof' computerised
identity scheme that would operate accross every benefits office,
hospital, bank, employment agency, police station, school, etc in the
nation is a massive undertaking. I do not believe the competance exists
amongst the governments existing contractors to do this, nor do I
believe the notional 1.5 billion costing.
Finally, I find the zenophobia and hysteria about illegal immigrants
distasteful too. Through-out they are portrayed as criminals and (would
be) terrorists and the source of untold woe to the good Yet it is
economic and political trouble at home that makes them migrate and an
ever more draconian immigration policy that prevents their legal
attempts to move here.