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UK's Blair Dismisses Online Anti ID-Card Petition

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-is-an-answer-too dept.

Privacy 377

An anonymous reader writes "Prime Minister Tony Blair has responded personally via email to 28,000 online petitioners opposing the UK's planned identity card scheme, and has closed the online petition. The email reads: 'We live in a world in which people, money and information are more mobile than ever before. Terrorists and international criminal gangs increasingly exploit this to move undetected across borders and to disappear within countries. Terrorists routinely use multiple identities — up to 50 at a time... ID cards which contain biometric recognition details and which are linked to a National Identity Register will make this much more difficult.'"

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Better link (4, Informative)

baadger (764884) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079056)

Link to the actual petition -> here [pm.gov.uk]

Re:Better link (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079066)

Anyone got the link to the response?

Re:Better link (5, Informative)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079246)

E-petition: Response from the Prime Minister

The e-petition to "scrap the proposed introduction of ID cards" has now closed. The petition stated that "The introduction of ID cards will not prevent terrorism or crime, as is claimed. It will be yet another indirect tax on all law-abiding citizens of the UK". This is a response from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

The petition calling for the Government to abandon plans for a National ID Scheme attracted almost 28,000 signatures - one of the largest responses since this e-petition service was set up. So I thought I would reply personally to those who signed up, to explain why the Government believes National ID cards, and the National Identity Register needed to make them effective, will help make Britain a safer place.

The petition disputes the idea that ID cards will help reduce crime or terrorism. While I certainly accept that ID cards will not prevent all terrorist outrages or crime, I believe they will make an important contribution to making our borders more secure, countering fraud, and tackling international crime and terrorism. More importantly, this is also what our security services - who have the task of protecting this country - believe.

So I would like to explain why I think it would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to use biometrics such as fingerprints to secure our identities. I would also like to discuss some of the claims about costs - particularly the way the cost of an ID card is often inflated by including in estimates the cost of a biometric passport which, it seems certain, all those who want to travel abroad will soon need.

In contrast to these exaggerated figures, the real benefits for our country and its citizens from ID cards and the National Identity Register, which will contain less information on individuals than the data collected by the average store card, should be delivered for a cost of around £3 a year over its ten-year life.

But first, it's important to set out why we need to do more to secure our identities and how I believe ID cards will help. We live in a world in which people, money and information are more mobile than ever before. Terrorists and international criminal gangs increasingly exploit this to move undetected across borders and to disappear within countries. Terrorists routinely use multiple identities - up to 50 at a time. Indeed this is an essential part of the way they operate and is specifically taught at Al-Qaeda training camps. One in four criminals also uses a false identity. ID cards which contain biometric recognition details and which are linked to a National Identity Register will make this much more difficult.

Secure identities will also help us counter the fast-growing problem of identity fraud. This already costs £1.7 billion annually. There is no doubt that building yourself a new and false identity is all too easy at the moment. Forging an ID card and matching biometric record will be much harder.

I also believe that the National Identity Register will help police bring those guilty of serious crimes to justice. They will be able, for example, to compare the fingerprints found at the scene of some 900,000 unsolved crimes against the information held on the register. Another benefit from biometric technology will be to improve the flow of information between countries on the identity of offenders.

The National Identity Register will also help improve protection for the vulnerable, enabling more effective and quicker checks on those seeking to work, for example, with children. It should make it much more difficult, as has happened tragically in the past, for people to slip through the net.

Proper identity management and ID cards also have an important role to play in preventing illegal immigration and illegal working. The effectiveness on the new biometric technology is, in fact, already being seen. In trials using this technology on visa applications at just nine overseas posts, our officials have already uncovered 1,400 people trying illegally to get back into the UK.

Nor is Britain alone in believing that biometrics offer a massive opportunity to secure our identities. Firms across the world are already using fingerprint or iris recognition for their staff. France, Italy and Spain are among other European countries already planning to add biometrics to their ID cards. Over 50 countries across the world are developing biometric passports, and all EU countries are proposing to include fingerprint biometrics on their passports. The introduction in 2006 of British e-passports incorporating facial image biometrics has meant that British passport holders can continue to visit the United States without a visa. What the National Identity Scheme does is take this opportunity to ensure we maximise the benefits to the UK.

These then are the ways I believe ID cards can help cut crime and terrorism. I recognise that these arguments will not convince those who oppose a National Identity Scheme on civil liberty grounds. They will, I hope, be reassured by the strict safeguards now in place on the data held on the register and the right for each individual to check it. But I hope it might make those who believe ID cards will be ineffective reconsider their opposition.

If national ID cards do help us counter crime and terrorism, it is, of course, the law-abiding majority who will benefit and whose own liberties will be protected. This helps explain why, according to the recent authoritative Social Attitudes survey, the majority of people favour compulsory ID cards.

I am also convinced that there will also be other positive benefits. A national ID card system, for example, will prevent the need, as now, to take a whole range of documents to establish our identity. Over time, they will also help improve access to services.

The petition also talks about cost. It is true that individuals will have to pay a fee to meet the cost of their ID card in the same way, for example, as they now do for their passports. But I simply don't recognise most claims of the cost of ID cards. In many cases, these estimates deliberately exaggerate the cost of ID cards by adding in the cost of biometric passports. This is both unfair and inaccurate.

As I have said, it is clear that if we want to travel abroad, we will soon have no choice but to have a biometric passport. We estimate that the cost of biometric passports will account for 70% of the cost of the combined passports/id cards. The additional cost of the ID cards is expected to be less than £30 or £3 a year for their 10-year lifespan. Our aim is to ensure we also make the most of the benefits these biometric advances bring within our borders and in our everyday lives.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Blair
Useful links

10 Downing Street home page
http://www.pm.gov.uk/ [pm.gov.uk]

James Hall, the official in charge of delivering the ID card scheme, will be answering questions on line on 5th March. You can put your question to him here http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page10969.asp [pm.gov.uk]

To see his last web chat in November 2006, see: http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page10364.asp [pm.gov.uk]

Identity and Passport Service
http://www.ips.gov.uk/ [ips.gov.uk]

Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee
http://www.identity-theft.org.uk/ [identity-theft.org.uk]

no choice ?!? (1)

prettything (965473) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079600)

"it is clear that if we want to travel abroad, we will soon have no choice but to have a biometric passport."

what dos that mean? who told him that? its not clear at all! ... wtf is kool-aid?

bring back the ponies!

Re:Better link (4, Funny)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079090)

27,964 signatures... naaah, we know better right Blair? They're really 559 new and improved terrorists with "up to 50 identities" each!

