back to article Pressure group aghast at Hillingdon ID card scheme

Has Hillingdon Borough managed to find a way to introduce an ID card scheme that is non-intrusive, respects civil liberties – and is actually welcomed by local residents? According to pressure group NO2ID, the answer In June, Hillingdon started to issue "HillingdonFirst" cards to residents, offering "access to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The primary benefit Hillingdon offers

    is to act as a buffer zone between Uxbridge and London. Understandably, this is not something its residents can enjoy or indeed partake of.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    Edward Edward!!

    What's all this shouting? We'll have no trouble here!

    He says he wants to buy the precious things!

    Is he local?

    He has a special carrrrd!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    The URN maybe logged

    Always thinking about tea cheesh it's no wonder councils get little done.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They are complaining about the scheme because of what it could be rather than what it is?

    While we are hear can I complain about The Registers world domination of tech news.... possibly.... in the future...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So if locals don't agree to have a card they will be denied access to the local library and Household Waste facilities which they have paid for, and are entitled to. Who puts these authority figures into positions of power ?

    And in an attempt to drive away visiting customers, and thus any income from them, they intend to charge visitors more than the locals for parking. And on top of that, in order to fund a discount at the shop the chances are that over time prices will rise faster to recover the lost profit, with visitors to the area (assuming they chose to pay the parking) being hit most.

    I'm unsure the scheme is that innocuous. Even before you consider the data gathering opportunities.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    No worse than a credit card

    > NO2ID is concerned about the normalisation of handing over huge amounts of info where there is no clear need

    This sounds like a knee-jerk reaction. When you use a credit or debit card, you're handing over more info than this (as it includes your CC number) which could be put to far worse uses. If this bunch are worried about "normaliing" the handing over of data, I'd suggest they are far, far too late. As for HUGE amounts? The card user only has 2 pieces stored: that's not HUGE. This just makes them sound shrill and loses whatever remaining credibility they may have started out with.

    P.S. I wonder if they require people to give their names and addresses when they join NO2ID

  8. seanj

    No obligation? My arse!

    "There is no obligation on local residents to use this card. However, some services, such as access to the local library or the Household Waste facilities, will only be made available on production of a card."

    That there is reason why it should be scrapped immediately, and any involved to be cast out into the political winderness! How can you claim it is non-obligatory, but deny those without one to certain services? For shame, Hillingdon, for shame.

  9. D Moss Esq

    The Hillingdon demand curve

    Consider the world.

    Divide it into two.

    Those people who live in Hillingdon, Set A. And those who don't, Set B.

    Assume that there are more members of Set B than there are of Set A.

    Assume that demand rises as prices fall and vice versa.

    What 400 businesses in Hillingdon have discovered is the quickest way to go out of business.

    A small number of people will be given a discount (i.e. paid) to do business with them, thus reducing margins.

    And a large number of people will have the incentive to do business with them reduced, thus reducing turnover.

    Economic assisted suicide.

  10. EvilJason
    Thumb Down


    ...Local public services are restricted to local residents only then local residents should be the only one who pays for it only, i.e. if the local library does to give access only to residents then why should the rest of us pay for it? The funding for that library should only come from residents then.

  11. dunncha
    Big Brother

    Yes I do pay your wages

    This sounds more like a loyalty card for local people. The council has all my personal details already as they take over £1200 from my bank account annually, so maybe I should have a card that says Yes! I do pay your wages

    But struggling.... is this a loyalty card or a ID card.............................. Not to ID yes to Loyalty / Privilege. Cannot compute

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Only a moron...


    "If other Councils buy in to this approach, then over the long term it might encourage individuals to make greater use of local services, as the price of out of area services becomes relatively more expensive"

    Or as most people will do "F**k them, I'll piss off to Tescos / Asda / Online shops"

    I often shop in a neighbouring area, but if they are going to shaft me, then I won't shop there. Simple.

  13. david willis

    Opting out

    So if I were to opt out I would not be entitled to benefits.

    If I were a resident who decided to opt out of the card could I also opt out of having to pay for those services that I did not wish to pay for..

    Any chance of reducing my council tax..

  14. Lionel Baden


    they can monitor my alcohol intake and decide by what i buy if i need social services should come round !

    oh and why must the address be printed on the card ???? can it not just verify information ? why not do that !

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Are people in the UK now this dumb? No wonder we've allowed an unelected buffoon to lead this country for so long with nary a murmur.

    The government failed with the mandatory card.

    They've pretty much failed with the "voluntary" card (note to the hard of thinking, it's voluntary in the same was that eating is voluntary).

    So now they have tried this tactic (via a council so they can deny all knowledge if it fails, how cute) and the morons in Hillingon have fallen for it. If it was such a grave threat to the rest of the nation, I'd be laughing at them.

