A telephone opinion poll on ID Cards conducted by MORI is being hyped by the Home Office and by the IT Consultancy Detica who commisioned it, presumably with some of the public money that they get from their UK government contract for e-government programme development. Thanks to Chris Lightfoot for reminding us that the MORI polling organisation also has a commercial interest in ID Cards, as they are running the selection process for the 10,000 "volunteers" who are to participate in the Passport Office's Biometrics evealuation trial (technically not actually to do with ID cards at all, but with the introduction of a Biometric Passport Card which will only be valid for travel within the European Union)
Despite their headline spin that "The public say ?yes? to ID cards ? civil liberties argument fails", if you actually read the published poll document (.pdf)
even Detica have to admit that:
"Although 94% of people are aware of the scheme?s existence, two thirds (67%) have little or no knowledge of the Government?s national ID card proposals."
This invalidates any claims that 80% of the public support the actual Biometric ID card scheme which is being proposed by the Government - how can they if they do not know the details ? This point should be made by the media and by Parliamentarians to David Blunkett when he uses this poll as "evidence" of public support for his particularly intrusive and expensive and ineffective ID card proposals.
"Almost 60% people have little or confidence in the Government?s ability to introduce ID cards without hitches. Results suggest scepticism in the competence of the Government to manage large-scale technology projects."
"41% lack confidence in the Government's ability to store personal information securely"
and nobody wants to pay for the scheme:
"Almost half (48%), stated they do not want to pay anything towards a national ID card"
Of course the alleged 11% who are opposed or strongly opposed to the idea of ID Cards represent over 6 million people in the UK. If even only a small fraction of these do not sign up for the scheme, then, together with the millions of EU nationals who will still be allowed into the UK for up to 3 months with no need to register for an ID Card, the scheme will be utterly useless for trying to track down a few dozen terrorists or even a few thousand illegal immigrants out of a population of 60 million or so.
Since most Government services are no longer delivered face to face at a Government office, with further cuts in the number of civil servants promised, the plan to use a Biometric ID Card, which needs expensive specialised secure computer hardware readers, cannot be used to help to identify people over the phone, over the internet or by post. The proposed ID card would provide no advantage over the existing systems, yet it would cost billions.