Feeds

back to article UK.gov's love affair with ID cards: Curse or farce?

In the general election held three years ago, every party except Labour and the Monster Raving Loony Party (which just may have been having a laugh) had ID card abolition in their manifestos, including the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Scottish Nationalists, the Pirate Party, Cornish separatists Mebyon Kernow and the BNP. But Labour …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Bad ideas never die...

Sadly, I don't think we'll see the last of this stupidity. It'll be dressed up as something else (some "funky" e-Identity scheme no doubt).

The real problem is non-elected civil servants (who only serve themselves) and keep feeding this type of rubbish to Ministers too stupid to think for themselves.

Anon Icon because it's more appropriate...

26
0
Bronze badge

Re: Bad ideas never die...

Until the EU scraps its European Identity wossname, it won't stand a chance of going away.

3
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bad ideas never die...

So we'll just have to be there to stop them again. Price of liberty, eternal vigilance and all that? That's what that means. But history proves: it can be done. Don't let anyone tell you you can't make a difference.

12
0
Meh

Re: Bad ideas never die...

So what are Passports and National insurance cards for?

2
4
Silver badge
Big Brother

@I think so I am? Re: Bad ideas never die...

You are not required to carry a passport or National Insurance card simply to prove that you have the right to walk down the street.

It has long been a principle of English Common Law that you have the right to "Go about your lawful business without let or hindrence" ("let" meaning needing permission).

ID cards could (and very probably would) be used to infringe this right.

15
0
Silver badge

Re: Bad ideas never die...

Passports are for one purpose, and one purpose only (quite a reasonable one) - to allow the holder to pass through a port into a different country, where they will be well treated by the authorities (on pain of a visit by a gunboat) - they are NOT a general purpose ID document, and can be left in the bottom of a drawer unless travelling to foreign climes.

"Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State Requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hinderance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary"

7
0
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: Bad ideas never die...

"So what are Passports and National insurance cards for?"

But they wouldn't give civil servants the elected government of the day the cradle-to-grave monitoring that was to come with the National Identity Register.

0
0
Thumb Up

Re: @I think so I am? Bad ideas never die...

The flip side being that they wouldn't be used for anything worthwhile like say stopping health tourism, and of course they will undoubtedly find a way to flog your movement data to marketing companies.

1
0
Silver badge
Stop

Re: Bad ideas never die...

> Passports are for one purpose, and one purpose only (quite a reasonable one)

I would agree that that was the original purpose and of course only for the hoi polloi.

Unfortunately they are more frequently being used as a means of bashing you over the head by border security guards.

Practically the only good thing to come out of the EU is the removal of borders and restrictions of movement between countries. It wasn't *that* long ago when you literally could just travel from one country to another without the requirement for any ID whatsoever. Border inspection and the like are a relatively modern idea. We've just been softened up to the point that most people don't question it.

The main purpose of borders were mainly for the extortion of duty from traders and thus the main activity of border agents were the detection of contraband and smugglers.

That people are now considered a threat in their own right that need to be monitored is an attribute of our modern suspicious society.

Terrorists you say? Well most if not all of them are home-grown.

3
1
Headmaster

...without let or hindrance...

Not hinderance.

Not hindrence.

1
0
Meh

Re: Bad ideas never die...

Passports are for one purpose, and one purpose only (quite a reasonable one) - to allow the holder to pass through a port into a different country

Tell that to the people queued up outside nightclubs this weekend. They are using them to prove that they are old enough to be let in. Later in the evening, when legless, they will have the chance to loose this valuable document. This is actually an improvement over an ID card as it is bigger and easier to notice.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bad ideas never die...

Well I'm not sure about EU managing identities , but I'm sure I read that the UK Driving License is very shortly to become a smart-card, with the possibility of running an identity application which *might* be useable for EU/world travel purposes.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bad ideas never die...

licenCe unless it's a verb.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bad ideas never die...

Sometimes I, as a Scandinavian, wonder what is your problem. I know only some 5% of Americans have passports and have ever been abroad. But you in Blighty are "better". So what is the problem, I can apply for an identity card if I feel I need one, but I have a drivers license and a passport so I don't need one. Where is the problem. You are not by law forced to bolt it to your head or something.

