back to article Think tank calls for post-Brexit national ID cards: The kids have phones so what's the difference?

A planned ID scheme for EU citizens after Brexit should be rolled out nationwide, a UK think tank has said, citing the Windrush* scandal as justification. id card mockup UK.gov's love affair with ID cards: Curse or farce? READ MORE In a report on border controls (PDF), the right-leaning Policy Exchange raised the spectre of …

  1. monty75

    Not this crap again

    And without those pesky EU data protection laws getting in the way too

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Not this crap again

      @ monty75

      Erm the problem here is the UK isnt like Europe. Papers please may be normal there but here it is laughed at as the intrusive thing it is.

      http://www.continentaltelegraph.com/politics/national-id-cards-will-solve-a-problem-that-of-liberty/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not this crap again

        "Erm the problem here is the UK isnt like Europe. Papers please may be normal there but here it is laughed at as the intrusive thing it is."

        And that's exactly why the UK will never, ever be able to "take back control" of who is in the country.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Not this crap again

          @AC

          "And that's exactly why the UK will never, ever be able to "take back control" of who is in the country."

          Is that a shifting of the goal posts of taking back control of our borders which is possible? There will always be illegals in most if not all countries. France had so many they built their own little town as they tried to cross to the UK.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not this crap again

          We have created an environment where, no money, means no life. Do you really think that immigration is an issue here?

    2. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: Not this crap again

      Last time this came up, I was told I would need 2 ID cards, with different names and genders on them.. and that the system would be designed to handle a single person having 2 cards.

      I thought that it rendered an ID system useless, and wonder if the same will happen with this version too....

      1. Nick Kew
        Pint

        Re: Not this crap again

        @Chloe Cresswell

        Last time this came up, I was told I would need 2 ID cards, with different names and genders on them.

        So you're ideally set up for a life of crime and depravity as Mr Hyde, while maintaining Dr Cresswell's status as an entirely upright and respectable member of society.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      And without those pesky EU data protection laws getting in the way too

      Another useful sideffect of the banjos who voted leave.

  2. Spanners Silver badge
    Flame

    Who said...

    "You have to be lucky all the time. I only need to be lucky once"?

    The same applies to ID cards. We need to block them every time. "They" only need to succeed once and we are living in a #hostileenvironment for the forseeable future. The Daily Wail and the like will tear into any politician who seeks to end them as this could encourage people to have foreign ancestors and even too much melanin in their skin.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Who said...

      Or not enough melanin is Dianne Abbot becomes Home Sec (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12029702.Abbott_denies_attack_on_nurses_was_racist/)

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Who said...

      Well, that quote was from the Provisional IRA (a former terrorist organisation that waged a war of terror against America’s closest ally from the 1960’s to the late 1990’s) after they bombed the Grand Brighton Hotel in Brighton in 1984, narrowly missing killing Margaret Thatcher and her husband. The statement was:

      Mrs. Thatcher will now realise that Britain cannot occupy our country and torture our prisoners and shoot our people in their own streets and get away with it. Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always. Give Ireland peace and there will be no more war.

  3. Simon Harris Silver badge

    ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

    "Because the government can't be trusted not to cock things up" is a novel excuse for ID cards - haven't heard that one before.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

      Given that it was the result of policy (hostile environment) as much as cock-up that's a hard one to believe. And even the cock-up included ignoring the staff who used the records telling them they were still needed.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

        Surely it would have just led to the earlier expulsion of lots of people?

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

          Surely it would have just led to the earlier expulsion of lots of people?

          Exactly. And in the same vein this sentence reminded me of something:

          a national ID scheme would act against "ugly forms of nativism"

          One of the people who stood up against the last attempt to introduce ID cards was a woman who recounted that in her childhood she came home from school one day to tell her mum that she was going round to visit a friend who'd missed school, assuming that her friend must have been taken ill. Her mum told her she couldn't, and started crying. This was in 1940 and they lived in Jersey. The Nazis had finished checking the Town Hall ID card records and early that morning rounded up all the Jews.

          1. Lars Johansson

            Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

            But why were British authorities keeping records on who were Jews and who weren't?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

              re: "But why were British authorities keeping records on who were Jews and who (sic) weren't?"

              Well yesterday I saw a poster in A&E saying that whilst you dont have to give answers, health service staff are asking people for their ethnicity, religion and sexuality. There is an argument for the first, for example some ethnic groups are more prone to certain illnesses (Sickle Cell Aneamia I beleive disproportinately affects some of the black* community), and if they get data that certain ethnic groups are increasingly being treated for other conditions, this might stimulate research, targetted preventative programmes etc. I think the other categories are being used to try and see that no groups are "slipping through the net" as this is in an area with a majority non-white population and for example there might be a concern that women are not seeking health advice for fear of being seen by a male clinician, due to cultural issues, and therefore not accessing health care.

              All nice reasons, although that doesnt rule out the misuse of that data by some future administration, as the residents of Jersey found out.

              *Sorry but I've no idea if I should be using this term, afro-carribean, "person of african origin" or something else, nor whether it is limited to any particular sub-group

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

                Health service staff are not just asking people for their ethnicity, religion and sexuality; they are also recording "ethnicity" based on the staff member's impression of the patient's appearance and without asking the patient. I recently observed this happening. Probably they're sick of having time-consuming and embarrassing conversations but are scared of being told off by their managers if they keep leaving that part of the form blank. I could see they were busy so I didn't try to discuss the matter with them.

                I'm not sure what the GDPR has to say about this. There's probably some exception covering it.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

                >Sickle Cell Aneamia I beleive disproportinately affects some of the black* community

                IIRC Sickle Cell Anaemia is a genetic mutation that gives increased protection against malaria. It is more common in descendants of those living in malaria-rife locations, such as Sub-Saharan Africa (~80% of victims), the Middle East and South Asia.

              3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                Unhappy

                "that doesnt rule out the misuse of that data by some future administration,"

                Indeed.

                data collected <> policy of use for that data.

                --> Minimal collection of any data ever.

        2. Why Not?

          Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

          If it was required that you had correct papers then I would expect the Windrush travellers to have valid papers pretty quickly. Because they didn't NEED it they didn't push for it, it wasn't needed.

          That allowed subsequent governments to ignore their status.

          I need a passport to travel abroad so I keep one. If I needed an ID card to pay my tax I would have one (I do). I was born here and can trace my family in the UK back centuries, I see an ID card as a sensible option.

          Most process people would want something like that to have a process step that covered registering , not be content with 50 years of ignoring it.

          I don't suggest the Windrush generation are culpable but they weren't motivated to solve it.

          Unfortunately illegal immigration is out of control and we can't continue without the "hostile environment" if we want to control it. We aren't at a point where Pastor NIEMÖLLER's comments make sense but if we continue to add fuel to the fire we just might be. Remember that it required a government that was committed to killing every jew, black or "degenerate" (nasty labels) to make that happen, the tories don't seem to see be that way inclined.

          Whilst I am no fan of May or her incompetents I am sure tightening up on immigration abuse is not the real issue.

        3. strum

          Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

          >Surely it would have just led to the earlier expulsion of lots of people?

          Quite so. The issue with the Windrush victims was that they couldn't prove their elegibility, because (like the rest of us) they'd never had to do so before (and because the HO trashed the docs that might have done the job).

          With an ID scheme, they'd have failed the test and been dragged off to detention.

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

        "Given that it was the result of policy (hostile environment) as much as cock-up that's a hard one to believe."

        My swingometer that gauges whether the government does things more out of malice or incompetence oscillates daily from one side to the other. Perhaps I should just settle on maliciously incompetent.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

          The evidence suggests it was decided to destroy the records as an operational choice by clerk level staff based on available space, costs and a belief the papers were no longer relevant. It started during an earlier government but things take time so was completed after the change - but with no hostile or benevolent intent.

          So perhaps more false news?

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Gimp

            evidence suggests..decided to destroy the records..operational choice by clerk level staff

            IOW the SOP of the Home Office is to do whatever is f**king expedient to do for them at any given moment.

            They are a Centre for Evil in the UK.

            Year in, year out these data fetishists attempt to surface this s**t.

            tony Blair was the last time (just when the IRA, the only serious sustained home grown UK terrorist threat the country has ever experienced) was disbanding.

            Are lawyers turned politicians even worse than Classics/History/English graduates turned politicians?

            1. JassMan Silver badge

              Re: evidence suggests..decided to destroy the records..operational choice by clerk level staff

              @John Smith 19

              Are lawyers turned politicians even worse than Classics/History/English graduates turned politicians?

              The worst of the worst are those who have never a real job in their lives having spent their entire career in politics.

              Having listened to an interview with Paddy Ashdown on R4 this evening, it makes you realize what a sheltered life the rest of them lead.

          2. Joe Harrison

            Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

            Operational choices of whether to keep stores of old papers certainly do have to be made. The potential impact on the people documented in those papers was surely very obvious. It was the wrong choice and it was clear to anyone that it was the wrong choice but they did it anyway.

            The deeds to my house are 80 years old but I'm not throwing them away anytime soon.

            1. strum

              Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

              >The potential impact on the people documented in those papers was surely very obvious. It was the wrong choice and it was clear to anyone that it was the wrong choice but they did it anyway.

              Quite apart from the damage to those involved, this was also a crime against history. The loss of these historic documents will be mourned for centuries.

          3. strum

            Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

            >an operational choice by clerk level staff

            The trouble is that 'clerk-level staff' don't always need a direct order to know which way the wind is blowing (and anti-immigrant feeling isn't a new thing).

        2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

          My swingometer that gauges whether the government does things more out of malice or incompetence oscillates daily...

          Never ascribe to malice what incompetence will adequately explain. There might be malice mixed in, but it's incompetence that gets the job done.

    2. Graham Cobb

      Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

      The fix for the Windrush scandal is clear: the government need to end this "hostile environment" and "war" around immigration.

      The law needs to be very clear: if you are in the country it must be up to the government to prove that you have no right to be here, not up to you to prove that you do have the right to be here.

      I am quite happy with current and recent levels of immigration and have no problem with accepting the small amount of illegal immigration that occurs. It isn't a problem in my view. Somehow those of us who share this view need to make our position known to fight the xenophobic little-Britain insularists.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

        "The fix for the Windrush scandal is clear: the government need to end this "hostile environment" and "war" around immigration."

        Quite - on its own, under the political climate of 2009 when the document destruction policy was mooted, and 2010 when it was implemented by the UK Borders Agency, it would probably have had little effect on most people's lives. However with the Hostile Environment policy of 2012 and changes brought in by the Immigration Act 2014, those destroyed documents gained a much greater importance.

        One thing it does demonstrate is that a policy enacted one year (e.g. the hypothetically benign introduction of ID cards as a 'you are welcome in the UK chit') could have a more sinister consequence under future administrations should, say, regulations change so that carrying them becomes mandatory denying the right to anonymity in everyday life.

      2. M Mouse

        Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

        @ Graham Cobb " fight the xenophobic little-Britain insularists."

        I think you mix too many descriptions...

        I am not intentionally xenophobic, but do see some non-English communities which seem to have no wish to integrate, follow British law, or leave certain hostilities etc behind.

        I did vote Leave and want that to happen, if necessary, with a 'hard' Brexit.

        I don't feel that makes me a "little-Britain" (Briton? - I never watched the TV series) or unduly "insularist" (as I know that for trade we need to have good relations worldwide, hopefully re-establishing strong ties with Commonwealth countries.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

          I think your very response does justify the little Englander tag. Britain is not overrun with illegal immigrants and I defy you to name any "non-English" community which has no wish to follow British laws. Are you referring to your fellow citizens from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?

          The issue around the hostile environment was that the bar to proving eligibility was set so high that very few people could meet it without an existing passport, imagine having to prove your residence in the UK with paper documentation for every year you have resided here. Even people with 100% work records were unable to prove their residency as the Home Office would not use benefits records or tax records to confirm residency,

          Whilst increased trade to commonwealth countries would be no bad thing do not think that they are sat there waiting for us. These countries already have trade agreements with japan, China the US and each other. The Indian government has already stated that any new trade agreement would be contingent on a huge increase in the number of work visa;'s available for Indian nationals. It may well be that other commonwealth countries decide that free movement will be the price of enhanced trade agreements.

      3. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

        I think the real problem with the Windrush scandal was that the fine employees at the Home Office were given quota to remove illegal immigrants, and since illegal immigrants are hard to find, they decided it would be much easier to meet their targets by removing legal immigrants who didn't keep all their paperwork in order for the last 40 years.

        I wouldn't be surprised if they made a list of all legal immigrants whose landing papers were destroyed, exactly for the purpose of removing them from the country if it seems expedient.

  4. phuzz Silver badge
    Facepalm

    hmmmm

    If there had been "a proper national ID system", it would have protected some of the Windrush victims, the authors argued.

    How would it have protected them? Surely if they'd tried to apply for an ID card, the government would have said "you don't appear to be a citizen, and we should know because we threw away your boarding cards, so now we're going to deport you" (ie basically what happened when they accidentally came to the attention of the Home Office).

    Or is that the reason for the word "some" in that sentence, because they knew that "some" might have been protected while the majority were not.

    Still, at least it dispelled the notion that the Conservative party is only interested in what old people want. Now we know that they only care if you're old and white.

    1. John McCallum

      Re: hmmmm

      I'm old and white and they don't speak for me so they can f off.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How would it have protected them?"

      Like in any other modern country, they would have been registered as citizens on arrival, and they would have gotten their ID card years ago, before the landing records would have been destroyed. Because otherwise you have to rely on many different records form different entities scattered around to prove your identity.

      UK still think to live in a past when people didn't move much, and everybody was known in their local community. The few who could move were people with many connections. That past no longer exists, just like the Empire, accept it...

      Yesterday I was at a notary to put my late father's shop into liquidation. All I need to prove my identity, as the rightful heir to the notary - who I saw for the first time in my life, the shop was opened 82 years ago by my grandfather, so whoever was involved then was dead - was my ID card, no need to bring with me different documents from different entities, or look for witnesses...

      1. Peter Prof Fox

        False trust

        All somebody else had to do was produce your ID card.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "All somebody else had to do was produce your ID card."

          It's more difficult than you think. Not impossible, like a fake passport or driving license, but not easy as well. Surely, much more difficult than a utility bill or a bank statement...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "How would it have protected them?"

        I'm sorry for the loss of your father.

        And extremely sad you're happy to carry a ID card 24x7 for these once in a lifetime moments.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "And extremely sad you're happy to carry a ID card 24x7 "

          It would have been better to scramble to find maybe old documents who-knows-where to demonstrate my identity and my rights? Or ask a couple of witnesses to come with me?

          I've my ID card in the wallet with the driving license and the credit cards, for decades, and never anything bad happened because of it. It's just a simple and comfortable way to prove you are what you say whenever such a proof is needed.

          I can use it to travel abroad in some states without the need of a more expensive passport, which is also less comfortable to carry around. For example, I live nearby the Swiss border and can enter without having to remember to bring the passport with me. The Schengen freedom of movements also require a way to tell who's who and where they're from, whenever needed, inclduing an emergency.

          UK is an island and has not some of those issues, true, but just wait for the Irish border requiring something alike...

          Here police stops are rare, unlike in the US, there's not the use of stopping you for any reason trying to find anything to jail you. The last time it happened was years ago.

          1. Graham Cobb

            Re: "And extremely sad you're happy to carry a ID card 24x7 "

            I've my ID card in the wallet with the driving license and the credit cards, for decades, and never anything bad happened because of it. It's just a simple and comfortable way to prove you are what you say whenever such a proof is needed.

            And I have lived my life for many decades carrying no ID at all and have never had anything bad happen. I have never had any need to prove my identity except at borders and, as you say, being in Britain borders rarely crop up unexpectedly.

            Unlike you, I was able to handle all my parents affairs without any need to prove my identity to the lawyers involved -- the process does not require proving identity unless someone challenges it. The point is that ID cards are only useful in a society which has changed to require them. If there are no ID cards no one can demand them, no one needs them and society still functions perfectly well.

            And ID cards have massive disadvantages. Perhaps most seriously, they enable much more commercial spying, with very many companies ending up with both a unique ID for correlating data they acquire (legally or not) from many sources and personal information like name, address and age which I have no wish to share with companies I do business with unless I see some actual benefit to me.

