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UK Home Office Set To Scrap National ID Cards 334

Posted by timothy
from the do-not-eat-marshmallows-cooked-thereover dept.
mjwx writes "In what would seem to be a sudden outbreak of common sense for the UK, the Home Office has put forward a plan to scrap the national ID card system put into place by the previous government. From the BBC: 'The Home Office is to reveal later how it will abolish the national identity card programme for UK citizens. The bill, a Queen's Speech pledge, includes scrapping the National Identity Register and the next generation of biometric passports.' The national ID card system, meant to tackle fraud and illegal immigration, has drawn widespread criticism for infringing on privacy and civil rights. However, the main driver for the change in this policy seems to be the 800-million-pound cost. Also in the article, indications of a larger bill aimed at reforms to the DNA database, tighter regulation of CCTV, and a review of libel laws."
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UK Home Office Set To Scrap National ID Cards

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  • No surprise (Score:5, Informative)

    by ranulf (182665) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:18AM (#32373224)
    This was never really a surprise as it was one of their manifesto pledges to get rid of this project which was always going to be colossal waste of money and probably trivially crackable in a few years time anyway. That said, I'm really glad it's gone. This was just one of the many ways the previous Labour government was trying to erode the civil liberties in this country...
    • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ash Vince (602485) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:49AM (#32374184) Journal

      It was also irrelevant anyway since the vast majority of people in britain now have a photo driving licence that performs the same function. You are already legally required to tell the DVLA where you live, and they immediately inform the police to update on the Police National Computer.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_National_Computer [wikipedia.org]

      Since we already are required by law to carry our driving licence while driving most people just keep it in their wallet. This allows the police to stop and search you at any time and find out who you are. Stop and search in the UK does not require a warrant.

      The ID card scheme was basically a way of legally requiring something which we already have pretty much by stealth anyway for most law abiding citizens. The difference is that they could have used it to hassle illegal immigrants and people who have something to hide more if it was more rigidly codified in law. We all are forced to carry our bankcards and god knows what else that proves who we are so who cares about on more piece of ID being forced upon us. I only objected to being charged for it, via txation or directly.

      If the new government really want to sort out the crap Labour passed they need to repeal the Regulation of Investigatory Powers and Terrorism Acts. I have a feeling those are both here to stay though.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Investigatory_Powers_Act_2000 [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_Act_2000 [wikipedia.org]

      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Informative)

        by JPRelph (519032) <james AT themacplace DOT co DOT uk> on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:14AM (#32374412) Homepage

        Since we already are required by law to carry our driving licence while driving most people just keep it in their wallet. This allows the police to stop and search you at any time and find out who you are. Stop and search in the UK does not require a warrant.

        We're not required to have it with us while driving. If you don't have it on you the Police can demand that you take it into a Police station within 7 days though.

      • by duguk (589689)

        Stop and search in the UK does not require a warrant.

        Am I incorrect in thinking that it does require "Reasonable Suspicion" - random searches are not permitted (apart from under terrorism legislation)?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:44AM (#32374678) Homepage

      This was never really a surprise as it was one of their manifesto pledges

      What? A party got into government and lived up to it's manifesto promises? I find that pretty surprising...

    • by dnwq (910646)
      The Conservative party used to back national ID cards; it moved onto the Labor platform when Labor won in 1997.

      The simplest explanation is that the ruling party simply represented the interests of the Home Office, and the same now that the excessive cost has been amply demonstrated. Had the price tag not been so high, even a Lib Dem government wouldn't have dismantled it.
  • wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:19AM (#32373230) Homepage Journal

    A government that actually gives up some power over people. I am speechless.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stupid_is (716292)

      well, at least the 15,000 folks that bought one won't be getting a refund.

      And the project isn't really canned, as it will be rolled out for non-EU foreign nationals wishing to stay (cue thin end of wedge) so most of the contractors will still stay on the gravy train.

      • well, at least the 15,000 folks that bought one won't be getting a refund.

