Feeds

ID Cards to be compulsory in Britain

'Creeping compulsion' retained

Boost IT visibility and business value

The British Parliament has kicked out Lords amendments to the ID Card Bill that would have made their use voluntary.

The amendments were seen as a defeat for the government when they were made by the House of Lords on January 23. The Lords' attempt to make ID Cards voluntary was defeated by a vote of 310 to 279.

But the debate gave an opportunity for concerns to be aired regarding civil liberties, greedy IT suppliers, the inability of the civil service to implement computer systems that work, and the likelihood that the ID Card system would have gaping holes in it that would have serious implications for security and individual privacy.

The Lords had attempted to prevent the provision of cards being tied to the provision of passports and residency permits, a method opponents branded "creeping compulsion" and that shadow Home Secretary David Davis said would have the country wake up in 10 years time to discover it had "sleep walked into the surveillance state".

As the bill now stands, ID Cards will be compulsory, in spite of the government's manifesto commitment that cards would be introduced on a voluntary basis as people renewed their passports.

Cards will now be imposed on anyone renewing their passport - the voluntary element being that people could choose not to carry a passport.

The amendments would probably not have warded off compulsion indefinitely. The implementation of the scheme in any shape or form would create a momentum toward compulsion that would be difficult for future governments to resist, not the least in order to justify its estimated £6bn to £20bn costs.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke admitted the scheme was "designed to eventually become compulsory". A commitment had also been made to move to biometric identification in a UN security resolution.

As it is, Parliament will decide in 10 years whether to enforce an overt compulsion on British citizen's to carry ID Cards.

Until then, Clarke said, it would not be possible to exploit some of intended uses of ID Cards, such as securing the use of public services.

Nevertheless, it was noted that as 85 per cent of the population carry passports, it is likely that in 10 years a majority would have had to renew and would therefore be carrying ID Cards anyway.

The bill will go back to the House of Lords where further amendments may be made. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?
EU reckons we've one foot out the door anyway
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law
Welcome in a New Era ... of copyright litigation
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.