Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday 26 September 2008

Yesterday, Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith unveiled the controversial ID Card. In what is being seen as the softly, softly introduction of this grossly invasive piece of legislation, the BBC put a positive light on it interviewing gullible youngsters on the street who generally spoke in favour of them. The only voice of dissent was Phil Booth of NO2ID whose limited time span in the news piece only allowed commentary on the government’s appalling record of data loss, implying how that could impact on this scheme.

Non-EU foreign nationals will be carrying the cards from this November onwards, while staff in highly secure environments - like airports - will be required to carry them from next year, and applicants for new passports will require an ID card from 2011 onwards. Thankfully mine isn’t due for renewal until 2014 but who knows what might happen before then! Phil Booth of NO2ID has cited the mandatory need for an ID card for non-EU foreign nationals as starting at the easy end with a group of people who have most to lose if they don’t comply - either they have one or they’re out!

Airport workers revolt over next year’s proposed introduction of ID cards. Airport workers and the TUC are fiercely opposed to their members carrying ID cards telling government that they are being treated like guinea pigs in a scheme that so many are opposed to and has very doubtful, if not negative, benefits. The British Airline Pilots Association said that it would be prepared to mount a legal challenge on human and employment rights grounds if the government sought to make them compulsory for their members.

Meg Miller, a Labour under-secretary at the Home Office has suggested that people as young as 14 should get ID cards, two years younger than the current age limit. Miller was addressing a meeting of tobacconists and convenience store owners and stated that the government was keen to implement such a move as quickly as possible. “There isn’t a way to unpick this scheme, (once implemented) quite rightly because it is invaluable" she bragged. With the Tories’ current rhetoric of scrapping the ID card scheme (more of an election gimmick than reality, I suspect) Labour would be keen to have this scheme in place before the next general election.

Anger has arisen over the collection and storage of car journey data by civil liberties campaigners. Once collected the information would be held on a database for five years. Some 10 million journeys a day are being currently recorded using automatic number plate recognition (APNR), but plans are already under way to raise that figure to 50 million.

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