back to article How believable are government claims on ID cards?

British people are maintaining steady levels of disbelief over goverment claims about ID cards, according to official Home Office research. Lobby group No2ID picked up on the research this week, but a spokesman for the IPS said it had been published on in November. Google has a cache from earlier this month. The …


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  1. Steve Browne

    Perhaps people are waking up

    Perhaps they are realising that this is not such a good idea after all. Perhaps they are realising that the real reason for ID cards is control of the population as a whole, and not paedophiles/terrorists/teenagers. Perhaps finding out that the police are already (illegally) recording conversations between innocent people and their MP. Being on remand awaiting an extradition hearing while no offence has been committed in this country is innocent. Maybe, they even beginning to remember how Ghandi started his campaign for independence of India, by refusing to carry his ID papers.

    Why has the government leaped to the support of copyright holders? Now they have a reason to monitor everyone's internet connection. Watch out for the scope creep here. Stalin would have been proud of them, because this is precisely his tactics in subjugating the Soviet Union.

    Detention without trial (sorry, control orders), criminalising activities without the need for legislation (ASBO), persecution of identifiable groups (teenagers). WWII started with these things, change the names a bit to suit the circumstances, the route is the same. Of course, world war could not possibly happen again, and this time there would be no Britain standing alone as Britain no longer has any moral values in government, just a self serving bunch of Scottish mafiosi plundering the national wealth.

    Ditching ID cards would be a small step in the right direction, restoring our liberty would be a second. Returning government to being the servant of the people and not their master should be the objective.

  2. Eddie

    And the cost

    Did the survey mention the ID card fiasco would cost £20bn+ to the taxpayer and the Government would probably lose all the ID data at some point before asking the questions?

    We might need that money to bail out some more banks before too long.

    Or the UK could have single handedly build 2 full scale prototype fusion reactors with the ID card money - it's taken 10 years and most of the world's economies to stump up the £10bn to build one in France.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: cost

    Only £20 bn? That's pocket change! After all, we can easily afford to blow nearly £100 bn on Northern Wreck... £20 bn works out to... only about £400 for every man, woman, and child in the UK. (A bit more if you only consider taxpayers, of course).


    And well worth it, in view of the obvious benefits to everyone.

  4. micheal
    Paris Hilton

    our survey said.........

    If you ask 2000 people in north london what team they support, then weight it as national statistics, you'd find the whole country support tottenham, arsenal or man u....what is surveying a group of people in one area got to do with a cross section of the populus? if you want true opinion, you need at least 2000 people in at least 30 different area's.

    I bet it's less than one in four in reality, and in area's like Harringey or Bradford with high migrant populations, possibly none in 1 million, they come here to get away from the dictator states.

    even Paris would laugh at those figures quoted

  5. Anonymous Coward


    "Perhaps finding out that the police are already (illegally) recording conversations between innocent people and their MP."

    Hang on. I'm all for scrapping ID cards but where did this come from? If you're referring to the recent scandal then you might want to rethink the word "innocent".

  6. Nathan


    What I find most laughable is that all they are trying to measure is the success (or lack therof) of their own spin and marketing.

    On one have they try and convince the population that ID cards will solve all of their problems, and then they try and find out whether they have been successful in doing so.

    My 2p worth is that there are almost no benefits to ID cards, especially when confronted with the associated costs to the taxpayer.

    The biggest problem with the government is that they do not do what people really want them to do, instead they have their own hidden agendas and try to convince people that they should follow them.

  7. Chris Williams
    Thumb Down

    Q: How believable are government claims on ID cards?

    A: As believable as government claims on pretty much anything: not at all.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Servant of the people?!

    My knowledge of history is patchy, but my understanding is that we transitioned over a few hundred years from having no choice in who lorded over us, to having one 20-millionth of a choice every four years.

    The government has never been the servant of the people - you're thinking of that Greek concept of "democracy", which has never been implemented since, unless you count the rich and influential as "the people" and you count everyone else as "the slaves".

