Friday, November 10, 2006

Why Identity Cards Are Wrong

Longrider (which I found via Devil's Kitchen) has a superb fisking of Tony Blair's article promoting Identity Cards. This is the key passage. Words I wish I had written.

Let me make this clear; my identity is just that, mine. It is not yours, it is not the state’s, it is mine and mine alone. It is up to me to decide who will be privy to information about that identity. I will not, absolutely not, be fingerprinted like a criminal in order to satisfy your obsessive control freakery. This is not negotiable……We are opposed because they will make minimal or no contribution to the prevention of terrorism, illegal immigration or whatever the problem du jour is, while causing maximum inconvenience and invasion of privacy for the law abiding citizen. They will reverse the relationship between you, the representative of the state (servant) and us, the electorate (master). I recommend that you remind yourself of this principle. I do not intend to serve you or prove to you who I am, because it is none of your business.


Anonymous said...

That quotation seems to be doing the rounds...

Clearly I hit a note.

Iain Dale said...

You did indeed. I read it out on 18DoughtySTreet last night.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! That is absolutely the point. The State is the servant of the Citizen.

We elect, we do not submit. We are not slaves.

The disgusting arrogance and stupidity of this government has led to almost total alienation of the electorate.

'Inclusion' and 'Security' - what are they? In reality it is 'Control'.

'Anyone who is innocent has nothing to fear'. Really? Prove it! Why should we believe that any more than we believe all of the other asinine, mindless slogans routinely mouthed by these prurient control freaks.

This daily outrageous corruption of language is but one example of the habitual mendacity of these dishonorable scum.

No doubt Blair is proud of this 'Legacy', but he and his ilk will never regain the trust of the British people.

Anonymous said...

Take your point, but the scandal of the DNA database and loading of all health records onto a central IT system is just as bad, and it is happening now.

Anonymous said...

A government, any government, will not have to make ID cards compulsory because they will become a ubiquitous totem of identity for commercial transactions and any interaction with the civil service.

In the same way, you cannot now get on a domestic airline without photo ID, you will need it in a pub, to buy cigarettes, to get dental treatment, to gain employment...etc ....etc..

It is very Patrick McGoohan to claim that you are a free man, but Tescos already know how much toothpaste you consumed this year and whether you have a preference for free-range chicken. Your phone company knows where you have been, every minute of every day and your computer knows what you have been looking at, even if it is only for research purposes.

There are pragmatic realities. Any adherence to a notion of private rights is sentimental and ironic.

Anonymous said...

Does longrider object to passports as well?

Anonymous said...

I thought that the Blair thing on identity cards was one of the single most mendacious statements from any politician I can remember for a long time . He constantly implied that immigration was a problem for which ID cards were urgently needed . In other words he was stirring racial fear in an oblique and sickly sanctimonious way that was the textual equivalent of an icing sugar covered turd. Immigration chaos has been caused by the shambolic execution of the bad policy for which his government is responsible . Similarly , crime and anti social behaviour , caused by deluded Liberalism in the judiciary and inactivity on badly need police reform , has nothing to do with the absence of ID cards . As for terrorism it has become the Braun Haus Fire emergency for every acquisitive little Bureaucrat from Ian Blair top the Spy Woman . We do not , I repeat NOT curtail our freedoms out of a hysterical fear on a few mad terrorists .
The single thing that impressed me was that the cost was mostly incurred by the introduction of bio metric passports . I discovered the next day that this was an outright lie and the computer systems for tacking us all were the main expense , Entirely unrelated. Lies lies and more lies.

Other s have mentioned it but I cannot resist . He raised the issue of freedom “The Issue !!!!”. What next the issue of whether abundant air might be helpful for breathing. It is not an issue Blair you deluded … oh for the C word.

I belive there is no reason for doing this beyond an instinct to control and a wish to be the busy busy busy little pest he has become in his snippy dotage .
Away with you and give us Brown nose . I have high hops that his brief reign will be , if possible , even worse.

Crumbs that felt good . I feel alittle faint now . A lie down perhaps

Anonymous said...

As someone has said before, ID cards are Blair's Poll Tax.

Surely there are going to be so many refuseniks on ID cards that the whole concept will fall apart as soon as it is launched?

Anonymous said...

Is that Tim Montgomerie I spy propping up the Blair fiction? Well well , fancy , would you ?Arise Sir Tim?

ACHILLES - No his poll tax will be the introduction of the new local tax on house values.Prepare to be outraged

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Wouldn't it be something, if we could use that quotation as the template for a letter to constituency MPs or Blair himself, to be mailed en masse (or faxed, even, via FaxYourMP) by the thousands of opponents of this vile scheme.