            I could almost understand a government ID card but it would have to be absolutely illegal for any commercial company to record any information from a card.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "If there are no ID cards no one can demand them,"

              Exactly. In societies without ID cards impersonating people is much, much easier. What you read about stolen identities and frauds in US, for example, or the Windrush story, are unheard of in countries with an ID system.

              My grandparents had to leave their native town in the middle of WWII - by ship, suddenly, to avoid the worst -, because it was lost to another country, and they never had issues with the citizenship, albeit on their ID cards their birthplaces, and some of my uncles, was still a town now abroad.

              It's far more difficult to obtain or create the required documents, and get away with it. Sure, some criminals have access to them, but they aren't usually cheap, and newer systems are more difficult to fake

              If you're a organized crime boss or a terrorist you may have access to them, but for a credit card scam may not be worth the cost.

              But maybe the Windrush problem is just they're black... so it looks someone is actually demanding them to prove who they are.

              1. Mike Pellatt

                Re: "If there are no ID cards no one can demand them,"

                What you read about stolen identities and frauds in US, for example, or the Windrush story, are unheard of in countries with an ID system.

                My bullshit-o-meter hit the endstop with that claim of "identity theft unheard of in countries with an ID system."

                So I did a bit of googling. It seems France, well-known for its ID cards, does indeed have an identity theft issue. As does, unsurprisingly, every country in the Known Universe.

                Here is but one academic study for your digestion to back this assertion up.

                1. Tom 35 Silver badge

                  Re: "If there are no ID cards no one can demand them,"

                  "My bullshit-o-meter hit the endstop"

                  Your lucky, mine burst into flames and fell over.

          2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

            Re: "And extremely sad you're happy to carry a ID card 24x7 "

            But what you are describing there is no different to what I can do with EITHER my driving license or passport. I can fly from any UK airport to any other airport in the UK using my drivers license. Your post still makes no great argument for ID cards.

            In fact I motorcycled around parts of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Lichtenstein and Germany earlier in the year and the only time I needed to show any form of ID (other than the Channel tunnel) was when I passed into Italy via the Grand St. Bernard tunnel - and even then they guy in blue with the big gun was happy with my UK drivers license and the requisite toll.

            1. iainr

              Re: "And extremely sad you're happy to carry a ID card 24x7 "

              ID requriements for UK internal flights is interesting, legally you only need to provide Photo-ID if you're checking a bag in, if you're just walking on then it's down to whatever the airline wants, these days that's some kind of photo id but I know people who'v emanaged to talk their way onto EDI-LHR shuttles with a credit card. Going to Ireland currently all you need is photo ID, passport or driving license is best but they'll accept a bunch of other things including a university staff card.

              1. macjules Silver badge

                Re: "And extremely sad you're happy to carry a ID card 24x7 "

                Going to Ireland currently all you need is photo ID, passport or driving license is best but they'll accept a bunch of other things including a university staff card.

                They accepted my staff ID card the other day, with only my name on it, and a credit card to prove that the name was correct. Try that one with Homeland Security.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "And extremely sad you're happy to carry a ID card 24x7 "

            "Here police stops are rare at the moment, under the present administration"

            FTFY

      3. iainr

        Re: "How would it have protected them?"

        The problem is they didn't become ctizens on arrival, they didn't need to because at the time they were Commonwelth citizens with indefinite right to remain in the UK, because that's the way the old Empire worked, there was total freedom of movement for all. Since arriving however their situation changed as the various colonies became independent countries and they lost their Commonwealth citizenship and as uk immigration law became more restrictive and finally had to align with EEC law when we joined in 1973.

        So all that having ID cards would have done was help the Home office identify who to deport as their indefinite right to remain evaporated.

        wrt your fathers estate, didn't you need some kind of death certificate to wave at the notary to prove he's dead. That's all I needed to wave at my mums life insurance company to get them to release funds (actually I just had to read bits of it to them over the phone).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "How would it have protected them?"

          You don't really know how ID cards work in many other countries.

          Usually, they are issued by the city you live in (or have a place of living), which registers you as a "resident" (you can still live elsewhere, but taxes, voting. etc. depends on that place). If you move your "residency", your registration will be updated at the new location - and the ID card re-issued or updated - not different from a passport or driving license.

          So, in the Windrush example, they would have been registered in the ID system soon after their arrival, and they would have not depended on unrelated record to demonstrate their status as legitimate UK citizens.

          The death certificate was already submitted - I used my ID card to obtain it at the city office - should they issue it to the any person who comes up to ask for it?

          But I could have used instead a "self-certification" (allowed in some instances, but your're fully responsible about what you "certificate"), which again, works because the "self-certification" is based on you being able to prove your identity.

          1. iainr

            Re: "How would it have protected them?"

            "So, in the Windrush example, they would have been registered in the ID system soon after their arrival, and they would have not depended on unrelated record to demonstrate their status as legitimate UK citizens."

            Well no it wouldn't because whey they arrived they were not uk citizens and unless they've applied for UK citizenship they're still not UK citizens. They arrived as Commonwealth citizens which gave them certain rights to remain. Depending on where they came from they lost that citizenship when the countries they came from got their independence and became citizens of that country. Their right to remain then hung on the fact that they had it when the arrived and they had not lost it in the meantime (by leaving the country for more than 3 months for example) so an ID card would show when they arrived In the UK but not that they had been continuously resident for the intervening period. A dirving license issued the same year would provide the same proof of arrival.

            "The death certificate was already submitted - I used my ID card to obtain it at the city office - should they issue it to the any person who comes up to ask for it?"

            Well in the UK if you want a copy of a birth, death or marriage certificate you can go to any Registrar and buy one for about £30, see https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/registration/how-to-order-an-official-extract-from-the-registers, or you can get them online at https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/r for ~£2. If you want a copy of my dads his name was James William Rae he was 80 and he died in Lanark. What you're going to do with it I don't know, all it does is prove that he's dead.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "How would it have protected them?"

        Then, I suppose, the US isn't a proper modern country. The only time I've had any ID was while I was in uniform. No need for a driver's license, it'd be a terrible thing if I were let on the road (catatonic seizures). The only thing you'll find me carrying, and that's not often, is my ATM card. All that has is the usual numbers and my name. No photo.

        Some twenty-seven years later, no one asks not even the police. I make look like a wild, neck-beard worn out derelict, I certainly don't act like one. Especially to anyone that's working some sort of service job. Often, I'm probably their high-point for the day. They get a hand salute.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "How would it have protected them?"

          "I suppose, the US isn't a proper modern country."

          It's unusual for a Yank to realise, but yes, that is how the rest of the world sees you.

          (I jest, but only slightly)

      5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        UK still think to live in a past

        Wrong Mr "I don't have the balls to put my name on this post" AC.

        Britain is a common law country where a significant fraction of its laws are established by legal cases generating precedents.

        One of which is basically "I am who I say I am and do not have to carry a document (of any sort) to prove it".

        IOW an "Identity card" is basically a "license to live" issued by your government. Multiply that by the "National Identity Register" which was planned to give HMG a cradle-to-grave view of everything someone did and where they went to do it and I'd ask "whose living in a democracy?"

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: hmmmm

      How would it have protected them?

      The argument is that, if there had been such a scheme, they would have been issued with documentation on arrival and obliged to keep it current, thus providing the evidential chain to confirm citizenship.

      Of course, the converse is also true: a future malevolent government (which they all are to a greater or lesser extent) could use the evidential chain as a basis for revoking established rights, persecution, etc.

      To help you choose between the two interpretations, consider that the government had tax and other documentation to support the claims of many of the Windrush victims but chose not to use it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "a future malevolent government"

        If you get to the point of allowing such a government to take power, believe me, ID cards will be the last of your issues... especially today they already have most of the data they need to persecute you (especially if you asked for a passport or driving licenses, I'm sure nobody of you did, right?), and even if they don't, such a government really doesn't need real data to persecute you.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: hmmmm

        The argument is that, if there had been such a scheme, they would have been issued with documentation on arrival and obliged to keep it current, thus providing the evidential chain to confirm citizenship.

        The Windrush started bringing people over from Jamaica in 1948, the world was a very different place then. If a boat full of people turned up these days, assuming they were allowed to stay, there would be much more documentation than just some landing cards, making ID cards superfluous.

        I assumed that when the Windrush was brought up, it was as an example of how a current day problem (the government refusing to believe that some citizens were indeed citizens) could be fixed by ID cards. Not someone saying "well if we'd had ID cards seventy years ago things would have been different".

