55 posts • joined 30 Jul 2009
Offline fallback required
If central government plans that everybody should be using this system to access their online services eventually, then an offline registration process is definitely going to be required for those people who have an insufficient credit trail. Perhaps the Post Office could get in on the act here, offering a document examining service in the local branch to those people who cannot, for whatever reason, be verified online. I would have thought that things like passports, driving licences, council tax bills, bank cards, etc , would be sufficient if presented by the applicant in person. My experience of the main credit reference agencies is one of incomplete or just plain incorrect information held on my record and getting them to correct/amend it is a triumph of perseverance. I would be very surprised if I was to pass an online check, even though I have lived in the UK for all of my adult life.
I hope the problems of this new ID verification service are ironed out in the near future, for if not, I can see the age old demand for National identity cards rearing it's head again.
Re: The Mossie
" Perhaps not so good in some other theatres though; my grandfather, who was a photographer with an RAF recon unit in Burma, had a lovely story about two Mossies arriving there, only to be eaten by the local insects before they could be suitably housed... "
Perhaps they should have sprayed them with insect repellent upon first arrival!
Just a thought...
Re: The Mossie
My Grandfather worked at the De Havilland factory during the war, working as an armourer on the Mosquito. He often said that the Mosquito's greatest asset was it's wooden airframe that gave it lightness and subsequent speed advantage over all metal designs. Bizarrely, the wooden airframe could also take more punishment from enemy fire than stressed all metal aircraft and could still fly on with many bullet holes in it's fuselage without catastrophic break up.
As an interesting footnote, many Mosquitos became completely unserviceable after the war due to rotting of the wooden fuselage. Still, they survived just long enough to wreak havoc on Goering and Co!
Of limited value in the real world
This Android app as it stands is OK as a basic chip working/not working check, but of little use in the commercial admin world. Perhaps by adding an online element to this program, it could become a useful Passport authenticator, checking that the Passport that has been scanned is indeed an original, authentic document as issued by HMPO. This might well have applications in the world of HR, banking and legal services and if provided for free, would probably enjoy wide spread use.
I often wondered what the exact meaning of the expression " F-A-B " was, usually uttered after a command from one of the senior puppets on the film set. It's probably equivalent to "aye aye", " yes sir " or perhaps the word " jawohl " in the German language.
Does anyone know the exact meaning of the expression or is it a made up term designed to sound hip and trendy in the swinging sixties?
One way to beat the outage
Dual-Sim mobile phone. They are readily available and can work on entirely seperate phone networks if the best possible resilience is required. Having dual sim cards also has the advantage that if one network is providing poor coverage in the area you are in, the second network might possibly give a usable signal to allow for making/receiving calls.
Everyone should have one
What about installing a standard encryption package on every PC within an organisation? Should any individual feel the need to take home any confidential information, they could create a self extracting encrypted file on their memory stick and take it home to work on. If they were to carelessly misplace the said memory stick at any point, they would be safe in the knowledge that at least it's contents would be hard to get to if it did fall into the wrong hands. Would this be too costly or impractical for an NHS trust to implement across the board? I'm sure most people who work on a PC day-in, day-out, would have the knowledge and experience to handle such an encryption package with little or no training.
Royal Mail please note
“Australians have told us they want to be able to collect their parcels at a time and place that suits them,”
I'm sure there are millions of Brits who would wish the Royal Mail to do the same here in the UK.
A lot of people are out working during post office delivery hours and end up going to the local post office, usually the following saturday morning, to pick up their parcels anyway. Even if this service was only available to say, ten o'clock at night, for five days a week, it would make life a lot easier for the legions of internet shoppers out there who just want to get their hands on their ordered goods as soon as possible.
Perhaps under this system, the purchaser could have the facility of marking the parcel as to be picked up at the post office only, to save the postman the time in not having to deliver it to the home address. The recepient could be advised by SMS text and/or email that the parcel is available for collection at their nominated local post office.
