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Practical ways to fight the ID / National Identity Register

This appeared in the comment section of the previous post, writen by Michael Taylor. It is just too interesting to leave as a comment:

One thing we in the online community can do is to work to ensure transparency and accountability is brought to this process. We need to find out who has been pressing this scheme from its infancy: that doesn’t just mean finding the Labour Party hacks who’ve embraced it; it does not even just mean finding the Whitehall Committees which pushed it.

It means finding the details of the people who sat on that committee: it means getting their names and track records out in public. I want names and reasons and track records. Where possible, I would want those personal details which they would collect from us out there on the web for all to see. It also means tracking every single hardware and software supplier who is bidding for the work – again, we need personal names not company names. And then these people need to be monitored closely, and lobbied intensively. There needs to be absolutely no place for these securocrats to hide: there must be no secrecy, no privacy for them.

Let us also make sure we use the Freedom of Information Act aggressively to get this information: swamp them with requests for every detail of every person’s career who has ever been on any committee which has recommended any part of this scheme. If nothing else, such an intensive and personal campaign of transparency gives opponents of the scheme the best possible chance of keeping these people on the back foot.

Look, for example, at how angry the govt has got with the LSE’s report. That should be only the merest footfall, the tiniest ripple of administrative inconvenience and distributed informational opposition they must face. Do this, and we will win.

Michael Taylor.

57 comments to Practical ways to fight the ID / National Identity Register

  • Verity

    What Michael Taylor has suggested is a very intelligent way of wresting power from the apparachiks in the carpeted offices of power and at the same time wrong-footing the socialist politicians. Knowledge, as they know only too well, is power. Get that knowledge of their personal details and publish it for all to see and their own power evaporates.

    Indeed, even the threat of the revelation of their personal details, including salaries and pensions and – why not, as they’ll be available on ID cards? – medical records, driving licence transgressions and spending details – possibly employing the kindly services of clever hackers, and they may throw in the towel first.

    This is a plan that wouldn’t require motivating vast numbers of people to take to the streets. But it would be clear, courtesy of the gleeful press, that these are the details that the politicians and all the committees and sub-committees and apparachiks wish to gather, and save, about the citizenry.

    I think this is a go-er.

  • Keith

    “I think this is a go-er.” You bet. And when the apparatchiks squeal about their “privacy” it’s going to look pretty hypocritical, isn’t it?

  • Bernie

    It looks delicious even if we concentrated on just those high profile MPs who actually vote for it.

  • Verity

    Precisely, Keith! Precisely!

    Bernie, I certainly cannot speak for Michael Taylor, whose clever concept this is, but my understanding is, it’s mainly the faceless ones (with yes, one or two high profiles, why not?) to serve as a terrible warning of what will be in store if they vote for it.

    I think the idea is, they have to fear exposure themselves, and therefore not vote for it, so we wouldn’t want to share ahead of time who has children who do not share his DNA, for example, who purchased the leasehold on a flat in Baron’s Court that his wife didn’t know about and who didn’t sign in for late night sittings in the Commons but mysteriously has a hotel room in Le Touquet on his credit card bill for that date. Information. Power. To the citizens.

  • A beautiful idea. Give some thought as to how we get this message out to maximum numbers of people who will act on it. I’m signed up right now.

  • Verity

    Cass – Once the names of these faceless apparachiks sitting on committees and subcommittees and writing reports to ministers’ under-secretaries, ruling oh-so-mightily on the rest, are discovered (courtesy talented hackers), their own details shadowing those they propose to detail on British citizens’ ID cards will be published in the blink of an eye.

    You think The Sun is going to let it pass that some advisory committee member who proposes everyone’s details be on a biometric card went to Brazil for a boob job? It’s a medical story, after all! It should be on her biometric history (for her own good, in case of an accident). Or that a sub-committee chairman has been attending a private clinic for an STD? For the third time? Hmmm, a serial offender, just in case he ever needs counselling. Plus it’s a medical story, for use by the government statistics about private health care, which is what these cards are going to provide in abundance about you, dear citizen.

    Seeing the evidence so gleefully displayed by a grateful British press about the faceless people who are the behind-the-scenes engineers of this travesty, is any MP going to vote for it?

