NO2ID demonstration Wednesday 17th November 2004, Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London.
A small demonstration was organised by the NO2ID umbrella campaign, which is in opposition to the Government's plans for a particularly intrusive, impractical and expensive Compulsory Biometric Centralised Database based National Identity Register and ID Card.
As can be seen from the photos below of press and tv journalists, NO2ID succeeded very well in grabbing the news agenda away from the official Home Office press releases and spin, even on what turned out to be quite a busy news day. The demonstration shows that Government spin doctors cannot claim universal support for this scheme.
David Blunkett's "ludicrous" claims that the existing voluntary supermarket Loyalty Cards such as a Nectar card are more of a threat to people's privacy than the Government's proposed compulsory national biometric system, were a surprise. Alienating the UK Retail Industry by casting aspersions on their integrity and their record on Data Protection, may help David Blunkett and Tony Blair's ID Card policy to rebound on them and to "be remembered as one of the biggest political failures that Britain has ever produced"
The political kite flying about the possible expansion of the proposed role of ID Card Scheme Commissioner, into areas already regulated by the Data Protection Act, can be seen as a snub to the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, who was also a speaker at the very same IPPR conference.
The demonstration itself was very peaceful and friendly, even though the Police corralled the demonstrators behind token street barriers in a United States style "freedom of expression zone" out of earshot (e.g. "Resign !" or "Show us your ID Card !") of the visiting VIPs. Some of the Policemen took an interest in the arguements against ID cards and the National Identity Database, and even asked for, and were given leaflets and NO2ID badges. None of them could see how an ID card would be of any use in determining if, say, Osama bin Laden was in the country or not, and they feared that it would mean even more form filling and bureacracy.
At least one distinguished looking visitor to the Royal Society came over and promised that both he and his wife's would support the camapign by signing the NO2ID online petition which closes tommorrow Friday 19th November 2004.Some amateur photos of the press and media attention, whilst mock ID cards were burnt, and the arrival of David Blunkett: