The National Identity Scheme is the new plan by the Government to tie in passports and compulsory identity cards with the National Identity Register, a massive database holding information on your total life history. This database will be accessible by hundreds of thousands of civil servants, and sold to "selected commercial partners" of the Government. It only takes one of these employees to sell on your details for 50 quid a head for you to be the victim of identity theft, exactly the crime from which the Government claim to be protecting you!
First time applicants will soon be required to attend Authentication by Interview to receive their passport, and renewals will soon follow. This interview drags out passport application from two to six weeks, and requires a visit to one of 69 nationwide interrogation centres, where the Identity & Passport Service will quiz you against 170 pieces of information they hold on you, taken from the very databases they have admitted are too flawed to be used for identification. They have not stated what will happen if their data doesn't match your answers because it is inaccurate, but you may want to consider cancellation insurance on your next trip abroad. The information taken from you at this interview will be placed on the National Identity Register whether or not you choose to carry an identity card (at least, while you have a choice).
The National Identity Scheme won't protect us from the threat of terrorism - Charles Clarke admitted this after the July 7th bombings. It won't protect us from credit card fraud, which usually takes place over the phone or Internet when the biometrics of a National Identity Card can't be checked. It will cost billions of pounds of our taxpayer's money. And it will make the individual dependent on the Identity & Passport Service for the basics of our existence such as accessing health or banking services or gaining employment. Already the Government are introducing laws which give them the power to confiscate Identity Cards for various offences, on top of the tens of thousands who will be inconvenienced through simple clerical error or technical failure with the most complicated Government computer system ever designed.
With every progress report the Government passes, the National Identity Scheme is shown to be even more of a shambles, an expensive white elephant which costs the earth and fixes nothing. New stories come out all the time about the limitations of biometric technology on a nationwide scale, and the risks for mistaken identity and false arrest that come with them. Yet most people on the street have only heard Government spin and propaganda on the issue. They hear that other countries have identity cards, without hearing about the unprecedented scale and complexity of our database. It's time to take the truth about the National Identity Scheme to the streets of Manchester, to encourage everybody to say NO2ID.