back to article Auntie Beeb's amazing, evolving, ID card stories

On the 6th of November the BBC announced to an astonished world that "People 'can't wait for ID cards'. Breathlessly repeating the words of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's speech that morning, Auntie reported: "I believe there is a demand, now, for cards - and as I go round the country I regularly have people coming up to me and …

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Joke

It happend before?

The IPS enrolment centres had to go - far too much like Mary & Joseph being forced to travel to Bethlehem because of the census .

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Unhappy

Ye-es

Wasn't entirely sure of the point of this story, but still mildly interesting to see how these things develop

But for your comment "settling on the deranged claims of one madwoman as being what the story was really about" - technically correct, but unfortunately this madwoman (deranged claims a specialty) is the politician in charge of this crackpot scheme. Although she sounds like one, she's not just a random drunk on the street spouting forth with a fountain of bilious garbage at regular intervals.

It does beg the question, though, of why exactly the BBC isn't being a bit more probing on this, with questions such as 'do we need ID cards?' 'who are these fans the madwoman talks about?' and 'what's wrong with the democratic process that this crackpot has a senior position in the government?'. What happened to the media being the balance to politicians?

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Anonymous Coward

shocked

Shocked, BBC acting like a sock puppet mouth piece for NuGov, whatever will happen next.

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A title is required

I've always been a bit dubious of the BBC's habit of modifying stories as times goes on - especially as they never acknowledge it or give you a chance to see earlier versions. In that sense, at least, BBC is less reliable than Wiki is, and that's REALLY saying something.

The thing is, is there a single wide spectrum news source out there that doesn't either a) change stories without comment, b) delete stories after 6 months or c) randomly hide things behind pay barriers?

I know you try ElReg, but IT and Paris hardly counts as wide ranging news coverage...

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Flame

I want an ID card because...

... I can't wait to burn it in Parliament Square.

(I'd obviously rather burn Jacqui Smith as a witch but I think that may be against the law nowadfays.)

Flame icon for obvious reasons

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Stop

The BBC.

As I mentioned last week, the BBC doesn't do proper journalism or critical thinking anymore as post Gilligan it is petrified that if it rocks the boat too much then the unique (and if I may add my two pennies worth... grotesque) way the BBC is funded may be revoked.

The problem then is who do you trust. The BBC has long lost its integrity as a provider of factual and trustworthy news content (Newsnight not withstanding) and whilst not a fully signed up mouthpiece for the government, does not seem to provide the rigour when reporting on political story.

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Bint

Given how unpopular this bint is I'm surprised her security goons (she must have some) allow anyone the chance of "regularly coming up to [her]." Not that I'm implying in any way that she might be a lying little toe-rag with all the charisma of a water-boarding-and-electricity session.

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rge

propaganda

The BBC posting speculation and misinformation as fact? never!

Oh but wait, according to Blogger Guido Fawkes, the Observer newspaper already has a Patsy in the name of Mark Townsend, who is doing the same thing, writing government lies and spin as if it were the truth

Can we name any more from other media? You bet we can, watch this space.....

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Black Helicopters

Meh

It was abundantly and very quickly clear post Gilligan that the BBC's news operation had been bloodily castrated, and it seems that the downward trend in news quality has continued, along with the replacing of any kind analysis with either the straight quoting of press releases, fearmongering (Peston, Vine) on-message whispering campaigns (Robinson), and erring heavily on the side of caution with anything controversial (Phorm, and many other stories). It's also clear, from their coverage of virtually anything Home Office related (ID cards, The War Against Terror, policing reform, massive snoop database, etc, etc) that someone at the HO has their finger firmly on the beebs jugular. If you try to call them on this, and complain about the lack of balance, or facts, in their coverage, they will tell you, and here I'm quoting more or less verbatim "The BBC doesn't do campaigning journalism". WTF ? Is this a quote from some post Gilligan editorial crib sheet ?