        Of course, the people who came over on the Windrush were doing just fine, right up until the "hostile environment" was brought in at the Home Office. So if anything, they're an example of why we need less-Orwellian solutions, not more.

    4. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: they only care if you're old and white

      Actually they only care if you're wealthy. Old and white are just preferences.

  5. Wellyboot Silver badge
    Big Brother

    FFS - NO

    The government Windrush cockup isn't a reason for ID cards. it revived the debate only amongst those who wanted them in the first place.

    Giving foreign nationals with a right to stay a reference number isn't a reason for ID cards.

    Citing the willingness of many to splash everything they do across social media isn't a reason for ID cards.

    Having to prove your identity a couple of times a year isn't a reason for ID cards.

    Being asked to prove your identity while merely walking down the street is enough reason to never have ID cards.

    This think-tank must have been lobotomised if they think that public aversion to ID cards has gone away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS - NO

      This think-tank must have been lobotomised if they think that public aversion to ID cards has gone away.

      Don't forget that all colours of government love the idea of ID cards, and the snivel service do too. All that lovely data, all the chance to snoop, all that extra bureaucracy. And for that reason I think this is more likely a manufactured attempt to flag up the ID card issue again, at the behest of the Home Office, see if people scream about it, before exposing what little political capital the government have left on the matter.

      Almost everything that can be (supposedly) achieved by ID cards could be done simply through better use of the NI number, but this proposal is about the most stupid form of thinking, that having a physical token can be trusted.

      1. Chloe Cresswell

        Re: FFS - NO

        Last time this came up, I was told I'd need 2 ID cards with 2 sets of details on them - sort of made a mockery of the system in one statement at the time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: FFS - NO

          You also need multiple comments to reiterate the same assertion...

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: FFS - NO

        "Don't forget that all colours of government love the idea of ID cards, "

        If that was true, we'd have ID cards now. All it would have taken would have a majority government to push it through. Yet it's not happened. The last push was during the Coalition and the LibDems pushed that one out of touch, not because they didn't agree with the method or type of ID card but because they are opposed to the principle of ID cards. As for the Tories and Labour, both have enough opposed to ID cards (or the chosen type/methods) that even with a majority government, neither have managed it yet.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Gimp

        "Don't forget that all colours of government love the idea of ID cards,"

        No.

        A fairly small but very malevolent cabal of senior civil servants (across several govt departments, but I'd say centered on the Home Office) love ID cards (and the planned NIR).

        That's why the sock puppets change but the tune remains the same.

        Data fetishism. It's not a sane policy, it's a personality disorder.

    2. Old Tom

      Re: FFS - NO

      What about an ID card that you are not required to carry around?

      You'd only need to take it out when you were going to pick up a parcel from the PO, or you wanted to prove your child is old enough to get into an age-restricted gig (with he child's card, not yours of course), or you look young and you want to stop off for a snifter or watch an 18-rated movie, or whatever. You'd just take that out instead of your driving licence. Can't really see the harm.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: FFS - NO

        And of course you can trust this and all future govt not to expand that to - when you go for a job, or visit the hospital or enter a restricted terrorist risk zone (eg London)

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: FFS - NO

      "This think-tank must have been lobotomised if they think that public aversion to ID cards has gone away."

      And interestingly, one of their primary arguments for ID cards is the commercial data raping of the general public, ie if giving your data away is becoming normalised, what's wrong with taking a bit more? Shaky ground at best IMHO

    4. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: FFS - NO

      " non-UK, non-EU citizens already have to have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to stay for more than six months."

      ...and it's a shitshow. No one knows what BRPs are for. You can't use them to open bank accounts, you can't use them to get a driving licence and you can't even bloody use them to get in the country! In every case you still need to carry your passport. There is no point to them.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: FFS - NO

        There is no point to them.

        Of course there's a point to them. They remind foreigners that they're not trusted, and they remind the rest of us that -- depending upon your political viewpoint -- either a) successive governments are happy to spend lots of money on a pointless exercise, or b) that it's only right to have a crackdown on those goddamn bogus asylum seekers who are really economic migrants and over here taking our jobs and our women.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kennkarte

    A planned ID scheme for EU citizens - is that Kennkarte part 2?

    History is doomed to repeat itself. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennkarte

    This would not have helped the Windrush people not would it provide any benefit to citizens.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Kennkarte

      Can't see a migrant-only scheme surviving in the courts. Not that the EU will agree to it anyway, but anything that doesn't make all people equal before the law will usually get struck down at some point.

      I've nothing against ID cards per se as I think they could make a lot of things a lot easier for a lot of people and companies. Other countries have them and they can be cheap and useful. Contract the work out to Estonia: problem solved, job done and still change from a £1 bn pound note.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kennkarte

        All are equal, but some are more equal than others..

        I agree - all people should be equal in law - however in recent bills (under both Labour and Conservative) there has been a move to exempt politicians, royals and in some cases "celebrities/high profile figures" from such measures.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        FAIL

        @Charlie Clarke "Contract the work out to Estonia: problem solved"

        You wouldn't be the Charlie Clarke?

        The former Labour Home Sec charged with convincing people ID Cards were a good thing, would you?

        Because he was very fond of Estonia as a case. But.

        Estonia has 5 million people and no Welfare State infrastructure to speak of.

        It had a long history of Communists disappearing people

        Estonian ID cards allow the card holders to see exactly who has accessed their file, something we all know would be unthinkable to British civil servants ("What, members of the general public looking at their own file? The impertinence! Like they had rights or something.").

        F**k that idea right off.

  7. 45RPM

    Ironic, isn’t it, that “Right” leaning is so often these days synonymous with “Wrong”.

    * Selling off national assets

    * Brexit

    * Aligning with Trump

    * ID Cards

    * Magic back doors into encryption

    and so on and so on. Mind you, “Left” leaning doesn’t seem to be so much better.

    * Selling off national assets

    * Brexit

    * Antisemitism

    * ID Cards

    * Magic back doors into encryption

    Politics. What a load of bollocks.

    1. Alien8n Silver badge

      Currently the anti-Semitism debate seems to be basically:

      "Hitler was an alright guy" = person quite rightly removed from their role and disciplined

      "Israel should stop murdering Palestinians" = OMG YOU ANTI-SEMITE!

      There is a concerted effort to remove ALL criticism of Israeli actions in Palestine under the guise of "it's racist to condemn Israel". This is a highly dangerous stance to take. It's much like the stance taken in America where any criticism of Trump is shouted down as being "unpatriotic" by his supporters. All governments must be held to account where needed, no government should feel emboldened to the point that they can commit atrocities simply because some feel sympathy towards them. If Israel want to stop terrorists from attacking them it's quite simple, stop creating them by killing Palestinians and start treating them with common decency and humanity. You know, like we had to with the IRA. Ask anyone who supported the IRA why they did so and you'll get pretty much the same answers, the treatment of the Catholics at the hands of the Protestant majority and the fact that the UK was seen as an occupying force in *their land*. When you understand that, maybe then you'll understand why the Palestinians are fighting.

      If that isn't obvious enough for you then try this thought experiment:

      The UN decides that as Britain was once part of the Roman Empire part of England is to be given to Italy. The Italians decide they want more and force the entire population of England into Scotland and Wales. Do you simply setup in the makeshift camps on the Scottish and Welsh borders? Or do you fight back? Remember it must all be legal, the UN said so. And in the meantime Italy is provided with the best military equipment the USA can afford, free of charge, to stop the evil English from trying to return to the homes that they've been forced out of, at gunpoint. Everything you once owned is now legally owned by a family from Italy who has never seen England before. And all the while you're complaining and doing nothing, because if you so much as look at the border towards the homes you used to own you'll be shot and killed, Italy keeps moving the border, taking more and more land that was once part of Scotland and Wales. At what point does enough become enough and you fight back?

      1. Alister Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Well said.

        I wish I could upvote you more than once.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But if you are a nice Guardian reading labour party member and you don't really like the Saudis then you feel bad that you might be racist, so anybody else that doesn't like arabs (or Palestinians, they all look the same to ...) makes you feel guilty. So you object to anybody that looks like you and doesn't like Palestinians.