    No need for anyone to get off the couch or take his elbows off the bar. No need for anyone to miss her nail extensions (where she will discuss it in detail with her “nail technician”). This idea, which I think can be the flashpoint – doesn’t require anything of anybody except an ability to jeer. The British have this in abundance. Once, as Michael Taylor, whose idea it is, has said, the details of the sub-committe members and advisory committe members and civil servants who wrote favourable recommendations, and companies who submitted reassuring bids with word “privacy” employed prominently are published, with, fair-dos, the personal details they expect to extract from others, it is dead in the water.

    If hackers can be found, details will be published, along with embarrassing photos of wives and children, pre-boob jobs, pre-liposuction hips (medical history), photos of the hotel in Le Touquet “where he is thought to have stayed with his male assistant” (credit card spending patterns). Fair’s fair.

  • Jamie Young

    Where do we get this information? Where, for example, do we find out who sat on which committee, and how they voted? How do we find out how to exploit the Freedom of Information act? Can we have a Samizdata ‘Special Feature’ on this subject?

  • RPW

    Sad to say this, but they’ve already thought of that one – “personal information” (i.e. names, contact details, etc. of officials who assist in drawing up policy) is an absolute exemption under the FOI Act, which means not only do they not need to give you the information they do not even need to give you any reason other than they are invoking the exemption. I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if less official digging around is also illegal, although under the Data Protection Act this time. The state is not your friend, but it does know how to protect itself.

    Oh, and we shouldn’t rely on The Sun for help either – they’re even keener on this than the government is.

  • 1327

    Nice idea ! I have never made a Freedom of Info request though. Can anyone point me in the direction of a website or book that is a good “idiots guide” on this law and the mechanics of making such a request ?

  • Johnathan

    Fellow commenters, I am going to try and dig out some details on the companies that might stand to benefit from this. One of them is probably the firm Capita, which already runs the London congestion charge systems and is lobbying to get the Oyster Card contract for the London Underground. This firm also is behind the systems enabling the BBC Licence fee, as far as I know.

    One can find out which firms, for example, handle data for the National Health Service, the GCHQ site in Cheltenham, New Scotland Yard and the Ministry of Defence. All this stuff has to be made public so a few searches should not be that difficult.

    Remember, quote “Freedom of Information Act” at any official. There is a surprising amount of detail one can now acquire through this route. My journalist friends do this regularly and say it is highly effective.

    Taylor’s suggestion is excellent. Let’s name and shame the folk involved in this monstrous venture.

  • Julian Taylor

    Jamie Young,

    Try using google.com for a start, just about all the information one needs is available online. Another good source is They Work For You try doing a search for “ID Card”. on there.

  • The Freedom of Information Act still gives too much power to hide information and delay things to the Sir Humphrey Applebys in the Home Office kremlin.

    Freedom of Information Act request for the official meeting diaries, agendas, travel and entertainment expenses etc. of the senior members of the Home Office’s Identity Cards Programme Team

    Using “computer hackers” or “tabloid journalists” to abuse the private details, medical records, home addresses etc. of civil servants or even of the commercial lobbyists who are behind the ID cards policy is a step too far, and could well be illegal.

    There are plenty of draconian legal powers brought in supposedly against “animal rights” extremists or fox hunters or peaceniks or terrorists etc. which are very likely to be aimed at anyone organising such a campaign of “harassment”

  • 1327

    The way I was thinking of approaching this was to look at the companies involved. Who are the consultants ? what work have they done before for govt depts ? Did any of their previous projects actually work ? etc etc. Especially interesting for me anyway is who is going to be doing the actual programming for the IT side of the project. Where are they ? Who owns them ? Are they linked to the Indian company that has been selling bank details to British tabloids ?

    I agree Crapita will want a piece of this contract as I expect will Oracle who are pretty much the only people who could provide the back end database.

  • DT

    Can we set up a site/blog to collate this information? It would be great to allow people to work on individuals companies in an organised way.

    Maybe a list of companies/individuals in categories such as

    Investigated/Published Details
    To be Investigated
    Companies without individuals listed

    That way in your freetime you just take a name off the list, google and research them and then publish their details.