Of course, there's Newsnight, and Today on R4, but I can't recall the last time I saw anyone senior from NuLab on Newsnight since the deputy PM election (outside of the tedious moustachiod Des Brown making pathetic excuses, and recently, badger faced Treasurer Darling refusing to answer any actual questions).

It seems that NuLab don't like to allow their policies to be held up to scrutiny, criticism, analysis or debate by the great unwashed, thanks a bunch to demented ginger weeble Hazel Blears for making that so wonderfully explicit last week.

And why should they eh ? Uncle Gordon and his chums know what's best for us, and we're far to ill informed/under educated/not politicians/unelected/cynical/nihilistic/sickened by hypocrisy (delete as appropriate) for our opinions to carry any weight in any case. What do you think this is, a democracy or something ?

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Anonymous Coward

CCTV+Biometrics = Real time tracking

You understand that what we're talking about here is real time tracking and recording of everyones every movement.

Same as ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) started out as checking for stolen cars, only the data got kept, then stuck in a central database, indexed and stored. Effectively ANPR has become vehicle tracking of innocent people.

Same as the London ring of cameras started out as an anti-terrorist measure and ending up feeding a big database.

These things were never discussed, never agreed, never wanted, they just happened.

In the same way, that electronic image of the face in the ID card will never be checked in a shop or when you go to a government office, and is easily faked. See the Elvis ID card a Dutch hacker made for the Schiphol airport ID card checker.

Its useful purpose is to require an electronic version of the face, in a big central database, which will no doubt get retained and linked to CCTV systems just like ANPR just morphed into a vehicle tracking system, these Biometrics things will morph into real time tracking of innocent people.

It's like they all know the direction we're heading and nobody is steering.

Look at how UK became a CCTV prison. It was pushed as fixing crime, it just morphed and grew out of control until it become Orweillian surveillance. Even the people who back CCTV originally say things which reveal their doubts. Statements like, 'well the CCTV's are not that clear as people believe' simply confirm the doubts they have at the back of their minds. As though the next model won't be clearer and faster and sharper...

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Joke

Re:I want an ID card because..

***"(I'd obviously rather burn Jacqui Smith as a witch but I think that may be against the law nowadays.)"***

Probably still legal (well, we can hope). You'd need proof though. Supposedly you need to compare her weight to that of a duck.

(got that info from a very informative historical documentary that also had useful information on the differences between European and African swallows).

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like the entire idea isn't completely idiotic

Now the daft one wants to go from the theoretically trained and vetted IPS worker to the untrained, minimum-wage counter jockey at the local store in an unsecured environment taking your fingerprints and personal information and supposedly sending it to the proper authority via secure messenger (yeah, right); and just light-years later; and multiple billions in over-runs you will get your new ID card by post - or better still they will just send it back to the yokel at your local store.who can just flag you down next time you're out shopping.

erm, no thanks. not now; not ever.

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Flame

You will Obey the Machine.

This is the new way. This is the only way. There is no escape. There is choice. Obey or die.

The ID system has nothing to do with security, fraud or terrorism. Let's face it, you are at greater danger crossing the road than you are from a terrorist attack.

There's no point in voting on this, the faces may change but the crimes and corruption will stay the same. The Tories won't repeal it (only a class A moron believes anything in an election manifesto), they will keep the same system (well, similar; there will be enough PR schmooze to make is appear different). But why keep it? MONEY!

It is all about money. Your money. Most MPs are either directors in a company that will profit, have partners in a company will profit, children/other relatives in a company that will profit or are getting back-handers/other perks from companies that will profit. Remember - these are people who don't understand why they need to submit receipts for their expenses.

The political class just want to grab more of your sweat for their own. The fact that it will force you to obey whatever pitiful little rules they come up with next is just an added bonus.

So obey the machine, children. Or the machine will chew you up and spit you out like the stinking refuse it thinks you are.