Re:Better link (1)

bad_fx (493443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079154)

Ah thanks! Anybody see any details of when the petition was created? I'm wondering how long it took to get those signatures. Ff you view all petitions and sort by start date.. despite not really showing any start date... this one is still very close to the bottom. So I think it's been going for quite a while. Perhaps partly killed by apathy. *sigh*

Monkey Bush, Monkey Blair. They just don't get it. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079360)

No one ever questioned if this could be useful for the governments.
Just like no one ever questioned if DNA registers could at least theoretically be useful.
This is not what the petition is about. It's about the fact that all registers can and will be mis-used "for the better".

And that's an awful lot of lets-be-afraid-of-terrorists mumbo-jumbo. I'd say, let's understand what makes terrorists do what they do. Let's analyze and talk about that. Perhaps is it linked with the gigantic abuse of poor people in poor countries led by todays imperialistic crusades.

No big surprise (1, Troll)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079068)

Tony Blair is a spineless shit of a man who does what he's told by Bush. Fuck them both.

TWW

Re:No big surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079338)

Have the tubgirl video them 69ing while Goatse gives them anal stretching lessons.

Re:No big surprise (0, Troll)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079362)

You know, this blanket animosity towards our world leader's grows tiresome to read, and it permeates the air with it's stale decay for effect. You and others should know that some of us American servicemen would gladly die for the UK (in any war or for any pretext) after Blair's strong support for us after 9/11 and the fight on terrorism. I am just one of them; although a retired Vet now I would gladly grab my duffle bag and cross the pond if Blair so beckoned. Sure, our leaders make mistakes, as I strongly believe Blair is here by supporting this ID system. My own president is accountable for many as well, but I couldn't walk a yard in either man's shoes even if I tried. Other men besieged with such burdens and pressing matters would buckle to their knees under such responsibilities. We are fortunate to have both men at such times, for all their failings. How about we start channeling more of this vigor into the democratic process instead; like this online petition for one. We aren't entirely helpless as citizens either. Some of us actually vote. For as much as I disagree with Cindy Sheehan in her protests, I admire her for her resolve and action. Have you or anyone like you even picked up a phone to dial a congressman or representative from your country? Dare I say her efforts alone are greater than the sum of all bloggers and forum trawlers I frequent on the subject? Yes, I do.

Re:No big surprise (0)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079410)

But if one of your servicemen commits a crime of negligence in war the US government won't be so helping and will withhold footage and deny it even exists [bbc.co.uk] instead.

The US troops may be all willing to go to war to help friendly countries like the UK, but your governments actions say otherwise unless it's in their interests.

Is this a democracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079418)

"You and others should know that some of us American servicemen would gladly die for the UK"

What if the enemy was the British people and the 'good' guys were Bush and Blair, would you fight, kill and die for Blair again ordinary brits then?

GP's post was an accurate statement of how many of us feel about Blair right now, it happens to be the majority view of Britain. It may be harsh the way he put it, but its accurate.

Blair will shortly resign and so is no longer bound by democracy, so what the British people want gets placed second to what Blair wants. You should recall it was the British *people* who were on your side over 911, and freedom and democracy is what you are fighting for. Not the power crazed little shit in number 10.

Re:Is this a democracy? (2, Insightful)

ocean_soul (1019086) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079584)

No it's not. "Democracy" by definotion means the people ('demos' in greek) rule ('kratos'). Now "the people" (at least those who signed the petition, lets assume they are representative) said no to the new ID cards yet the real ruler ignored them. I wonder what use this petitions have? After all the government can just neglect those thy don't like. And then they can chose to give in to some petitions and say "look we followed the will of the people in this and this case, aren't we a democratic government?". Nice propaganda...

Re:No big surprise (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079460)

>You know, this blanket animosity towards our world leader's grows tiresome to read
Agreed. It would be so much better if they pulled their act together and acted with integrity. >Some of us actually vote
Indeed. Alas, many are a tad apathetic as you say and Blair got voted in by a very small % of the population and most of them are regretting it now anyway.The fact that there was no sensible opposition at the time of the elections helped him greatly.

Re:No big surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079532)

It's always good to see complacent cannon fodder. It's easier to run the empire if the serfs don't think about their orders. Never question your elected representatives. Even the alcoholic ones, the cocaine-users, or ones in the pocket of the oil industry. Or the ones who let their vice-president command that no intercepts be performed of aircraft flying towards the twin towers, while they stared frozen-faced at a child's storybook, doing nothing while the plan unfolded. Those are shoes I would not choose to walk in, out of contempt. Fortunate? I would use another word for miserable failure. Most likely 'traitor'.

As for 'Poodle' Blair, under his reprehensible watch the UK has become a model of 1984. Nice going, sheep.

democracy in action (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079088)

Who says democracy in the UK is dead?

Re:democracy in action (2, Interesting)

UnxMully (805504) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079324)

Ignoring a petition from 27thousand out of a population of 60million ish is hardly a big deal IMHO and says more about how little people understand the issue and care either way than it does about democracy in action.

If one were to look for a better example of democracy being stifled, it was the "sinister" road tolls petition - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/traveltax/ [pm.gov.uk] with a total of 1.6 million people signed up. The original government response was more or less "who cares how many people sign it, it's still not going to make a difference to policy. I wonder how that one will end.

So my question is, why would you put this site up for people to raise petitions, if you don't plan to pay any attention to the petitions people put on it?

Re:democracy in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079488)

I can tell you how it will end. Tony will dismiss everyone's objections to it and inform us why he is right and everyone else is wrong. The same answer as all the petitions I have signed on the system. The Tories will be voted in at the next election and quickly abandon everyone one of Labour's wacky schemes and come up with a load of their own for us to moan about.

The on-line petition system requires your name and address to 'sign'. So the government now knows the names and addresses of all the potential trouble makers who object to their policies. What a handy way to subvert the anonymous nature of voting. Surely only a terrorist would object to laws that would make a terrorists life more difficult?

Re:democracy in action (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079624)

I wonder how that one will end.

Exactly the same as the ID card petition - an email from Blair and the government carries on regardless. They've already announced that's what they're going to do, before the petition has even closed.

So my question is, why would you put this site up for people to raise petitions, if you don't plan to pay any attention to the petitions people put on it?

Because politicians want to be seen "doing something". One of those things they want to be seen doing something is "listening to the people" (not necessarily actually listening to the people, only being seen to be listening). Another thing they want to be seen doing is "being at the forefront of the digital revolution" (even if their understanding of the digital revolution is that the internet is not a dump truck). Some bright spark came up with the idea of combing these two, especially as there was already growing "online citizens movement" in the UK with sites like WriteToThem [writetothem.com] - they even got one of those digital activists to set up the petitions site. I don't think they realized what they were doing.

Downfall of Europe (-1, Flamebait)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079104)

Western Europeans have given away their liberty. They have continued to vote for welfare state measures and now they are getting the guaranteed result. When you hand the governent your money and tell them to run society for you, they do. Once you give away your rights it is exponentially harder to get them back.