    This is a fantastic idea, it’s one that would catch the media’s attention, and would also highlight what it’s like to have your life published for others to see.

  • DT

    I’d be more than willing to do any programming/site setup that’s needed.

  • 1327

    I have just been having a search around for info on the Home Office website. This isn’t exactly a fun activity and I was amazed just how many politically correct make work projects they get involved with. Anyway the main section of their website dealing with ID cards is Here.
    this report is interesting as it deals with some of the problems during the trials with biometrics and just how easily it was fooled.

    The consultants (sorry technology integrater) for this report were a company called Atos Origin are involved in what seems like 100’s of computer projects for HMG at the moment. It would be interesting to know who ATOS get to do the actual work on these projects though.

    Oh this website gives the names of other consultants involved in the ID cards project. Amazingly someone called Cornwell Managment Consultants was paid nearly £50K to “Assessment of potential public sector delivery partners” Isn’t that something someone in the civil service could have done themselves.

    Anybody looking into this should be warned it will cause your blood pressure to rise !!

  • Matt

    I think this is a great idea, and would be best implemented in a wiki, that way the information can be stored centrally, and is easily updated. If you haven’t used a wiki before, check out http://www.wikipedia.org. Any volunteers for setting this up?

    I imagine a vast amount of information on these people/companies can be obtained with some clever googling, which I would be happy to do.

    Maybe someone could setup a wiki and start by listing the names of individuals/companies concerned, then we can all start collating information from various sources.

    After that it would just be a matter of getting some media attention on the wiki, get it in the blogosphere, and go from there.

  • zmollusc

    What will happen with the homeless people? They can’t be expected to cough up £300+ for their cards. Will the state(taxpayers) pay for their cards? And the replacement cards that they will need when they lose their cards every few hours. The identity of a homeless person will become valuable to criminals immediately and everyone once a curfew is imposed.
    “What are you doing in this sector at this time of night, where are your electronic papers?”
    “It’s ok officer, I live on the streets, here is my card. Sorry for causing any trouble, but as you can see, i am mental. Woop woop, wibble etc.”

  • Phil

    Can i be of any assistance, i am long term serious illness case,know the basics of computers, & have plenty of time to help possibly do the donkey work.


  • pommygranate

    It is heartwarming to see libertarians planning action rather than just moaning. Please do carry this through. You will get support from all quarters.

    Does anyone know any members of SHAC? (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty?). These guys seem to know how to dig up names and addresses, conduct a bit of intimidation and dont have the incovenience of a day job.

  • Verity

    1327 and everyone else who commented with positive thoughts: This project seems to be do-able. Yes, the government will have thought ahead of time of protecting itself. This would have been its first thought. But people in private industry are smarter than government parasites. We can do it.

    I know little about computers, but if someone were in charge of the project, I would gladly accept orders to do simple projects, even just collating information. We need someone in charge.

    OK, we can’t get the name of every committee member and sub-committee member, but we can get hold of enough to do embarrasssing workups on a few of them. I’m not as keen on the supplier idea as some of us because they’re capitalists and motivated by money, like us and thus we deflect attention and invite the comment: “Well, they’re just after money, innit?” What we are combatting, and should be focussing on, is the people who are after power over our lives.

    We don’t need hundreds. A dozen or 20 should be effective. Drip, drip, drip of private information into the public eye. Who’s going to be next?

    And maybe a couple of politicans, pour encourager les autres. I personally would like to nominate for having his medical, health, personal and financial situation worked up on an ID card for publication, the ever-charming Mr Steven Byers (a regular Cary Grant!). Remember, the goal is to embarrass and frighten the government into abandoning this foul scheme. We can stoop to conquer.

    Even if The Sun is for it, they will not pass up a chance to comment on a boob job. “Here is how Ms Petronella Binky-Winky, administrator and memo writer of Chorley Council, looked before her trip to Rio. Our lovely model Tiffany (phwooaaaaar!) demonstrates how Ms Binky-Winky’s chest probably looks after surgery.”