2
1
Flame

Re: Bad ideas never die...

Scandinavia is not a monolithic block you know. Which bit of it do you hail from? As far as I am aware Norway has no identity card even if you want one. I've lived here for over 25 years now and never heard of such a thing except occasionally as something that some politicians would like to introduce.

2
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: Bad ideas never die... but farce and curses on the other side of the coin too

I do not possess a passport, and I am fed up with being asked to show one to do things like open a bank account. Never been asked for a NI card (do I even have one?). Apparently you cannot be "respectable" if you do not have a passport - THAT sounds like a Daily Mail attitude to me.

In TFA Cameron is quoted as imitating the Gestapo asking for "Papers please", but the lack of an ID card is not going to stop officialdom from asking for papers of one sort or another. At least I can show a driving licence, but my sister-in-law wanted to open a bank account and *couldn't* because she had neither passport nor driving licence. She had to take out a provisional driving licence, with no intention of driving, just so she could open a bank account FFS.

I would *like* ID cards to stop that kind of nonsense. Now thumb me down.

1
2
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

@ Scandinavian AC - Re: Bad ideas never die...

I apologise for my fellow Brits, but they are as paranoid about having ID cards as Americans are about their "right" to carry guns infringed.

From TFA, the hero of the anti-ID card movement, one Clarence Harry Willcock, sounds like he was a rather obnoxious particular and common English* type, the bloody-minded and self-righteous motorist (in fictional parody J. Bonington Jagworth - leader of the militant Motorists' Liberation Front and defender of "the basic right of every motorist to drive as fast as he pleases, how he pleases and over what or whom he pleases") whom one would think was poles apart from most Reg regulars. Sounds like a 1950's Jeremy Clarkson, and again, the English equivalent of the gun-toting American.

* Yes, English rather than British

2
5
Facepalm

Re: @ Scandinavian AC - Bad ideas never die...

"I apologise for my fellow Brits, but they are as paranoid about having ID cards as Americans are about their "right" to carry guns infringed."

You could make an irrelavent comparison like this about anything to prove any point

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Shhh, they're still frog boiling

This, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/identity-assurance-enabling-trusted-transactions

And I guess the Snoopers Charter doesn't work too well unless we start having to buy email addresses at Post Offices so they know who owns them ?

1). Control

2). Tax

3). ...

4). Profit

7
0
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

El Reg, I'm shocked and disgusted. A blatant sales pitch for the ebook. Although if you want to email me a copy I'll read and review it.

2
2
Anonymous Coward

Are there any Loony candidates in Kent today?

0
0
ACx

Kent must be awash with You Kip candidates, no?

3
0

No ePub?

Other eBook readers are available.

0
0
FAIL

Re: No ePub?

That's what Calibre's for.

2
0

The sad thing about ID cards

Is that they could be genuinely useful things that members of the public would want. Labour was so busy with its multi billion plans to put everyone on a database (with every biometric possible), it missed this point and bought a great deal of public mistrust in the process.

Labour also missed another very vital point. We already have an optional, robust form of ID called the passport. Producing of small format version of the passport photo page would probably have bought ID cards into the market far sooner, and would have greatly expedited public acceptance of the idea.

2
15
ST7

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

I don't want your stinkin ID cards because I have every reason to believe (as a law abiding citizen) that those in 'authority' will misuse them.

If I am suspected of wrongdoing then there are existing laws to detain me until I have proven who I am. I don't see why I should have to identify myself to every jumped up 'official' who demands it.

Why do I need a passport ? I don't leave the country and if I wanted to travel in Europe I shouldn't need one any as we signed up to 'the free movement of goods services and people'.

Having ID does not enable you, it restricts you because the issuer could withdraw it at any time.

Page 3 of your UK passport

(NOTES 7 Caution This passport remains the property or Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and may be withdrawn at any time.)

17
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

Bur how are you going to prove to the Germans, for example, that you are a British / EU citizen and thus allowed to roam freely round Europe?

0
2
Meh

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

The only possible reason for having id cards would be if UK joined the Schengen zone.

Would this mean an end to middle class business men being treated as criminals by uk border agency?

