Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/09/idcard_support/

ID card support hits bottom under Brown

Still more popular than Gordo though

By Joe Fay

Posted in Security, 9th October 2009 11:34 GMT

Support for the government's ID card scheme has slumped to its lowest level yet, according to research by NO2ID.

The research, carried out by ICM research, showed that 60 per cent of the UK population think that ID cards are a "bad idea" with 38 per cent saying they are a good idea. The national identity database - which will underpin the scheme - is opposed by a two to one majority.

When the same question was first asked by NO2ID back in 2005, 55 per cent thought it was a good idea, with 43 per cent thinking it was a bad idea.

Of course, Gordon Brown could only wish to have contained his ratings slide to the same degree.

Nevertheless, NO2ID is once again asking why the government insists on claiming the population is right behind the plan.

"Ministers have always claimed overwhelming support, but that is the opposite of the truth," NO2ID coordinator Phil Booth said. "The more people know about the ID scheme the less they like it."

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith regularly told MPs that the government's own research showed that the UK population would cry tears of gratitude when the scheme was imposed on it.

But last month it emerged that long-awaited research aiming to show that much the yoof of the nation were eager to get their mitts on ID cards would be appearing probably never. It's worth remembering that young people are considered the long-term trojan horse for the ID scheme, since the MySpace generation is apparently oblivious to potential privacy threats imposed by technology. Perhaps the Home Office has discovered this is not quite the case after all.

Just to keep up the pressure, NO2ID activists will converge on Manchester this week. The city - still reeling from the Tory Party Conference - is being used as a test bed for the scheme, which NO2ID claims "will try to find volunteers to enrol early". The government is throwing half a million quid behind an advertising campaign to convince businesses that ID cards will benefit them by, er, helping them know who their employees and customers are.

The government has already picked on workers at Manchester airport as early users of ID cards - along with their counterparts at London City Airport. Initially, all airside staff were going to be forced to take up the cards. But following protests from pilots and unions the Home Office backtracked repeatedly, firstly saying only new workers would be made to enrol, and then saying the trial would be "voluntary" for all concerned.< ®/p>