    And to think, over 200 people have died believing they were protecting our freedoms, and we'll give them away for some cheap loo-roll. Pathetic.

    We are a disgrace to the memories of our ancestors.

  16. Dibbles

    Can't think of one

    This is an interesting illustration of the grey area into which local authorities are moving. For example, other local councils in London provide residents' cards offering cheaper leisure centre activities, skills training and so on. But at the moment these use the old-fashioned system of recording applicant details at the time of application, but then simply checking that the card looks valid every time it's waved at a service.

    Hillingdon is going a step further by actually making sure that the back end and the front end match; whether it's intrusive is unclear, but it's reasonably apparent that most such services will move in this direction eventually. So - intrusive ID* or logical offering for residents' services?

    *I should point out I'm against blanket ID databases in principle; but I'm left quite confused about this one

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It's quite good actually

    It's a pretty good scheme for those of us that live in Hillingdon. I just feel sorry for the 17 year old drivers that don't get preferential parking rates outside KFC

    Anonymous just in case they really are watching

  18. Anonymous Coward

    The Recursion Card

    From the Using Your Card guide:

    Q ." Will I need a proof of ID when buying goods or services?"

    A. No, just show your HillingdonFirst card.

    From the T&C

    "Those applying for the card will need to provide proof of their address."

    It begs this question: If proof of address is good enough to get a card why isn't it good enough when buying goods and services?

    Sounds like a solution looking for a problem.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are privacy rights

    Well they needn't worry, we have privacy rights that stop them linking the data, or distributing it or keeping it longer than necessary for the purpose, or allowing unnecessary access beyond that needed. And since those rights are rigorously enforced with criminal sanctions, nobody in Holland need worry about it.

    What you say? This is the UK? Oh boy you're screwed!

    Every petty little micromanaging council member will use that data for their tiniest political ladder climbing purpose.

    They'll soon have them plugged into local pubs on the excuse that binge drinking leads to violence, want a drink? Insert your card! Want to get into the club? Insert your card!

    Then once they have that database, some micromanager will decide you can't work for the council if you drink on Sundays.... see maybe he hasn't cleared the alcohol by Monday, so we can't employ him.

    Then some other micromanager will decide that shops & restaurants should offer longer duration free parking to locals, who swipe their card, and some other micromanager will decide that people who eat often at fast food restaurants need healthy eating education.

    Then some companies will come along and decide they'd like to know whose getting the healthy eating education, so they can sell them high risk health insurance, and warn insurance companies to stop them getting cheaper insurance. And the council, which sell the electoral roll now, will do it because it wants the money.

    And the UK Data Protection regulator will do his job of collecting fees for the databases while giving his non-judicial pseudo authorisation to these privacy violations thus bypassing the EU Data Protection rights. People watch big brother, but don't apply to be in the house. Likewise *you* have a privacy right which *he* gives away on your behalf.

    Tell me, why exactly should senior members of the council be able to see my Library Book Borrowing history? What business is it of theirs? And what business is it of theirs where I park?

    Even before they start there is a little mission creep already, and having established that they can link the two items, and let someone see it who doesn't need to, it becomes easier to link a third, fourth, and expand the numbers who can see it.

  20. TeeCee Gold badge

    Very clever, I'm sure.....

    I just had to help my mother-in-law with car parking over this. She's been given this Hillingdon card and was complaining that it doesn't give her the cheap parking rates.

    We went to a car park and the process seemed simple enough. Wave card at reader, press yellow button, shove money in slot, press green button. The problem became obvious when it turned out that the *actual* process is: wave card at reader, press yellow button, shovemoneyinslotandpressgreenbuttonreallybloodyquicklybeforetheuselessbastardtimesouttensecondslater. If you've worked out how much you need and have the coins in your hand when you start it's just doable.

    Something of a problem for the elderly who require a bit more thinking time that one. She still can't get it to work.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Not compulsory?

    "There is no obligation on local residents to use this card. However, some services, such as access to the local library or the Household Waste facilities, will only be made available on production of a card."

    So it's not compulsory as long as you don't want things to change. I love this logic especially when it's spouted wholesale by halfwits pretending as hard as they can to convince you they believe it.


    Paris...because...err...Totenkopfverbände...or something.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ID card issues aside

    .. doesn't this encourage us to stay in our local area and only use local services...

    Which is at odds with the way the world and UK work... we must traval great distances to work and also to shop (usually)... yet there is no concept that a person who lives in one place may spend much of their time in another...

    For instance how many people join a gym near work, rather than near home!!!