Things have moved on quite a bit
" Seeing as the vast majority of passports don't actually have biometric chips, I can't see what the problem is. "
According to the latest figures I have seen, a little over half of all current valid UK passports in circulation are indeed of the new chipped biometric type. The Passport office issue upwards of 5 million new passports a year, all of these of course are of the new biometric type. By 2016 all valid UK passports will incorporate this new technology. The equivelant figures for non UK passports may be lower, but the number of chip enabled passports in circulation around the world is increasing every day as most countries around the world now issue them as standard.
Figures aside though, the whole point of chipping passports was to make them much more difficult to forge. If immigration agencies routinely disregard this feature and just check the picture inside the cover, there seems little point in going to the bother and expense in producing tem in the first place.
The question that nobody seems to be asking
Once this private sector operated ID assurance scheme is up and running, who is going to be paying the bill for its day-to-day usage exactly? Will it be the various government departments that hope to be using it for normal every day transactions? Or perhaps more likely, will it be the end user (ie You and I ) who is requiring access to these government services? If it is the latter, what will be the level of transaction charges payable be?
Just a thought.
Slightly different direction
The National ID card may well be dead and gone and it's probably unlikely that it will ever be ressurected by this present coalition government. However don't be too surprised if forthcoming legislation doesn't promote the UK passport as a de facto National Identity document for the delivery of many public services. Nothing compulsory like, just incovenient when you don't have one at your disposal. As a majority of UK citizens already have a passport, this would prove to be a relatively non controversial option as well as providing a high level of identity assurance amongst the general population.
That's the kind of handle most people would associate with UK governments of the past 30 years.
So, right back in the beginning....
How do these various trusted personal data agencies establish the authenticity of the applicants who would wish to use their services? This part is the absolute critical element of any identity verification system, particularly one that will eventually involve all government departments, both national and local. Unless the initial enrolment system is very robust indeed, the opportunity for fraud and criminal deception could potentially be enormous. Social security and pension payments alone run into billions of pounds a year and a half-baked registration regime could provide some lucrative earnings for the criminal masterminds out there. I hope I'm wrong about this, but this does seem like a " all eggs in one basket solution" that might well become ripe for exploitation.
Desktop market could be key
A lot of the talk surrounding Chrome OS seems to be centred around the netbook/touchpad market, where new models seem to proliferate. There are millions of traditional desktop machines sitting around in offices, schools, homes etc, which only have basic, straightforward requirements. With more and more everyday functions being available via the web browser, there could be potentially a huge untapped market for a web only " Chromebox ."
Key to all this of course would be initial pricing point. If this type of machine was available at a significantly lower cost than a traditional desktop, corporate and home users alike with only modest requirements might see this kind of set up as viable. If the Chromebox spec also included a HDMI output and remote keyboard, perhaps there would be new untapped market in the domestic sector as well. This does of course all depend on what faith one has in Google to safely retain their data and what Google might otherwise do with that data without the owner's knowledge!
Well, look on the bright side Mr Blunkett....
At least the nation now won't have to shell out the 5 Billion quid your government said it would cost to roll out the National Identity Card scheme.
Viewed in that light, the 2.25 million pound cancellation charges seem quite a bargain.
Now Off The Agenda
With the ID card legislation now repealed and the cards themselves no longer legal tender, perhaps we can now consider this whole controversial matter as being over and consigned to the last chapter in our history books.
Unless of course, our Lords and Masters in Brussels have any different ideas.
Fits Most Pockets
Having travelled and lived abroad over many years, I can't say that I ever had a problem in transporting my passport around on my person. It seems to fit in most trouser/jacket/shirt pockets quite comfortably and is generally less obtrusive than a wallet or purse.
The new passport, although coming with enhanced security features, carries no more personal information on it than the previous model did. Speaking as a naysayer, I am quite happy that this Nu Labour Stasi card has been abolished from these Islands, even if it means our expat friends abroad have to walk around with a slightly fuller pocket than they might like.
