back to article Public ID card support holds steady - says gov report

A majority of the public remains in support of the National Identity Scheme, according to the latest figures from the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). The latest tracking research on the scheme, carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres and published on 22 October, shows that 60 per cent are in favour with 24 per cent against, …


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  1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    I'd like to see the questions they asked.

    Along with the demographics of the (pitifully small sample of) respondents. Also, were any 'statistical techniques' applied to the data, such as removing 'outliers' - e.g. asking 10,000 people, then discarding the 7,500 who gave inconvenient answers.

    There are lies, damn lies, statistics, and then government statistics.

  2. AC

    dunno about you guys,

    but I have never, in the real world or online, comes across any average Joe sixpack who agrees with this fucknig thing.

    Has anyone else? The only people that seem to be in favour of it are the corrupt in charge, no-one on the street wants it.

    makes me so dfklhgjlcfgkrtflrtgpsuiedighk;jdfg ANNNGGGGGRRRRRRRYYYYY.


    fag break me thinks.

  3. Iain

    60% In favour?

    You must be kidding! I knew a good percentage of the people in this country were morons, but 60% comes as a genuine surprise. Ah well, I sincerely hope they get the country they deserve.

  4. Ash

    How about a quick poll of our own

    If you don't support the ID card and National ID Database schemes, put a Y or N at the beginning of your post title, seperated from the rest of the title by a hyphen.

    E.g. Y - ID Cards are a great idea! or N - ID Cards are like numbering the Jews during the Holocaust!

    Let's see what the informed think.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If a governmnet busybody

    Came up to you and said "We plan on giving people ID cards so we can tell who's a paedophile or a terrorist, you think this is a good idea, right? You aren't a terrorist or a paedophile are you?"

  6. Graham Marsden

    The Government did a poll...

    ... which said most people didn't want ID cards...

    ... but they "lost" the results...

  7. michael

    lies damed lies

    and stats

    says it all realy

  8. TimM

    cards vs database

    And anyway, the real issue which I bet wasn't even mentioned to those answering the survey is the database behind it all. The card is a minor issue. Many like the idea of a card they can use to prove their identity in one way or another. I bet gov surveys fail to stress the implications of the central database storing all your personal details, accessible to anyone in public service, shared with the US and any other friendly country that asks, including enough information for the police to pick you as a suspect because you match some profile similar to someone else, and inevitable flaws in the system that allow data to get mixed up and your identity swapped with someone else. Not to mention the fraud, stolen and lost information risks.

    And most importantly of all, I bet they don't stress the point that none of the supposed benefits have much basis in fact (e.g. tackling terrorism), or the total cost to the tax payer over the years of an overrunning public sector IT system development project, that could have been better spent elsewhere (NHS for example).

    Sure, if you ask someone in the street if they'd support ID cards and say it stops terrorists blowing up your house and lets you buy booze if you're over 18, and yeah they'll say yes.

  9. Richard
    Black Helicopters

    I can just see it now

    "Hello Mr Pleb, could you please choose one of the following:"

    Do you;

    A. Support the improved safety of yourself, your children, puppies, your right to eat large cakes etc. as a result of the great Gordonian ID scheme?

    B. Want to share your house with thousands of immigrants, while being blown up by Osama, and being forced to watch as Special Brew fuelled unemployed chav takes sexual advantage of your wife/partner?

    C. Just hate Britain?

    D. Don't know?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    The solution is simple

    Let those who want a card have and pay for one. Leave everyone else alone.

  11. Mark

    Led by the nose

    As ever, ask the right questions in the right way, and you'll get the numbers you want - I would be astonished if the governments poll didn't show support. If the entire population turned up at number 10 for a week long protest, they'd still claim support and bring it in anyway.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can't think you they ask for their opinions. Be the resuts given, no one I know then.

  13. Clarissa

    Turkeys? Christmas?

    Government department finds that survey reaffirms it's current strategy. Next up: shock news about the pope's religion and bears defecation habits.