        Good. I have absolutely no problem with financial penalties for people who voluntarily opt in to a surveillance state. Hopefully this will provide some negative reinforcement and make them less likely to do it again.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dave420 (699308)
          Surveillance state? The cards are just like drivers licenses in the US. Most people simply used them to prove how old they were, or to travel within the EU without having to take their passport with them. People who bought them had a use for them, which will still be possible, as they are still government-issued ID cards, regardless of which actual government issued them.
          • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:43AM (#32373648) Journal
            By opting in to the ID card scheme, you opt in to the national ID register, providing huge amounts of personal information (including biometrics) to a centralised government database. The Gestapo and Stasi would have absolutely loved to have such a resource.
          • Most people simply used them to prove how old they were, or to travel within the EU without having to take their passport with them.

            How did they do that? The UK was never part of the Schengen system.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by rich_r (655226)
              But it is part of the EU, which means national identity cards are accepted as an alternative to passports, where border crossings still check them.
    • Re:wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NickFortune (613926) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:40AM (#32373324) Homepage Journal

      A government that actually gives up some power over people. I am speechless.

      The wonder of a coalition government. Neither side has the support to hammer through anything too extreme. So they're forced to actually do their jobs, rather than repeatedly kicking the electorate in the nuts and claiming they have a mandate to do so.

      It probably won't last, but as long as it does, this current lot may actually accomplish some good for the country.

      • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jez9999 (618189) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:27AM (#32373552) Homepage Journal

        Everyone get out there and vote YES for AV in the referendum to make this kind of thing more likely in the long-term. Then if we get a referendum on STV, vote YES to it to make it almost certain.

      • This seems plenty extreme to me, compared to the direction Britain has been going in previous years.
        • This seems plenty extreme to me, compared to the direction Britain has been going in previous years.

          With a name like "fastest fascist", I expect it probably does.

      • It has nothing to do with it being a coalition government. Both Conservative and Lib Dem parties had scrapping the ID card in their manifestos. If either one had formed a majority (single party) government, the news today would be the same.

        • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

          by NickFortune (613926) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:41AM (#32373640) Homepage Journal

          Both Conservative and Lib Dem parties had scrapping the ID card in their manifestos. If either one had formed a majority (single party) government, the news today would be the same.

          Or, you know, the Tories could have put the measure on the back burner for three years and eventually announced that the situation had changed and the ID scheme was suddenly vital for national security.

          Just because it's in their manifestos does not mean they have any intention of doing it. It just means it's something they thought would help get them elected.

    • by tnok85 (1434319)

      A government that actually considers this amount of money to be too much to spend on something. I am speechless.

    • by chthon (580889)

      I just finished reading A History of England [amazon.co.uk]. If there is really anything which stands out in its history, it is the fact that English rule did not really have much power until the 19th century.

    • by horza (87255)

      They are also going to stop storing the DNA of innocent people in their database and to introduce legislation restricting CCTV cameras. I'm starting to like these guys.

      Phillip.

  • Hardly "sudden" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:19AM (#32373232)

    In what would seem to be a sudden outbreak of common sense

    Hardly a "sudden" outbreak. We had an election that was hardly a surprise (it was held at basically the last minute it could be, as everyone expected). As a result the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition governement. Both coalition parties have pledged for a long time to scrap ID cards. It was also set out in their initial coalition agreement and it's one of the "freedom" things they feel they have a common platform on. Anyone who is surprised by the suddeness of the plan to scrap ID cards is... well, foreign. Not that there's anything wrong with that of course.

  • Shame (Score:4, Funny)

    by drunkahol (143049) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:36AM (#32373300)

    I like mine . . . no really, I do.

    • by AGMW (594303)

      I like mine . . . no really, I do.

      I don't think they will be making it a crime to keep one if you already have it.

      • No, but as of September it will no longer be valid as proof of identity, so it's like hanging on to your old student ID card - nostalgia value, no real use.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tim C (15259)

          Not officially, but there's nothing stopping any business or person from accepting it as proof - it's just unlikely that anyone will.