View from Down-Under
I visited family in Australia this time last year and despite being in possesion of a recently-issued UK electronic Passport, was unable to use it through their automated border gates as they were, at the time, only set up to work with Australian/NZ e passports. Whilst standing in the rather long manned border queue, I only noticed a gaggle of confident-looking Quantas aircrew using the automated border gate facility; everybody else seemed to be studiously avoiding them.
During my stay in Oz, I read a couple of articles in the local press about the efficacy of their own home-grown borderdgate system, which according to one article, had been installed at Sydney's International airport for a few years. During the pilot trial phase, the border machines has been throwing up so many false negatives that they had to reduce the system's matching accuracy to the lowest level possible, 40% I believe, to make the system usable during busy periods. A government aviation spokesman was quoted by the paper as stating that at even 40% matching accuracy, it's performance was broadly similar to that of an experienced immigration official.
I don't know if this is typical of other such systems used in the rest of the world, but at this relatively low level of matching accuracy, I wonder if it was worth spending such large sums of money on the whole e-passport/bordergate infrastructure. Employing a few extra border personel at peak times would probably be just as effective at keeping long queues down to a minimum and come with the in built advantage of common sense and human intuition that machines cannot provide.
Less than 5 per cent
When the DSS carried out it's own internal survey of benefit fraud a few years back, it estimated that less than 5% of benefit fraud was down to people misrepresenting their true identities. That means that a majority of the 2.5 billion pound fraud that is reckoned to be lost every year, is down to people mis-representing their personal circumstances rather than lying about who they are. On these figures, the true cost of benefit fraud deriving from uncertainty about an applicant's ID is probably in the region of a couple of hundred million pounds per year or less.
Same with e-passports too
I have been using my e-passport for the past 3 years now in pretty much the same way at my local airport and have breezed through the automated border gate in less than 30 seconds on every occasion. What amazes me is that there never seems to be a queue to use this automated facility, despite there usually being a queue stretching back several hundred yards for the manual passport gates.
The IPS recently stated that there are already some 25 million e-passports in circulation, about half the total number of all valid UK passports out there. Perhaps people feel a little bit intimidated by the automated border machinery or are not aware that they are in possession of the new style e-passport.
I suppose if everybody starts using the new facilities however, then this may not necessarily be the attractive option any more!
To get an ID card you would first have to either be in possession of a current passport or go out and spend an additional £77.50 to purchase one. No one without a current passport, as far as I am aware, was entitled to purchase a stand alone ID card for 30 pounds, so their was no bargain option for travel in Europe.
Something else Messrs Smith and Johnson kept quite about whilst doing their promotional sales tours.
Obtaining a pristine original, maybe?
I don't know whether it will still be against the law to make copies of the now cancelled ID card, once they have ceased to be legal tender. If not, perhaps there might be a new lucrative market out there for the online fake ID card makers. With the pristine original in their hand , they can set about making a perfect replica, authentic in every last detail, for an up and coming fake family heirloom market. To keep everything as original as possible, they could charge 30 quid for the beautifully - crafted item to all those millions out there who never got the chance to get one the first time round. In years to come, these cards could be seen doing the rounds in family photo albums and antique road shows, a graphic reminder of the days when obstinate Labour Home Secretaries ruled with an iron fist and dismissed all dissention.
Good point, well made.
Every little helps
If our local ASDA is anything to go by, the answer is probably no. I have seen two incidents over the past few months there where two European students from the local Uni have attempted to purchase alcohol, duly presenting their National ID cards as proof that they were over 18. In both cases a supervisor was called over , who patiently explained to them that European ID cards were not acceptable forms of identification and that they would have to come back with their Passports. The German student rather indignantly pointed out that she did not have a Passport and had travelled to the UK on her German ID Card and could not understand why it was not accepted by the store as proof of age.