Re:Downfall of Europe (4, Insightful)

thenerd (3254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079128)

Much like a European way of looking at the world doesn't adequately appreciate how the modern USA came into existence and operates now, your way of looking at Europe is coloured by where you come from and as a result isn't as valid as it could be. Europeans do not concentrate on 'freedom' as much which will be so contrary to your beliefs that you won't understand the ramifications, and you'll dismiss that way of thinking without giving it further thought.

Re:Downfall of Europe (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079150)

What does this have to do with the Welfare state? Aside from the fact that this government is probably the least pro-welfare Labour government ever, and possibly even less so than the last conservative government, the ID cards concept has been supported by some of the most right wing politicians in the country.

Re:Downfall of Europe (0)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079314)

I have been around for five decades now and it strikes me that "the government" have always wanted ID cards and "the opposition" have always objected.

Re:Downfall of Europe (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079212)

Bullshit. That hasn't to do anything with welfare but everything with the US-made terrorist scare.

The idea of welfare is that one gets ones rights back, namely the right to live even if every capitalist asshole out there denies you a job and then says you should die because you are job- and therefore worthless.

If it had anything to do with welfare he would say that he needs it so he can make sure that if anyone doesn't deserve welfare (namely, everybody who either works and therefore doesn't need it and everybody who doesn't work and therefore is too lazy to live) he doesn't receive it.

The idea of a national ID card, however, serves to control the populace by always knowing who is where, facilitating easier arrests of unwanted elements like protesters, liberals or pro-welfare people (and doesn't work at all against terrorists, because they tend to come from another country and thus are not in the national database - what is he going to do, shooting all tourists?).

Re:Downfall of Europe (1)

frogblast (916870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079216)

Europeans would say the same about you having given up the right to universal health care and education. And maybe we might comment on allowing gun fanatics to run your society. I'm not sure your 'freedom' is that intact anymore either... Its also worth pointing out that Tony Blair is practically a laughing stock in the UK now. he has little time left before he leaves, and trying to push any controversial legislation through would probably lead to a massive rebellion in his own party. Even his own cabinet ministers are no longer behind him.

Re:Downfall of Europe (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079242)

And yet Blair isn't letting that stop him from pushing this bill.

Re:Downfall of Europe (1)

mijkal (309880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079496)

I agree with you on universal health care and education, but guns? Guns are an important part of maintaining a balance of power between the government and the people in a free society. Stop treating gun-owning rights as if it were incompatible with a free society. It is not. [google.com] Governments get corrupt and have to be overthrown. "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." But sadly, this is not how it is in most of the world. So I ask you, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" -Patrick Henry. For many, it apparently is (see North Korea for a prime example of the world powers maintaining the status quo to avoid war; sometimes war is necessary and just. We have the power to stop this regime, but refuse. Which is the greater "evil" occurring here?). If you make guns illegal, only criminals will have guns! Just like drugs, et cetera ... People should be held accountable only for their actions, but merely owning a gun (and using it in defense or sport or overthrowing corrupt governments) or taking drugs should not be a crime and is not immoral.

Re:Downfall of Europe (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079582)

Guns are an important part of maintaining a balance of power between the government and the people in a free society.

Yes, nice ideal. But explain to me: just how does an untrained, most likely unorganised public armed with hand-guns, rifles, shot-guns, a few machine guns and some gangsta rappers take on a government with an army and air-force and tanks and warplanes and rocket-launchers?

Re:Downfall of Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079588)

The government has tanks. Guns aren't going to help. The only way to defeat the government is to get the tanks on your side. In which case the gun is going to be more of a hindrance. Being unarmed is a much better defence against a tank than a pop-gun. I've got a video from Tiananmen square to prove it.

Meanwhile, guns have not prevented the US government from sending people to prison without due process, didn't do anything about the McCarthy witch hunts, and haven't prevented local government from enacting all sorts of petty laws and ordinances.

Well let me decrypt that email for you.... (5, Insightful)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079110)


Slaves,

When your masters gives you something, you take it. I'm giving you a nice
new collar so you can't hide or run away. The global plantation has
grown to such a size we just have to have smart chains and collars.

Re:Well let me decrypt that email for you.... (1)

brunos (629303) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079390)

That's exactly right. Here in the UK we are taken as slaves. Before the UK went to Iraq, there were demonstrations with up to 2 million people. Totally ignored. The British people, who have a long history of democracy, have learned the hard way (Thatcher & Blair)that the government is against them. Something that most other nations have known for a long long time. The argument of terrorism does not make sense here in the UK: people have experience with the IRA, which were real, and not just an argument to sell weapons and to pass repressive laws. At least we are not in as bad a position as the US taxpayers, who with the war in Iraq have been conned of hundreds of billions of dollars, which have been "spent" i.e. passed from the government's pockets to the pockets of who is in control (I don't know who that is). How do you judge if a bomb that is thrown was worth 10M or 1M? perfect way of making money disappear.

Re:Well let me decrypt that email for you.... (1)

Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079524)

Oh now you've done it... dude you better pray he doesn't pull out the DMCA on you!

Here's a sample (5, Insightful)

naich (781425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079122)

"The petition calling for the Government to abandon plans for a National ID Scheme attracted almost 28,000 signatures - one of the largest responses since this e-petition service was set up. So I thought I would reply personally to those who signed up, to explain why the Government believes National ID cards, and the National Identity Register needed to make them effective, will help make Britain a safer place." Translation: "Sod the petition. We're not listening to you. You are all wrong." No need to read any further really. I didn't really need to read the rest.

Re:Here's a sample (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079168)

I really wonder why they have set up this on-line petition in the first place when it's clear already that it's not going to make a blind bit of notice to any policies this government actually, attempt, to enact.

Cynically I might think they are simply using the system to target the most active people opposed to their schemes so they can deluge them with tailored propoganda and try to change their minds and that having a petition on-line will reduce the impact and exposure of having people come to Downing street to deliver their petitions.

Considering the government ignored everyone who said anything against their ID card scheme during the "consultation" phase including the thousands of responses sent through Fax Your MP it's hardly surprising their still ignoring public opinion on the matter now. I'm fairly sure they will be voted out of power before they implement the scheme and that it will then be scrapped by the Tories but you never can tell quite how many muppets will come out to vote these cretins back into power :-(

Should it ever go ahead it's going to be a disaster from day one, there is no way the government can manage a project like this without screwing it up totally and thats what will happen but it will take a lot of tax money before it finally dies.

The other petition doing quite well was the one against road charging which the government is also totally ignoring. I would say that 95% of the population are totally against this scheme and yet the government, in response to the petition, says that we just need to be better educated and they need to sell the scheme more effectively !