  • Quaint system... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bre_dnd (686663) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:37AM (#32373306)
    Of course this will leave in place the quaint system thats currently there -- theres no national register of who lives where. So opening a bank account requires you to bring in a random assortment of water bills, phone bills, as proof of address, getting a passport requires you to get the reverse of your passport photograph signed by "a person of standing" i.e. your doctor or a certified engineer or a company director. Hardly waterproof, really.

    To travel to Europe you need to fork out the full fee for a "real passport" rather than the cut-price national-ID card -- most other Europeans can just make do with a national ID card. Or wait -- that might be because Britain is one of the few countries that still does border controls for travel within Europe. Travel north-south from Germany to Holland to Belgium to France to Spain to Portugal and the only thing you notice is the language on the road signs changing, the borders are notionally still there but no checks are done. Im not sure the current system really is that much better.

    • by Hope Thelps (322083) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:41AM (#32373330)

      Of course this will leave in place the quaint system thats currently there -- theres no national register of who lives where. So opening a bank account requires you to bring in a random assortment of water bills, phone bills, as proof of address, getting a passport requires you to get the reverse of your passport photograph signed by "a person of standing" i.e. your doctor or a certified engineer or a company director. Hardly waterproof, really.

      As compared to what? How did you think they were going to verify who you are for purposes of issing an ID card? You've ruled out anything that evidences your address, you've ruled out passport, you've ruled out testimony of reliable seeming person who knows you. So what's your plan? What is "waterproof"? The whole biometric thing comes AFTER you've established your identity to them, not before.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Peach Rings (1782482)

        The point is that once you have an ID card you can just flash it, instead of having to produce all of that documentation just to open a bank account.

        • by squizzar (1031726)
          Yeah, which is backed up by the information you gave possibly decades ago. So when I sign up for a bunch of credit cards, and max them out, the bailiffs can turn up at the house I was renting when I was a student? How often do you open bank accounts anyway?
          • by jhol13 (1087781)

            How often you take money out of a bank account? Or get a loan? How do you show the account 112233-445566 is yours to empty?

            While ID cards are far from "waterproof" and have a lot of weaknesses they are significantly better than the alternative.

    • by VJ42 (860241) * on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:43AM (#32373336)

      To travel to Europe you need to fork out the full fee for a "real passport"

      That's nothing to do with ID of any sort, it's because the UK is not a member of the Schengen Agreement [wikipedia.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clare-ents (153285)

      You seem to have forgotten the birth certificate requirement for passport applications.

    • by horza (87255) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:47AM (#32373672) Homepage

      I need a random assortment of water bills, phone bills, as proof of address when opening a bank account in France, which does has ID cards. You need to somehow have somebody identify you to get a passport, but then you would to get an ID card too. Most other Europeans do not "make do with ID cards" to travel but are obliged by law to carry one on them at all times (whether traveling or not). You may not notice any border controls but you can be stopped at any time within those borders and asked for no reason to produce an identity card. I have American friends here in France that were thrown in jail for the night for not having their passport on them whilst walking in the street. Britain neither wants nor needs ID cards, and since we are traditionally rubbish at doing large IT projects it would have been an expensive flop anyway.

      Phillip.

  • by malkavian (9512) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:41AM (#32373326) Homepage

    It had long been thought by everyone (other than the last government, who just got sent packing) that the ID cards just wouldn't work the way they were meant to (i.e. they don't protect anyone, and are just infringements on privacy and civil liberty, costing the citizenry money they shouldn't have to pay).
    The £800 million was supposed to be recouped by the Government by charging to have the card (they were intended to be mandatory eventually with every passport). In other words, another tax to fund a scheme that wouldn't work as advertised and gave the populace no benefit while giving even more personal info to the government.
    It'd been a promise since the early days (years back) by every other party to scrap this waste of time and money if they ever came into power. Labour were hoping to have it in place and active (making it much harder to scrap) before they were voted out. Thankfully they failed.

  • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@nOspaM.spad.co.uk> on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:43AM (#32373338) Homepage

    Scrapping the plan was never really about the cards; most people weren't really bothered about the card itself, it was the vast amount of data that was to be linked to the card via the National Identity Register that was cause for concern - especially as the previous government had a truly shocking record on both data security and large-scale IT projects.