I don't know if this is general throughout the UK or even mainland Europe, but it does make one wonder how genuinely useful a UK card may have been on the continent if it had survived the axe.
Has anyone else come across incidents like this?
For all the fire and brimstone
For all the venom and bitter words Alan Johnson hurled across the chamber at his successor, the former home secretary also announced that his party would not be opposing the passage of this bill through the commons.
Nothing like going down fighting for a cause you believe so passionately in.
No local printer drivers, no local apps. Sounds like an ultra-lite operating system suitable for web-browsing only. Perhaps it was only developed to increase Google's advertising real estate potential. Anderoid with it's increasing plethora of local apps sounds more appealing and versatile, even in netbook form.
Another Relic of de-skilled Britain
I worked there back in the 1970's when I believe there was in excess of 1000 people employed over the whole site. I was told the site was expanded during WW2 to accomodate numerous MOD contracts that were required in support of the war effort. I have to say, even back in the 70's, the whole place looked like a relic from the great days of the British Empire and if the whole site was demolished and replaced by a brand spanking new Tesco branch, it could only be an improvement.
I wonder where all those hundreds of skilled jobs and lucrative government contracts went to or if the core GEC-Marconi business still exists today. I expect like a lot of our jobs in the high tech industry of the time, they have been dispersed throughout the free world in the ever expanding push for globalisation.
Glass houses, stones and all that
Same for many commentators here of course AC, yourself included. Perhaps this particular topic has been flogged to death now.
You might be surprised to learn
Your assertion that a large portion of the population has neither a Passport or a Driving Licence I'm afraid is incorrect. It has been estimated that about 85% of the population has either one or both of these documents. That means that only 15% of the population is without any official government-issued Identity as such. That is why many people regard ID cards as an expensive White Elephant, as there is plenty of official ID out there already.
I am rather surprised you cannot obtain a Passport without any existing photo ID. My grown-up daughter obtained a first-time Passport less than a year ago without any form of photo ID, although like all first time applicants, she had to go along for a formal interview at local IPS office armed with a Birth certificate, National Insurance card, etc.
Is that all they could manage?
" In March, former Home Sec Alan Johnson had predicted 17 million ID cards would be in circulation by 2017, a staggering 28 per cent of the population."
When asked last year, the Home Office stated there were some 52 million valid UK Passports in circulation and over 80% of the population were in possesion of one. Since Labour's ID card was in effect little more than a sawn-off Passport as far as the end user was concerned, could they have not used Passports for the same purpose and pocketed the 5 Billion pound cost?
Perhaps more pointedly, someone should have asked Alan Johnson last March how many years it would take for his ID card to reach the same level of public ownership that the British Passport enjoys today.
It seems to me that Labour's only interest in ID cards was to build up a massive e-dossier on every man, woman and child in the country and use this monolith to monitor and control the poulation ever after. That and conforming to the norms and expectations of the EU of course.
That's the trouble with democracy, Angela
Back in 2005, Labour won the general election with 33% of the popular vote and assumed it had got itself a solid mandate for the role out National ID cards.
The opposition parties objected, the pressure groups complained, but to no avail, the legislation was passed and the procurement contracts obtained. Five years did pass by dear Angela and the Con-Libs did prevail, with 60% of the national vote, they said it was time for change.
So that's where we stand today. Both Conservatives and Liberals have made it quite clear at least for the past 3 years that were implacably opposed to ID cards and would go to the bother of scrapping them should they be elected back into power. Like the Labour party back in 2005, they assume they have a solid mandate from the electorate to pursue this policy and by the end of the summer, hopefully these wretched things will be history. Form a pressure group for their retention if you will Angela, but Labour's ID card project has come to the end of it's natural life-cycle and a hole is being dug for it's burial.
It's alright David, problem solved.
