30 Jun 2009

ID cards: a diminished announcement

Alan Johnson has finished his review of ID cards and says he is going ahead with them… so it’s ID cards full steam ahead? Not quite.

This was originally meant to be a scheme that would end up in compulsory cards.

There would be votes in Parliament before we got there, 70-80 per cent voluntary take-up of the cards before the government took the plunge, it could all take 10 years… but “compulsory ID cards for all” was the logical, stated destination for something that was proclaimed as a line of defence against terrorism and crime.

Flip forward to today’s announcement and interviews with the Home Secretary and the whole project looks diminished.

Gone are the references to it being a backbone of the war on terror, in come references to proof of age to get you a drink in a bar.

Out goes the idea that one day these cards should be compulsory.

Alan Johnson says this will work best as a voluntary scheme. The Home Secretary sounds like a man who thinks some in government in the past have over-egged the role ID cards play in combating terrorism.

He didn’t name anyone and certainly didn’t mean the Prime Minister… but here is a speech Gordon Brown made just before coming into No. 10 where the link between ID and terrorism is strongly made.

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6 reader comments

  1. Anthony Martin says:

    The govenments scare-mongering tactics of promoting ID on the grounds of ‘Terrorist Prevention’ was diabolical to say the least. This is Big Brother with dictatorial freedom & liberty erosion on a grand scale. And they know it.
    Another example of the west trying to hoodwink a gullible public.
    No doubt they’ll try creeping it in under stealth, such as the driving licence or passport requirements.

  2. g7uk says:

    But the ‘identity register’ will continue to go ahead and anyone who renews a passport will be on it. With a £1000 fine if they don’t notify a change of address. Sneaky…

  3. Jonathan Best says:

    The Liberty response to this announcement notes that Johnson needs to come clean about whether application for a passport will result automatically in personal data being entered onto the National Identity Register or not. As Liberty says: “if so, the identity scheme will be compulsory in practice. However you spin it, big ears, four legs and a long trunk still make an elephant. And this white elephant would be as costly to privacy and race equality as to our purses.”

    So come on Alan Johnson, ‘fess up. Is this a slightly devious attempt to talk up the ‘voluntary’ nature of the card while engineering a situation in which, effectively, virtually nobody will avoid being captured by the National Identity Register?

  4. Oliver says:

    Introduce voluntary biometric and electronic data carrying identity cards, and phase out the older passport designs.

    I cant help but feel I am being railroaded on this issue.

  5. John Marsden says:

    It seems to me that yet again the Brits are doing the work! How many of the so-called coalition troops have been injured or killed in Afghanistan? History repeats it’s self so, yet again the US are coming in late! I suppose that in a few years time there will be a Hollywood movie as to how the war was won.

  6. Dennis Junior says:

    I think that the ID Card idea is a wonderful idea…But, I think, it has limited chance of succeeding….

    Increased security on the already ID Cards in circulation….

    ~Dennis Junior~

Comments are closed.