Various newspapers e.g. The Guardian, The Independent, The Scotsman, The Financial Times etc.seem to have been briefed (or are copying each other) about a new feature of the forthcoming Draft ID Cards Bill (supposedly due to be revealed on Monday) which has not so far been discussed by the Home Office at all, namely the creation of an offence of being in possession of a false document with a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.
If this is the only applies to the new ID Card then it must also be balanced with equally harsh criminal penalties for insiders who abuse the Central ID Database system, and for petty officials or others who demand one's ID Card vexatiously, but there do not seem to be any leaks about any such measures.
Why did the "journalists" not enquire if the wording of this offence will be drawn up in the usual Home Office "infinite powers" style and will also therefore threaten anybody who has been foolish enough to purchase a counterfeit ticket to a sporting or music event or for travel purposes, with 10 years in jail, after all, these are increasingly also temporary "identity documents" ?
When due to equipment failures (e.g. fingerprint scanners which have not been cleaned properly after scanning more than a few dozen people) one or both of your Biometric Identifiers fail to be authenticated properly, will you be treated as a serious criminal facing 10 years in jail ?
Will the wording also be broad enough to use the word "document" to cover copyright infringing music or video files etc ?
How about possession of a forged (spam) email document ?
Will "possession of countefeiting equipment" become yet another case of the Home Office failing to distinguish between "dual use" equipment such as computers or printers or smart card readers, like they did with the Mobile Telephones (Re-programming) Act 2002 ?
Where is the evidence for the often parrotted claim that "identity fraud costs the UK economy ?1.3 billion per year" ? The figures for credit card fraud are much lower than this around ?250 million a year for "customer not present" fraud, but that is not really Identity Fraud as such. The figures for Identity Theft based benefits fraud are even lower 9most of such fraud is due to people making false claims about their entitlements e.g. the cost of housing or an alleged medical condition, by people who do not hide their identity)
Do the journalists who are reporting this story have a pact with the Home Office spin doctors to merely parrot leaks about forthcoming legislation which should be first revealed to Parliament, on condition that they do not actually analyse or think through the implications of even the few details which they have been given a privilged sneak preview of ?