Feeds

Scots and pilots brace against ID cards

'We will resist'

High performance access to file storage

The Home Office is seeking parliamentary approval to extend the scope of identity cards for non-European nationals, while opposition to the scheme increases.

The UK Border Agency said on 13 February 2009 that Parliament will vote on secondary legislation which would mean that many foreign nationals who seek temporary leave to remain in the UK are issued with identity cards. The move comes as the Scottish Government restated its opposition, and pilots, who will be among the first to be forced to apply for the card, said they will refuse to cooperate.

Responding to a consultation document about the changes, Scotland's minister for community safety, Fergus Ewing, restated the Scottish government's "complete opposition" to the National Identity Scheme. The Scottish Parliament recently voted in favour of a motion calling for the Westminster government to cancel the scheme.

In a letter to Home Office minister Meg Hillier on 12 February 2008 Ewing said: "Given the current financial climate, the UK government should have better uses for the vast sums of money being spent on this scheme, which presents an unacceptable threat to citizens' privacy and civil liberties, with little tangible evidence to suggest it will do anything to safeguard against crime and terrorism."

Ewing highlighted the overall costs of this scheme, which could be £4.8bn, or £5.11bn if costs associated with foreign nationals are included, and called for the money the money to be spent on nurses, police officers or more schools and hospitals.

"The costs of this scheme are not only to be borne indirectly by the tax payer," he said. "All citizens, including Scots, will be expected to fork out for a card and to enrol on the national identity register when this becomes compulsory in 2012.

"The initial application fee has been fixed at £30 and that is supposedly a cut price offer to entice citizens to get one before they become compulsory. How much they will cost from 2012 is anyone's guess.

Meanwhile, the British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) has written to the management of Manchester and London City airports, the first two locations selected by the government to introduce the identity card to airside workers, warning that pilots would not cooperate with the introduction of the card.

Balpa's letter says that forcing pilots to have ID cards is "nothing but coercion. Promises that ID cards would be voluntary have been broken."

"What happens when the first airport worker refuses to register for an ID card?" Balpa asks. "Our understanding from the draft regulations is... that the individual will be out of a job. This could be an individual who has served his or her country as a service pilot being told they are not now trusted. This is both unacceptable and demeaning and we will resist."

The government's secondary legislation, if passed, will mean that from 31 March 2009 those who will be required to supply their fingerprints and apply for a card will include postgraduate doctors and dentists, academic visitors who are staying in the country for more than six months, people seeking private medical treatment, domestic workers and retired people who support themselves financially, plus their spouses and children.

In addition, people who apply to transfer their existing conditions will also receive an identity card instead of a stamp in their passport. Foreign nationals seeking indefinite leave to remain will be unaffected by the changes.

The UK Border Agency said that it has made three successful prosecutions for leave to remain by deception as a result of the cards, which were introduced in November last year. Several other cases are under investigation "where we expect similar results", said the agency. "These successes demonstrate the effectiveness of biometric checks in tackling immigration abuses and reducing illegal working."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.