  • Granted, the Tories might well screw up the country - but at least we'll have our freedom.

    (Hopefully the Liberals will keep them in check anyway, thanks to the coalition. Couldn't be much better really!)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AGMW (594303)

      Granted, the Tories might well screw up the country - but at least we'll have our freedom.

      (Hopefully the Liberals will keep them in check anyway, thanks to the coalition. Couldn't be much better really!)

      The last time the Tories took power from Labour they inherited a monster debt too, and managed to re-pay it and hand over a healthy economy to nuLabour who have sold the family silver (and Gold at the lowest price possible remember!). (nu)Labour have never been able to cut funding to all their left-wing union buddies and so have ALWAYS borrowed heavily when in power, whilst I am confident the Tories (and esp. now they have the Lib Dems as their Jiminy Cricket conscience!) will have the balls to cut back wh

      • The last time the Tories took power from Labour they inherited a monster debt too, and managed to re-pay it and hand over a healthy economy to nuLabour who have sold the family silver

        I seem to remember the Tories selling a lot of the family silver (the national rail network, most utilities) before they handed power over. Making up for a short fall in revenue by selling off infrastructure is generally not good fiscal policy. Hopefully the LibDems won't let them do the same this time.

        In fact, most of Labour's problem was that they didn't sell the family silver. They just paid for everything they wanted on credit, then left before it was time to pay it back.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jabuzz (182671)

        That would be the monster debt that Labour inherited from the previous Conservative government that presided over the three day week. Most serious historians blame the mess at the end of the 1970's on the Heaths government and the oil crisis.

        I would also point out that the last Labour government presided over the longest period of sustained economic growth in the history of the United Kingdom, and even going back further to include the history of Great Britain. Now you might claim that was the legacy of the

  • by qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:47AM (#32373368) Journal
    http://www.ips.gov.uk/cps/rde/xchg/ips_live/hs.xsl/1691.htm [ips.gov.uk] Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "The wasteful, bureaucratic and intrusive ID card scheme represents everything that has been wrong with government in recent years." Boom! heady stuff in the UK, leading the free world. I still think that the Netherlands 'right to anonymity' is the way things should be heading http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=%201447332 [ssrn.com]
  • by dogsolitude_uk (1403267) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:52AM (#32373386)
    What made me laugh was the report that David Blunkett (the Labour Home Secretary that gave birth to the scheme) wants to sue the Government for the thirty quid that the card cost him: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/i-might-sue-over-scrapped-id-card-says-blunkett-1985447.html [independent.co.uk] Oh, and it's worth remembering that the Tories wanted to introduce an ID card system (sans database) back in the 90's.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chrisq (894406)

      What made me laugh was the report that David Blunkett (the Labour Home Secretary that gave birth to the scheme) wants to sue the Government for the thirty quid that the card cost him: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/i-might-sue-over-scrapped-id-card-says-blunkett-1985447.html [independent.co.uk] Oh, and it's worth remembering that the Tories wanted to introduce an ID card system (sans database) back in the 90's.

      You mean he didn't claim it on expenses! Well I am surprised.

    • Oh, and it's worth remembering that the Tories wanted to introduce an ID card system (sans database) back in the 90's.

      An ID card without the database is just a more convenient passport. It's the database that I object to. Amusingly, a couple of weeks after I was born, there was an episode of Yes Minister on television about the creation of a 'Big Brother' database with inadequate privacy safeguards. Plus ca change...

      • by jimicus (737525)

        a couple of weeks after I was born, there was an episode of Yes Minister on television about the creation of a 'Big Brother' database with inadequate privacy safeguards. Plus ca change...

        You really do have a remarkable memory. The earliest thing I can remember is "Baa Baa Black Sheep".

        • I watched a repeat as a teenager and thought 'this is amazingly topical'. I watched the episode again on DVD over Christmas and thought 'this is still amazingly topical, when was it made?' Turns out, it's as old as me. I wish the BBC would repeat Yes [Prime] Minister more often...
          • by VJ42 (860241) *

            I watched a repeat as a teenager and thought 'this is amazingly topical'. I watched the episode again on DVD over Christmas and thought 'this is still amazingly topical, when was it made?' Turns out, it's as old as me. I wish the BBC would repeat Yes [Prime] Minister more often...

