Saturday, 26 September 2009

ID Cards - Will They Ever Give Up?

No2ID reports that:

"The UK Identity and Passport Service (UK-IPS) will unveil a marketing campaign for its ID scheme tomorrow (Friday 25th September) based on animated fingerprint characters. [Not yet on their website as of today - Ed.] The Home Office is propagandising *businesses* rather than the general public in an attempt to give the impression that the ID scheme is moving forwards whilst in reality nothing much is actually happening. You may not see the advertising as it targeted at traders, but it is your money paying for it. The insulting animated fingerprints campaign is aimed at persuading retailers who have to comply with age restrictions that ID cards are a fait accompli and that there is public demand. The opposite is the case. ID cards are going to be vanishingly rare for a long time to come, and it would be a foolish businessman who changed anything he did because of them – particularly since it is *unlawful* to demand to be shown someone’s ID card without giving them a reasonable alternative – and most people who might be affected already have plenty of alternatives in the form of PASS cards as well as driving licenses, etc. UK-IPS chief James Hall has already begun a ‘charm offensive’ in the licensed trade press,  attempting to undermine existing well established proof of age schemes and talk up the inclusion of biometrics – despite the fact that shops and pubs will not have machines to read fingerprints, and that UK-IPS’ own guidance predicts problems with visual checks in pubs and clubs. They have also  recently been polling businesses to try and discover what would be most likely to make them start using the scheme with their employees, so we can expect another campaign based round that theme to appear at some stage. This latest, desperate attempt to market the ID scheme is patronising hype. Having failed to come up with any convincing benefits, officials are set to waste millions shoving ID cards down the throats of shops, of licensees, and of young people who already have alternatives. The UK-IPS is treating the public and businesses like children if it thinks giving fingerprints smiles will make us all happy to be fingerprinted. Anyone signing up for a Home Office “identity card” has agreed to report to an official database for life, and lost control of their own identity information for ever. It is nothing to smile about."

It is worth noting that the government has appointed Sir Joseph Pilling as the first ‘Identity Commissioner’ for the ID cards scheme – a role that is toothless and irrelevant. The new Commissioner cannot investigate criminality, issue any sanction for breach or misuse or even demand compliance with the Act which he is supposed to oversee. The UK Identity and Passport Service
(UK-IPS) press release states: “The new Identity Commissioner will act independently and on behalf of the public to ensure that information held on the National Identity Register is accurate and secure as well as monitoring the use identity cards are put to by both public and private sectors”. It is hard to see how Pilling, who began his career with the Home Office in 1966 and has spent his entire career being the soul of discretion in various Departments of State, could be described as “independent” or be expected to act as a whistleblower. 

How much more of our 'wonga' are they going to waste in their remaining months?

No comments: