By a judicious use of the Freedom of Information act, the Lib Dems recently elicited from the Home Office the information that around a third of the population are expected to refuse to show ID cards or accompanying biometric data when they start being introduced in the next few years. (BBC report here.)
In what would seem to be an attempt to play down this figure, a Home Office spokesman said the estimate is “incredibly out of date.”
The papers were apparently produced in 2004, so perhaps that’s fair enough. But I rather suspect that the 30% figure, far from dropping, will in fact be continuously rising. As word spreads, more and more people are waking up to the outrage that the government is working towards perpetrating on us – a card linked to a national database containing all manner of personal information about you, including your own historical information, with little to no safeguards about who can access it (the police? other government departments? commercial companies?), the restrictions on their access to it, and whether or not it will be linked with other databases containing even more of our private details.
The process of exposing the government’s spurious arguments to justify this massive intrusion into our private lives is well underway – whether they claim it’s to prevent terrorism (it won’t), stop identity fraud (it won’t), combat illegal immigration (it won’t), or make it easier to access government services (like we can’t already), the arguments are embarrassingly feeble and the more they’re proclaimed, the easier it becomes for everyone to notice that!
So by the time the first “voluntary” ID cards begin to be introduced (in 2008 according to the current schedule), don’t be surprised if a much larger proportion of the country than a mere third turn out to be determined not to go along with them.
(See the No2ID campaign for more information.)