  • Julian Taylor

    Does anyone know any members of SHAC? (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty?). These guys seem to know how to dig up names and addresses, conduct a bit of intimidation and dont have the incovenience of a day job.

    Please don’t mention those vile scum on here. Those people are terrorists, not people whose only wish is to not be barcoded by the state. By even mentioning such a foul band of psychotics on here you reduce the estimation of the effort that is being started up in the eyes of many people.

  • Verity

    Let us not start mud slinging. If you don’t like Pommygranate’s suggestion, ignore it. Don’t start stirring up spats. We have a common goal. Not every suggestion will be a good one, or a workable one, or an agreeable one, but we do not want people intimidated into withholding suggestions because they fear being slapped down.

    Several people have already offered to contribute their talents and/or time. We need a motivated and savvy leader and coordinator.

  • Matt

    How about someone contacts the guys from NO2ID, and see if they would host the site? That way the database will immediately get a massive following from the members of NO2ID. What do you think?

  • Matt

    NO2ID have a forum, where someone has posted this article, so I’ve just posted in there with the idea of getting NO2ID to host a small wiki for this ‘database’. I may email them directly if there is no response on the forum, any opinions on this idea?

  • pommygranate

    I was not actually being serious.

    A more sincere suggestion would be to identify which of the national media would be supportive and work to enlist their support. I dont believe the Sun are supporters because of a belief that it will help in the fight against terrorism.

    However, i know people on the Today programme who are horrified at the prospect of ID cards. They would be receptive to interviews to publicise the campaign.

  • Verity

    First, we need an organisation, with a leader/organiser, and we need to know whether the notion of hacking information about some of the anonymous players is workable. We do not want to tip our hand by scampering off to the press before we have a programme in place.

  • Matt

    I’m not sure ‘hacking’ is going to be a viable option to be honest (not least because of the dubious legality of any data we obtain), but Google can be a very powerful tool in the right hands, and anything found with it is technically (I think) publically available so legal (I’m no lawyer though!)

    I’ve found a site that hosts wikis for free (wikispaces.org), and is very quick to setup. We would have to agree on a name for it, and if we go ahead with this (I’d be happy to set it up) we would get a URL like http://ourname.wikispaces.org

  • Verity

    OK, Matt has come up with a concrete suggestion. Does anyone know anything about wiki spaces and is it of value? We are only going to get one shot at this, so we can’t afford to experiment any more than necessary.

    We need a leader or a focal point, and I would like nominate Michael Taylor whose simple, yet brilliant, idea this is – and who strangely seems to have gone to ground. Other suggestions would be welcome as we need to get moving.

    Second, we need a coordinator, or organiser, who can see the big picture and hand out assignments and keep track of them.

    How do people feel about the Wiki suggestion? And why? The No2ID suggestion? And why?

  • zmollusc

    I know nothing about organising a wiki, but would hazard that if you can’t find out how it works then it is de facto crap at its job???

  • Verity,

    You seem to be doing an excellent job of promoting this extremely clever idea and encouraging Samizdata readers to get involved.

    As far as using a wiki to track the data is concerned:-

    A wiki is a website designed so that (mostly) any reader of the website can also become a writer and designer by simply using an ‘edit’ link to change the content of any page or to create new pages.

    * A wiki makes it easy for anyone to contribute their findings – it’s good for collaboration such as would be needed for a project of this nature. No need to sign up, reveal your name etc. – an individual can contribute the information he has and disappear.
    * Using a prebuilt wiki package alleviates the hassle of building a website and a means by which individuals can contribute information.
    * Anyone can become a dedicated contributor and help manage the information or find innovative ways of displaying and using the information.

    * The openness of the wiki system leaves the project susceptible to suffering damage from a naieve or overenthusiastic contributor who might post libelous material. Someone would have to keep an eye out for this sort of thing.
    * The open and potentially anonymous nature of the website might impact on the credibility of the project. Moderation would be essential to maintain a standard of professionalism.
    * How can the project leader be sure of the accuracy of the information provided?

    NO2ID is doing a good job doing what it’s doing at the moment – I’m not sure this is a project for NO2ID to get involved in given the risks I’ve stated.