Those awfully nice people over at Citizen card have just come up with a very generous offer to help you all out. You can now exchange your 30 quid national ID card for one of their government-approved PASS Cards for free! For those people out there in the wider population who bemoan the passing of the National ID card scheme, fear not. You can also get one for the knockdown price of 15 pounds and you won't even have to have your fingerprints taken.
No good for travelling to Europe of course, but owners of the National ID card didn't seem to fare any better either. So there you go, David, Jacqui, Alan, Gordon, Tony; a nationally-approved ID card that didn't require a single penny of tax-payer's money to implement. Why didn't you think of that?
And the real winner will be......
I think it will be the great British public that has the last laugh here, as it happens.
It has been said that at least 29 million ID cards will have to be sold for the project to break even in financial terms. That's at least 29 million people who will now not have to stump up the cash to buy into Nu Labour's Stasi population control project. That's at least 29 million people who will not have to pay up to a £1000 pound fine should they forget to update their details with the all-surveying National Identity Register. That's at least 29 million people who will now not have to carry an ID card around with them in their wallets to show to every jobsworth and petty official on every street corner. That's at least 29 million people........ oh well, I think I could go on all day about the numerous disadvantages and problems that this socialist dystopia project would bring with it.
Whether cancelling this project saves the treasury 2 Billion pounds or 2 pence, it will be the man in the street who will be quids in once it has been passed out of law.
Driving costs back down
So... No more ID cards, no more NIR, no more fingerprints on Passports, no more major spend on IT infrastructure to support the above. Does that mean that the cost of a UK Passport will come back down again to a more realistic level ?
Identifying Real Citizens
Probably like a lot of UK citizens, I am not of the opinion that one should have to identify themselves on a regular or routine basis to satisfy the wants of official beurocracy or legislation. According to figures produced by the Passport service last year, there are already some 52 million valid UK passports in circulation and I think it would be fair to say that a majority of UK subjects are in possession of one. Now that the UK ID card and it's attendent National Identity Register is set to be scrapped, I don't think that the new government has to look very far, should it have the need to, to find a new document that would fulfill the same role. For occasional official use and only where strictly neccesary, a Passport would, in my view, be more than adequate to take on the anticipated role of a personal identity card.
Non-EU overseas residents will still have their Biometric Resident Permits issued by our government to prove their legal status and EU citizens will already have their own ID Cards/Passports to do the same. Costing many billions of pounds to produce and roll out, ID cards to me seem like a very expensive hammer to crack a relatively small nut.
More fatuous nonsense from postman Alan
ID cards will pay for themselves Alan? Er... no, not quite. At least thirteen million people will have to buy one before they start paying for themselves. Given a choice I'm sure that most of those thirteen million people would rather pass on that one and spend the money on something useful instead.
I think the Home Secretary's logic goes something like this. We spend billions of pounds up front for an ID card project which eventually we would like to force you all to have and then, when you all have no choice in the matter, we will recoup our initial investment and claim it was all self-financing. Neat eh?
Mind the door on the way out Mr Johnson; oh and good luck in your new career.
Sad, but very true
Very well put AC.
It's a sad reflection on the two-party horse race we call a general election where a significant portion of voters end up being disenfranchised by the inevitable Labour/Conservative outcome. I do not envy either of them this time round however; whichever party wins the next election is sure to find itself very unpopular after they start swinging the axe on public expenditure.
Pleased to hear it, but.....
I am pleased to hear that the Conservative Party has re-affirmed it's intention to scrap ID Cards and the Orwellian national identity register that lays behind it, should they be elected next month. It would appear from what I have been reading this afternoon, that the tories still intend to embark on a mass fingerprinting excercise of the civil population when the phase 2 Biometric Passport is rolled out in a couple of years time. Although obtaining a passort is obviously a voluntary act, a large percentage of the population (80% or more) are in possession of one at any given time. Within a generation, a majority of the UK population could find their fingerprints included on the passport database, an idea I'm sure today's Nu Labour politicians and many Whitehall mandarins would find very palatable indeed.
Although a new Conservative administration would probably ensure that the new Passport database only contains the minimum amount of personal information required, we would still have a large biometric database of the population not too far different from today's proposed national identity register. The International Civil Aviation authority does not at present require any country to include fingerprints or other Biometric identifiers in their Biometric Passports, ony a facial image as we have at present. If there is a regime change in Downing Street next month, perhaps the new government might reflect on this more Orwellian aspect of it's proposals and drop the fingerprinting requirements from the next generation of passports. In keeping with many of it's cost-cutting ambitions, the removal of this feature is bound to save money in the longer term too.
National ID Cards, useful throughout Europe.
Just come back from local Sainsburys superstore where I witnessed a young German student from the local Uni, attempting to purchase a Bacardi Breezer type alcopop drink. The checkout assistant asked her for proof of age and after waving away her student ID as unsuitable, the young woman produced her Personalweiss (German National ID card) to prove that she was indeed over 18. With rather a puzzled look, the checkout assistant called over her supervisor who carefully checked the student's strange new ID credentials. After a minute's muted discussion, the supervisor then announced to the young freulein that this type of ID was not on their list of accepted ID and that she would have to return with her Passport to complete the transaction!
It would appear then that a EU national ID card then can legally allow you to take residence in any EU country, but not to be an acceptable form of ID when purchasing age-restricted goods from the local supermarket. I wonder if our UK National ID card would be treated with the same disdain on the Continent as this student's National ID card was here? If it is not accepted as a general means of personal identification and a national passport is always required for personal ID purposes, then the card is basically just a sawn-off mini passport, with few practical applications outside one's own country of residence.
For those who don't look old enough...
For those unlucky souls who are blighted with an eternally youthful appearance and find difficulty in being served in pubs and clubs around the country, there is a cheaper alternative to the National ID card. It is the excellent Citizen Card, an officially-approved ID card that can verify your age for age restricted goods and services and available at the bargain price of only ten pounds.
Oh, by the way, it is not suitable for continental - bound P&O ferries from Hull, for that you will need a full National ID card!
Size not always relevant
Size might be a consideration if travelling within the EU only. Outside of the EU only full size counts.
Is there an address on the card?
Is the card holder's address actually displayed on the ID Card or stored on the onboard chip?
I have seen several high-res photos of these cards, but have yet to see an address printed on one.
If this is the case, it's certainly going to limit the card's usefulness in the future, as one will need to carry additional forms of ID to prove one's address in those cases where this is required.
For non-travelling purposes though a photocard driving licence would do just fine, as it already has the holder's home address printed on it and there are already 10's of millions of these in circulation already.
Now I don't like the EU, but..
I am no great fan of the EU and the Brussel's beurocracy that runs it, but they do seem to be light years ahead of our Home Office when it comes to protecting the privacy of individual citizens ( remember the EU courts ruling on the retention of DNA samples ?)
Like it or loath it, the Lisbon Treaty is now law and I think this will be the first of many cases where the British government will be told the error of its ways and simply overridden by our new Lords and Masters in Brussels. I do hope that old Scotty McBroon realises that his betrayal on the Lisbon Treaty will turn our beloved Westminster Parliament into a rambling regional council commitee, beholden and answerable to the great star chamber in the Belgian capital.
I wonder if he has a job waiting for him there, should he fail at the next general election?
Thin end of the wedge?
A Pan-European e-ID Card for access to online e-services, have I got that correct? Forgive my natural cynicism about all things European, but could this not easily be morphed into a more general-purpose European citizen card as well?
If this is a universal access card for all citizens in the EU, then presumably personal credential checks would have to be done before it is issued to the individual citizen. Once this is done however, this could become by chance or intended design a new national identity card of the new European superstate. I am quite sure there are people in Brussels today who would love to see such a pipedream become a reality, if not today or next year, then certainly in the medium term. What better way to weld together all nations of Europe together than by a single plastic token of citizenship?
