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Home Office makes nice cartoon ID card ad

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The Home Office is to spend over £500,000 this year on a marketing campaign for the identity card which features cartoon fingerprints.

A departmental spokesperson told GC News that it is planning a public information campaign to alert businesses on the need to prepare for the introduction of the card, which will initially be made available on a voluntary basis.

It will be focused primarily on the north-west of England, reflecting plans to make the card available to residents of Greater Manchester later this year, with some nationwide marketing.

The campaign, one advert for which features a cartoon fingerprint unveiling the identity card to an admiring audience of other fingerprints, is expected to cost £544,000 between September and December.

"This will help businesses with 'know your employee' and 'know your customer' checks," the spokesperson said. "The National Identity Card may be presented to businesses across the country any time after launch, as proof of identity. Businesses need to ensure that their staff are ready to recognise the National Identity Card, and know how to check the security features."

The plan has attracted fresh criticism from campaigners against the card. Phil Booth, national coordinator of NO2ID, said: "This latest, desperate attempt to market the ID scheme is patronising hype. Having failed to come up with any convincing benefits, officials are set to waste millions shoving ID cards down the throats of shops, of licensees, and of young people who already have alternatives.

"The IPS is treating the public and businesses like children if it thinks giving fingerprints smiles will make us all happy to be fingerprinted.

"Let us be clear: anyone signing up for a Home Office identity card has agreed to report to an official database for life, and lost control of their own identity information for ever. It is nothing to smile about."

This article was originally published at Kable.

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

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