Neutral smiley as not sure...

5
0

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

> Labour also missed another very vital point.

> We already have an optional, robust form of ID called the passport.

On the contrary, they designated the passport an ID token, which previously it wasn't.

While a UK passport was functionally effective as a government-issued identity document, it really wasn't one. Its purpose was to assert your nationality and the rights and protections afforded by possession of that nationality -- like, um, passing through a port -- not that you really were who you claimed to be.

Anyone know if the "designated document" thing was scrapped at the same time as the database?

-A.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

while not keen on a national ID scheme(large database + government = disaster), I have been asked for ID many times without having to leave the country. CRB checks, opening bank accounts, changing money at tesco, etc.

Fortunately I drive and have a passport so this is not a problem. I don't know how someone who does not have either of these documents actually manages. The biggest problem is actually proof address. It used to be by the use of household bills, but with so many online it becomes a challenge.

In many ways I could see an advantage in a national ID card, but this was mollified with the fact it would be run by a government department.

4
1

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

> The only possible reason for having id cards would be if UK joined the Schengen zone.

No, that wouldn't change anything. National ID documents issued by member states already serve as passports across the entire EU, including the Schengen refuseniks.

The wonderful thing about Schengen is that you don't need /any/ kind of documentation at all to travel across borders within the zone, just as you don't when, say, crossing between England and Scotland.

-A,

3
0
Trollface

Re: middle class business men

In my experience, the middle class business men are just a better-dressed classed of criminal.

4
0
Gold badge
Happy

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

"Is that they could be genuinely useful things that members of the public would want."

Name a few of them. It's your conjecture.

"it missed this point and bought a great deal of public mistrust in the process."

Most British people don't have nearly enough mistrust of their politicians and their alleged assistants, the civil service.

"Labour also missed another very vital point. We already have an optional, robust form of ID called the passport. "

How many times did the price rise during the ID Card scam programme? Quite a few, supposedly to cover the "increased production costs," but what looked remarkably like trying to fund the scheme under the (passport office) counter.

And let's not forget this was meant to be self financing

You didn't by any chance lose a load of contracting work when it finally folded, did you?

5
1
Silver badge
Happy

Re: ...and thus allowed to roam freely round Europe?

Talk slowly and in capitals with trouser legs rolled up and knotted hanky on head.

How else?

0
0
Bronze badge
Joke

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

Because you'll be the one saying very loudly "I saw my good man, please stop trifling with me or I shall be forced to punch you on the nose."

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

"...just as you don't when, say, crossing between England and Scotland"

Well, not yet.

1
1
Bronze badge

@ Jason Hindle - Re: The sad thing about ID cards

Wrote :- "We already have an optional, robust form of ID called the passport."

Your "we" is making a lot of assumptions. I don't have a passport, and most of my relations do not have one either. But you are right, there is a need for a form of identification for things like opening bank accounts and legal transactions that does not involve assembling some arbitrary permutation of utility bills, Council Tax statements, driving licence, pay slips, passports, etc some or all of which many people will not have.

2
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

@hammarbtyp - Re: The sad thing about ID cards

Wrote :- "Fortunately I drive and have a passport so this is not a problem. I don't know how someone who does not have either of these documents actually manages."

Nice to hear someone who has actually thought of this instead of just shouting "La, la, la, liberty, la, la, over-my-dead-body, la, la, police-state, la, la ...."

My sister-in-law was in exactly that position, and ended up taking out a provisional driving licence just to have something to show. F-ing stupid state of affairs.

1
0

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

By talking rather loudly.

0
0
Unhappy

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

When I renewed my passport in early 2002 it cost, if I remember rightly, £24. When it was renewed again ten years later it was £77.50. I certainly don't remember my pay more than tripling in the meantime....

2
0
Thumb Down

Re: The sad thing about ID cards

Be thankfu it's only 77 gbp... I just renewed mine from abroad and it was close to 200 euros... (Up from 50 10 years ago IIRC)

The reason why, as explained on their site is that they have been busy streamlining their system, to make it easier for a person to get a passport and reduce the cost of making it.

