MadTV: The journal

The Telegraph has a good clear piece on the ID card bill today and I feel I should post it up her for my small readership to see.

Today, MPs have the opportunity to kill off the Government's wretched ID cards scheme and perform a lasting service to the nation. If they vote to uphold the Lords amendment - which removes the automatic registration of everyone applying for a new passport - the project will be scuppered, since it relies on "backdoor compulsion" to get off the ground.

As the Commons prepares for this momentous debate, here are 10 statements made by proponents of the ID scheme that are questionable, to say the least:

1. "The Government's ID card is voluntary." It is not. If you want to get a new passport from 2008, you will be automatically registered on the national ID register. You will have to go to one of 70 centres and have both iris prints, all fingerprints and a photograph taken, and pay close to £100 for the privilege. Therefore, compulsion is built in from the outset.

2. "Data on the register will not be handed over to outside agencies." Safeguards in the Bill are meant to ensure that details on the register - which will contain 51 different pieces of personal information - are available only to the law enforcement agencies and certain government departments. However, there are plans well advanced under the EU's Hague programme to share access to all EU databases with police forces across Europe.

3. "Biometric technology is foolproof." It is not. Even the most trustworthy biometric - the iris print - can give false-positive or false-negative readings. Under an ID scheme, thousands of people face the inconvenience and frustration of being unable to go about their business because the readers say they are someone else, while criminals continue to break the law.

4. "The scheme will cost £584 million a year to operate." This suspiciously exact, yet still vast, sum is the cost to the Home Office alone of issuing the ID cards and passports. It does not take into account the cost to other departments of installing thousands of biometric readers across the land or of the upkeep of the register. The London School of Economics put the total cost over 10 years in a range of £10.6 billion to £19.2 billion.

5. "Britain needs an ID card to fall into line with other nations." While other countries are moving to biometric passports, none is developing a national ID register on the scale proposed here.

6. "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." It depends what you mean by fear - and whether we value what is left of our privacy. Once your name is on the ID register, it will be a criminal offence, subject to a fine of £1,000, not to say when you move home. Every time your card is checked against the central register, a record will be made on the database saying when it took place and to whom the information was given.

7. "ID cards were in Labour's election manifesto." True, but the Government presented it to the public as a voluntary, rather than compulsory, scheme (see above). Also, Labour can hardly claim a popular mandate with less than a quarter of the total vote.

8. "Most people are in favour of ID cards." The most recent YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph showed that backing for ID cards has plummeted from 78 per cent less than two years ago to 45 per cent.

9. "ID cards will help counter terrorism." Of the 25 countries worst hit by terrorism over the past 20 years, 80 per cent had national ID cards; almost two thirds of terrorists operated under their real identities.

10. "The Government has won the argument in principle." Ministers have turned this into a debate about cost and efficacy. But the greatest beneficiary of an ID scheme is not the ordinary individual; it is the state, since its agencies gain access to information they would not otherwise have. There are still some poor, misguided souls who object in principle to being forced to register as a numbered citizen on a national identity database.


Gone Away
Big Brother is alive and well and living in Britain, it seems.
Date Added: 13/02/2006

I keep trying to find the words to answer you Dad but I'm inarticulate with disgust at this government and its continual attacks on our civil liberties. I know it's my blog but even so what I want to say is to strong for my own pages.
Date Added: 13/02/2006

Gary Charpentier
Though I hesitate to bring this up....

Some of my very best friends are serious Christians. They are already quoting this and another story about injectible ID chips in the USA that seem to confirm certain prophesies in Revelations.

Mad, I know very little about the Bible, but I do trust these friends of mine.

What's it all mean? I don't know. I was raised Catholic, but then later I was baptised in a Jacuzzi full of holy water in Laguna Beach, California. After that, I started studying Zen Bhuddism...

I am a spiritual orphan, of sorts. Full of all kinds of good intentions, I still have no real convictions.

But I've got to say this one scares me.

Ride well,

Date Added: 15/02/2006

Funnily enough I'm a Christian too Gary. Is the ID scheme in this country and others of its ilk a sign of the end times? I don't know, I do know however that they are dangerous erosion of our civil liberties. I think we Christians are a little quick to interpret Revelations and to say that x or y is a sign of the end times. It says in the Bible that no man will know the hour and frankly every time I look at Revelations I'm baffled where people are getting these suspiciously accurate prophesies from.

The House of Commons has passed the ID bill and it has gone back to the House of Lords, so it's down to them to save democracy again, sadly I doubt they can; they'll probably have to pass it.

This government has forgotten that it serves the people, we do not serve it. It has come to believe that it has the right to oversee and regulate everything we do and that it can watch us every hour of every day. I suspect civil disobedience lies ahead of me...

Date Added: 15/02/2006

Gary Charpentier
I really hope you are right about the civil disobedience. Here in the states, I fear we are past that. The only thing that will do is UN-civil disobedience... a full on American Insurgency!

But as long as the banks keep offering credit, I'm afraid people are just going to keep on doing what they know how to do: consume, consume, consume. Whether it's groceries, gadgets, or government propaganda, my fellow citizens seem to have unquenchable appetites.

Poor slobs.

Ride well,

Date Added: 18/02/2006

Yep, you're right Gary people are too comfortable these days. They need something to shake 'em up, to see what's happening.
Date Added: 19/02/2006

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