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Black Helicopters

Der Spiegel as the choice of Intelligence Services?

Back in the day the intelligence services would monitor the information collection of news agencies like the BBC. Often it would corroborate, and sometimes it was better (the BBC having good reporters, connections, reputation, etc. to facilitate this).

This changed over time to where the amount of information being gathered was next to nil, news agencies would just regurgitate each others information, reporters would never leave their hotels, and many of the stories just came from 'official sources' and were ones that were pedaled by the government spin offices (UK, US, UAE, whatever).

Basically it is easier and cheaper, and offends fewer important people to create an illusion of doing journalism. Der Spiegel is currently seen as one operation that does still do journalism!

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Black Helicopters

Think this stories bad?

Just try posting on any of the BBC blogs about Baroness Mandelson and her appetite for Greek cuisine served on aluminium plates - instant removal by the moderators for 'alleged defamatory content' is the normal result.

It seems the slimy one is beyond reproach, even with his murky past.

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Slime

>It's like they all know the direction we're heading and nobody is steering.

Kind of like a giant slimemold - working by instinct alone to migrate toward food - but here the desired matter is power. It's in the nature of those who are given power that they want more, even if they don't consciously acknowledge it to themselves, let alone others (and propagate the myth that it's all done to protect).

New tech in this regard is like a new pasture to be occupied and devoured.

As the resources of greater and more expansive powers become available, they're unable to help themselves without a conscious effort to practice restraint. But because they see themselves as a 'cut above' those they're exercising power over and don't feel the consequences themselves, their view is one-sided. Their sympathy is lacking and so their greed is unabated and unchecked.

That's when there is need an intervention.

For their own good, of course.

And everyone else's.

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Slime

>It's like they all know the direction we're heading and nobody is steering.

Kind of like a giant slimemold - working by instinct alone to migrate toward food - but here the desired matter is power. It's in the nature of those who are given power that they want more, even if they don't consciously acknowledge it to themselves, let alone others (and propagate the myth that it's all done to protect).

New tech in this regard is like a new pasture to be occupied and devoured.

As the resources of greater and more expansive powers become available, they're unable to help themselves without a conscious effort to practice restraint. But because they see themselves as a 'cut above' those they're exercising power over and don't feel the consequences themselves, their view is one-sided. Their sympathy is lacking and so their greed is unabated and unchecked.

That's when there is need for an intervention.

For their own good, of course.

And everyone else's.

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ID Scheme Registration: Where and How Much

Dear John,

The recent announcement by Ms Jacqui Smith makes me wonder if my earlier contributions should again be brought to mind.

Point 13 of my January 2004 submission ( http://www.camalg.co.uk/nids_040116a/NIdS_A031219a_v2.pdf ) to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee states: "Registration stations on non-government sites may be too vulnerable. These sites and their NIdS staff are likely targets for identity fraud attacks. It is questionable whether sufficient security can be provided at registration stations located on non-government sites." Point 14 might also be of some relevance.

Slide 35 of my presentation on Technical Aspects of the National Identity Card in November 2005 ( http://www.camalg.co.uk/tk051116a/TK051116A_bcs_02.pdf ) showed citizen registration was the largest cost for the whole basic scheme. At £32.10 per person (at somewhat under £2billion over 10 years), my costs were about 40% of those originally quoted by the Home Office; however, they excluded access and usage costs by government and commerce. This is because I had assumed those components would be run at break-even or a profit for commercial use and would represent an overall cost saving for government. And surely part of the whole scheme was to save government effort/costs, directly by efficiency savings in identity checks and indirectly by reduction in mistakes in identity checks and by reduction in identity fraud concerning tax, benefits, etc.

On registration costs, it is interesting to note that the Home Secretary now seems to be claiming that these costs were never included in their original pricing. What on earth were they spending the money on? Maybe someone should check their original figures, just to be sure that registration was really left out, and no one noticed!.

