Brown accused of deception over ID cards

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

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TOPICS: Security
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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.

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"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.

Topic: Security

About

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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4 comments
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  • Scottish Pragmatism

    Maybe President Brown's cultural inheritance is finally breaking through. He is surely not a complete idiot. He must have heard the arguments put forward by the likes of no2id, Privacy International & various highly regarded security/id theft/computer experts. He must have seen the bill gliding, gently but surely into the usual late/over budget spiral. He must have realised that this pile of ill thought out ultra-control-freakery is doomed .. but moreover doomed to fall WHILE HE IS STILL IN OFFICE ... THE HORROR !!
    Andrew Meredith
  • Stealth

    There is a strong suggestion that, while not making ID cards compulsory in themselves, many other everyday activities will become impossible without an ID card. Examples might be opening a bank account, obtaining a driving licence, access to the National Health Service, etc., etc., etc., and of course obtaining a passport.

    Voluntary but compulsion by stealth.
    The Former Moley
  • Re: Stealth

    > There is a strong suggestion that, while not making ID
    > cards compulsory in themselves, many other everyday
    > activities will become impossible without an ID card.
    > Examples might be opening a bank account, obtaining
    > a driving licence, access to the National Health Service,
    > etc., etc., etc., and of course obtaining a passport.
    >
    > Voluntary but compulsion by stealth.

    Absolutely right. So this is why the likes of no2id have been busy handling this threat. Around the country there are now a growing number of councils that have passed motions preventing their officers from being involved in any way with any scheme that requires the use of ID cards. I was involved in the motions for Swindon and for North Wilts. They both passed through with very little in the way of opposition. A few NuLabour mouthpieces got up on their hind legs, but nothing much in the way of logical common sense emerged.

    I am less bothered by the potential uptake through commercial organisations. They are, after all, commercial organisations. If they require the customer to have an ID card before they can enrole for their product, then they will be cutting a vast chunk of the population out of the loop. If their commercial rivals don't do this, then they will be at a severe commercial disadvantage. Banks really REALLY do not like commercial disadvantage. This might, however become a problem if and when the cards become compulsory. Mind you, by the time the cards are compulsory, we'll have WAY bigger things to worry about.

    Mine will be how to get out of the country without a passport, which I won't be able to get without an ID card, which I have vowed not to have. Principles are still important to some people. Even in this country, despite what you see on telly of the behaviour of our "Elders and Betters".
    Andrew Meredith
  • "Damned ..."

    Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't"
    Poor Gordon, the crunch time is coming when YOU have to make major decisions and stick to them. The time is arriving when you will have to wield the knife within your cabinet, and even wider, to stamp your authority on your party minions, regardless of their seniority within the Party.
    You are now in the one way job - now you've reached the top the one and only way now is OUT. Sooner or later depends entirely on your ability to make the RIGHT decisions for the electorate (sod the party dogma, woo the voters or you and the Party are out).
    It's a hard life at the top when such simple things as ID cards can be the cause of the long slide.
    hampshirehog