  14. ElFatbob

    Well, they'd have to say that, wouldn't they.

    More shite from the Ministry of Truth.

  15. Jonathan

    "they reflect push questions..

    , in which people are asked if they support the card only after being told of the benefits expected by the service."

    so, its:

    -are you worried about terrorism/paedophiles?

    -do you think the government should be able to track and monitor suspected terrorists/paedophiles ?

    -do you think a person should be able to prove beyond doubt who they are?

    -do you support id cards?

    rather than:

    -do you care about your personal liberty?

    -are you concerned about the identity data lost by the government?

    -would you worry about some incorrect information about you being kept on your permanent record?

    do you support id cards?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Rusty Shackleford says'

    What our glorious dear leader fiddle a survey? Gasp shurely shome mishtake!

    Once you explain to people properly that their details will be inscribed on a ten inch metal spike and thrust into their skull (without anaesthetic) then of course they are in favour. The data will also be securely locked in a file on a disc in the first class loo on the 8:22 from Waterloo. So of course it will be totally secure.

    Access won't be an issue since Uncle Tom Cobley and all will be able to see just how many times you poo in any given 24 hour period and a full breakdown of the poo will of course be included.

    Some uses of the Government database will include making sure you vote liebour for ever more or you'll be whisked off to one of Ms Spliff's re-education facilities. It will only cost 321% of the GDP for the next twenty years and will be up and running by a week on Tuesday.

    Fraternal Greetings Comrades!

  17. Master Baker

    Feck off

    Who the feck do they think they're kidding??

    "public support is holding steady". My arse.

    Has Ms Smith published the results of the Yoooooooooof ID website yet? Seriously, I'd love to wedgie that women although the effect may be minimal since her arse and her mouth share the same location on her fat head.

    They'll collect ID data then sell it to companies and criminals- like the DVLA database. Don't they grab enough of our taxes already without having to sell our data to make ends-meat? Fecking Jizz monkey's.

    Everyone I speak to (and that's a lot - I have loads of voices in my head) is dead-against this scheme. Where do the government get their stats from? Happy-land with marshmellow clouds and chocolate parking meters?

    This government has gone too far. They should be ousted at the next erection, erm, election and their MPs should be chased out of their golden taxpayer-funded houses by angry unwashed masses bearing pitchforks and trowels. And that ain't the coffee talking.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question QX1 is a preconditioner

    That QX1 is a preconditioner question. It sets the idea up that the "The Identity and Passport Service" is not "The government" by asking whether you trust them separately.

    Q1. This splits the people into two groups, those who know what HMGov is up to and those that don't. Why include those that don't know the plans in the survey? Their opinion can only be formed by the info you provide them in the survey (in Q5), and that info is the positive half of the information designed to illicit a positive response? i.e. your survey is designed to give the result you want.

    Q2. People who aware of the plans are given an influencing question to plant potential positive uses in their minds (and none of the negatives): "Why do you think that the national identity being introduced? 01: Prevent illegal immigration, 02: Easier to identify people, 03: Easier to detect and arrest criminals" etc.

    Q3. Now that they've prepped the people they ask the main question. "Overall, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the government’s plan to introduce a national identity scheme, which includes the Identity Card?"

    Then we branch onto further influencing questions.

    Q4. This question is asked if you *disagree* with the ID card scheme, but the first two options to this question are for people who AGREE IN PRINCIPLE to the ID card scheme. You can agree with the introduction of ID card scheme, but think it will be too expensive, or not work. However you would not be asked this question if you agree. You are assumed to believe it will work and not be too expensive if you said you agree with it.

    i.e. a positive or neutral is assumed to be 100% positive, and a negative is assumed to be 20% positive. Undecided people are never asked if they think it will be too expensive because that would plant the idea of high cost in their heads. However they may think that, but they will never be asked it.

    Q5. "The proposed benefits of a national identity scheme, which includes the Identity Card, are shown below." You asked in Q1 whether they were aware of the Identity card scheme, even if they were not, you then still included them in the sample. With this question you plant the benefits of such a scheme in their head.

