Brown accused of deception over ID cards

Summary:The prime minister has said Parliament will decide the fate of ID cards, while his perceived dithering in his commitment to the scheme has drawn criticism

The prime minister Gordon Brown has reiterated his backing for ID cards this week in the face of accusations his support for the scheme is wavering.

During prime minister's questions this week, the leader of the Conservatives David Cameron questioned Brown about his commitment to the ID card scheme, and needled him on why he said in an interview with a national newspaper "under our proposals, there is no compulsion for existing British citizens [to adopt the scheme]".

Brown replied: "Because there has to be a vote of Parliament. We have passed the original identity cards proposals. That is a voluntary system."

But Brown's perceived dithering in his commitment to the scheme by some MPs has prompted accusations from anti-ID card pressure group No2ID of "deception" and "scandalous" behaviour.

No2ID's national co-ordinator Phil Booth said in a statement: "Gordon Brown's inability to give a straight answer on ID cards, and the deliberate deception — assuming it is not outright ignorance — in some of his answers is scandalous.

"He's not levelling with the public. If it is such a good thing, then just why is this administration so evasive about its database-government scheme?"

ID cards will combine biometric data with identity details and that data will also be stored on the National Identity Register.

The Identity Cards Act 2006 already allows for ID cards to be registered and issued as people apply for official documents such as passports and immigration documents, although nobody will be able to apply for a separate card until 2009.

Government policy is that all UK residents over the age of 16 should eventually be required to have an ID card.

Topics: Security

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Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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