Re:Here's a sample (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079174)

I'm paraphrasing / can't remember where I heard it from but "The goverment should be afraid of the people, not the other way around". The UK is definitely starting to look like we are afraid of the government

Re:Here's a sample (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079368)


V [imdb.com]

28000? how about TWO MILLION? (2, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079628)

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/publicservices/stor y/0,,2012405,00.html [guardian.co.uk]
Downing Street to send Blair emails to 2 million road pricing protesters
Furious minister resists policy concessions
E-petitions site creator hails changing democracy

Will Woodward, Patrick Wintour and Dan Milmo
Wednesday February 14, 2007
The Guardian

Downing Street will respond to a surge of support for a petition on its website condemning its road pricing plans, which could reach 2m signatures by next week.

With Douglas Alexander, the transport secretary, resisting concessions, No 10 sources acknowledged they had to deliver a gesture to the protesters. That is likely to take the form of an email to each signatory from the prime minister, explaining the pricing plans in greater detail.

Two million people, in a country of 60 million, sign the petition. Discount the children, the elderley who haven't voted, and consider the demographics and percentage of people in the UK who don't use a computer or wouldn't generally use one to sign a petition.

This is why we think Blair = Bliar

The point of the petition (5, Insightful)

lupine_stalker (1000459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079130)

The point of the petition was that we don't care that the 'Terrorists' COULD POSSIBLY use our ID details to accomplish their nefarious schemes. However, we do object to the DEFINATE invasion of our privacy in order to prevent something that MIGHT happen.
Note the difference.

And another one... (5, Interesting)

welsh git (705097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079134)

The anti-congestion charge one has racked up over 1.5 million signatures, and that too is going to be ignored.

Last week I created a petition asking the government to actually pay notice to the petition service that *THEY* set up, and not just give it lip-service when it suits them... That petition request was rejected.

So much for democracy :(

Re:And another one... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079190)

1.5 million is not a majority in the UK.

Re:And another one... (4, Insightful)

welsh git (705097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079234)

Errrr, who said it was ?

It's not a vote.

1.5 million out of roughly 60 million population have gone to the website, and made their views shown. More than enough *TO* put it to a vote if required.

Re:And another one... (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079478)

What is interesting though is that 1.5 million people have actually gone and done something. I would say that constitutes a very large and loud no. Most people are just plain lazy and can't be bothered to form an opinion one way or the other. The unfortunate consequence of that is that generally politician count apathetic voters as being for the motion. Personally I think any motion that is supported by less than x% of the total population should fail automatically (where x is maybe 30%) regardless of whether it wins a majority in the vote or not. This would stop the situation where a motion can get passed that only three people vote.

Parliament should be like a good firewall - default reject (the motion).

Re:And another one... (2, Insightful)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079622)

It's only 1.5 million more than signed the petition in favour of ID cards.

Re:And another one... (1)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079544)

The anti-congestion charge one has racked up over 1.5 million signatures, and that too is going to be ignored.

Yes. About 2 million [bbc.co.uk] British people went on the anti Iraq war march in London. Blair ignored them. And we all know how well that turned out.

In any case, the media is working as hard as it can to link ANPR protesters to terrorism [bbc.co.uk] . Some guy has been sending letter bombs to organisations involved with ANPR and congestion charging. The implication? Same as always: "If we don't have $CIVIL_LIBERTIES_VIOLATION, the $NATIONAL_ENEMY will win!"

Car Tracking Petition (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079592)

This petition is, as I write this, the #1 petition on the "Most Popular" list, with 1,672,571 signatures. It charges that "The idea of tracking every vehicle at all times is sinister and wrong." Its deadline is "today," the 20th. I'm interested in seeing what happens to it.

By the way, does that site have any way of verifying that there are actually 1.67M supporters as opposed to three supporters plus non-Brits, multiple clicks, fake names, and spambots?

Tony Blair closes online petition? (5, Informative)

rj21 (852127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079136)

"Prime Minister Tony Blair has...... closed the online petition."

There was a deadline for signatures and it has passed. Blair has responded to the petitioners after the petition was complete. That sounds more like he was pissed of with it and closed the petition. The fact that the prime minister personally closed the petition was the item in this story that pissed me off the most and that wasn't even true.

There's plenty we can moan at Blair for without making things up.

Incresingly difficult, yes. (2, Insightful)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079140)

But still not impossible. And those who rely on such dubious activities will still have the opportunity to fake their identities, which leads the whole endeavor ad absurdum, and leaves Joe Average stripped off of a great deal of the little privacy people (especially in the UK, spycams everywhere) still have left in our oh-so-great digital age. So let's just implement it anyways, despite 28K people publicly speaking out against it, because it's such a great idea... not.

Re:Incresingly difficult, yes. (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079236)

If you lived in the UK, you would realise that the "spycams" are not everywhere, thanks for exaggerating the myth of the all intrusive CCTV camera.

Re:Incresingly difficult, yes. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079378)

>thanks for exaggerating the myth of the all intrusive CCTV camera
I stood near Southwark Bridge in London recently and did a 360 and counted 27 cameras looking in my direction. Where I used to live (medium sized town) the high street and other major areas are awash with cameras. I now live in a small village and our community police officer asked if we'd be willing to put a hidden camera on our house to watch the local kids getting drunk(which frankly, I'm tempted by).

If terrorists justify everything... (5, Interesting)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079144)

If terrorists justify everything, terrorists are an irresistible weapon for a dishonest government.

In Italy the communist BR have appeared in two occasions lately. Some years ago they killed two people, D'Antona and Biagi, the second one was working on a law on new type of flexible work contracts. Result, the Biagi bill gets passed with nobody daring to make a discussion. Same kind of laws in france wrecked the government caused unrest.

Ten days ago a police operation finds terrorists who were plotting against berlusconi et al. Media start talking about terrorism again and a national demonstration in Vicenza against the planned increase of american military presence in the nearby base, having a sizable percentage of leftists, becomes a terrorist threat.

People who started protesting because their city, Vicenza, is already too crowded first get commies using the occasion to burn flags, then they are looked upon the police as potential terrorists. Checkmate.

Re:If terrorists justify everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079474)

In this context it might be interesting to look at 'Operation Gladio' alongside with the 'strategy of tension' and the things that were said to be done by those Red Brigades. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladio_in_Italy [wikipedia.org]
If government sponsored organizations are responsible for terrorist attacks, we can wonder if such a national id card is the 'cure' or fits within the goal of such attacks.

Closing the petition (5, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079158)

Umm, I think Blair is a duplicitous murdering sack of shit as much as the next guy, but the petition was always going to end on the 15th of February as a fixed closing date. From the FAQ page:

How long will my petition run for? You can decide how long your petition can run for and we will carry it for up to 12 months.
Besides, telling 28,000 people that they've given the wrong answer, and should go away and think about it until they realise he's right is nothing. He did exactly the same to the more than a million people who marched in London against invading Iraq, and is about to do so to the 1.6 million who have signed the road pricing and car tracking scheme at the top of the "most popular" list on that site as well.

