action: D-day, 8th July
OK, it’s coming down to the wire. Next week, on Wednesday, 8th July, the Government is going to put three regulations before the House of Commons. These are the crucial executive orders that put the guts of the Identity Cards Act in place; specifically, they are the ones that make it possible to force anyone who wants a passport (or any other official document not yet specified) to be fingerprinted, recorded, and loaded into the National Identity Register, to force the same people to pay for the dubious privilege unless they work at Manchester or London City Airports and have an airside security pass, and to pass any and all information from the Register to a variety of authorities including private credit-reference agencies and anyone who those authorities want to give it to.
At the current time of asking, this would appear to include the Uzbek secret police, so long as a police officer above the rank of inspector (!) acting on orders from a more senior officer, or the authorised agent of either secret service, GCHQ, SOCA, or the Inland Revenue says so. There is a clear hierarchy of priorities here; the fee is no problem so long as the compulsion doesn’t get in, and although obviously evil, the data-trafficking is considerably less problematic if the compulsion doesn’t get in.
So, time to write to them; remember that the scheme will be compulsory for anyone who ever wants to leave the country, which is another way of saying there is no choice; remember that the system is wildly insecure, that the biometrics have been hacked repeatedly, and that the Government wants to use the Chip-and-PIN infrastructure as a major part of it, and some Chip-and-PIN terminals mysteriously contain GSM radios that call numbers in Pakistan; remember that it will cost a fortune; and remember that many of the supposed “allied” intelligence services who will be able to ask for data from it have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted not to torture British citizens.
If you’re scared of the whips, vote for the fees regulation and maybe the data sharing one if you’re desperate and they’ve shown you the photos; but whatever you do, vote down the Information and Code of Practice on Penalties Order. It’s secondary legislation, so it just takes one loss in the Commons to kill it.