            It's regularly on one of the Satellite channels (GOLD, I think), and it remains as topical & insightful as ever.

  • New Labour (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wilsonthecat (1043880) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:53AM (#32373398)

    Who would've predicted 20 years ago that a Conservative government is now more liberal than a labour one. What did labour bring the UK in respect to civil liberties?

    - Huge amounts of CCTV - one estimate claims the it's the highest in the world
    - Useless passports that don't work in most airports
    - An illegal war or two
    - Sponging off the state is more attractive than working

    I voted labour in 1997 and was fairly anti-conservative back then. Since that time something happened to the party (Tony Blair) that has completely transformed them in my view.

    • by Chrisq (894406)
      I don't think he's to blame for the useless passports, the USA made biometric passports a requirement of entry.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      I'm still pretty anti-conservative, which is why I've never voted Labour. The slogan for the 1997 election 'New Labour - Old Tory' has seemed increasingly true every year that they were in power.
    • by dave420 (699308)
      The vast majority of CCTV cameras in the UK are privately-owned, and are used to protect buildings. They are not run by the police or local authorities.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The Conservative-Liberal coalition is more liberal than Labour ....

      The Conservatives proposed an ID card before labour, introduced widespread CCTV originally, the precursors of a war or two (technically legal ...but they would have done it anyway)

      The Lib-Dems were against ID cards, against the war, against CCTV ....

      Together they moderate each others extreme policies ....

    • by Geeky (90998)

      Who would've predicted 20 years ago that a Conservative government is now more liberal than a labour one.

      I would. My gut feel is that the Conservatives are more comfortable being in charge than Labour, and therefore don't feel the need to micromanage the country. You could look at it another way; they don't really care what the plebs are getting up to, so don't feel the need to keep a close eye on them.

      Certainly they claim to believe in free market, laissez faire economics, and small government, which would be incompatible with the surveillance state that Labour was building.

  • by Conspicuous Coward (938979) on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:57AM (#32373414)

    A big of the reason for doing this was cost, but not the only one. The Conservatives have been opposed to this scheme since forever. Middle England Tories tend to get very hot under the collar about ID card schemes for some reason, though they don't seem to have any problem with CCTV, repressive "anti-terrorism" legislation, or any of the dozens of other ways in which British civil liberties are being curtailed.

    As to the current Con/Dem government doing anything about these wider abuses, I remain very sceptical. Previous Tory governments have been equally as big on repressive legislation as the last Labour government was. And as everybody knows, politicians are generally loathe to give up any powers unless forced to by the population.

    • Middle England Tories tend to get very hot under the collar about ID card schemes for some reason, though they don't seem to have any problem with CCTV, repressive "anti-terrorism" legislation, or any of the dozens of other ways in which British civil liberties are being curtailed.

      Of course not. The other things that you list only effect the freedoms of the lower classes...

    • by VJ42 (860241) * on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:35AM (#32373604)

      As to the current Con/Dem government doing anything about these wider abuses, I remain very sceptical. Previous Tory governments have been equally as big on repressive legislation as the last Labour government was. And as everybody knows, politicians are generally loathe to give up any powers unless forced to by the population.

      Well, the coalition document promises a "great repeal\freedom bill" and more regulation on CCTV and a review of the libel laws (as a side note, Lord Leicester has just introduced a libel reform bill - http://www.libelreform.org/news [libelreform.org] - in light of their pledge, I'm hoping that it will get government backing) amongst other things - full text: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8677933.stm [bbc.co.uk]

      The relevant section for those who don't want to click on the link:

      10. Civil liberties
      The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government and roll back state intrusion.
      This will include:
      A freedom or great repeal bill;
      The scrapping of the ID card scheme, the national identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point database;
      Outlawing the fingerprinting of children at school without parental permission;
      The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency;
      Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database;
      The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury;
      The restoration of rights to non-violent protest;
      The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech;
      Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation;
      Further regulation of CCTV;
      Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason;
      A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.