Quite how that translates to having to post your passport from Holland to Paris, where they perform some checks (I don't know what, when I asked the passport office they refused to tell me what the checks were, just that my application had to be correct enough to pass them or they would keep my 200 euros and return it to me) before sending it to Cardiff for more, and different, checks (also secret!). Where it would be made and posted to me back here.

Much easier than 10 years ago when I went to the consulate, filled in a form with the help of the clerk, went back a week later and picked it up. And with the reduced costs obviously 200 euros is a better price than 50.

0
0
ST7
Mushroom

Age restricted sales = ID card preparation

Over the last couple of years there has been a clampdown on underage sales of alcohol, tobacco, aerosols, knives, OTC medicines, magazines, videos, video games etc.

Most retailers have a TASK25 policy (Think,Ask,See,Know) whereby if it is suspected that a customer is under 25 then ID must be asked for (failure = disciplinary), this is conditioning a whole generation to carry ID and think it is ok to be challenged at any time.

ID cards are still on the agenda, they are just waiting for old farts like me (why do I need ID, I know who I am and isn't it bleeding obvious from my attitude that I'm a Brit) to die out and they can get on with it.

14
1
Stop

Re: Age restricted sales = ID card preparation

@ST7 "this is conditioning a whole generation to carry ID and think it is ok to be challenged at any time."

Please don't try and turn this into something it's not. I got regularly ID'd going to clubs and buying booze in the '80's.

4
6
Unhappy

Re: Age restricted sales = ID card preparation

Until what age, might I ask. I'm 25 and I've been ID'd several times this year alone. I don't have a driver's license so don't tend to carry ID. A lady in Tesco almost screamed "You HAVE to have ID" at me. I politely told her that no I didn't and would just leave the alcohol, she must have misheard me cause she repeated herself. I just shrugged.

I doubt that happened in the 80s.

8
0
FAIL

Re: Age restricted sales = ID card preparation

Couldn't agree more. After posting my drivers licence for a photo update as required by the DVLA I found myself - at aged 28 - that I was unable to purchase a 6-pack of beer to take to a BBQ.

I was wearing a suit, was paying with credit card and had my car keys in hand.

Apparently I needed a passport or no alcohol. Common sense has just left the building....

3
0
Bronze badge
Devil

Re: Age restricted sales = ID card preparation

If you're a decrepit old white-haired/bearded old git like me no one ever asks you for ID.

Well, except banks. Recently they asked me for photo ID. I don't have a passport and my driving licence is pre photo-licence as I haven't moved house in a long time. This presented them with a knotty problem, but apparently since I've been a customer of the same bank for almost 40 years that was good enough in the end.

I really must go and try and open a new account without any photo ID. That will be fun!

1
0
Pint

Re: Age restricted sales = ID card preparation

The only time I ever recall being asked for I.D. was in 1998 in a New York bar. I was 28 at the time and had my passport on me.

I was never asked for I.D. in the eighties, and bought cigars at the age of 14 and beer in pubs at 14/15. I don't think I looked particularly mature either.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Age restricted sales = ID card preparation

Similarly, I was asked for ID at a hotel bar in California in 1996. I was 30 at the time. During the eighties I was drinking Guinness in pubs and buying cider at offies from age 13 with no greater challenge than to be asked my age and maybe what year I was born.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Age restricted sales = ID card preparation

@DanDanDan

> I doubt that happened in the 80s

Things were simpler in the 80s: I just grew a moustache in order to look older and be served in pubs. Inside those pubs, I met several girls who had done the same.

Badum-tish!

1
0

ID

We all tend to carry things that can "ID" us; credit cards, mobile phones, workplace ID etc. So the issue is not quite so much about the ID as such, but how it is used, what data will be collected, what will be done with that data; and more importantly, how the use of that data might be abused without allowing recourse to deal with the abusers or correcting any problems that occur.

It simply comes down to the question, "Do you trust the politicians, civil servants and other collectors of data to do so in a way that will be appropriate?" I don't, because they have shown repeatedly that they are the very last people to be trusted with any of this data.

Unfortunately, I suspect that they will continue to raise this topic over and again until it becomes law; and I can't believe that it would be too long after that before we would see just why it is such a bad idea.

14
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.