Friday, December 24, 2010

ID Cards to Go

A message I missed earlier...

Cambridge NO2ID


DATE: 21st December 2010

EMBARGO: Immediate


Campaigners have welcomed a new law, passed today, that formally ends plans
to issue ID cards to everyone in Britain. However, they warn that some
worrying aspects of the discredited scheme remain in place.

The Identity Documents Bill is due to receive the royal assent on Tuesday
afternoon, formally abolishing the National Identity Scheme first proposed
in 2002. The new law reverses legislation passed in 2006 that would have
forced everyone applying for a passport to give over 50 pieces of personal
information for the ID cards database, and left them open to repeated fines
of up to £1000 if officials thought the supplied details were inaccurate or

In its final years the Labour government spent almost £250,000 per day on
developing ID cards, and their abolition will avoid further planned
expenditure of over £800m. In common with many councils across the country,
both Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge City council decided not
to cooperate with ID card plans.

"The law passed today has finally terminated the unloved ID Cards scheme",
said Andrew Watson, East Anglian regional coordinator of the NO2ID
campaign. "I'm delighted that the cards themselves are now history, and
even more pleased that the central database of personal details is being
securely destroyed. The database, not the cards, has always been the most
dangerous part of the scheme."

"However, I remain worried that powers to share personal data created by
the original Identity Cards Act have been retained, even after the database
itself has been destroyed. If used, these powers would allow government to
share your personal data without your knowledge or permission."

"I am also concerned that visitors from Australia, the USA and other
countries outside Europe are still being fingerprinted for an ID Card, even
if officials call it a 'Residence Permit'. Not only is this a major
obstacle to valued overseas students coming to universities in our region,
but it also leaves in place a small ID cards scheme that could easily be
extended by a future government to cover the whole population."

"NO2ID will continue campaigning against encroaching official powers for
mass surveillance and trafficking in personal information without the
individual's consent."

- ENDS - (361 words, excluding title)

For more information, please contact Andrew Watson
(, 07710 469624).

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