    Perhaps the way to guard against some of the dangers I highlighted above is to host the project’s server in Russia and ensure contributors connect using SSL. I might be going over-the-top but I have a feeling the Government isn’t going to like this scheme…

  • Verity

    Stephen, thank you very much for that. In other words, if we went the wiki route, someone would have to monitor it so it didn’t become foolishly libellous. That shouldn’t be too onerous.

    The thought that the government wouldn’t like this scheme has occurred to me too, and probably everyone else reading this topic. But, we didn’t expect them to like it. It is being made necessary because they don’t like us and mean us harm. If we fear the government and do nothing, identity cards will not be the last step.

    I am not technical, but there must be an answer to this. Would hosting in Russia work? How about Cuba?

  • Matt

    I’ve checked over the Ts and Cs of the wiki hosting site, and they disallow use of potentially libelous material (understandably) but also use of personal information, so on that note and Stephen’s comments, it would be best to host it elsewhere.

    Hosting offshore in Russia, Cuba or wherever is definetly a good idea, but may be difficult and would certainly take time. I’ll have a look around though and see if I can find any way we can do this a) quickly, b) cheaply and c) securely. Any ideas on names yet? Or am I getting too far ahead of myself?

  • Bernie

    It is certainly ironic to host the site in Russia but I think it is a good idea. I vote Verity to lead and/or coordinate this project. I’m willing to do some donkey work.

    Going back to my idea about not bothering with those who are really behind this but just looking at those MPs who are publicly in favour of it, I think it would make for a simpler task and the names will probably be higher profile. This is not to say that we should ignore the others but that getting press and airtime will be easier with “names”.

  • Verity

    The thought that free speech against Tony Blair and his government’s repressive new project had to be hosted in Russia or Cuba would have a certain poignancy that wouldn’t go amiss.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bernie, but I’m not in the running for two reasons. One is time, and the other is, the leader and the coordinator need to be in Britain because when it’s up and running, they’ll need to be available to talk to the media. I’m on the other side of the Atlantic. Second, people living in Britain are much more up to date on new names and new developments, too.

    But like you, I am willing to do some donkey work if someone gives me a task. We’ve got a lot of Indians volunteering. Now we need a chief!

  • Matt

    I’ve found a couple of places that do offshore anonymous hosting, the best one being katzglobal.

    It is all rather expensive though, the basic hosting is $25 then you have to pay for additional services (SSL is $130, but I feel that may be overkill anyway).

    Do we really think there is a need to have it hosted offshore? I’m mean it’s not like they could shutdown the site just because it contained publically available information on people that we pay to work for us could they?

    It would be a real shame if this great idea fizzled out due to lack of good management, but I fear I’m certainly not the man for the job! I would be happy to donate towards the hosting though, if we do go for that option.

  • Verity

    Yes, it’s an imaginative and workable idea and we can’t let it fizzle away, Matt.

    Re offshore, I think most of us have no faith in this government’s integrity. If a group of people were doing something to damage their key project, I think they would become vengeful. Stephen Byers shut down Railtrack, having taken over the job intending to shut it down come what may, and then he lied about the figures. Hopefully, he will go to prison for this, but the point is, this is a government of liars along Soviet lines.

    It looks above as though Jonathan may be emerging as the leader!

  • There is a lot of research on companies involved in the process here.

  • guy herbert

    Now don’t wander off the original great idea, which was to trace those pushing the project within Whitehall. Companies are just suckers for taxpayers money. They may be lobbyists abut aren’t the promotors, the inheritors of the mantle of Stafford Beer.

  • Verity

    Bishop Hill, no offence, but again, let us not divert the idea. I don’t think the companies involved are of interest to the man in the pub or the chav and chavette or the man who sits in the parking lot booth and gives change. They don’t give a monkeys about companies and they wouldn’t read about them. And the whole swathe of middle England is our audience, not just people who study annual reports. This is everyone’s fight and we need to engage them all. Talking about fees of £20m or £100m or consultative reports is not relevant to most people and will turn them off.

    It is in the people in the public sector who are subverting democracy to their own ends that we are interested in and whose own personal details – the same as those they will be collecting on the rest of us – we wish to expose.