So do we have any evidence. (4, Insightful)

bastard formula (1053804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079162)

It's really easy to say, "Terrorists routinely do this." I suspect there is some truth to it in this case, but I don't like the whole "Take my word for it. The terrorists are always doing this." being a justification for whatever the fuck rights they wish to trample.

Re:So do we have any evidence. (2, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079222)

If Tony Blair hadn't spent most of the rest of his time in office lying through his teeth I might be inclined to believe him now but from what I've seen so far I've come the conclusion that he is a pathological liar and willing to say absolutely anything to anyone provided he thinks it will help him get his own way.

The response since it's been requested (2, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079172)

The e-petition to "scrap the proposed introduction of ID cards" has now closed. The petition stated that "The introduction of ID cards will not prevent terrorism or crime, as is claimed. It will be yet another indirect tax on all law-abiding citizens of the UK". This is a response from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

The petition calling for the Government to abandon plans for a National ID Scheme attracted almost 28,000 signatures - one of the largest responses since this e-petition service was set up. So I thought I would reply personally to those who signed up, to explain why the Government believes National ID cards, and the National Identity Register needed to make them effective, will help make Britain a safer place.

The petition disputes the idea that ID cards will help reduce crime or terrorism. While I certainly accept that ID cards will not prevent all terrorist outrages or crime, I believe they will make an important contribution to making our borders more secure, countering fraud, and tackling international crime and terrorism. More importantly, this is also what our security services - who have the task of protecting this country - believe.

So I would like to explain why I think it would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to use biometrics such as fingerprints to secure our identities. I would also like to discuss some of the claims about costs - particularly the way the cost of an ID card is often inflated by including in estimates the cost of a biometric passport which, it seems certain, all those who want to travel abroad will soon need.

In contrast to these exaggerated figures, the real benefits for our country and its citizens from ID cards and the National Identity Register, which will contain less information on individuals than the data collected by the average store card, should be delivered for a cost of around £3 a year over its ten-year life.

But first, it's important to set out why we need to do more to secure our identities and how I believe ID cards will help. We live in a world in which people, money and information are more mobile than ever before. Terrorists and international criminal gangs increasingly exploit this to move undetected across borders and to disappear within countries. Terrorists routinely use multiple identities - up to 50 at a time. Indeed this is an essential part of the way they operate and is specifically taught at Al-Qaeda training camps. One in four criminals also uses a false identity. ID cards which contain biometric recognition details and which are linked to a National Identity Register will make this much more difficult.

Secure identities will also help us counter the fast-growing problem of identity fraud. This already costs £1.7 billion annually. There is no doubt that building yourself a new and false identity is all too easy at the moment. Forging an ID card and matching biometric record will be much harder.

I also believe that the National Identity Register will help police bring those guilty of serious crimes to justice. They will be able, for example, to compare the fingerprints found at the scene of some 900,000 unsolved crimes against the information held on the register. Another benefit from biometric technology will be to improve the flow of information between countries on the identity of offenders.

The National Identity Register will also help improve protection for the vulnerable, enabling more effective and quicker checks on those seeking to work, for example, with children. It should make it much more difficult, as has happened tragically in the past, for people to slip through the net.

Proper identity management and ID cards also have an important role to play in preventing illegal immigration and illegal working. The effectiveness on the new biometric technology is, in fact, already being seen. In trials using this technology on visa applications at just nine overseas posts, our officials have already uncovered 1,400 people trying illegally to get back into the UK.

Nor is Britain alone in believing that biometrics offer a massive opportunity to secure our identities. Firms across the world are already using fingerprint or iris recognition for their staff. France, Italy and Spain are among other European countries already planning to add biometrics to their ID cards. Over 50 countries across the world are developing biometric passports, and all EU countries are proposing to include fingerprint biometrics on their passports. The introduction in 2006 of British e-passports incorporating facial image biometrics has meant that British passport holders can continue to visit the United States without a visa. What the National Identity Scheme does is take this opportunity to ensure we maximise the benefits to the UK.

These then are the ways I believe ID cards can help cut crime and terrorism. I recognise that these arguments will not convince those who oppose a National Identity Scheme on civil liberty grounds. They will, I hope, be reassured by the strict safeguards now in place on the data held on the register and the right for each individual to check it. But I hope it might make those who believe ID cards will be ineffective reconsider their opposition.

If national ID cards do help us counter crime and terrorism, it is, of course, the law-abiding majority who will benefit and whose own liberties will be protected. This helps explain why, according to the recent authoritative Social Attitudes survey, the majority of people favour compulsory ID cards.

I am also convinced that there will also be other positive benefits. A national ID card system, for example, will prevent the need, as now, to take a whole range of documents to establish our identity. Over time, they will also help improve access to services.

The petition also talks about cost. It is true that individuals will have to pay a fee to meet the cost of their ID card in the same way, for example, as they now do for their passports. But I simply don't recognise most claims of the cost of ID cards. In many cases, these estimates deliberately exaggerate the cost of ID cards by adding in the cost of biometric passports. This is both unfair and inaccurate.

As I have said, it is clear that if we want to travel abroad, we will soon have no choice but to have a biometric passport. We estimate that the cost of biometric passports will account for 70% of the cost of the combined passports/id cards. The additional cost of the ID cards is expected to be less than £30 or £3 a year for their 10-year lifespan. Our aim is to ensure we also make the most of the benefits these biometric advances bring within our borders and in our everyday lives.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Blair

Useful Links

10 Downing Street home page
http://www.pm.gov.uk/ [pm.gov.uk]

James Hall, the official in charge of delivering the ID card scheme, will be answering questions on line on 5th March. You can put your question to him here
http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page10969.asp [pm.gov.uk]

To see his last web chat in November 2006, see:
http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page10364.asp [pm.gov.uk]

Identity and Passport Service
http://www.ips.gov.uk/ [ips.gov.uk]

Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee
http://www.identity-theft.org.uk/" [identity-theft.org.uk]

Re:The response since it's been requested (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079262)

I'm actually rather disappointed in the response from the public to this poll. Just 28 thousand signatures after all the efforts of No2ID [no2id.net] and the political posturing, back-tracking and outright changes in tack that it prompted over the last few years? I'd say it was the normal apathy from the UK electorate, except that this is not the petition that has been generating all the fuss - that one has about 1.5 *million* signatures and is over the introduction of per-mile road charging for the most heavily congested roads.

I doubt that much is going to stand in the way of the UK introduction of biometric ID cards now, short of the usual government incompetence with large scale IT projects or the Conservatives getting elected and actually keeping their promise to scrap the plan. Congestion charging on the otherhand now seems a little more touch and go and it's unlikely that a simple email is going to placate the dissenters that signed that petetion. It's certainly going to be interesting to see how that gets responded to, especially since we're looking at a general election in the next year or so and there are going to be a lot of Labour voters' names on that list...