  23. Gav

    Lack of foresight

    I suspect the local residents will find their enthusiasm for the cards disappears rapidly when;

    1/ Little Johnny is refused entry to the local library and sport centre because the dog ate his card. He can't do his homework and is getting fat. Won't someone think of the children?

    2/ Local councillor Ted Worthy uses the database to check up on that pain in the neck who keeps showing up at his surgeries asking awkward questions.

  24. Dr. Whoosh
    Thumb Down


    So given that central government provide the bulk of the funding for the services provided by councils what basis is there for discriminating against residents of other areas who contribute through their central taxes. Oh and what about people who work in the area or set up business that pay rates etc etc etc.

  25. Tom Richards

    What's with the headline?

    I don't think it's fair to say that "Pressure group aghast at Hillingdon ID card scheme" when NO2ID then say "This scheme looks fairly innocuous" and only have concerns about where it might go in the future. They're certainly not aghast!

    I also don't think it's appropriate to say in the first paragraph "Has Hillingdon Borough managed to find a way to introduce an ID card scheme that is non-intrusive, respects civil liberties – and is actually welcomed by local residents? According to pressure group NO2ID, the answer" when the NO2ID spokesperson doesn't address the question of the popularity of the scheme and implies that it isn't a threat to civil liberties or intrusive at the moment.

    Rewrite please! I look for red-top journalism at The Register, but this is yellow.

  26. Steve Williams

    @seanj and AC

    The library: not so exclusive as you think

    "To join, simply visit your local library with two proofs of ID (one with your current postal address). You will be asked to fill in an application form and you will be issued with a library card. Hillingdon residents may join using their Hillingdon First card. No further proof of ID or address is required."

    Dumping rubbish at the "Civic Amenity Sites":

    "If disposing of rubbish in a van or commercial vehicle, please report to weighbridge office with 2 forms of ID confirming your address."

    Neither require the Hillingdon ID card.

  27. TheBully


    Mine turned up on Friday and I stuck it in my wallet. Found that I couldn't swipe my wallet on the oyster card reader with the card in there so took the hillingdon card out. Seemed to be interfering with the Oyster reader so maybe it uses the same tech.

  28. Ruana

    Council Tax

    I wonder whether objectors could get away with deducting from their council tax the money that goes towards the services they're no longer permitted to use? I'm sure that would get somebody's attention!

  29. Dennis O'Neill

    "They're not compulsory... only need one if you want to use the services."

    That's the same self-serving, duplicitous ball locks as "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

  30. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Big Brother


    Voluntary only in so far as refuse it and they deny you services you are entitled to. This is how it starts.

    At least they got one thing right; promote its benefits in getting discounts, saving money, etc, thus hiding the negatives by pointing to all those who think it's a good idea because of their greed. Had the government done that they'd have got a lot more sheeple to back ID Cards and NIR.

    If the government were prepared to take the financial hit, offer £1,000 cashback to all taking ID Card and NIR registering, they'd have had the majority of the country signed up by the offer deadline. The reluctant rest would be forced to follow suit. Knowing that, and knowing they'd have lost £1K, many would be less reluctant anyway.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I reckon

    No2ID should design and commission their own ID card and infrastructure, with all the public key crypto and minimal info checking & reporting you might desire to shake a stick at. A true modern ID for the 21st century paranoid.

    It might be quite fun to have a No2ID branded ID card. :-)

  32. a cynic writes...

    Small earthquake, not many dead...

    12 years ago I had a photo-id card from the London Borough of Southwark that got me discounts at the Council's sports facilities. Currently I have in my wallet a card - with my name on it - without which I can't get a book from Essex County Council libraries.

    What am I meant to be shocked about again?

  33. Dr Paul Taylor
    Thumb Down

    what if you're on the edge of the borough?

    Aside from being the thin end of the wedge, this is yet another aspect of local authority behaviour that discriminates in favour of people who live or work in the middle of the borough (eg for the council) and against those who live on the edge (or at a triple point).

    My London borough is forever spending my money on tarting up Walthamstow, which is a bus ride or two away from me, and its idea of adult education is to put on classes in Chingford, which is three bus rides away. It's far more convenient for me to use shops or services in the neighbouring boroughs.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 09:22

    "Are people in the UK now this dumb? No wonder we've allowed an unelected buffoon to lead this country for so long with nary a murmur."

    All Prime Ministers are unelected.

    You vote for your local MP, the party with the most MPs is invited to form a government, the leader of that party is then normally appointed as First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Minister).

    Labour is in power so whoever is it's leader is the Prime Minister.

    You don't elect them, never have done.


  35. Steve Williams

    @ Normalisation?

    normalize (or normalise):

    1: To bring to a normal or standard state.

