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U turn on ID Cards

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Be wary of Johnson’s statement

Home Secretary Alan Johnson is apparently dropping the idea of compulsory ID Cards for British nationals in another move which ought to be seen as a “Labour cut”, a policy which is not financially sustainable under the current economic conditions, another major reason  for making his announcement is probably to head off BALPA who were starting to threaten strike action, but should we be taking his word that we will never be forced to carry an ID Card?

But Mr Johnson said the ID card scheme was still very much alive – despite Tory and Lib Dem calls to scrap it.

So for now, the scrapping of the compulsory element looks encouraging, especially for airside workers at British airports, but much of the future of the National ID Card scheme is wrapped up in the National ID Database, which is certainly not set to be scrapped. Legislation to be debated next week will make it an offence punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 not to inform the Government of a name or change of address as it appears on the register, the campaign group Say NO2ID added:

“It’s just part of the ongoing attempt by senior Home Office officials to fortify the scheme against cancellation and to bind the hands of a future government.”

What will bind their hands more is the attitude of the EU towards integrated cross border ID schemes as revealed in a security conference in Madrid October last year which was sponsored by a number of leading ICT companies.

Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media said just last September:

“By taking advantage of the development in national electronic ID systems, and promoting mutual recognition of electronic identities between member states, this project moves us a step closer to the seamless movement between EU countries that Europeans expect from a borderless single market.”

They were planning on using an interoperabilty system known as Stork, which is described as:

A large scale pilot in the ICT-PSP (ICT Policy Support Programme), under the CIP (Competitiveness and Innovation Programme), and co-funded by EU. It aims at implementing an EU wide interoperable system for recognition of eID and authentication that will enable businesses, citizens and government employees to use their national electronic identities in any Member State. It will also pilot transborder eGovernment identity services and learn from practice on how to roll out such services, and to experience what benefits and challenges an EU wide interoperability system for recognition of eID will bring.

So while Labour attempts to cut almost £20bn from it’s budget now, they know full well that the scheme is not dead, just that the emphasis and the battleground will shift away from our Parliament and into the realm of the EUSSR, where it will be paid for out of our contributions to the EU.

The Home Secretary added yesterday that he was an “instinctive” supporter of ID cards and that he wanted to “accelerate” their delivery, he also said that “I want the introduction of identity cards for all British citizens to be voluntary” and that British citizens would never be forced by this government to carry an ID Card. A very careful choice of words indeed Mr. Johnson, it’s easy for a Home Secreatry to state that he does not want something and that this government will not force such an issue, but what of those external influences, over which we have increasingly little control in our own Parliament?

One needs to be very wary of what this man is saying.

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Written by curly

July 1, 2009 at 9:40 am

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