I appreciate that it would simply be a symbolic gesture, but if it's one extra reminder of who they are to us and what it is that we feel should be represented, I'd be happy to take a couple of minutes to do so.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Tim Montgomerie- I suspect that Longrider does not necessarily have an objection to something he has control over.

Anonymous said...

This governmentis simultaneously authoritarian, expensive and incompetent. It has eroded our civil liberties like no previous peacetime government in our history, has raised taxes by 4-5% of GDP and has presided over a QUADRUPLING of violent assaults and has let many town centres become no-go areas for anyone over 30 on Friday and Saturday nights. It cocks up, and then tells us it needs the personal information of law-abiding citizens to fix the problems it is responsible for. And the media haven't seen through this shambles yet. Why is this freak show still around?

Anonymous said...

By way of a contrast to the tainting slither of Blair . I have a small story. Sentimental I know but something that just happened:

Getting of the tube I bought a poppy and while I was there as little boy ran over , from his mother and asked
“Why is everyone wearing them then ? “ The smily lady on duty said ” To remember the soldiers that died for us and help the ones that didn’t.” He said “That’s so sad “ and the woman replied“ Yes but it makes you proud to “. Now he knows .A small act of a nation remembering.
I thought of this driving home and WF Deede`s reminder that Earl Haig was hero to his men and devoted his life to their welfare after the war.
Now you won’t find that version of Haig on the BBC will you .

Blair has no right to this country I hope he buggers of and does lectures abroad . Its all he really cares about .

( I `m going to regret this aren`t I)

Anonymous said...

"Good rants" to all! Excellent that so many of us - and I'm sure we're representative of the thoughts and attitudes of millions of our fellow citizens - have got the number of this socialist gig.

Achilles: "As someone has said before, ID cards are Blair's Poll Tax."

No. The Poll Tax was sensible and democratic. It would have contributed to the wellbeing of a democratic society. ID cards are sinister - and they are being proposed by very sinister people. The same sinister people who disarmed the British public in the wake of one single tragic incident - Dunblane.

Now disarmed and helpless to defend themselves, the British are being directed to turn to the kindly state, which will lovingly protect us all ... but first of all - it is only reasonable, after all - it has to be sure who we are ...

Longrider's sentence: "My identity is just that, mine. It is not the state's, it is mine and mine alone. It is up to me to decide who will be privy to information about that identity" is heroic.

(And how tragic that the British should be driven to be heroic against their own government.)

Anonymous said...

I dislike Blair and New Labour with some intensity but I still cannot see that ID cards represent an erosion of liberty for, or give the state greater control, over the honest citizen.
I want illegal immigrants found and dealt with, fraudulent social security claims reduced, positive identity checks of non insured or untested drivers and less identity theft and consequent fraud. All these things cost me money as an honest tax payer.
I haven't seen a cogent argument to show that ID cards cannot help with these things, and as for the state as servant and citizen as master; when was it ever thus in reality?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right. This whole ID thing is just a fascist wheeze to keep the working class under nulab control.

Anonymous said...

Sehr geEhrter Iain

Until now, thank God, the arrest in Inglaterra has been a largely unDeveloped Art-form

If you are a Tax Inspector wanting to arrest someone, Identity Cards can seem intellectually very attractive und convenient

However :

Identity Cards take on an entirely different complexion, if you are the Individual who is likely to face arrest

.... like a Christian who says "I believe in Christianity" or "I do not believe in Islam" --- thereby inciting religious hatred on the part of Muslim extremists

... either remark would have been a Criminal Offence, if NeoLabour's ill-considered & badly drafted "Anti-Religious Hatred" proposals had not been rejected by Parliament

Your obedient servant etc

G Eagle

Anonymous said...

I might feel differently about the ID card scheme if I could see what is on the database.

If it was going to be possible to walk into a police station, plug in my ID card, type in my password and read what they have on me and who else has looked at it and when.

Anonymous said...

anyone know if no2id's 'renew for freedom' initiative is still running ? or did the opportunity to renew a passport [even if the old one hadn't run out] without having to go on an early id type database run out in the summer ?

Anonymous said...

anyone know if no2id's 'renew for freedom' initiative is still running ? or did the opportunity to renew a passport [even if the old one hadn't run out] without having to go on an early id type database run out in the summer ?

Pogo said...

I believe that the proposed ID card will carry an "RF enabled" chip - ie one that can be read at a distance of several metres. I read a comment from a security guru chappie that this would allow terrorists to be more selective in their operations by building bombs that are able to interrogate the chip on passing ID cards and only detonate if one of their intended targets comes within range. It's not exactly "rocket science" to do it either...