Oh well, may be not. Perhaps I've been reading too many conspiracy theories on the UKIP website recently!
Hello Britain, Europe calling
Sorry to strike a slightly pessimistic note here, but I was reading the other week an online article about the Lisbon Treaty that contained, I think, some rather unwelcome news about the future adoption of ID cards in the European Superstate. According to the article, there are two sub-clauses in the Lisbon Treaty that allows Brussels to impose ID cards on member states, whether they desire them or not. I'm sure there are many people out there, myself included, who are hoping that an incoming Conservative government will torpedo the ID card scheme and send it plummeting to the depths of the ocean floor. Although I'm sure they will have the judicial freedom to do so under existing British law, how long will it before the EU superstate, under the auspices of the Lisbon Treaty, play their trump card and simply demand that the UK issues ID cards in accordance with the said act?
Perhaps this is why Nu Labour is continuing to roll-out it's ID card scheme right up until the bitter end, knowing that if Cameron reverses their policy, the EU will take up the cudgel on their behalf and simply impose it from on high. It would certainly be a major challenge to a future Conservative administration, whose hope is to repatriate as much power as possible back to the UK from Brussels.
@ Rich 11
Driving Licences or Driver's Licences, the spelling is academic really. What counts are the facts and the reasoning behind those facts.
FFS..... Stop watching your dictionary and get yourself a life on this Earth.
Don't know if you've ever noticed Dale, but our beloved Banks already ask us to produce official government ID already to open a account. With some 52 million current passports already in circulation, it would seem that the vast majority of British subjects already have an official identity document with which to open a bank account with. Then there's those tens of millions of UK Driver's licences in circulation too; widely accepted almost everywhere as proof of personal ID and/or Home address. I think to most people you would pass in the street your beloved Euro/UK ID card would seem rather superfluous to requirements.
AC, I think you might be missing my point here. It is an unfortunate fact of life that some organisations, Banks when opening accounts, mail delivery firms and I'm sure a few others, also require proof of address as well as proof of identity before they will dispence their service to you. This is why a photocard driving licence is useful in particular as it provides both sets of information on one card. My original point was that this National ID card is only a means of establishing your identity, but, as far as I can see, does not contain the owner's home address. Surely this will means that in some cases that a second document will have to be carried around to back up an ID card.
For the billions of pounds that this government is spending on this project, why couldn't they have included the holder's home address as well? It would certainly make the document a more useful form of ID; As it stands at the moment I doubt whether it will ever be the one-stop-shop that various Home Secretaries have claimed it would be.
But anyway, just like you, I am a vehemently opposed to the introduction of ID cards for many reasons and hopefully all these discussions on it will, after next spring, become academic.
Not a practical identity document in any case
Perhaps my eyesight is failing me, but whilst looking at a high-res photo of the new UK National Identity Card, I have noticed one glaring ommission from it. It does not even have the holder's address printed on it! I have gone through the IPS website to try and find out whether the holder's address is included on the on board chip, but cannot find any reference to it.
Meg Hillier, in the main article, describes the ID card as a practical, convenient, gold-standard ID document. Without the holder's home address recorded anywhere on the document, I would say that your humble, bog-standard UK photocard driving licence, which includes the holder's address, is a far more useful and practical form of ID. I know that when applying for many services nowadays, the organisation involved requires proof of one's home address as well as their identity. If the National ID card doesn't include address details , then people will have to carry around a second form of ID, confirming their home address as well.
Surely Meg, this defeats the whole object of a one-stop-shop ID card!
No ID cards, still no travel worries.
Even if the ID card scheme never really gets off the ground and is scrapped by the next government, this still shouldn't present any further worries to a hard-pressed travel industry. When the enquiry was made at the start of the year, IPS revealed that there were in fact nearly 52 million current UK Passports in circulation. They of course have the additional advantage over ID cards of being able to allow potential travellers to visit all countries around the world and not just Europe!
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