20 March 2007
The Home Office today admitted to issuing an “estimated” 10,000 passports to fraudsters last year  despite the introduction of routine background checks for new applicants last March . Claiming the introduction of face-to-face interviews for first time passport applicants to be an anti-fraud measure, ministers failed to mention that such interviews will also come be part of compulsory enrolment on the National Identity Register, the linked databases behind the ID cards scheme.
Phil Booth, NO2ID’s  National Coordinator said:
It is a Home Office number. So naturally it doesn’t make sense. Assuming it is even vaguely right, then the IPS plans to add hundreds to the price of a
family holiday, inconvenience and intimidate millions of law-abiding people, and spend billions of pounds – all to tackle a problem that affects just 0.15% of all passports issued.
No-one should be fooled – the interrogation system is for the ID card scheme, and cost-effectiveness is no object. We urge anyone who hasn’t yet got an adult passport to get one, before they get dragged in for an official grilling whose main purpose is to compile a personal dossier that will follow them through life.
The IPS originally set  next Monday, 26th March – as the start date for its new intrusive “interviews”. For this reason, NO2ID has declared Monday ID-Day. The fight back is beginning.
Guy Herbert, NO2ID’s General Secretary said:
In what must be the poorest excuse yet offered for a scheme that has racked up some impressively implausible pretexts already, the Home Office is saying
‘We’re crap; so you must suffer.’ We say, ‘You don’t have to put up with this. Show them you’re not a number .
Notes for editors:
1) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6470179.stm – ‘10,000 passports go to fraudsters’, BBC, 20/3/07.
To put the fraud figures into perspective, it should be noted that from December 2003 to March 2006, over 646,000 passports were either lost or
stolen and 1500 passports went missing in transit to UKPS, see http://westminster.snp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2172&Itemid=38. Recent figures (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6387925.stm) show that at least 1000 new passports each year, or 3 per day, go missing
from the supposedly secure delivery service.
2) http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/14/passport_data_checks_live/ – ‘Passport data checks go live’, The Register, 14/3/07. The ‘Personal
Identity Project’ (PIP) checks information provided by first time applicants against data held by credit reference agency Equifax.
3) NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. NO2ID is affiliated to by the National Union of Journalists:
Scroll down http://www.no2id.net for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing.
4) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article666614.ece – ‘Passport applicants will have to attend personal interviews’, Sunday Times, 10/12/07.
5) See http://www.no2id.net/getInvolved/id-day.php – NO2ID is encouraging people to show their faces to the government by sending a picture message anonymously to 60300 with the code no2id – who (people not names, ranks and numbers) says NO2ID will be continuously revealed from ID-Day.