    The idea of "returning" the government to being the servant of the people is a false one. We first need to *invent* a form of government where this is the case.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The report shows the survey's demographic profile. It doesn't include any information on the geographical basis of the profile, but does it really matter since it already damns Government claims of growing support for the measure.

  10. GettinSadda
    Black Helicopters

    @Oli Wright

    Care to tell us what Babar Ahmad has been convicted of?

    Or have you already totally swallowed our current government's favourite idea of "Guilty until proven innocent"?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    As always, hampered by their own penny-pinching ...

    ... like with all grand schemes, as soon as the bottom line is approached, the government starts to cripple itself ....

    I'm convinced that if the government had quietly accepted the card would cost the citizen nothing, then they could have pushed forward with a far more ambitious ID scheme with nary a murmour.

    Lucky for the anti ID card brigade (me included) they fatally allowed the press to spin the "100 quid a pop" story, which instantly made people everywhere "anti" on priciple.

    It's a reversal of the situation where they got away with increasing NI because "it's for the health service[1]"

    [1] yeah, right

  12. Tom Silver badge

    Cheap at half the price.

    What the missgovernment always fails to point out is that for the system to be of any use to anyone then all transactions will have to be done using an ID card.

    How else would you track a crazed hairdresser - they might buy peroxide using cash - £20 billion (lower estimate) wasted.

    So in order not to waste the money quite so obviously they will have to make certain sales ID card identified only. Which means small shops and haridressers will have to pay £10k + to sell fags or booze.

    So thats your small shops closed!

    Does this feel that, like most missgovernment stuff that this is government of the people, by big business , for big business?

  13. MGJ


    Perhaps if the government had focussed on the real likely benefits, none of this disasterous own goal would have happened. Real world identity cards are an expensive way of dealing with terrorism and border control. What modern government could do with (and it would the citizens who have to interact with Government frquently or infrequently too) is a proper link between a citizens real world identity and an electronic identity. The government gateway was a start but it is horrendous to use as the usernames and passwords were so unwieldy. So every seperate government department has to run its own identity management scheme and few can run a proper one (and end up sending linking details to each other in insecure means).

    A single digital identity for transactions with government has a business case that other countries have readily recognised, particularly where many such transactions use Notaries to authenticate that people are who they say they (ie trusted third parties). But the costs of set up would be too high to justify in the press, so the straw man of terrorism is created instead, and after all most of those who would benefit are not middle-class theorists but those who have to engage with multiple government departments on a frequent basis (ie claimants - have you ever filled out a job seekers allowance form? Fancy taking on a weeks work so that you have to fill it out again afterwards? )

    I'll beleive NO2ID's worries are real when they all burn their passports, NHS cards, mobiles, loyalty cards, Amazon accounts etc. If the government wanted to snoop on them, it already would, and they are happy enough with commercial snooping which benefits noone but the companies that send them marketing

  14. TeeCee Gold badge

    How believable?

    Put it this way. If you look closely, you can see their trousers smoking when they speak.

  15. Nomen Publicus
    Dead Vulture

    jumped up library card

    It would be impressive if they could demonstrate JUST ONE indisputable benefit of ID cards.

    Over the years the ID card has been downgraded from a high security, high accuracy card based on new data to a jumped up library card based on the inaccurate and easily faked data in the passport and drivers license databases.

    To force people to carry the ID card they have to make it an every day thing - which means integrating something like public transport and congestion charge into the system. But we know from history that the government just cannot run such complex system integration projects. The cost of the card will be minor compared to the cost of making it ubiquitous.

  16. Steve Davies

    check out ID effectiveness at the next labour conference

    ID cards prevent terrorism - how do they expect to get away with this claptrap. Knowing someones identity gives you zero knowledge of their intent. Don't ask Gordon Bruin - ask his protection officer.

    At party conferences (like say the Labour ones) everyone allowed in carries their carefully prepared and issued special ID cards so there must be no need to physically screen anyone of them is there ? and yet they do. Maybe that should be questioned - hard !

    It beggars belief that they can spout this nonsense and then show such explicit proof that it is completely ineffective and get away with it. But the public seems to swallow any old claptrap nowadays.