    Q6. Asks whether proposed benefits are IMPORTANT or not from positive benefit. This assumes the "would not work" response is false and asserts benefits that would require the ID scheme to work. So if I said "I don't think it can work" you then ask me whether the benefits of the card are important as thought it *must* work.

    Q7. More leading questions.

    Q7b. More leading questions.

    Q8. True or false questions presented as truths. Note that "your unique personal physical" ignores the false positives problem with face recognition algos, and "…It will be possible to use an Identity card instead of a passport if travelling in Europe" is currently in dispute: because UK does not accept EU residence permits as valid travel documents to UK for third country EU nationals, Spain and France no longer accept UK residence permits as valid entry to Spain and France. They randomly turn Brits away depending on the mood of the border officer.

    Q9. "The Government plans to introduce the first Identity Cards to people working in sensitive roles or locations, starting with airport workers, and then to young people on a voluntary basis". Voluntary? Nice word play, the airport workers card is not voluntary.

    Q10. What happened to Q10 and Q11? Did you get answers you didn't like and remove them from the survey?

    Q.12 "Thinking about providing your fingerprints, photo and signature to store on the National Identity Register which of the following locations would you NOT consider having these recorded at?" WHAT? How do they answer NO TO ANYWHERE to that question? It does not seem possible.

    Q13. Asks how often you travel abroad, i.e. plants the idea of id card as travel document.

    Q14a."The Identity Card will allow you to travel within the EU only, without the need to take a passport, and the card is likely to cost up to £30. Would you be interested in purchasing the card for travel purposes?"

    UK only accepts UK issued residence cards as valid for entry to the UK, EU states periodically retaliate. Do you feel lucky? Or would you rather get a passport.

    What happened to Q14, Q15, Q16, Q17? Did you get a negative response or something and you removed them?

    Q19. Are you a passport holder.

  19. Paul Murphy


    Wouldn't it be better if people were bar-coded instead?

    On their arm would be useful so that they could be easily scanned whenever necessary - there could be a law that ensured that peoples tattoos were on permanent display, so no-one could avoid the benefits.



  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do they bother?

    Why do they bother lying to us? Who trusts government figures anyway? When was the last time a Government-sponsored survey showed anything but majority support for any initiative? Is anyone that infallible?

    We can't get rid of them until they let us anyway, so why don't they just get the hell on with turning us into an official Police State? Then we won't be able to get rid of them at all.

  21. b
    Paris Hilton

    Where are the questions?

    I've looked on the 'net already and I can't find the questions that were actually asked in this survey anywhere. I'm pretty sure it's good practice for them to published when carrying out a survey such as this.

    Does El Reg have access to them?

  22. dervheid
    Thumb Down


    damned lies, and statistics.

    Given the figures come from what must be one of the biggest 'vested interests' around, does anyone really believe them.

  23. Matt Kimber


    My challenge to 'em, then... if everyone supports it, why don't we have a referendum and settle the matter once and for all?

  24. David Willis

    Rigged question ?

    If I were to give you £1,000,000 would you support the carrying of a Uk ID card?

    Ok so £52,000,000,000,000 we are all carrying ID cards...

  25. Dan
    Thumb Down


    Who do they ask? Where do they get the responses from? Have you every been asked? Also, if they are stopping people in town centres on Saturday and holding a clipboard, the responses would be skewed by the likelihood of people stopping. Anyone stupid enough to think this card is a good idea probably also stops for 30 minutes at a time to talk to market researchers, whereas anyone who values their privacy wouldn't stop anyway because they don't want their name/address being written down by a stranger.

    This whole thing is a crock of sh1t, and now economics times are getting harder, it's batsh1t crazy too. £5.6 billion my foot, the LSE were much closer to the mark. Who are you going to believe, politicians or the London School of Economics?

  26. M
    Thumb Down


    ....a rite case of bollox!

  27. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    What were the questions?

