Manchester ‘launch’ for ID cards

May 6, 2009

Via BBC News (link here) comes this happy news for the residents of Manchester:

ID card (front) smallManchester will this autumn become the first city where people can sign up for an ID card, [Home Secretary] Jacqui Smith is to confirm.

Anyone over 16 in the city who holds a UK passport will be able to apply for a card at a post office or pharmacy.

The home secretary’s speech signals her determination to push ahead with the cards – expected to cost people between £30 and £60 each – despite opposition.

The Tories and Lib Dems want the £5bn scheme scrapped, while some Labour MPs have expressed doubts about its cost.

Funny how none of the politicians quoted voice any concerns over the privacy and data sharing issues. Only the cost – which will presumably be paid by the taxpayer anyway.

If the Conservatives win the next election they would scrap the scheme, said [Shadow Home Secretary Chris] Grayling, adding: “We don’t think the nation can afford them and they won’t happen.”

So they’d scrap the scheme – but keep the database(s)?

He also questioned the value of the Manchester trial, arguing it was “very hard to see” how it could be made to work on a voluntary basis in a single city.

My word, Mr Grayling, nothing gets past you, does it?

The Home Office claims ID cards will reduce fraud – thus saving money – and are vital to combating terrorism and organised crime.

Try as I might, I cannot fit together these non-sequiturs. How will ID cards “reduce fraud”? How will ID cards “combat terrorism and organised crime”?

The Manchester launch will mark the beginning of the main phase of the ID scheme which ministers say will culminate in cards being available nationwide by 2012.

Proof – not that it’s needed – that ID cards are coming, regardless of what the electorate’s wishes. The next question then is “how long until government makes them compulsory?”

At a series of meetings on Wednesday, Ms Smith will say post offices and pharmacies can play an important role in the success of the ID scheme, allowing people to give their fingerprints and a face scan while “out doing the shopping”.

That’s lovely. It’s like something out of a bad B&W movie from the 1950s:

“Good morning Postie, I’d like to send this parcel to my Aunt in Wales and renew my car tax disc. And please may I have a booklet of first class stamps… Oh, silly me! I nearly forgot! – and please scan my face and take my fingerprints to add to your lovely centralised database”.

Surreal.

“ID cards will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists,” the home secretary will say.

You’re doing it again! How about some clarification of what form these “real benefits” will take? And how will ID cards “increase protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists” – especially bearing in mind that (random example) the 2005 London transport bombers were all ‘clean skins’ (unknown to the police, so we’re told) and British – so how would voluntary ID cards have protected against those attacks?

Government officials will seek to allay people’s concerns about the amount of personal data to be collected and retained for the new cards, saying it will be no greater than for passports.

You say that like it’s a good thing.

“I think it is important to recognise that we’re not collecting some massive accumulation of information about citizens,” said James Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service.

Yes, Pinocchio. We believe you. Honest we do.

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3 Responses to “Manchester ‘launch’ for ID cards”

  1. HelenGB Says:

    and nobody has yet explained why they think there’s anyone in Manchester stupid enough to fork out £30 for something that is of no use to them whatsoever.

    I personally suspect that there will be reduced checking for this pilot, so if you wanna establish your false identities, now’s the time.

  2. Foibey Says:

    I read about this, it’s amazing (and bizarre).

    Seeing as I’m getting back on the activist horse I should probably try and hook up with Manchester No2ID at some point.


  3. [...] Manchester ‘launch’ for ID cards (May 6, 2009) [...]


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