        Same reason you objected to white S African but aren't bothered about S African rioters murdering refugees from other African countries.

      3. 45RPM

        @Alien8n

        Have an upvote Alien8n. You argue well, and you make a valid point - not one that I disagree with by the way. It’s a nuanced situation, and one that’s ripe for unhelpful snap judgments and flippancy.

        That said, and at risk of spearing my earlier (tongue firmly in cheek) post, I must now admit that not all politicians are complete pillocks - on either side. But it is worrying to see the rise of the iconoclast, pandering to popular extremes and unable to respond to the subtleties of real-life. Everyone must now ‘take a position’, but sometimes sitting on the fence is the only intelligence place to be.

      4. LDS Silver badge

        "Israel should stop murdering Palestinians"

        "Murdering" imply a strong negative judgment, and taking one side.

        There are two groups, those believing Israel is always right, and the other believing Palestinians are always right.

        Than there are those who can see the faults on both sides.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: "Israel should stop murdering Palestinians"

          "There are two groups, those believing Israel is always right, and the other believing Palestinians are always right."

          I was in Israel a few years back and the one thing that struck me, from Jews, Arabs and Bedouin, was how absolutely 100% correct each person thought their opinion was, whatever it was, and how obviously 100% wrong all others were.

          1. sandman

            Re: "Israel should stop murdering Palestinians"

            Ah, so like Brexiteers and Remainers but with a longer history and more death?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Israel should stop murdering Palestinians"

          And that includes the Americans for which history, especially ancient history (3 months ago) just doesn't matter. We're confused by the whole mess. It's very much Hatfields and McCoys and that still confuses most. Despite a locally, relevant, historical example. Yesterday? Who cares!

          Personally, I've put this into my "Hurts to Much to Think about Category."

      5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Israel should stop murdering Palestinians" = OMG YOU ANTI-SEMITE!"

        Indeed.

        Anti-Jihadi <> anti-Moslem

        Likewise

        Anti-Zionism <> anti-Semitic.

        What's the difference? Israel has a much better PR operation.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Ironic, isn’t it, that “Right” leaning is so often these days synonymous with “Wrong”.

      I think you'll find that this kind of magic thinking applies across the spectrum. Anything akin to won't somebody think of the children? is designed to make an emotional appeal and profer a simple, common sense solution.

      The real irony is that populism seeks to blame the elite for everything but also needs it to do stuff. This is a failure of democracy but also illustrates a potential solution.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        I think you'll find that this kind of magic thinking applies across the spectrum

        Does it though?

        It's not as if the UK has ever experimented with a Gov that isn't Blue or 'New' Red of late, and it's often forgotten that in the late blue-yellow gov, the yellow acted to block some poor choices by the blue (although not enough, and still sold out too much).

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          @Teiwaz

          I was trying to take the ideological sting out of the argument: magical thinking isn't restricted to the left or the right (terms of convenience that have always been fluid).

          still sold out too much

          When in coalition you're going to have to compromise but admitting this during an election won't make you very popular. Personally, I think compromising over electoral reform so that the "people could decide" was understandable but the biggest tactical mistake.

    3. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Done correctly, not a stupid idea

      All an ID card should be is a way to prove who you are. It should not be compulsory to carry one, nor to produce it if asked by the police, it should really just be a convenience for yourself and for the government.

      Consider all the fuss you have not in proving who you are to, say, a bank or a retailer. You generally need several unrelated items of paperwork, and/or some officially accepted ID like a driving licence, gun licence, pilot's licence or passport. All of these are serving the purpose of an ID card whilst lacking some functions and being awkward to carry.

      Bring in ID cards which merely state name, gender at time of issuing of ID card, residence address (also address fo tax purposes) and a photo of the person, plus a unique identifier key.

      That's all an ID card needs, and that is all it should have.

      If you issue ID cards that are simply cards that identify who you are, then there isn't a civil liberties issue. All you're doing is making stuff convenient for people.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Done correctly, not a stupid idea

        I'll assume you also require online confirmation of the same basic facts using the unique key or some magic card type that can't be faked. It would also have to be illegal to record the unique key anywhere else to provide only basic ID checking.

        I don't believe this level of use stands a snowball in hells chance of being anything more than a lie to gain initial acceptance, I'd expect the slimy inuendo 'if you've nothing to hide' BS to appear soon after.

        ID cards are for enabling easy tracking of your life at best and instant direct control at worst.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Done correctly, not a stupid idea

        >Bring in ID cards which merely state name, gender at time of issuing of ID card, residence address (also address fo tax purposes) and a photo of the person, plus a unique identifier key.

        It shouldn't contain the address details. Too many people are having to live in transient (rental) addresses, and having to get a new one every time they move would instantly make the card redundant until they get a replacement. If there is a cost associated this will negatively impact the less affluent sectors of society.

        Unless, of course, the card and replacements are free of charge to the holder.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Coat

        That's all an ID card needs, and that is all it should have.

        Did you ever look at the list of s**t the National Identity Register was going to track?

        What you say is quite minimal and apparently sensible.

        Which pretty much guaranf**kingtees that the data fetishists who dream of this happening wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

    4. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Oh the choice. Aligning with Trump are Antisemitism.

  8. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Tax

    The main reason the UK government might want ID cards is for tax collection purposes. It's certainly the main reason that Blunkett wanted them.

    Once everyone has an ID card, they can be mandated for all sorts of things by gov services. As the only thing pretty much any government (and certainly the UK one, of whatever political colour) is interested in is money, that's what the ID cards will be used to track.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tax

      The main reason the UK government might want ID cards is for tax collection purposes. It's certainly the main reason that Blunkett wanted them.

      I take you've not heard of this thing call a "national insurance number" that is required by all legit employers, and is tied into HMRC's systems?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Tax

        >"national insurance number" that is required by all legit employers, and is tied into HMRC's systems?

        But isn't needed for the cash-in-hand economy or to access hospitals, public transport, schooling etc - for now

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Tax

      "It's certainly the main reason that Blunkett wanted them."

      Not his department. The reason he wanted them is that he was Home Sec, i.e. under the control of the Home Office who want them because they're control freaks.

      Yes Minister never properly tackled the Home Office but essentially Home Office policy very much like Foreign Office policy was explained there: ministers come and go and they each want their own policy so it's much simpler to just have on policy, the department's. HO is very, very skilled at brainwashing new Home Secs very quickly.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "HO is very, very skilled at brainwashing new Home Secs very quickly."

        Damm right.

        One sock puppet goes in, one sock puppet comes out but the words remain the same.

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Tax

      "It's certainly the main reason that Blunkett wanted them."

      no, he couldn't see the downsides...

      /sorry ShadowSystems et al...

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Flame

    Let's get one thing straight. Right here. Right now.

    The Windrush generation were BRITISH CITIZENS. And as such needed no "ID" to prove their right to reside in the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's get one thing straight. Right here. Right now.

      Just, they could no longer prove they entered the country before the law was changed... but "landing records" - which, as it actually happened, could be destroyed because it looks there is no mandate to preserve them, and they were preserved for a while only by chance and because someone thought for a while they were still useful. Really, a medieval way to manage people's records...

      In other countries civil registries can't be destroyed on a whim to make room...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's get one thing straight. Right here. Right now.

      Sure they did. Otherwise, how do you tell legit residents from those lying through their teeth? Without a positive assertion, there's NO way to tell them apart, especially if the liars stole legitimate identities.

      1. Mike Pellatt

        Re: Let's get one thing straight. Right here. Right now.

        Otherwise, how do you tell legit residents from those lying through their teeth?

        Well, in this case, quite obvs, it was done by skin colour. And that is what was so utterly, utterly disgusting about it.

        I don't know, today, just what documentary proof might be demanded in 50 years by some Government to determine my citizenship rights. It could well turn out that I'm missing some bit they consider vital then.

        But, my skin is The Right Colour, so I guarantee it wouldn't be an issue.

        1. JimC

          Re: my skin is The Right Colour,

          Not true at all. Plenty of Australian and Canadian Commonwealth citizens have been windrushed.

    3. JimC

      Not just Windrush. was Re: Let's get one thing straight. Right here. Right now.

      Lets get another thing straight. The "Windrush" changing of the goalposts affected many many more people than just that one ship. The destruction of that set of not especially definitive records was utterly irrelevant to all the rest of us who found ourselves in the same predicament. It was kinda handy though, because the process to demonstrate your right to stay was very expensive and very bureaucratic - no surprise to anyone who's had much dealings with the home office.

