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Public says no to ID cards, No2ID says 'starve the beast!'

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No2ID has launched a new campaign of civil disobedience* against ID cards, as a new poll shows that for the first time, opponents of the cards outnumber supporters. The poll - carried out by YouGov for the Daily Telegraph, shows 48 per cent against versus 43 per cent for.

The poll turnaround bears out a long-standing prediction by Simon Davies of Privacy International, who for some years has insisted that UK public opinion on ID cards would follow the same pattern as was the case in Australia. There, early support turned into hostility as the public learned more and more about the cards. Here, a 2003 YouGov poll showed 78 per cent for and 15 per cent against, with this falling to 45 per cent pro and 42 per cent against shortly after the July 2005 bombings. Subsequent movement likely has something to do with the Government's less-than-glorious recent record of protecting ID data, and as there seems a never-ending supply of bad news in that area, the numbers can surely only get worse for the Government.

The latest No2ID pledge takes the form of a fetching certificate, forming the basis of a mass campaign to refuse to register, provide personal details or fingerprints, apply for any document or service linked to the ID Register, or co-operate with any Identity and Passport Service interview.

The intention, No2ID general secretary Guy Herbert explains, is to encourage people to resist the Home Office's plans to make most of the population "volunteer" for ID cards "before it round-up and force-fingerprints a few pariahs." The Government intends to designate official documents one by one, so that in order to get one you will need to "volunteer" for an ID card before they actually become compulsory. "The scheme is a vampire," says Herbert. "It has no life of its own, and thrives only if it feeds."

It can therefore be fought, he reasons, if enough people refuse to co-operate. Then, "the beast will either starve or show its fangs."

* Our use of the term civil disobedience here is not strictly accurate. Well OK, not even slightly accurate. The course No2ID is actually supporting is, in its own words, "a new form of non-violent direct action: pre-emptive resistance." But catch a journalist putting that mouthful in the first sentence?

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