Next Monday 20th December 2004 looks to be the date for the 2nd Reading of the Identity Cards Bill. This is the first proper chance that Members of Parliament will have to debate the full Bill.
The Tories seem to have come off the fence and are now collaborating with the New Labour Government to support the Bill "in principle".
Why they think that this will save them from an electoral defeat at the General Election is a mystery.
Surely they should be trying to show some "clear blue water" between themselves and the authoritarian Labour Government ? How can the Conservatives claim that they will cut the size and wastefulness of Government, by supporting the bureacratic nightmare and IT disaster that the particular Labour Government proposals for a compulsory
centralised biometric population register represent ?
We have been told that there are opponents of ID Cards in the Shadow Cabinet, but, presumably Shadow Home Secretary David Davies has not resigned over the issue yet, since he still has hopes of becoming Tory leader after Michael Howard.
Privacy International have a statement about the Tories support for ID Cards.
The ID Card scheme cannot possibly do what the Government claims it will in terms of terrorism, illegal immigration or reduction in crime - email us or comment here if you can describe exactly how any of these can be achieved with what the government is proposing, we really want to know and to be convinced by something more than genralised platitudes and "dodgy dossier" type statistics.
The Government has chosen the most complicated, expensive and intrusive possible option, with unproven technology to be deployed on an unprecedented scale.
The overhyped reliance on unproven biometric technology makes the proposed scheme useless for online identification either for e-government or e-commerce purposes unlike the schemes currently underway in say Belgium or Sweden e.g. how do you send your tax return to the inland Revenue online with your authenticated thumbprint in a way that they can trust that it is not a "replay attack" ?
The Government's record on delivering much less complicated IT projects, is so bad, that it verges on the criminal. There is no reason to suppose that they will not simply waste billions of pounds which could be far better spent elsewhere.
Please lobby your Members of Parliament before Monday, especially if you live in a marginal Labour or Conservative constituency, to oppose this Bill. Perhaps the marginal constituency MPs will be more sensitive to the growing public opposition and will put pressure on their out of touch party leaders to drop this scheme.
The sad fact is that most MPs, of all parties, will not have actually bothered to read the details of the Bill before they vote on it next Monday. Please point out some of the awful individual clauses to your MP, as well as expressing your opposition to the Bill on principle.
You can read the full text of the Identity Cards Bill and comment on each of its clauses on our parallel Identity Cards Bill blog
You can get support for your opposition to the Identity Cards Bill by joining the cross party umbrella NO2ID campaign