      At least as a result of Windrush the system got streamlined and cheapened. Not, by and large free as advertised - are people generally aware that we all got officially photographed and fingerprinted and most people were charged a very substantial "handling fee" after having to travel to one of the remaining main post offices - quite few and far between in parts of the country - that have the equipment.

      I shall be very interested to see whether the home office decides it has to fingerprint and photograph EU citizens who gain a right to residence. It all depends how Home Office policy - something which as rightly observed above seems to be largely independant of ministers and even party in power evolves. It will be interesting to see if they become as hostile to EU citizens as they are to we commonwealth citizens. In the short term at least I doubt it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No mention...

    Of non-UK, non-EU residents with PR status then... (my wife refuses to pay the ever increasing amounts asked to transfer it and since she has to renew her passport every 5 years shes now got a number of passports bound together that she flies with.)

    I really dont see her taking a shining to this. Ever.

    Annon to spare the wife.

    (Ps her native country doesnt accept dual nationality so she keeps hers rather than apply to become a UK narional and avoid all of this bother)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No mention...

      actually, on the folks from countries that don't allow dual citizenship - what can they do to you, if (IF) they find out? I mean, they can't strip you of your "native" citizenship, can they? I mean, it's extremely rare, and generally not practiced these days, post-Hitler. I suppose they can put you in jail, or at least fine you, if they find out...

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: No mention...

        Stripping you of your citizenship is exactly what they do. You then have to jump through hoops to get it back as well as give up your aquired nationality.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No mention...

        Yes they can strip you of your natve citizenship. They can also ban you entering the country... so they can do more than you think. Especially if you still have family over there.

  11. adam payne Silver badge

    It is true that there is low confidence in government to manage large scale IT projects well

    Well that's an understatement.

    There's low confidence in any UK government to deliver on any IT projects.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Meh

      FTFY...

      There's low confidence in any UK government

      1. Flywheel Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: FTFY...

        Actually, There's low confidence in any UK government

        1. JimC

          Re: FTFY...

          Actually, There's low confidence in any government

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: FTFY...

            Actually, There's low

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: FTFY...

        There is an extremely high confidence in any UK government to mess it up.

        Lately they have been a bit extreme (like David Davies spending two years as the "Brexit" minister and having no clue, no plan, after two years, and trying to convince us that a "hard Brexit", in other words what happens if the Brexit minister totally fucks up, is no big deal).

  12. Tom Paine Silver badge
    FAIL

    Can't resist....

    This is absolutely As Foretold By Prophesy, as NTK of blessed memory used to say.

    I was a moderately active supporter of No2ID the last time round. Now we have de facto ID cards in the form of passports and driving licenses; you don't get asked to produce them by cops in the street, but you can't get a job or rent somewhere to live without one. Personally I have neither, and I'm trapped at a nightmare employer from hell, and the government's secure ID system makes me want to smoke crack...

  13. grumpyoldeyore
    Paris Hilton

    Well...

    ... most existing EU countries have ID schemes already, a large number compulsory. (I think it it is only the UK, Ireland and Denmark that don't), and the non compulsory ones make having some form of Identity compulsory.

    The UK's been bringing it it by the back door anyway - notice how you have to use your NI number now, for example to validate your driving record when hiring a car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "most existing EU countries have ID schemes already, "

      And all of them turned into evil countries persecuting their own citizens?

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: "most existing EU countries have ID schemes already, "

        >>And all of them turned into evil countries persecuting their own citizens?<<

        Don't give them the option.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
  14. ratfox Silver badge

    It's quite funny

    In all of Europe, the British are arguably living under the most intrusive surveillance by their own government, even though they're the only country in Europe not to have ID cards.

    I would argue that by this point, people are in so many database systems already that you have all the lack of privacy of an ID card system, without any of the advantages...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's quite funny

      "I would argue that by this point, people are in so many database systems"

      Why do you think they want the ID scheme? To tie all those records together. It would make it so much easier...

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: It's quite funny

      I imagine that if we did have ID cards they'd have some sort of BLE/NFC chip embedded, and retailers of all shapes and sizes would be pressured into having a receiver/data-forwarding device inside their shop.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: It's quite funny

      "the only country in Europe not to have ID cards"

      What?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it illegal (or should be) to require one group of people that are citizens of the UK to have ID cards without requiring all citizens of the UK to have ID cards? Surely this is discriminatory and covered by the various equality acts.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Isn't it illegal (or should be) to require one group of people that are citizens of the UK to have ID cards without requiring all citizens of the UK to have ID cards?"

      The ID card phase 1 proposal is that those who are not UK citizens have them. Those who are don't. No discrimination between citizens.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How is that even acceptable?

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Very illegal if there's any common factor to the first group (ethnicity, religion, ginger hair etc.).

      A quick human rights case and the govt. can then say the judges made us force it on everyone.

    3. Len
      Facepalm

      The legality is one thing (and one that will probably be tested in both the UK Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the EU), the viability is another.

      Think about it, if UK Citizens are not required to carry ID cards but any citizen of another country stopped on UK streets is then they could just state they are a UK Citizen when asked for their papers and they are not required to show ID. Either everyone needs to show them or nobody does, other systems won't work.

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Well that problem can be avoided if every British citizen is required to have some stamp on their head, or maybe on their clothing. A start would be a nice shape.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In many countries you need a "residence permit" for long staying (i.e. beyond a tourist visa limit), thereby after Brexit applying it to non-UK citizens could fall under that category, and would not be discriminatory.

      Also, after Brexit Britons may need one as well in some EU countries.... that's why Colin Firth got the Italian citizenship as well, so he won't need one to stay in Italy as long as he likes.

  16. iron Silver badge

    > The system will be accessed via GOV.UK

    No.

    > or a smartphone app,

    Hell no!

    > the report praised the security and privacy credentials promised for the database of citizen numbers.

    Hahahahaha! Oh, you weren't joking?

    > the citizen first logs into a Home Office system with their passport and an additional piece of verified data – such as a selfie

    Fuck no.

    > receives a four-digit code to share with the boss.

    Wow a whole 4 digits. Let me guess... they will be assigned sequentially. (facepalm) And what happens when you have more than 10k people needing a job?

    > They enter that code into the Home Office's verification service and receive only the relevant info.

    Hahahahahahahah! Oh, you still aren't joking? So add 1 to the code and you'll receive someone else's info.

    Dear government, just fucking no.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      For the sake of my sanity, I have to believe that if this were implemented, it either wouldn't be that stupid or would need additional data - a 4 digit code with timed expiry that also requires correlating information like name or NI number.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Wow a whole 4 digits. Let me guess... they will be assigned sequentially. (facepalm) And what happens when you have more than 10k people needing a job?"

      A nit like the driving licence code you hand over. The code is only part of the access key. No problem there. The rest of your rant I agree with.

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Even with a thing like Brexit there's nothing so bad that a determined politician can't make it worse.

  18. HKmk23

    No Excuses!

    Only the people who are dodging paying tax, or on the run or should not be in the UK in the first place do not want ID cards......in other words the undersirables and the crooks.

    Bring in ID cards NOW!

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: No Excuses!

      joke icon please :)

    2. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: No Excuses!

      Would I need 2 of them again, as that's what the last system required me to have.. 2 cards, with different names/etc on them.

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: No Excuses!

      I don't want ID cards.

      Not because I don't want to be identified.

      Because they should not be linking databases of who I rent from, where I work, what countries I go to, what local council account I use, etc.

      It's unnecessary feature-creep. IDing me is fine. Absolutely. I'm required to ID myself already in all the reasonable circumstances necessary.

      What's NOT right is having legal permission to join all those databases together, as the Manchester ID card trials found out. That information is there is people need to know it. Law enforcement. Anti-terrorism. But it's not automatic.

      But with previous ID card trials and this suggestion, it's about linking them all together. So the local council bin-collection company knows that you went on holiday, etc. That's where it gets dumb and unnecessary and even the vaguest of links helps abuse from the very lowest independent criminal up to the highest echelons of society (hey, look, we now have a database of every voter, where they live, what they voted for, and we can target the sloppy recycling bin habits of all the opposition voters). Not saying it would happen, not for decades, but it can't happen while you don't join the databases.