Re:The response since it's been requested (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079444)

I'm not sure it's apathy so much as a lack of understanding of the consequences of these cards. Every (non-geek) person I've spoken to about them seems to take the stance, "I have nothing to hide so why should I worry?". When I explain why they should worry then they almost always have a sudden volte-face on the subject. I honestly believe if people were better educated on what these cards really mean instead of having terrorist FUD forced down their throats the reaction would be much greater.

Re:The response since it's been requested (2, Informative)

alexpage (210348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079552)

To be fair, No2ID [no2id.net] didn't particularly encourage people to sign this petition; they knew from the get-go that it would be a waste of time, compared to encouraging people to sign up to the No2ID campaign where they will be kept up-to-date with the latest news and given the oppotunity to participate in a local group campaigning to local government and media...

Re:The response since it's been requested (2, Informative)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079298)

I would also like to discuss some of the claims about costs - particularly the way the cost of an ID card is often inflated by including in estimates the cost of a biometric passport which, it seems certain, all those who want to travel abroad will soon need.
This is bollocks, first of all there is no requirement from any country in the world for the kind of biometric information they are proposing putting on these ID cards and it would be a lot easier to change the current passports to include what they actually need to include without building this whole ID scheme around it.

Re:The response since it's been requested (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079334)

>Terrorists routinely use multiple identities - up to 50 at a time
Nice round number - what happens at 51 and who do they stop there?

Re:The response since it's been requested (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079350)

>National Identity Register will make this much more difficult
How? We already have national drivers license, passports etc and they get cloned routinely. What's so clever about this new one? It also becomes a single point of failure, crack that one and everyone trusts you, wrongly.

Cash for honors+SWIFT= Blackmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079176)

Blair has been interviewed repeatedly about a cash for honors scandal. Where money was paid in exchange for Knighthoods and Peerages. Bush gets access to all European Internal banking records via SWIFT. Blair becomes a Bush poodle, making UK law subservient to US interests.

Can nobody else see a connection here?

There is a huge opportunity for blackmail if a bank record for a politician reveals something they don't want revealed. Whether it's cash for honors, donations to political groups, payments to mistresses or anything else.

What are all those unidentified terrorists? (4, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079180)

All 9/11 hijackers had a proper ID with no prior criminal record. I don't see how biometric ID would have solved anything besides making airport security more confident in letting them through. Known terrorists like Bin Laden would rather stay in their air conditioned caves and let grunts do all the work.

Re:What are all those unidentified terrorists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079408)

Presumably, a proper ID with no prior criminal record could be biometrically matched to another ID with a criminal record. That is the advantage being argued.

False positive (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079602)

Presumably, a proper ID with no prior criminal record could be biometrically matched to another ID with a criminal record. That is the advantage being argued.


This won't work for two reasons :
  • The terrorist had valid passports. Not copies or false passports. They showed their real identities. Or at least the identity under which they were known in the states and under which the did nothing wrong to attract attention on them. These identities didn't have criminal record, because they purposely kept low profile before the incident. You'll never find anything in the record of an actual terrorist hired by a big organisation. Only armchair anarchist tend to have records.
  • Biometric data can tell apart two random guys in the population. It makes more difficult to match a stolen passport with the criminal who want to use it. But at the scale of the whole human population, there's no guarantee that two individual won't have similar enough datas to be mistaken one for the other. And there are a lot of people living in the States (or in Europe if they choose to go at that scale and centralize the database for the whole EU), so the risk of false-positive is significant.


So searching for matching biometric data won't detect terrorist keeping low profile and is at risk of harassing innocent people who had the bad luck to very much look alike some criminal idiot at the other side of the country whom they've never heard about.

ID cards proponents should stop pushing it as "the" miracle solution to terrorism, and only present it as what it is : a ID which is marginally more difficult to abuse compared to previous solution, and which will be handy (in countries lacking one before) as a quick solution for everyday usage when you need to show someone else your identity (like giving your age before entering in a night-club, before buying alcohol, while using a credit card, when going to the administration, etc.) A single standarised card is more convenient than having tens of different type of picture ID and seeing the one you handled refused because "Sorry, I don't know the ID. I can't determine if it wasn't tampered with. Do you have any other ID ?". But I'll never magically remove terrorism

Re:What are all those unidentified terrorists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079610)

Evidence and history says such ID will be useless until AFTER the event.
Not said, is that some pretty big money/banking record databases must exist, BUT will they datamatch and confiscate all monies in false names after the rollout?
For this reason, its a good reason to use a foreign bank. Wonder what the pound will do?

Paranoia with national ID cards (1, Insightful)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079182)

I don't understand what's wrong with national ID cards as such. It's just a method of authentication, just like your passport is, to tell that you are who you claim you are.

    Why the paranoia? Nordic countries have had such cards (and citizen registrars) at least since WW2...to help with issues such as arranging voting (no need to "Register as a voter"), social security, taxes, etc.

    The biometrics part of the UK id card is of course another issue - fingerprints, retinal scans, DNA and all that is not proven secure. Unique to every human being, yes, but hardly secure. You leave your fingerprints all over the place. You leave your DNA all over the place. Somehow the advocates of biometrics seem to be lulled into a sense that biometrics is absolutely secure method of authentication - this is the primary problem.

Re:Paranoia with national ID cards (4, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079264)

On the face of it I agree with you however there are numerous problems with the scheme as proposed which are why I don't support it.

1) You don't currently have to have a passport and I believe you can travel in the EU without one.
2) You will be forced to have an ID card which you will need to pay for yourself and pay for its renewal every 10 years or so
3) A huge database will be created linked to the ID cards which will be accessible to every branch of government and even private companies such as banks etc. The government refuse to say what kind of information will be in this database but it will be extensive
4) ID cards cannot be shown to help in the fight against a) immigration, b) terrorism, c) crime, d) benefit fraud
5) All of this will be very very expensive, a nuisance to deal with and useless in most practical terms.

Re:Paranoia with national ID cards (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079494)

1) If you don't have a passport, you need a valid form of ID to travel, like... an ID card or driver's license. Which are given by the eeebul guvmint, too.
2) I believe paying the equivalent of 20 euro over 5 or 10 years is acceptable
3) Huge databases with your data are already available to the government (driver's licenses, SSNs, credit/debit cards, TV taxes, medical insurance, etc. Pick yours).
4) Links please? It's easy to say. Blair says just the opposite in its letter.
5) Most countries under Roman right-derived laws haven't experienced economical collapse due to ID cards, their people aren't hounded like criminals, and the cards themselves are very useful for voting purposes and the like. I've personally traveled to the UK twice using my ID card (Italy), this meant I didn't have to renew my passport at an extra cost.

There are valid reasons to oppose biometric ID cards, but your post didn't make them.