Best regards

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@ Aristotle's Horse

The Beeb has never done proper journalism.

When I was contracting there in the early '80s they were quite explicit about this: there were no reporters in the radio newsroom and never had been, only presenters and interviewers. News came first and foremost off the wire services. A story was deemed true if at least two services carried it. Never mind that in remote parts an individual might be a stringer for more than one wire service.

It looks as though nothing has changed.

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Whilever...

...the Beeb can put out articles like this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7729207.stm

it has a place in our nation's fabric...

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RW
Linux

The Beeb has, indeed, gone downhill

It's first on my list of bookmarked news sources and has been for a long time, but the decline in quality has been noticeable over the last I don't know how long. Some of the grammatical gaffes and tortured phraseology that turn up from time to time suggest they have near-illiterates writing for them now.

But given NuLab's totalitarian instincts, it should come as no surprise that they would convert the BBC into mouthpiece for the party line. The thought processes behind this process are pretty easy to guess: "NuLab's goal of creating the New British Man by eradicating elitism and classism, and by instilling in all comrades a sense of their importance as elements in the social matrix: this goal is so wonderful, so good, so admirable that any means is justifiable in attaining it. Providing citizens with correct news and viewpoints is an important part of the program and such issues as accuracy and independence on the part of the BBC cannot be tolerated if they interfere with the transformation of British society into a workers' paradise."

Or something vaguely along those lines. I will allow that the goal might actually be "stay in power" rather than "transform British society."

IOW, the old "ends justifies the means" bullshit.

Tux because he's so wide-eyed at the political spectacle in the UK.

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Coat

Aunite's most critical news reporting is shown on...

Spooks.

Only Hermione Norris and her pals dare stand up to the excesses of NuLabor and their thought police with any sort of regularity, and most people are too busy deriding it for not being factually correct, or 'ooh'ing and 'ah'ing over (what passes at the Beeb for) neat special effects (although the Adam Carter car bomb was quite good, IMNSHO).

That said, I don't believe we really have that much to fear from Godrun Brown and his cronies (even though they do keep coming up with these increasingly restrictive and dictatorial new laws, Acts or whatever tomfoolery they use to confuse most of the Great British public)... at least, not until they start monkeying around with the law that requires them to have an election at least once every five years. When one of them announces that a general Election will have to be postponed "due to the current situation", that is the time to start really worrying. And of course, that could never happen. After all, NuLabour is full of Honorable Men (and women)

Mines the one with "Et tu, Gordo?" on the back

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Coat

@Eponymous Cowherd

*****(got that info from a very informative historical documentary that also had useful information on the differences between European and African swallows).*****

Laden or unladen?

Mines the one with the feathers in the pockets!!

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Flame

Checkout

At the the Tesco checkout counter:

beep...beans 40p

beep...beer £5

beep...biometrics £75

WTF should I give my money to the shareholders of Tesco or any one else other than the gov?

WTF do they need my biometrics for anyway?

WTF should I stay in this* country? (used to be my* country)

Not long now and I'm off for good. fuck'em!

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Alert

put it like this

The BBC has always been the mouthpiece of the Government of the day whatever political party is in power. They have lost most credibility and the will to say NO to government.

As to the ID fiasco I WILL NEVER REGISTER OR ALLOW ANY FINGER PRINTS TO BE TAKEN.

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Paris Hilton

Oh noze, the government iz attakkin

people's reaction to this issue is far more about paranoia than pragmatism. Let's not go down that psychotic route that some US citizens always adopt - the democratically elected government is trying to overthrow the people who elected them. How about we get an AK if we turn up at the Post Office? I won't be paying £40 for this (pragmatism) but if they give me one free I won't think that it tracks my every move (paranoia).

Paris because satellites are reporting her every move - she likes the TV coverage.