      You have to assume that one day we'll get a Trump/Hitler hybrid who will be able to access such information legally and use it for nefarious purposes. Currently, passport and driving licences aren't linked. Two separate offices, two separate renewals, you can't use your driving licence photo on your passport or vice-versa. When you start lumping them all into "one online account", the potential for misuse, compromise and errors in linking (i.e. you can't prove that you're NOT the paedophile that got accidentally linked to your record, because all your ID is linked) increases enormously.

      Gimme an ID card.

      Make it compulsory-carry.

      No problem at all.

      But keep it SEPARATE. And don't require people like landlords, mobile phone providers, etc. to link into that database as it's only ever going to go wrong and you'll get things like landlords checking you have no speeding convictions (I have none, I don't really care about specific circumstances, but the general principle) before renting to you.

      1. NorthernMonkey

        Re: No Excuses!

        @LeeD

        Not sure that’s correct. Last week I changed the address on my DL, had to use my PPT number to verify and because I was so close to my renewal date, the application form connected to HMPO and passed my photo and signature to DVLA - it now appears on my photocard.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No Excuses!

        You ever thought there's someone doing everything you describe ALREADY, only on the QT and without your knowledge? If linking the information you describe is really valuable, assume someone is already doing it, laws be damned.

      3. Alister Silver badge

        Re: No Excuses!

        Currently, passport and driving licences aren't linked. Two separate offices, two separate renewals, you can't use your driving licence photo on your passport or vice-versa

        Sadly this is no longer true. I recently helped my daughter apply for her first driving license, and the online application form had a tick-box for "Use my Passport Photo".

        EDIT: Whoops! NorthernMonkey beat me to it.

    4. hplasm Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: No Excuses!

      Oh do fuck off.

    5. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: No Excuses! @HKmk23

      Except for the possibility of your law abiding citizen becoming reclassified as an undesirable under a future government.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: No Excuses! @HKmk23

        reclassified as an undesirable under a future government

        From the governments point of view you are all undesirables - you are just a necessary evil to pay taxes and vote for them occasionally.

        1. earl grey Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: No Excuses! @HKmk23

          From the governments point of view you are all undesirables - you are just a necessary evil to pay taxes.

          T, FTFY

          They'll take care of the phony elections, thank you.

    6. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: No Excuses!

      Only the people who are dodging paying tax, or on the run or should not be in the UK in the first place do not want ID cards......in other words the undersirables and the crooks.

      Bring in ID cards NOW!

      I'm a person who doesn't want ID cards, I'm not dodging paying tax or on the run. I've just had to send the HMRC a couple of grand for the second payment on account for this year. I'm not on the run and have been helping the Metropolitan Police with a case of card fraud that happened in one of our branches.

  19. Mike Richards

    Obvious really

    The only way to stop a malicious and incompetent government department from misusing personal data held about citizens is to give more personal data to that malicious and incompetent government department.

  20. Merchman

    A principled stand?

    I look forward to David Davis taking the Chiltern Hundreds in opposition to ID cards.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: A principled stand?

      Perhaps we could get him to lie down in front of a bulldozer.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A principled stand?

      David Davis taking the Chiltern Hundreds

      Has the bill banning hunting MPs with dogs been repealed yet ?

  21. Len
    Holmes

    Just give me one single number

    The main problem I see is not the lack of a physical ID cards, it's the lack of a single number to identify people.

    I have:

    an NI number

    an HMRC Unique Tax Reference number

    a council tax number

    a NHS number

    an EHIC number

    a driving license number

    a passport number

    at some point in my life the DWP will probably give me a number too

    All these numbers are different. If I have an accident on holiday somebody needs to translate my EHIC number to my NHS number so the costs can be settled. I can be walking around with various bits of ID, all with different addresses, so I need to ‘prove’ my address with a utility bill. To prevent healthcare fraud somebody would need to crosscheck my NHS number against my NI (and UTR?) to see if I’m actually entitled to NHS treatment.

    Why can’t we have one number per person, like all developed (and even many developing) countries? It would reduce so many cases of fraud (both defrauding the taxman/NHS/DVLA but also people applying for credit in someone else’s name etc.)

    Of course, it would be good if we could learn from the mistakes and best practices that other countries have produced. So, don’t do it like the Americans where the Social Security Number is not a form of identification but a form of authentication so anyone who gets hold of your SSN can defraud you. Ideally the number would be something that you could safely make public with it doing you any harm, a bit like having a guaranteed unique combination of first and last name.

    This would solve many of the issues this paper argues for without any of the “papers please” fears.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Just give me one single number

      And then someone comes along powerful enough to throw all those checks and balances aside and suddenly the same stuff you value is used against you with no way to stop them (they usure or charmed their way to excess power like how Hitler was elected). Frankly, there seems to be no practical solution to the problem as everything gravitates to either anarchy or the police state.

    2. Adair

      Re: Just give me one single number

      There truly is nothing new under the sun - in this case an appreciation of what 'numbering the people' is likely to lead to given what we know about human beings and their behaviour.

      Just to add a little frisson of numerology and a pinch of apocalyptic: '16He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. 17And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. 18Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.c His number is 666.' - Revelation 3.16-18.

      In the numerology of the writer '6' is the number of humanity ('7' is for the divine), and a triple six indicates a human antithesis to what 'God' is seen to be all about - which is the practice of love.

      In other words, here is someone setting out the idea that numbering the people is a means of controlling the people, not for their well being and freedom, but for their enslavement to a purely materialist narcissistic ideology that has no room for anything as dangerous and freeing as 'Love'.

      Whatever we may think about 'the divine', we should all think very hard about what kind of world we wish to create with the power we have, especially given our long history of power and wealth in the hands of the few being used to oppress and control the many.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Just give me one single number

        Ask a holocaust survivor about having 'one single number' to identify themselves.

        One unique number is commonly referred to as a serial number and generally used for inventory managing purposes. I'm quite happy on the odd occasion it's needed to provide a couple of relevant corroborating documents to prove my identity.

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

          Re: Just give me one single number

          Exactly what I was thinking!

          Also the more different forms of identity you have the more secure your actual identity is.

          2FA on steroids.

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Just give me one single number

      Why can’t we have one number per person

      The problem with just one number is that if it suffers from being fat fingered put of existence. If you don't have anything else, you're screwed! My employer has two ID numbers for staff:

      One is for identifying the staff member who processed a transaction, it's printed on the receipt.

      The second is used for payroll etc. and would not be public information.

      It's a security precaution to prevent someone impersonating a staff member on the phone or by email with head office. There have been attempts to do this I believe they've been thwarted. Also they used 2FA it's not just the private id number that's used, a secondary piece of information is also required.

    4. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Just give me one single number

      "The main problem I see is not the lack of a physical ID cards, it's the lack of a single number to identify people."

      That's easy. Give them all the number ONE. Everyone wants to be number one.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's what people voted for!

    Brexit: Taking Back Control!

    You can't boot people out when they've overstayed their welcome unless you can catch them in the street and ask for their papers. No deportations without identification! It's the sovereign will of the British People. (And anyone who says otherwise is a remoaning traitor enemy of the people.)

    Ah it'll be good to see the Conservative Party "Making Britain Great Again!"

    Now, who's going to be paid millions to run this? Capita? ATOS? ...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It's what people voted for!

      No need for ID cards, just your national flag tattooed somewhere conspicuous.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's what people voted for!

        > No need for ID cards, just your national flag tattooed somewhere conspicuous.

        You see, we wouldn't be able to even talk about such progressive solutions to the immigration problem with the European Court Of Human Rights[sic] breathing down our necks. Role on Brexit!

        FREEDOM! SOVEREIGNTY!

      2. Roger Greenwood

        Re: It's what people voted for!

        "your national flag"

        Well today, of all days, it should be the white rose of the Yorkshire flag.

  23. UberMunchkin

    Our government simply cannot be trusted to safeguard identity information, they constantly lose data, they have no idea how to run a proper I.T. Project and they pride themselves on not listening to experts. There is no way they will not screw up a project like this.

    The last time this came up the party that agreed to scrap ID cards won the election pretty much on that single issue, I don't see how it wouldn't simply go that way again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you can't trust the government, you frankly can't trust ANYTHING and should be seriously considering renunciation...