Now.. What was Gordon Brown's ID number again? :-)

Machiavelli's Understudy said...


Have you seen a cogent argument supporting the notion that ID cards and the monolithic database can help against all those nasty, life-of-the-nation-threatening elements?

I'd be interested, if there were any.

Anonymous said...

Thank god that Longrider et al are free to speak so eloquently. What does it take to get a referendum on the subject or a general election round here? How many more freedoms must we lose before a truly representative government drains the NuLab swamp to regain the solid ground?

Anonymous said...

The reason Bliar & Labour want to introdice "ID Cards?", terorism right?, Illegal Immigration?.

Nah, its cos their EU masters told them to!


Maybe it's the government that has something to hide? Mr Blair keeps quiet that the government agreed to EU plans for ID cards (a.k.a. 'smart cards' or 'entitlement cards') in 2000 - a year before 'terrorism' became the convenient excuse.

The government then ran three expensive public consultations after '9/11' to whitewash this decision- and rigged the results of one consultation to claim that the public was in favour by 2:1 !!

Anonymous said...

anonymous 1:50 pm - Very interesting.

As King Bongo said, Tesco's knows what brand of toothpaste you buy and how often because you have chosen to let them know in return for the benefits in accruing points. Your choice. I do not have "loyalty" cards myself, and wouldn't.

But it's a free choice and Tesco's accumulates this information for commercial purposes, to help it provide ever more saleable services. The Blair regime is doing it for control over the citizenry and to make people dependent on the government reading their card in order to access rights that are theirs by birth. The government has no business inserting itself between the citizenry and the rights of the citizen.

Anonymous said...

I made the point on mt blog earlier in the week about the stupid argument Labour give as to why ID cards are essential, the most silly of which is that other forms of ID are easilt forged.

So Labour's answer is in order to apply for an ID card, you must provide the very same "old ID" (driving licenses, bank statements, birth certificates, etc) that they claim is easily forged !

There are so many holes in Labours arguments for ID cards that you could use it as a net.

Anonymous said...

Machiavelli's Understudy said...
Have you seen a cogent argument supporting the notion that ID cards and the monolithic database can help against all those nasty, life-of-the-nation-threatening elements?
I'd be interested, if there were any.

11:57 AM

Well no, I haven't but as I said I haven't seen anything that makes me think they are a bad idea, or will curtail my supposed freedoms.
I'm white, elderly, middle class and generally law abiding. I can't see, as yet, that it will cause me, or mine, any problems.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Tony Blair's agenda on ID cards is about control, I do not dispute that.

What I was saying is that you are under a delusion if you deny that someone somewhere already has all the information on you that they need and it only takes a short walk towards a totalitarian society for the government of the day to access that. In most cases they already can.

Witness the outrageous behaviour of Google and Yahoo in China. You really are pissing in the wind.

If you think that stamping your foot and refusing to have an ID card is going to protect your privacy or personal hegemony you are still living in the 20th Century.

What there needs to be is a primary right to privacy, enshrined in law but it is meaningless if the police or whoever can examine your computer, collect your DNA, read your emails and determine your geographical position at anytime in the past.

What is there left to keep private? Please tell me, I really want to know.

Anonymous said...

In answer to the question; No, I don't have a problem with passports. These are travel documents, not identity cards. I choose to have one and choose, therefore to share the information necessary to apply for one (which isn't much, frankly). Also, significantly, it is not linked to a leaky, insecure government database.

I renewed early to avoid the biometric ones as long as is feasible - and, should they become designated documents I avoid, for as long as possible, enforced registration on the NIR. When that point comes, it's fight or flight.

Billy, if you really can't see the problems and you believe Bliar's lies about the benefits (illegal immigration has been subject to massive hyperbole) then you haven't been paying attention. When a middle aged, middle class white person is deemed a "non person" because the "computer says no" (and it will, sure as eggs is eggs) then all hell will be let loose. I will gain no satisfaction from pointing out that I told you so.

As for the matter of Tescos et al; I do not share any information with them. I do not have loyalty cards and do not fill in surveys. As a consequence, the information they have on me is limited. Also, what information private companies have is as a consequence of business entered into on a voluntary basis. And, importantly, it is not on an all encompassing, leaky government database. Tescos will never deem me a non person. Or, should they try, I can always take my business elsewhere. Significant difference.

Anonymous said...

Longrider said...
I I will gain no satisfaction from pointing out that I told you so.

I don't have a problem believing that.