Re:Paranoia with national ID cards (2, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079282)

The paranoia is not with the ID Cards per se, but with the UK government's obsession with linking them to every single piece of personally identifiable information known to every government and non-government agency in the country. There was even talk at one point to linking it to things as ludicrous as Store Cards for places like Tesco, for ease of use, apparently.

Re:Paranoia with national ID cards (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079492)

Here in the nordic countries we wear government collars
and chains -- it is so convenient when the police see
you doing something silly and need to move you along.
I've been wearing a collar since birth and I don't see
anything wrong with it.

Re:Paranoia with national ID cards (2, Interesting)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079514)

The difference is that in the nordic countries people trust their government a bit more. I'm British living in Norway, and i have to say the two places are incomparable. I have an ID number (technically a "folk register number") which i just give to banks, dentists, doctors etc and they immediately know who i am and i am authenticated into the "system". It works here, and makes life so much simpler.

For the UK though, i'd resist such a system. The government has a long history of ignoring the desires of the public (which kind of undermines my understanding of democracy) and enacting laws under spurious premises. Basically, i don't trust them.

Dear Tony Blair (1, Interesting)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079184)

How are you going to close a petition? At least have the decency to let them finish what they have to say before your closed mind shuts them up.

Not that I think he's lieing persay (3, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079204)

He's just doing the kiddie lie thing of telling a half truth. Of course such a system may/will make what he said harder for terrorist and the other boogey men - I don't doubt that in the same way that I don't doubt that if it is hard for me to breathe in a room due to lack of air a terrorist would also find it hard to breathe. If those things become difficult for everyone who isn't 100% "simon-says" follower then the terrorists will not be exempt.

However, and I may just be misguided and paranoid, I find myself a lot more afraid of a large governments with massive databanks, financial caches, and military assets powered by men trained to be unquestioning soldiers (for better or worse) that some pissed off and somewhat oprressed (some might say cursed) terrorist.

So yah I see much more potential for bad than potential for good - from what I hear we as Earthlings have a greater chance of Aophis destroying us than terrorist.

Re:Not that I think he's lieing persay (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079302)

I myself am depressed by the idea that the database PM Blair wants set up might contain less info than the average store card, since that means that many of these protests would be moot anyway. This will, for many people, mandate what they're already doing freely, and charge a gov. tax to cover the costs.
Then again, I seriously hope there aren't any major British stores requiring biometrics for their store cards. ("Signature and fingerprints, please--oh, and please let us gather a saliva sample.")

Re:Not that I think he's lieing persay (2, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079404)

I agree with you only partially. In the end, it will makes matters for Non-Simon-Says people much harder while not doing much against the terrorists. Here is why I believe that:

I am one of those people who love to pose uncomfortable questions and defend unpopular ideas. I might be one of those people who suddenly spend hours checking into a flight overseas. At first it might be considered a coincidence but perhaps I'll rethink that when suddenly every routine traffic inspection takes, like, an hour until I can resume my travel.

Terrorists will not have that problem because they will hail their target governments with every breath they have. They will be model citizens. They will go to school or work every day, never be late, read all the 'right' papers and magazines and they won't do a single thing that will get them 'Sauron's attention'.

The difference lies herein:

I want to live my life as a free man. I want to make myself heard when I ask for the rights that were supposed to be given me. I want to raise awareness that something is amiss. I WILL draw attention to my person.
The terrorsit has other goals. He doesn't care that much about awareness. He doesn't believe that the people will change anything anyway. He has his plan in his head that he wishes to complete with every fiber of his being. He will lay low, lie about his beliefs and do all the things he hates so much for effing YEARS if he has to until his great day comes when he walks into a government building, yells his trademark warcry and pushes the trigger that takes 15 people along with him to hell.

THAT is why this whole fuck-up will do crap to stop any terrorism. If anything, it will mute the part of the society that tries to bring up alternative points making society as a whole more balanced in their dealings with the group he 'represents'. If anything, this will make the whole situation worse because the terrorists will use this regime like treatment of its people to point at the governments and say 'See?! They're showing their true colors. THAT is the beast we are fighting!'

Since I cannot believe that any politician can be stupid enough to not see this I have to ask myself: What do they gain from this... really?

Re:Not that I think he's lieing persay (1)

ifknot (811127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079476)

your spelling seems as bad as your statistics

Re:Not that I think he's lieing persay (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079594)

>your spelling seems as bad as your statistics
What happened to capital letters to begin a sentence and full stops/periods to end?

Hooray for democracy (1)

LittleImp (1020687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079250)

I have no idea how democracy in the UK works, but why start an online petition on a political matter? Here in Switzerland, if you don't like a law you just collect 50'000 signatures and call a referendum. This means everyone can vote on this matter and decide for themselves.

Re:Hooray for democracy (1)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079416)

There's no such direct democracy in the UK (do many countries have that level of direct democracy, in fact?). The petition site was set up by the government so that people can make their own petitions like this, but they have no power at all. Even if they get over a million signatures, as has happened recently with the anti-road-pricing petition. Some cynics say that the main reason for the existence of the site is to harvest emails: you have to give your email address in order to 'sign' a petition, and the government is the permitted to send you 2 emails explaining why your point of view is wrong.

Re:Hooray for democracy (2, Informative)

correctguru (1066334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079548)

If only that happened in the UK!! Here you get to vote for a party once every five years nationally , local government more often. Problem is UK politics loves to force "ideal" solutions. There is some discussion in the media to pay lip service to democracy and if the govt has an overall majority they steam role ahead with their ideas. The USA has a similar system to Switzerland where if you have enough signatures you can get a ballot going. If you have enough of a gripe you can do something about it. Thomas Jefferson had the right idea and designed US politicial system to be constantly compromising so that no one view could be forced. Hung parliaments and small majorities create good politics as they make politicians have to please the people. Look how Bush has changed his tone now the democrats are running things. US Presidents look with envy at the "efficiency" of UK politics. UK Government is using terrorism as a tool to force its oppressive nanny state agenda. This is a very safe country compared with Iraq or Afganistan or downtown LA. This government is making more fuss about terrorism than at the time of the IRA threat which I remember clearly. We have about as much chance being blown up by terrorists as winning the lottery. I would rather risk my life daily that lose my freedom and privacy. Driving a car is more dangerous!

Inconceivable! (4, Insightful)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079256)

An online petition has absolutely no effect! Film at 11!

Many people didn't sign it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079278)

Becuase they didn't want Blair to have access to their identities.

enough said.

I personally am voting against Blair and his dictatorship state.

There was a government petition? (1)

robably (1044462) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079292)

What the Hell? I NEVER HEARD ABOUT THIS PETITION!

I listen to the news on the radio, I visit the BBC news website, and I read Slashdot, which is a good source of privacy stories, and I never heard about it. Admittedly I don't have a TV, but this is the kind of information I seek out. I would have put my name to it in a second. Where was it advertised? If even I didn't hear about it, how on Earth would most of the UK have heard about it?