    Again, the brilliance of this idea is, in the main, the people on the public payroll who are involved at decision making/advisory memo-writing level whose details we will expose as a kind of little aide memoire to Blair and cohorts as to where this might lead.

    IMHO – we must not get diverted into making this another rant about the government spending taxpayer money on studies. It engages no one.

    Michael Taylor’s idea is simple, practical and once we publish the personal details, in the form of an ID card, of the first government person, it will engage catch everyone’s attention, because it is going to be applied to them, from the fella who does tune-ups for cash only and collects disability benefit to the oil traders over their lunchtime pints to the women in the nail bar to the teachers on their break in the staff room to the couple of cops cruising in the patrol car … And the more we expose about the anonymous civil servants and a few MPs, the more nervous the major players become. It’s bloody brilliant! Let us stay focussed.

  • John K

    Verity, if only the slug Byers could end up in prison! Sadly it won’t happen, as it’s a civil trial. He’ll probably end up as a European Commissioner instead.

  • Verity

    John K – Why not? Everyone else does.

    I have some other thoughts, but let us stay focussed on this critical idea. Let us not stray off. It looks as though Jonathan Pearce is emerging as the leader, which is important, because we’re all over the place without a leader.

  • guy herbert

    Even if The Sun is for it, they will not pass up a chance to comment on a boob job.

    This rather underestimates the Sun. The Sun is not obsessed with boobs, and knows its readers will not be interested in the boobs of anyone not famous or attractive. (That’s a Mail story: appealing to implicit female envy.)

    The Sun is for it for the same reason Tony is for it–though undoubtably Sun journalists understand the issue much better then the PM. (1) The idea of “id cards” is popular with its readers, and (2) it is popular with the Government. The Murdoch press (as a matter of hugely successful long-term commercial strategy to soften regulatory barriers, not because Mr Murdoch is evil, as the left assume) does not attack governments where the government has a chance of winning.

    The Sun does not lead opinion. But as soon as it becomes clear that one bureaucratic aim of the scheme is to exterminate White Van Man, then its readers will turn against. When its readers are furious, the Sun will tie the political corpse of Tony Blair to its chariot’s tail and drag it through every street in the land.

    A competent opposition will seek to ensure White Van Man is alerted to the threat to his lifstyle, but the investigation of who and why is not particularly relevant to that cause, or to the Sun. The Sun will be interested in politically neutral stories with concrete impact on its readers. And there will be plenty of those once the system is rolling.

  • Verity

    guy, OK, a good thought and I take your point. I was just using The Sun as an example, but I’ll drop it if it’s not a good idea.

    We need all of England with us and that definitely includes White Van Man. We need him to get pissed off. And the people in the tube whose job it is to shout “Mind the gap” and the people who come on duty in the supermarkets at midnight to stack the shelves and the lawyers and company directors and Dixon’s sales staff and people on disability benefit who do work on the side and the check-in staff at the airline counter, plus the pilots and flight attendants and shampoo girls plus the owner of the salon. Everyone! This cannot be a middle class revolt. It’s got to encompass all of England. And with this clever idea, it can!

  • Verity,

    You’ve been asking for specific names so that our coalition of the willing can make a start on information gathering and as far as MPs go, I think it might be worth prioritising on the following members of the Government to begin with:-

    (Admittedly these individuals are all obvious choices given their positions in the Government and the important roles they have each personally played in the promotion of the ID/NIR system. I dislike Buyers as much as the next Samizdata commenter but I don’t think he’s obviously associated with this latest totalitarian scheme.)

    David Blunkett – ZaNu Lab’s key proponent for so long

    Charles Clarke – Blunkett’s somewhat less confident replacement

    Tony McNulty – the nasty Home Office minister who recently told the Commons only 21 people opposed the Home Office’s ID/NIR proposals

    Andy Burnham – Parliamentary Under-Secretary with the Home Office and a twit in a similar vain to McNulty

    Patricia Hewitt – ex-General Secretary of the ‘National Council for Civil Liberties’ – predecessor of ‘Liberty’ – strongly in favour of ID/NIR

    Beverley Hughes – misled the Commons about the response the Home Office received to its ‘public consultation’ on ID cards

    The Public Whip provides a handy list of how individual MPs vote in the Commons.