    Most government surveys ask leading or closed questions or simply ignorethe answers they don't want to hear; what were the quesitons in this case?

    "Are you opposed to terrorist acts?"

    Yes. Of course.

    "Great, I'll put you down as pro-national ID"

    What? I never said I was pro-national ID.

    "Yes you did. You are opposed to terrorist acts, the only way to stop these is national ID, ergo you are pro-national ID"

    *sigh* So much for democracy and open government!

  28. Nomen Publicus
    Thumb Down

    Since when was this a democracy?

    A majority are in favour of the death penalty but it seems that the government isn't interested in that as a policy.

    We need some major public organisation, such as the NHS, to come out against this stupidity. It is the only way that the current bunch of government crypto-fascists will get the message.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    government stats...

    Mean nothing, because they

    1) cannot be trusted (see police stats)

    2) use such a small group it cannot be representative... approx 300 opinions extrapolated to 60 million... that is some wholescale extrapolation.

    Unfortunately not even teachers can do maths these days, so any hope of the great unwashed understanding the flaws of stats is fairly hopeless.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "They won't be able to delude themselves much longer."

    When there's £ billions worth of pork barrel spending involved, they can delude themselves in perpetuity.

    War is Peace

    Freedom is Slavery

    Ingorance is Strength

    It was always the Eastasians.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Requires further investigation

    I agree that the basis for this "opinion poll" requires further investigation. I simply cannot believe that 60% of people support this, when questioned with a full knowledge of the facts and implications.

    The Government has a long track record of "rigging" it's opinion polls on this suject going back to when David Blunkett first announced it. It should be a basic assumption that this "news speak" is still continuing. Even if you don't believe that, why should anyone believe the results of opinion polls carried out by a Government which has already decided on the policy outcome it wants.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ dunno about you guys

    My recently ex-girlfriend is an example of someone who thought ID cards are a good idea.....

    ....But this is the same woman who screamed at me for putting the packet of teabags back in the (empty) kitchen cupboard "the wrong way", so kinda demonstrating the same control freakery/sociopathy as NuLab.

    If she supports it, its a verrrrryyyy bad idea.

    Paris icon because I'd like my next woman to be as compliant as her.

  33. Mark

    re How about a quick poll of our own

    It would be better to ask for a "Y" if you're FOR ID cards.

    Fewer posts that way.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I knew a good percentage of the people in this country were morons, but 60% comes as a genuine surprise".

    How did you think Nu Labour got elected and then re-elected, then? Oh wait a mo, that was only about 24% of the electors. Most of them couldn't be arsed to vote.

  35. TeeCee Gold badge


    "Who are you going to believe, politicians or the London School of Economics?"

    Such a choice. It's a bit like being asked: "Who's your favourite World Leader. Stalin, Pol Pot or Hitler?"

  36. b

    Some things never change...

  37. Peter Gold badge

    Gov is correct - support IS steady..

    The problem is that negative numbers are a b*tch to print..

  38. Britt Johnston
    IT Angle

    El Reg could do the nation a service

    Given a sample size of 300, I think El Reg could do a better job of whiping up a survey of readers (call them IT experts, if you will). Going out of your way to prove your figures are unbiased, please don't just survey the people who commented on this article till now.

  39. Igor Mozolevsky


    sounds like the Gov't hired the Information Minister from Sadam's circles (remember the one who was saying on the TV that there was no sign of the American military near Baghdad while an American(?) tank was making its way across the background)...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As my grandfather used to say

    "figures don't lie, but liars figure". Seems to me that's what you lot have going on their to an even greater degree when it comes to politics. Especially where pork barrel spending is involved.

  41. Slaine

    A Majority of what?

    In a random survey of people who had already applied to be the first to receive the new ID cards ....

    Of a random selection of people found in well heeled public houses who expressed an interest in the widescale adoption off electronic survailence of the population ...

    In a survey of people given a choice between carrying and ID card or having to wear an electronic tagging device constructed into an unsightly ankle strap and weighing in at circa 2kg ...

    ... support holds steady.

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