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bring on cameron?

so i recall that cameron says that the first thing he will do as new pm is bin the wasteful id card scheme, so...

why don't the gvt just stop all this bull right now?

you and i know very well that we will pretty much ALL vote this ridiculously inept current gvt right outta there. no question about that..

thing about all this, is that this so called 'mad woman' (tee hee) is only following orders from hidden 'higher authority', and any replacement would no doubt find themselves in the same situation.

and would cameron really be able (or intend) to stop this ID madness freight-train?

ok, i better shut up now..

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See you next Tuesday

"Jacqui denying the airport scheme was a retreat."

This from the person who also denied that the 42-day fiasco was a retreat, so really not worth the paper it wasn't written on.

@the other Steve

"demented ginger weeble"

Love it!

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The calmer approach to witches

A pithy expose of Auntie's dirty laundry, showing she can change her tune as regularly as a whore changes her thong.

However, calls for witch burning seem incendiary, if understandable. Let us recall that while the custom was prevalent on the continent, where sunday was more hallowed on religious grounds, and burning would have served to allow the peasantry to celebrate vicariously the semiotics of the roast dinners they weren't having, the English (gawd bless em) developed a more rational, subtle, and measured - and one has to admit more sublimely satisfying - method of disposing of witches. (Or perhaps it was simply that an English river could be relied on to have water in it all year round - whatever). Trial by ordeal.

Ordeal... labour... one detects a certain dialectical consistency, which should not be unfamiliar to the more educated of the current claque.

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Anonymous Coward

BBC

I hope it does not turn into fox news. So far slanted , you have to rotate your TV 90º

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It isn't really NuLab ...

Said it before, will say it again: it's the government (civil service Sir Humphries) that really wants tidy registers of people, not the Government (Jim Hackers). The Hackers with average lifetime in charge of ministries less than a year are just the outward face of the Sir Humphries who run the things for far longer. That's why we have had a national census every decade since 1801. Who wanted IDs? David Blunkett, Charles Clarke, now Jacqui Smiff got the public stick, but who's heard of the Perm Secretaries? The scheme will outlive our Jacqui too. And will happen eventually.

Thinking of Yes Minister, the Beeb aired first-series programmes on the dangers of a national database and a europe-wide ID in 1980!

[In defence against pedants: I like to pluralise it as -ies so there]

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Anonymous Coward

IDs are a great idea.......

.

If they're so good, make it mandatory for every MP to have one. At their own cost. To "test-drive" the system for say 10 years before a general referendum asks the public for their opinion.

Jacqui should buy the first one. With her own money, and not on expenses.

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My favorites...

A few weeks back the BBC reported two explosions being heard in a Spanish (I think it was Spain) town.

Later that day the story changed to a military jet had caused confusion by making sonic booms too near the town and said that "The Media" had initially reported it as explosions.

They also got rid of the scrabble picture with the word "bum" on it.

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Coat

And the cupboard was bare....

I think the nice thing is the credit crunch, why because by the time the banks get their cash and Gordo cuts taxes (just before the election) and Darling starts trying to spend our way out of recession they will all discover that there really isn't enough cash left for an ID card system.

The whole ID card fiasco has finally made me glad to have been born in raised in Belfast because I can now just apply for an Irish passport and avoid the database completely.

As for the quality of the BBC News site, they are dropping so fast they will be competeing with Heat magazine by the end of the year. I used to read the technology section but it too has lowered itself to the depths of the Gadget show with their uninformed raving, quite sickening.

I can't wait to join the queue for the french bound ferry with several million other people if the ID card system ever does see the light of day.

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CCTV == human equivalent of ANPR???

Despite what various ACs might want to think, recognising a face is rather harder than recognising a number plate

That's true even if you have a decent-quality image, and looking at the CCTV images that are released when the police are actually looking for someone, it's fairly safe to say that the large bulk of existing CCTV images wouldn't be much use.

I assume that none of the people who want to think Big Brother is watching them carry a mobile phone or use a credit card?