    Identity Cards Bill – Second Reading

    How we go about using the FOIA to dig deeper – beyond the public ayes and noes of Hansard – is a topic I hope Jonathan Pearce will address soon. I agree that Jonathan is emerging as the leader of this project — he has my support.

  • Matt

    How about also
    your some of these guys. Particularly Katherine Courtney the Programme Directory for the ID card scheme?

  • Verity

    Stephen Hodgson – The thing is, if we reveal secret information about the above, we will hold no trump card. This is why we’re seeking information about civil servants. Pour encourager les autres. We hope to strike fear into the hearts of the above who have so much to hide, thus, perhaps, mysteriously weakening their commitment to the National Identity Card.

    That’s not to say that we can’t pick off one or two of the ones you’ve mentioned above – to show we mean business.

    Yes, Jonathan seems to be emerging as the leader. I think he will do a very effective job, and he has my support, too!

  • Verity

    Stephen Hodgson – Lest I sounded dismissive in my previous post, I’d just like to clarify what I meant by adding that if we kill the big beasts off first, we can’t pose a threat to them later.

    I do agree that maybe one or two of those you mentioned above should be in the first tranche, though.

  • Verity,

    Not dismissive at all.

    I appreciate what you have in mind and what you mean by ‘pour encourager les autres’.

  • I thoroughly approve of the idea of publicising who it is who is backing the identity cards bill. I’ve made a small contribution by publishing the names of the MPs who voted for the bill on Tuesday on my blog. This is info available via the Parliament website, but getting it out onto weblogs should help it get disseminated wider.

    I also have a suggestion. Why not widen the scope of this to publicise those who are backing other attacks on civil liberties, such as the control orders legislation, the undermining of jury trials, the proposals for mass surveillance of all car journeys, etc?

  • Verity

    James Hammerton, The issue is ID Cards. Focus is all.

    And as I said earlier, this is one issue in which blogs are not going to play a huge role – except mobilising the activists, as Samizdata has just done on this issue. But to my mind, this is MSM and we should play it that way.

  • cine-rama

    Just a quick question… Have any of you lovely libertarians made any progress with the idea of a wiki to collate this info on civil service and other proponents of ID cards and the National Identity Register?

    I think that for speed of action it might be worthwhile setting this up wherever is easiest. If “state action” comes to bear then hosting in Russia/Cuba/Principality of Sealand etc. could be the next step.

    You all seem to have appointed Jonathan Pearce as organiser. I suggest that if there’s no movement by Monday July 4th, someone grabs the reins to get the wiki set up so that we can start adding stuff.

    BTW, some of us lamentable socialists are pretty darn keen to take a libertarian viewpoint on this one!

  • Verity

    cine-rama – In today’s (Saturday’s) Telegraph, the Blair Order of The Glorious British People’s Democracy is floating the idea of “carbon” ration books. For example — oh yes, it’s been thought out carefully — if you wish to take a flight somewhere, so many of your “carbon coupons” will be deducted from your Tony Carbon Book. If you do not use all of your carbon “points” you can put them back in the “carbon bank”.

    And we’re worried about identity cards? This man is a baying loon.

  • cine-rama

    A quick thought: if we set up a wiki area to gather and exchange this info, should it be open to all, or is there any sensible reason to restrict access? I imagine that even if we make some clear statements about information sources and data protection aspects, there will be some who will see this as not kosher.

  • cine-rama: Someone is indeed trying to organise something along these lines but it may be a week or two before they can go public with anything (if indeed it gets off the ground). Stay tuned.

  • Well, I thought people might want to have a little fun in the meantime. I’ve thrown together the following:


    and done my best to imbue it with some policies that are intended to keep it the right side of the data protection act. Click the People and Companies link and Calendar link on the main page to start helping out with research.

    Have fun (good clean fun)!

  • Verity

    cine-rama – It was obvious when everything suddenly went very quiet that someone was doing something in the background. Why don’t we wait quietly to see what that something is?

    Presumably it will also include the announcement of who the leader is, so we will know who to take direction from.