    "Every nation gets the government it deserves" another piece of claptrap.

  17. Iain

    @Oli Wright

    '"Perhaps finding out that the police are already (illegally) recording conversations between innocent people and their MP."

    Hang on. I'm all for scrapping ID cards but where did this come from? If you're referring to the recent scandal then you might want to rethink the word "innocent".'

    Babar Ahmad is in jail because of a US extradition warrant issued in 2004. He has not been convicted of any crime, nor has he been charged with any crime in the UK. He is therefore "innocent" in the eyes of the law.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Reason why this ID card should not be implemented at any cost.

    These ID cards would not work at most places where there is no reading equipment and hence it will be waste of time and money to implement this system which will only make bad problems worse.

  19. N

    and what if...

    as just about every other government department has successfully managed to do, they loose the data?

    do we get replacement fingerprints & retina?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    A simpler solution...

    Put the persons photo on the credit cards and get the banking system to issue ID cards if they must. They already have good identity databases of people. The photo's can be taken from your overall credit file. They do this in other countries (for example Sweden).

    The majority of cost will come from security. I would much rather trust a banks security over the governments security. The banks will already have card bureau services available for production and the infrastructure already in place.

    Stop with expensive government IT projects that go overbudget, don't deliver what they are intended, and have security holes the size of the grand canyon.

  21. Steve Davies

    How does knowing peoples IDs fix this c*ck up...


    the Ahmad thing seems even more of a scandal than is making the mainstream press.

    Following text taken from the on-line current "Private Eye"

    "Babar Ahmad was first arrested in 2003 over activities on his Islamist website but was released without charge. He was then arrested on a US warrant in 2004, shortly after protesting about injuries he received during his first arrest, and he has been in prison pending extradition ever since, while legal arguments rumble on.

    But as Eye 1125 reported, Ahmad’s supposed ‘accomplices’ in America, named on the affidavit, have already been released without charge. One of them, Muslim businessman Syed Maswood, was even invited to attend a Republican party fundraiser with George Bush – although he told the US press he wouldn’t be travelling to Washington because he was still struggling to get his name off the no-fly lists."

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "The survey used a sample of 2,052 people weighted to reflect the UK population."

    I'd love to know the break down of this... 300 Poles, 100 Romanian Gypsies, 200 claiming asylum but won't reveal where they're from, 150 who ticked boxes but ran before leaving their name... etc etc...

    Oh, and 25 white anglo-saxon c of e natives.

  23. Dennis
    Black Helicopters

    Lies, damn lies and statistics

    It's interesting to spot the bias that is built into the available answers.

    Look at Section 5 - believability. There are five possible answers:

    Very believable

    Somewhat believable

    Slightly believable

    Not at all believable

    Don't know

    So with three of the answers you believe in these fairy stories. Cunning. Where is the "Somewhat unbelievable" or "Slightly unbelievable"?

    Then on the next page we read: "mean score out of 5, where 5 is very important and 1 is not at all important". But there were only two options between these choices. So they are mapping four answers onto the range 1 to 5.

    Eighty-three percent of statistics are made up on the spot.

  24. Steve Evans

    @Steve Davies


    "ID cards prevent terrorism" Just like they did in Spain the other year.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    I love this government

    They spend all their time destroying civil liberties in the name of preventing terrorist.

    Maybe when they create all these wonderful new laws that the police have to inforce, they should remember one thing...

    The UK police force polices by consent... maybe GB should read the principles which the police force was formed on, before trying to create a police state...

    To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.

    To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

    To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.

    To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.

    To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

    To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.

    To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

    To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.

    To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

  26. A J Stiles
    Thumb Down

    Still the biggie

    On what basis are they going to assign identity cards? Presumably, people are going to have to produce something else that proves their identity to the government's satisfaction before getting the new card.

    So why can't (whatever documentation would be necessary and sufficient to obtain a national identity card) just be used in its place, whenever anyone is required to prove their identity?