  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Friday May 28, 2010 @05:58AM (#32373416) Homepage

    I Finland everyone has a national identification number. Censuses haven't been done in my lifetime, no need. A drivers license, passport, social security card or ID card identifies the citizens with this number. I'm not sure if there's a law that says you have to posess one of the above, it's just something everyone has anyway.

    Still there haven't been any major issues. Is this because the Finnish government is simply less corrupt that many others? I don't have a problem with having a number assigned to me. In fact that number ensures I can use all the services my taxes pay for, like working health care.

    So am I living in some socialist police state, or is it just a matter of what kind of government implements this kind of a scheme?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcupitt65 (68879)

      The issue was data protection, not the cards themselves.

      UK data protection law (I think this is an EU-wide thing now?) says (among other things) thst you can't use personal information gathered for one purpose for another purpose without the consent of the people involved. This means you can't link databases together. The TV licence database can't be linked to the healthcare database or the police database or ... well, anything really.

      Two things help enforce this separation. First, it's illegal (heh), a

    • How naive. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:35AM (#32373602)

      When Augusto Pinochet came to power, one of the first things he did was to round up the offices of the Socialist party and get their membership records.

      With that list they just went, knocked to the doors of their political oponents, and dealt with them with the brutality characteristic of right wing extremists (when Pinochet died Chilean youngsters saluted the departed leader with Neo Nazi salutes, how ironic that Maggie Thatcher was such a good friend of this bastard).

      Europeans, having experienced totalitarian regimes in the last 100 years ( Stalinists in most of Eastern Europe, Fascists in Central and Mediterranean Europe, Ultra Nationalists in the Balkans) one would have thought would be the most reacious people in the world to any form of such political control (which is what it is: no ID, no services. Neat.)

      With all its faults, the UK, one of the few countries that escaped totalitarian regimes in recent history, has a sizeable amount of the population with whom this kind of policy seats uncomfortably, even if that means a bit less conveneince during dealing with official business of any kind.

      It was only the prominence of Labour (many of its ministers former Left Wing nutcases, i.e. proponents of an overpowering overview of the state of everything) what permitted the idea of ID cards being a good idea. One or two of them actually became closely associated with companies with interest in promoting ID cards after they left office in disgrace.

      There is no reason you should not have a number to access your services, the problem is it being unique and the government, not you, having control about who can access the personal information associated to it.

       

    • by VJ42 (860241) *

      I Finland everyone has a national identification number. Censuses haven't been done in my lifetime, no need. A drivers license, passport, social security card or ID card identifies the citizens with this number. I'm not sure if there's a law that says you have to posess one of the above, it's just something everyone has anyway.

      Still there haven't been any major issues. Is this because the Finnish government is simply less corrupt that many others? I don't have a problem with having a number assigned to me. In fact that number ensures I can use all the services my taxes pay for, like working health care.

      So am I living in some socialist police state, or is it just a matter of what kind of government implements this kind of a scheme?

      No, we all have a National insurance number in the UK as well, the problem with this scheme wasn't the card but the database behind it; it was going to keep ~50 pieces of personal data on all of us and wanted to charge everyone £30 for the privilege of having one. More info here: http://www.no2id.net/IDSchemes/FAQ/ [no2id.net]

    • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:49AM (#32373684) Homepage
      Partly. The Nordic countries in general have exceptional institutions and the lowest levels of corruption in the world. It's not unreasonable that you trust your government to administer such a scheme, because it is in general run for the better. Unlike you, I don't trust my government's ability to not misuse data and in any case I don't really see the problem with the systems we have evolved to deal with ID in Britain.
    • by roman_mir (125474)

      I Finland everyone has a national identification number. ...
      I don't have a problem with having a number assigned to me. ...

      I Gattaca this motion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Von Helmet (727753)

      The Finnish government is based on proportional representation and coalitions, so my Finnish mother tells me, which I imagine means less scope for governments to sieze tyrannical power without someone to keep them in check. The country is indeed also very socialist, but somehow it works and you don't appear to piss money up the wall on stupid things in the same way that Britain does.