  36. Steve X

    Those who don't learn from history...

    "over the long term it might encourage individuals to make greater use of local services, as the price of out of area services becomes relatively more expensive."

    When applied on an international scale this is known as "protectionism", and is always a long-term economic failure. No doubt Hillingdoners (Hillingdonites? Hillingdonkeys?) will learn this the hard way.

  37. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: what if you're on the edge of the borough?

    I'm not seeing much of the benefit of the tarting-up of Walthamstow. I think they are spending it all on cake.

  38. Sarah Bee's Love Slave

    @AC - 08:34

    Actually, he probably thought it meant exactly what it does given the context in which he's used it. Words do have original meanings, as well as those that we've attributed to them in our little IT club.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    just a thought

    is it actually legal to refuse a local resident access to council facilities even if they don't hold this supercard?

    And what next? RFID built into the card to turn the street lights on & off as residents pass by? Will the street lights read the cards of drivers & passengers in cars? Will they calculate how fast your driving from the speed the street lights go on & off?

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Re: what if you're on the edge of the borough?

    "I'm not seeing much of the benefit of the tarting-up of Walthamstow. I think they are spending it all on cake."

    The drug or the dessert?

  41. Anonymous Coward


    "When the card is used, a URN may be logged – but the look-up from URN to individual can only be accessed by a small number of individuals within the Council’s management team"

    Is the URN the same each time? If so you can track what *someone* does even if you don't know who it is. If you purchase with a credit card at the same time then no lookup is needed and the identity of the URN becomes known.

    How long before marketing organisations build up their own shadow lookup system?

  42. Anonymous Coward

    So you're handing over...

    ...all your purchasing decisions to the local council.

    Is it not enough...

    They know where you live already

    They take ££££ from you every year

    They f**k all for the money

    They want to be able to survey your house so they get more ££££

    ...and now they want to know what you purchase with the money you don't give them.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Thin end...

    Nothing new - the Scottish Borders Council has been pulling this one for some time. Not at all compulsory - "of course".

    But in a climate where council officials grow ever more self righteous and out of control, and even bin men act like airport security, it's surely only a matter of time...

  44. John G Imrie Silver badge

    @Sarah Bee

    The cake is a lie!!

    Sorry, coat, got, gone.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Re: just a thought

    "is it actually legal to refuse a local resident access to council facilities even if they don't hold this supercard?"

    I'd imagine the argument would go something like this. Since all residents are entitled to have these cards, they're all still entitled to access these services. Access to council facilities isn't being denied to any residents at all. In fact, the cards exist specifically to help residents claim the services they're entitled to. So, far from preventing access to services, the council is improving access to residents (and so the spin will continue).

    But they're still optional. You don't have to make use of these council facilities in the first place, after all.

  46. paul 27

    start here

    click until you find the fool responsible for this attrocity.

    paste in the relevant above comments as to why this is a foolish idea.

    paste the links to digg/reddit/4chan etc.

    Start a riot.

    it's a proven methodology.

    (Mine's the one with spare email addresses in the pocket.)

  47. alan 39

    RE Anonymous Coward 11:27 GMT

    My thoughts exactly :)

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Re: what if you're on the edge of the borough?

    I used to have that problem. I lived in Caerphilly Borough, but the most convienent swimming pool was in Torfaen so couldn't get a cheap residents discount for that, the nearest library, that actually opened and had any books, and the nearest tip was in Blaenau Gwent so couldn't use those.

    P.S. If you are trying to work out where I used to live, it was a town famous for Pot Noodles!!!

  49. Guy Herbert

    NO2ID ID card

    I think we'll pass on that one. We might get round to issuing a nice chunky membership card for people to wave in the face of officials demanding ID.

    However, if we do the absolute maximum information about the member it will have on it is name and membership number (not a number used anywhere outside our office or checking AGM attendance). However, I'm fairly sure that (since members probably know their names or can remember whatever name it was they gave us) we will just put numbers on them.

    A more apposite question to ask of Hillingdon is why they want to check entitlements so much. Leave aside the economic illiteracy of creating non-tarriff barriers to "keep business within the borough". What's so valuable about their services that it is worth the Council Tax payer collectively stalking the Council Tax Payer individually, by centralising credentials and making them widely readable (if not always read), in order to lock out the occasional free-rider?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Just think out of the box

    C'mon guys, I can't believe no-one has spotted this:

    If the council has data on what you purchase and when, how much easier does it make to prove garbage-related 'offences'?

    The point to this whole privacy thing isn't that "they have data on what you shopped, who cares anyway, they already have your address and bank account which are far more important".

    In my opinion, it is that having so much data collected, in the end, you start observing (and using) the patterns that emerge.


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