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@ Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

As I mentioned last week, the BBC doesn't do proper journalism or critical thinking any more as post Gilligan it is petrified that if it rocks the boat too much then the unique (and if I may add my two pennies worth... grotesque) way the BBC is funded may be revoked.

Post Gilligan? Is that the affair that saw the end of the BBC's head and take over by that bloke who stage managed the fiasco over the Iraq war effort?

Who really runs the BBC these days?

Why don't we know?

Questions should be asked.

That was not a question.

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Anonymous Coward

More lies

People can't wait for ID cards? That's got to be a massive lie.

People look forward to receiving something they want if it benefits them in some positive way.

Forcing on to us ID cards which in no way benefit us whatsoever, for which we have to pay for, there is no way anyone at all would look forward to that.

More spin... why do we call it spin? At the end of the day, it's lies.

Trying to gain acceptance of the cards by suggesting that it's already been accepted by some, trying to tap into the crowd mentality (or sheep mentality), where most people blindly follow others.

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Anonymous Coward

BBC

Wasn't it Mugabe that said the BBC was the mouth piece of the British Government?

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Happy

But on the bright side ...

... of course, is that since every citizen's identity could be easily and quickly verified, it would be much easier for more critical policy decisions to be put to the plebiscite, I mean a tight ID card scheme pretty much implies secure e-voting*. And once every citizen is so empowered, we won't need so many expense sucking wasters knocking about the place to make our decisions for us.

Someone should point this out to Wacky Jacqui, I'm sure she'd pull the scheme in a trice if she realised it had the potential to make her and her cronies redundant.

@James Pickett

""demented ginger weeble"

Love it!"

Sadly I can't take credit for that, it came from someone's blog post, but it certainly seems to have taken hold, as a quick and amusing google search will show :-)

*OK, it doesn't really, but the applications we're being asked to believe will be possible certainly do**.

**Although I just checked the IPS website, and their three amazing suggested uses of the card in daily life are "Proving Your Age, Collecting a Parcel, and Transferring Money", I'm like, totally astounded, because I've been wondering how to do those things for ages.

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Joe
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Worthy of Private Eye!

Please keep this sort of story coming, El Reg!

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Resist, resist, resist!

Please Mr and Mrs Britain, resist this evil scheme.

Because once you have it, it will spread to other "democracies"

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Flame

Has anyone noticed

that the picture in the id card is not that of JS? Surely she should put her face where he mouth is and chew on it?

Flame: burn all witches.

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My $0.02

@david wilson

Even low res monochrome CCTV can be used to track people across large areas --- 'gait analysis' can be used very effectively.

@ray winter

The trouble with 'even-handed' reporting is that they assume that means giving equal time to opposing points of view even when one perspective is shared with very few people (young earth creationism, climate change scepticism and pro-ID cardism).

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Aaarghhhh

When oh when is this govenment going to realise that they are

SERVANTS NOT MASTERS

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Tom

@ Sceptical Bastard RE: Witch

We could try and dunk her, but the little fatty would surley sink, proving her non-witchyness, and therefore giving the current administration ammo for how fallable this 'save the world from the baddies' campaign is. (citing non witchyness)

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Coat

Gait analysis not on the National ID database.

"Even low res monochrome CCTV can be used to track people across large areas --- 'gait analysis' can be used very effectively."

Not strictly relevant to the ID card debate, since there won't be any GA biometrics associated with the record, as plans stand at the moment: face and fingerprint only, so far.

I shall have a heel raiser in one shoe and a limited-flex kneebrace on the other leg if I am ever compelled to dance like a monkey for their video records.

Mine's the one with the shoulder girdle and the strings to stop one arm swinging as much as it naturally would... and the reversible folding hat in the pocket.

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Unhappy

@Luther Blissett

Thanks a lot for the thong picture. I now have to kill more brain cells to get rid of that image!

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