      I'd move to Finland in a heartbeat if I could learn the language and persuade my wife and kids, and the political system is o

  • All they need to do is to require that the person who is being sued, the person who is doing the suing or both must be a resident of the UK.

    That will stop 99% of the "libel shopping" where someone/some company not located in the UK sues someone else/some other company not located in the UK using UK courts just because it happens to be possible to access the alleged libelous content from a computer located in the UK.

  • by spectrokid (660550) on Friday May 28, 2010 @06:07AM (#32373468) Homepage
    Plenty of very democratic countries (in Scandinavia a.o.) have ID cards. Your "rights" don't get cut down by running around with a silly piece of plastic. If a cop really wants to identify you, how hard can it be? Drivers license, credit card, social insurance. The whole question is how it is USED, and who gets access to the database behind it. Fantastic new system at the library. Borrow a book by simply swiping your ID card past this terminal. Does that mean a cop driving behind me and entering my cars license plate in the cruisers computer can see which books I have checked out lately? ID cards are OK, if they are done in a country where an independent "data-police" makes sure the data does not get abused. And no, that is not a joke, here in Denmark we have exactly that [datatilsynet.dk]
    • You should check out the plans for exactly what went on the ID card and in the National ID Register before you make comparisons to superficially similar schemes in other countries.

      In any case, identity theft makes this whole concept a bad idea. You should never have to prove your identity, you should have to prove that you have the right to be doing whatever you are doing - role based access control. This makes it much harder to steal someone's identity, because you have to steal a large set of mostly-in

  • However, the main driver for the change in this policy seems to be the 800-million-pound cost.

    That, and the fact that it doesn't really add anything that they don't have already somewhere else, so what's the point?

  • Finally Slashdot. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday May 28, 2010 @07:44AM (#32374126)

    You post a story about the new British regime.

    For those unaware, Britain has had a new coalition government for the past 3 weeks, and it's been active in stating it's goals of rolling back many of the civil liberties infringements in the UK that came about under Labour.

    There have been countless stories on Firehose, but positive stories about a final change of state of British politics that has massive meaningful benefits for improving the state of civil liberties here in the UK are apparently not newsworthy, it's better to stick to negative stories about how the world is going to end. Apparently.

    It's a shame because Slashdot could use some positive news on the civil liberties front, and there has been a lot from the UK this last few weeks. To sum most of them up, the stated intentions of the new coalition government are:

    - The removal of the DNA database
    - The removal of the national identity register
    - Cancelling the go ahead of enhanced biometric passports
    - Cancellation of the contact point database
    - Removal of restrictions on right to peaceful protest
    - Stronger restrictions on the use of CCTV cameras
    - Ban fingerprinting of children in school without parental permission
    - Increase the scope of the freedom of information act
    - Remove innocent people from the DNA database
    - Restore trial by jury as a right in all criminal cases
    - Review and hopefully rework libel laws to prevent stifling of freedom of speech
    - Introduce more legislation to prevent abuse of anti-terror laws
    - Ban interception and storage of e-mail and other digital communications without good reason (i.e. a specific warrant)

    Now, you wouldn't realise any of this if you simply read Slashdot of course, but there you go. Hopefully the UK is seeing a bit of a turnaround now that totalitarian Labour have been kicked out, and for the first time in about a hundred years, the Liberals are part of government again.

    It's not all perfect of course, no one can like everything their government does. The new coalition has also said that they will allow citizens to put forward bills for repeal, whether the digital economy act can be included is yet to be seen, but right now, the things there are cold hard plans for are extremely promising and look set to get the go ahead.

    It's just a shame Slashdot didn't post the full list of changes when Nick Clegg the new deputy PM did a speech on restoring civil liberties in the UK last week when there were like 20 firehose submissions on it, but oh well, I suppose we should be glad now that at least the fact a tiny miniscule portion of the goings on over here has been posted, albeit a week late.

  • by mooingyak (720677) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:06AM (#32374338)

    However, the main driver for the change in this policy seems to be the 800-million-pound

    Gorilla? Please be gorilla. That's a big gorilla.

    cost.

    Disappointing close to that sentence.

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