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        "If you can't trust the government, you frankly can't trust ANYTHING and should be seriously considering renunciation..."

        If you can't trust the government, you should adopt a constitution where they don't have all the power. Pretty much all of the world's long-term democracies figured that one out years ago (and in nearly every case it is the only reason they are still democracies).

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          The US has such a Constitution RIGHT NOW. Only one problem. To someone with sufficient power, laws are just ink on a page...

  24. Roj Blake Silver badge

    It's not the ID Cards I'm against...

    ...so much as the giant, all-pervasive government database that will sit behind them.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: It's not the ID Cards I'm against...

      That database is going to exist no matter what. Too valuable. Wouldn't you rather have some say in the matter?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: It's not the ID Cards I'm against...

        ID cards without any information linking them to a database would be great - I'm looking forward to needing something to scrape the ice off the car window (bloody heatwave)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It's not the ID Cards I'm against...

          In order to be useful, ID cards MUST contain pertinent information. And by human nature, someone out there WILL start putting the pieces together: law or now law. It's part and parcel. In order to distinguish yourself as someone pertinent, you have to distinguish yourself as someone pertinent. And there's no way to separate who judges you.

  25. anothercynic Silver badge

    Policy Exchange...

    Please do crawl back into your right-wing hell hole that you were born from.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Policy Exchange...

      Funny, I rarely see the "exchange" part of their name in action.

      Let's put that right, shall we ?

      Their "policy" is for ID cards. My "policy" is that they can fuck off to the far side of fuck and stay fucked off there forever.

      Seems equitable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Policy Exchange...

      So you can wallow in your commie pile of sh#t.....go and lick the boots of comrade Gorblimey!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windrush

    Just as easy to delete someone from the ID database as it is to shred their paperwork at the home office.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Windrush

      Not strictly true, since a properly audited and distributed system would make it immediately clear to everyone that a particular named person *had* deleted particular named people from the database.

      But I up-voted you anyway because there's no fucking chance of gov.uk doing the job properly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windrush

        Someone sufficiently motivated would probably find a way to cover the tracks, too, no matter what system is in use...

  27. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    If there had been "a proper national ID system", it would have protected some of the Windrush victims, the authors argued.

    As pointed out at the end of the article, all it requires is a dozy bastard in the Home Office to accidentally(onpurpose) delete a record to keep up the old traditions beloved by many in the UK.

    1. David Roberts
      Black Helicopters

      Delete a record

      So just like a "smart meter" where you can turn the power off remotely.

      Just disable the ID card of your victim and deny access to all services. Goes with a cashless society to impose complete control on the population.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re. it would have protected some of the Windrush victims

    since this is nonsensical argument, given the scale, I wonder what is their real agenda to peddle the ID-card system yet again. Did it come from Whitehall pen-pals?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    initially voluntary system for UK citizens

    I applaud their honesty! :/

  30. tiggity Silver badge

    "e-gates – crucial to avoid queues at customs."

    How about they employ more customs officers.

    Post brexshit and shafted economy there will be a need for a jobs boost

    As a driving licence related aside, I love it when people ask for DL as id ... the look on their faces when I get my old paper licence out, that long predates the photo licences.

    Not looking forward to change of address at some point and associated extortionate compulsory cost of a photo licence

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      "e-gates – crucial to avoid queues at customs."

      How about they employ more customs officers.

      In my experience they do, each gate has a highly trained "border security facilitator" in a hi-vis vest telling you to go to the next empty gate. Where another tells you to wait cos they are just rebooting the system.

      2 worthwhile, meaningful, service sector jobs for British citizens created for each e-gate .....

      Although this could be a cunning and subtle plan. The e-gate doesn't actually have a link to a passport database, it simply listens for people making under their breath grumble about "oh for f... sake" but otherwise queuing quietly - they are obviously British and so are allowed in. Anybody who complains about the shear idiocy and inefficiency of the system is obviously a foreigner (and possibly German)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "As a driving licence related aside, I love it when people ask for DL as id ... the look on their faces when I get my old paper licence out, that long predates the photo licences."

      I do that too. But I've had issues with some people claiming it's not valid or legal any more and me having to explain to them while pointing at the expiry date that it is a legal and valid document. Some have even asked their colleges or "phoned a friend" to check whether I might be lying to them.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        @John Brown - Paper licences

        >> issues with some people claiming it's not valid <<

        Old paper licences are perfectly valid until you change address then you need the photo ID version.

        The photo IDs 'paper counterpart' was made obsolete a couple of years ago when the DL database could be accessed directly (I believe) by the few remaining traffic plod.

  31. MeggsChasm

    Tsunami of comments

    Most of them uniformed and/or patently knee jerk reactions.

    Identity will be the new credit in years to come. Of course citizens want to hide their financial Stuart, that's why they carry little cards around with their bank account numbers on them and use them as their primary method of interfacing with largely in trusted partners.

    Identity is something of which one should be proud and careful. It should be biometric and intrinsic, that is to say not easily obtainable by a third party (vs facial ID, iris recognition or, worst of all fingerprint). Also excellent for payment systems, as we at Chasm have previously shown.

  32. Tom Paine Silver badge

    a tier 3 data centre,

    This is no such thing as a Tier 3 Data Centre. Or Tier 2 or Tier 1. It's meaningless marketing bollocks, just like it was ten years ago when it first started cropping up.

    Sorry.

  33. DougS Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Younger citizens ... comfortable ... having their every step watched by CCTV cameras"

    They conclude that based on what? Because the CCTV cameras have been around for most of their life and younger citizens haven't revolted and smashed them all like Luddites?

    People being resigned to something sucking is not the same as being comfortable with it. I hate that there are few privacy protections here in the US against the likes of Google, Amazon and the credit agencies, and if I could change the laws I would. However I know I cannot, so I just grit my teeth and ignore it. If the US government did a whitewash report like that UK one, I imagine they'd lump me in with those "comfortable with self regulating corporations offering opt out privacy policies".

  34. JohnFen Silver badge

    Always amusing

    "All younger citizens who use mobile phones and social media are comfortable sharing copious amounts of information with commercial organisations"

    This argument is always good for a laugh.

    Here's note to those who trot this out: this is akin to saying "people won't mind if we just take their money because they are comfortable giving some of it to others."

  35. ad47uk

    it will never happen

    not in our time anyway and it would cost too much. Even if Labour got in again, there is nothing in their manifesto about introducing one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it will never happen

      Fingers crossed for no sudden extenuating circumstances then, like Jezza being replaced by a less cuddly Marxist-Leninist.

  36. earl grey Silver badge
    FAIL

    Most of the comments lean toward

    ID cards - ODFO

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look, you're going up against a HARD problem with government management. Without a strong way to tell citizens apart, non-citizens can blend into the population and dilute services and so on. But with one, Big Brother can intrude. Neither one is acceptable, but there's no in between, either. So what's it gonna be? Illegal immigrants crowding you out...or papers, please?

  38. Joe Harrison

    Britain has twice tried to force national ID cards and failed

    Worth a read about how the "temporary" wartime ID (compulsory carry) was defeated despite opposition from police and government.

    http://home.bt.com/news/on-this-day/february-21-1952-brits-bin-their-identity-cards-11363962863687

  39. nath042
    Trollface

    if it did happen you know the cards would be made offshore haha

  40. strum

    Feudal

    We should always remind ourselves that the power of a nation state to decide who we are and where we should be is just a hangover from the feudal rights of Lords over serfs. Never let them assume that it's 'normal'.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Feudal

      It IS normal, and it goes further back than lords. It's the basic structure of a hierarchical social structure: going all the way back to local chiefs and kings and so on. But it goes with the territory. Without SOME kind of pecking order, you end up with anarchy. And that could be the argument for IDs. No ID = no social order = anarchy (and to counter why it wasn't done in the past, they'll just say communities were much smaller then so everyone knew everyone else which enforced the social order).

  41. MeggsChasm

    Excellent plan!

    My ID is mine, I need it and keep it separate from my financial ID as far as I possibly can. So when I purchase something, I use my name ID. I DO NOT IDENTIFY MYSELF AS A BANK SORT CODE AND ACCOUNT NUMBER.

    Similarly my travel ID, or as some call it, my passport. Border Force do not recognise me by my Barclays ID. In fact, my travel ID is superfluous.

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