Re:There was a government petition? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079402)

>how on Earth would most of the UK have heard about it?
Word of mouth from politically aware friends? At least you know the website exists now and can check for new petitions periodically. Oh, and pass the URL on to your friends ;-)

Re:There was a government petition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079482)

If the issue was that important to you, you would already have heard of and signed up to the NO2ID campaign which already collected a huge list of signatures, and also wrote to signees and asked them to sign on to this petition.

Downing Street decided that the PledgeBank website was cool, and got the PledgeBank/TheyWorkForYou/FaxYourMP/ThePublicWhip people to set up a copy of PledgeBank as an online, official government e-petition site.

How will this stop terrorism (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079312)

One thing the the politicians never explain is how the ID card and biometric database is suppose to stop terrorists. I am sure that the system will allow for government agents, undercover policemen etc. to have multiple identities - ie that a given set of biometrics maps to more than one identity. So if the system allows 'authorised' multiple identities then I am sure that terrorists could subvert it to obtain multiple identities for themselves.

Re:How will this stop terrorism (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079396)

I don't think the terrorists will even need to go to these lengths. Since the last lot have been UK citizens and actually living here in the first place whether they had an ID card or not is totally irrelevant unless the government knows when they check the card that the person is actually a terrorist.

I suspect the governments main method of deciding of whether people are terrorists or not is based on whether they've blown themselves up in a suicide bombing lately but even if its more sophisticated than that its not going to make a blind bit of difference.

Mr Evil Terrorist has never been in the UK before but leaves his lair in Birmingham, Alabama and flies over intent on blowing up the prominent anti creationist Dr Richard Dawkins in a giant suicide fireball. He arrives at UK immigration, they say

"Hello sir, you'd like to emmigrate from your home in Borneo to the UK would you and you say your name is Mr Friendly Creationist ? Well fine, here's your ID card for the time you're in the country. Have a nice day now."

Express opinion == Receive propaganda spam (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18079358)

Notice that for a citizen to be allowed to express their opinion in one of these on-line petitions to the government they are (acceptably) required to provide an email address, but also (unacceptably), with no opt-out option provided, sent what is essentially government propaganda spam email to their email address after they have dared to vote the "wrong" way in a petition.

If this carries on, which it will, the people will start using one-shot or limited-use throwaway email addresses [google.com] to frustrate and block such unwanted intrusion and misinformation.

Re:Express opinion == Receive propaganda spam (1)

ndg123 (801212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079616)

And you are also identified as one who 'opposed government attempts to prevent terrorism'. When they come looking for suspects, you'll be higher up the list.

The article is wrong (0, Troll)

Fnagaton (580019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079406)

Tony Blair did not close the petition. The petition had an ending date of five days ago and that date didn't change.

Anyway, I see the ID card scheme is a good idea and I will gladly use it because it means I will not need to carry around so much paper proof of my identity for when I need to prove it to open bank accounts, get a mortgage etc. Not needing my most sensitive and important paper based ID easily to hand also means I can store it in a more secure location. If my ID card does get stolen it will be easier to cancel and to replace than if I lost my paper based ID. All these things I see as helping to reduce ID fraud and that is a big positive in my book.

Re:The article is wrong (1)

richard.cs (1062366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079512)

Not needing my most sensitive and important paper based ID easily to hand also means I can store it in a more secure location.
The idea is that the card will become your most important form of ID, hence similar problems if you loose it.

This was expected (2, Informative)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079450)

Nothing surprising about this move. The petitions were only allowed for the same reason that public enquiries are allowed. They create an illusion of consultation, but because they usually come to the attention of only a few particularly interested people any opposition to the government view can be safely ignored. What the government failed to consider with online petitions are that they can be easily filled in by people once they have been informed of their existence by the same medium - the internet. This is why government sources described the person who came up wih the idea as an idiot last week (I'm not joking).

In this particular case the comnpanies that stand to make a fortune from government contracts to bring in the ID card are the same companies providing directorships to former ministers, MPs and civil servants. The so called "revolving door". As the right dishonourable Tony Blair MP is soon to be out of a job he's more than likely to go the extra mile to keep these companies happy. He needs a job after leaving office, as his mortgage commitments are astronomical (again, I'm not joking).

trust (2, Insightful)

bugi (8479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079452)

We don't trust the government -- simple as that.

The reasons for implementing this may be noble now, but laws change and what will the data be used for then?

This governent treats the public like its children (5, Insightful)

MartinG (52587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079456)

We don't need you to patrinise us by attempting to explain why we are wrong My Blair. What many of us are trying to say to you is that we fully understand your viewpoint so you can stop explaining it to us. What we are saying to you is that you are wrong. Wrong because you don't have a very good understanding of security. Wrong because you have no ability to clearly judge the value this scheme will give us. Wrong because you have the terror threat out of proportion. Wrong because you are wasting our money on something we don't want or need.

Your job is to represent our views, not to decide what is best for your self and explain to us why you think it is right.

Honestly, I don't think you have the understanding of security issues to grasp why biometriecs are a very bad choice for personal security, nor do I think you have the imagination to forsee the abuses that could come of this. Combine these two things with your governments record on large scale IT projects and anyone can see that we are heading for disaster.

No2ID Saw This Coming (5, Informative)

alexpage (210348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079510)

No2ID [no2id.net] , the UK's leading campaign against the National Identity Card and the Database State, realised even before this petition was launched that the site exists only to encourage "fire and forget" activism from people. People signing up to No2ID are encouraged to subscribe to a fortnightly e-mail newsletter which keeps them up to date with the latest news on ID Cards in Government and across the country.

The No2ID campaign has encouraged a 30% swing in public opinion against Identity Cards, has encouraged councils and other organisations across the country to oppose the Government's plans, and formed a wide alliance of political parties and unions from all sides of the spectrum in opposition to this scheme. It's unlikely that the Tories would have come out against ID cards (albeit in a half-arsed way) without No2ID's influence.

If people want to make a difference, joining and supporting No2ID is the best way to do so. There are local groups nationwide, which can always benefit from more supporters.

What is step 3 anyone? (1, Interesting)

rumplet (1034332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079516)

Step 1. Introduce mandatory biometric ID cards/database
Step 2. "Papiere gefallen. Keine Papiere? Gegen die Wand!"
Step 3. ?
Step 4. Prevent terrorism.

Dear People of Great Britain, (3, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079518)

Fuck you all.

We know best, and you know how to pay for it.

Sincerely,
HM Government.

Translation (3, Insightful)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079566)

We're at war with terrorists. We've always been at war with terrorists.

The Party is never wrong.

Big Blair is always watching you.

Join No2ID.org (4, Informative)

Cally (10873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079626)

If you're a UK citizen and can see what a bad implementation of a disastrous idea this is going to turn out to be, please join no2id.org [no2id.net] and help in a practical way, as well as moaning about it on Slashdot! :)
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