    By the way, if you fancy committing identity theft, you can do a lot worse than visit

  27. Jon

    Faith in the Government

    Finally people are realising that the Government is not the alpha-and-omega of cure-all solutions. I think it took a good solid catalogue of failures and errors to make people realise it for themselves, eg. losing MHRC data, etc etc etc. People are seeing the big Govt types for the incompetent so-and-so's that they tend to be.

  28. Rich Bee


    Done all of those things actually, but do intend to replace the passport.

  29. brimful

    Let gov have it

    Lets assume that .Gov does get its way with ID cards, wouldn't it be wonderful if the company who's contracted to carry out the work suddenly loses 90% of their workforce due to mass resignations? Since the company has lost virtually all it's workforce / IT pros, it would have a tough time trying to implement the ID scheme. Not only that but the adverse effects that the project will have on its reputation will be quite ammusing as well. In short, let the muppets at .gov have their ID card scheme and lets just sit back and watch which company is stupid enough to bid for it. Last I checked it was still legal to boycott the services and / or products of a particular company due to its questionable business practices.

  30. Mark

    In defense of Oli Wright


    He was in prison, right? So he MUST be guilty.

    And EVERYONE knows that any screw is bent, so that bolsters it!

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @@Oli Wright

    Oh come on all you bleeding-heart liberals. He's been accused of terrorism AND he has brown skin. I mean, come on, how much more PROOF could you need? OBVIOUSLY a trial would be superfluous - since we all KNOW he's guilty it would be a foregone conclusion and therefore a waste of time and money.

  32. Shabble


    I'm quite worried about this on a deeper level than ID cards. The ID cards issue is going to be in the manifesto at the next election, so that means that Brown will (if he wins) feel vindicated in implimenting the plan.

    However, forcing ID cards on the 39% of the population who do not want them on the basis of a General Election result stretches the concept of democratic mandate. In the 1979 referendum for Scottish devolution it was a requirement that 40% of the total electorate supported devolution. With 61% in support of ID cards, it would require a two thirds turn out at a referendum to hit the pass mark used for Scotland in '79. This is a greater percentage than that which turned out for the either Scottish devolution vote.

    In the '97 referendum that gave the Scottish their Executive, a simple majority was required - and this would happen if the ID card opinion poll is accurate. However, in the last General Election only 35% of voters chose Labour, and that equated to 22% of the potential voting population. Without a referendum, the ID Card scheme could be introduced with the tacit support of less than 1/4 of the British electorate. That just doesn't seem right to me.

    If Brown wants to introduce an ID Card scheme we need a referendum to prove that the British people want it.

  33. BitTwister

    @Oli Wright

    > might want to rethink the word "innocent".

    It seems pretty clear to me - he was questioned then released without charge by the UK police, but then banged up (several years ago - still no charge though) by request of the USA - where his alleged associates have already been questioned and released without charge. These requests from the USA are terribly convenient for them because no supporting evidence needs to be provided for our lame puppets to validate - they just meekly obey.

  34. Bruce

    New Aussie Gov scrapping ID card.,21598,23211302-949,00.html

    MORE than $1 billion that would have been spent on introducing a controversial access card for Australians will now be returned to federal coffers, Human Services Minister Joe Ludwig said.

    Labor will scrap the Howard government's plan for an access card, which triggered privacy concerns and was compared to identity cards.

    It was intended to replace the Medicare card and up to 16 other benefit cards, streamlining access to a range of health and welfare services.

    Senator Ludwig said the card would have cost more than expected, without saving as much as it was supposed to. He said the money would be better spent on other policies.

    "I'll return almost $1.2billion to the budget for taxpayers," Senator Ludwig said.

    "We are focused on the practical things that will make a real difference, like online services, the co-ordination between agencies, data matching and data sharing, that's what the Rudd Labor government will focus on," he said.

  35. Tom Austin


    I thought it was 72.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

  36. Dave

    @ Dennis

    Yes - all surveys employ a 'forced choice' predefined set of responses.

    You wouldn't want the gumment to find out that we all hate them, shurely?

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