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Public support for ID cards dips to 55 per cent

Home Office: 'Gov won't be able to access card data'

Update The latest Home Office poll on public attitudes to the planned National ID card indicates that support for the scheme has eroded slightly, with the proportion of those in favour down from 60 to 55 per cent.

The survey, carried out among 2,098 randomly selected Brits from 31 October to 4 November, showed opposition to the Card remaining steady. Seventeen per cent of respondents disagreed strongly with the plans and 9 per cent slightly, up from August by a single percentage point each.

The top reason given for disagreeing with the card stayed the same - that it would interfere with personal freedom. Other common objections were that the scheme was unnecessary, wouldn't work, and would be a waste of money.

Twenty-three per cent of those disagreeing also said that the government could not be trusted to keep personal data secure, up from 19 per cent in August. Before August's survey this concern wasn't cited often enough to figure in the results, reflecting the rash of data-loss scandals suffered this year.

According to the survey report, "there is still confusion and uncertainty, particularly regarding the belief that individuals will be required to carry their identity cards with them at all times". Some 69 per cent of respondents believed this to be true, but according to the Home Office pollsters "it is in fact false".

Another interesting remark was made in the report: "There were also a number of people who believed public and private sector organisations will be able to access their information (56%), but again this is a false statement."

One would have thought that some public-sector organisations - for instance the Immigration and Passport Service itself - would be able to access the information, but apparently not.

The Tories and the NO2ID anti-card group said the survey results showed the government was losing the argument.

"We are seeing the beginning of the end of ID cards," NO2ID's Phil Booth told the Telegraph.

Update

NO2ID also announced the results of their own poll, conducted by ICM in December. According to the campaign group support for ID cards is actually 48 per cent, not 55. NO2ID also says that Blighty is "2 to 1 against the database state":

Asked by ICM what they thought of 'storing information [on large computer systems] and sharing it between different parts of government', 65 per cent said they thought it was a bad idea, while just 31 per cent said it was a good idea.

"The scheme is politically doomed," added Booth.

The Home Office survey results can be read in full here (pdf). ®

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