23rd February 2009
Reports that former Home Secretary, David Blunkett has ‘U-turned’ on ID cards  are misinformed.
NO2ID  welcomes Mr Blunkett’s new-found concern with civil liberties, but points out that this suggestion does nothing for them. Making passports compulsory for all British citizens, as he suggests, would in effect force everyone in Britain onto the proposed National Identity Scheme. Making the physical ID card itself ‘optional’ has been hyped by ministers and officials since last year , but is utterly irrelevant.
The aim of the scheme is to create a centralised register – an ID database – which can be used by the Home Office as an index for passports, ID cards, and any other information it can collect about you. Current government plans, which have not changed except in timing since Mr Blunkett was Home Secretary, are to coerce most of the population into the ID scheme using passports. Under current plans people would still be forced to ‘apply’ for entry on the database in order to request a passport. Registration is for life. There would be no way out once you ‘applied’.
Unless Mr Blunkett is suggesting repealing the Identity Cards Act and scrapping the database, a compulsory passport would be precisely the same in effect as a compulsory ID card. Under government plans a passport is already being made completely equivalent to an ID card .
Phil Booth, NO2ID’s National Coordinator said:
His ‘opt out’ means nothing, but at least Mr Blunkett is being honest about compulsion, which current ministers have spun and spun to pretend isn’t there. The issue is not, and never has been just the card – it’s coerced registration, and lifelong surveillance by database.
1) See ‘Blunkett warns over ‘Big Brother’ Britain’, Independent, 23 Feb 2009:
2) NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate.php for a list of database state initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing. The background documents on the government’s developing information sharing habit are assembled at http://www.no2id.net/datasharing.php
3) For example, Jacqui Smith on the launch of the Home Office delivery plan in March 2008:
This alleged ‘option’ is contrary to the Identity Cards Act 2006, which ministers seem to hope no-one has read.
4) The Identity Cards Act 2006 requires everyone who ‘applies’ to be assigned a unique National Identity Registration Number, whether issued with an ID card or not. Once on the register you are compelled to notify any change in your details for life. And the wording of Schedule 1 (Information that may be recorded in Register) means the controversial audit trail – section 9 – would record details of every time your identity was checked, whether you held an ID card or not: