back to article Public support for ID cards dips to 55 per cent

The latest Home Office poll on public attitudes to the planned National ID card indicates that support for the scheme has eroded slightly, with the proportion of those in favour down from 60 to 55 per cent. The survey, carried out among 2,098 randomly selected Brits from 31 October to 4 November, showed opposition to the Card …


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  1. Hollerith

    but it /is/ true

    "Some 69 per cent of respondents believed [that individuals will be required to carry their identity cards with them at all times] to be true, but according to the Home Office pollsters "it is in fact false."

    "There were also a number of people who believed public and private sector organisations will be able to access their information (56%), but again this is a false statement."

    The first will almost certainly be true a few months after the cards are issued, as that is one of the points of the cards, IMHO: to make the public accountable to the Government and its minions. The second is, as the report notes, true right now, and will become more widespread once every quango and friend of the Government -- and paying customers -- discover the goldmine that is this database.

    Also true is that security and confidentiality will be breached within the blink of an eye, by Russian or Chinese crackers, if not home-grown talent.

    Meanwhile, the problems that ID are to solve, like magic powder, will continue unabated.

  2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Sadly no...

    I don't think we are seeing the end of the cards. All that will happen is some wag in UK Gov will simply assume that we don't know what we're talking about, spend bucket loads of that Euro loaned cash on "re-educating" us to understand that you will be safer under Auntie Jacqui's little scheme!

  3. Nebulo

    So what?

    Since when have our dear overlords given a damn what we think? It would make no difference if 99% of us were agin it, it would still be steamrollered through.

  4. Tony

    '2,098 randomly selected Brits'

    2098 randomly selected members of the NuLabour party by any chance?

    I literally do not know anyone - not one single person - that thinks the ID card scheme is a good idea.

  5. Flugal
    Paris Hilton

    Still seems high

    55% of people still don't understand the implications?

    55% of people still trust Wacki Jaqui?

    Perhaps it was something to do with the way the question was phrased, i.e. "Would you like to feel less at risk from terrorists?". 55% say yes, and Bob's your mother's brother, that must mean 55% of people support ID cards.

    Paris...everybody's fucked her, whilst Jaqui Smith wants to fuck all of us.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fiction is the new fact.


    I think you'll find surveys and polls are long outdated. What we talk about now is "consensus". Like every other progressive, world-leading initiative from our Glorious Age Of Change, ID cards have "consensus" - whether you lot sarcastically point us at the 'c' pages of your favoured concise dictionary, or not.

  7. Jason

    100% for el reg readers?

    I bet if they asked 2000 reg readers they'd get a result saying that 100% of the population thinks it's a shite idea, so come on, ask us, and save us all a few billion quid.

  8. Richard

    Step in the right direction

    I still think they're missing a decimal point in those figures, but at least they've admitted the drop. It won't matter to Wacky-Jacky though.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    National FrizzlePops Scheme

    Q1. Are you aware of FrizzlePops?

    If Yes, skip to Q3, If No continue with Q2.


    Q2. Which of these best sums up the benefits of FrizzlePops?

    a) Their deliciousness?

    b) Their healthiness?

    c) Their work helping third world babies get a puppy of their own?

    d) Their work in winning the second world war?


    Q3). Do you support Frizzlepops?

    a) Yes

    b) No


    Go on do the questionaire and tell me you wouldn't come out strongly in favour of Frizzlepops, a thing I just made up and fed you a preconditioner question on.

    Not only that, the survey feeds them a lot of post conditioning questions (really misleading info about the scheme, so if they get the survey again next time, it will reinforce the false perception).

  10. Xander
    Paris Hilton

    A shot to foot...

    So people won't need their ID at all times (so no chance it'll be used to prove who should or shouldn't be here) and niether the public nor private sector will have access to the information (so how *exactly* will they check the information on the card?).

    That's cool. Yeah.

    So... what are these cards for now, exactly, if not ID or verification?

    Paris, because frankly she's at least nicer to look at than Wacki Jaqui

  11. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    And we believe this crap ?

    "One would have thought that some public-sector organisations - for instance the Immigration and Passport Service itself - would be able to access the information, but apparently not."

    The word missing from that is "YET".

    Congestion charge cameras - "data will not be used for anything but enforcing the CC" becomes "data will be passed to the police for routine fishing trips and long term storage"

    Sex offenders Register - "will be only for those convicted of a SERIOUS sex crime" becomes "will be for anyone even accused (but not even charged) with minor non-sexual offences"

    It's a safe bet that ANY restrictions claimed on use of the data will evaporate with the first statutory instrument Crash Gordon and his team thing people won't notice (too much).

  12. alan

    Whats the point?

    If no one can access the data held in the database why hold it at all???

    Lies, Damn Lies and Politicians

  13. Robert Harrison

    And 45% are in favour!?

    Ignoring the usual 'lies, damn lies and statistics' clause maybe the people running the survey were offering chocolate bars for punters who gave the 'correct' answer.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Govt. lies about compulsory carrying.

    >"According to the survey report, "there is still confusion and uncertainty, particularly regarding the belief that individuals will be required to carry their identity cards with them at all times". Some 69 per cent of respondents believed this to be true, but according to the Home Office pollsters "it is in fact false"."

    It may be false now, but since the government have themselves revealed time and again that their long-term plan is to move further into compulsion, and to draw their usage into as many fields of the interaction between citizens and the state as they possibly can, perhaps those 69% are not wrong but merely looking further ahead and seeing what's coming at the end of the line.

    Anyway, I won't be having one, and if they want my biometrics they will have to come round to my house, disperse the rioting crowd, break down the barricades, and physically disarm and seize me in order to get them.

    Of course it probably won't come to that, because this pathetic futile and repressive scheme is inevitably doomed. Plastic poll tax ahoy!

    [Flame icon, because that's what's going to accidentally happen to any ID card that anyone tries to issue me. Oops! It went on fire!]

  15. Tom

    I would like to meet one of these 55%... I can beat them with the clue stick.

  16. paul
    Paris Hilton

    let me get this right

    They are now saying, no one can access the data, and we don't need to carry it.

    Excuse me if this seems a little f'king redundant.

    (hilton will never be redundant)

  17. Anonymous Coward

    They must be joking

    "2,098" as a sample group!


  18. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    "The survey, carried out among 2,098 randomly selected Brits"

    Would that be 2098 people who they called on their landlines whilst they were eating their tea and who didn't hang up right away? If so, that's hardly likely to be an unskewed sample.

    Or maybe it was 2098 people who were hanging around a the Arndale centre in Luton on a Thursday afternoon. Again, not so unskewed.

    Or just maybe it was 2098 people randomly selected from Labour Party conference attendees?

    Remember kids - there are lies, damn lies, statistics and government statistics.

  19. Nic Brough
    Thumb Up


    Sadly, the report makes the usual mistake, and doesn't list the questions that were asked, which means it is questionable at best. We need to know what questions were asked, so that we can work out how biased (or not) the questions were in favour of ID cards.

    For those of you who want to know why statistics like this tend to be useless without the questions, please look up "Sir Humphrey Appleby", "National Service" and "Yes Minister".

    Anyway, there is some good news - if it asked the same questions as the last time, then we at least know there is a downward trend on support for ID cards.

    I have to say that I find 55% support sounds wildly inaccurate to me, I'd have expected a 25% support score from a neutral set of questions.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When they INTRODUCE the cards, they won't be madatory and private interests won't be able to read them. After a couple of months, on the other hand....

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pfft, pfft and thrice pfft

    55 percent my arse. I don't believe for a second that there has ever been even double-digit support for this nonsense, let alone a majority!

  22. Graham Jordan

    Who the hell are they asking?

    It sure as heck ain't me.

  23. Bug
    Thumb Down

    The latest Home Office poll

    I expect a government sponsored poll of Manchester residents would have shown a similar level of support for their congestion charge scheme. Today we discovered the truth.

  24. David Hicks

    You mean that 55%...

    ...have bought the propaganda about terrorists, immigrants and benefit fraud?

    Wow. The people of this country should be ashamed of themselves.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    data access creep

    Clearly there is always the danger that once data has been collected that someone will see a way of using for a different reason. After all, I signed a NO2ID petition a couple of years or so ago so that my opposition to Id cards could be conveyed to the government ... I was then a bit surprised a few months later to get a letter from NO2ID offering me the opportunity to purchase NO2ID merchandise ... so did they use the name/address list on the petition to build up a fundraising list?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you condemn Cake?

    The survey is structured to try to change 'don't knows' into 'in favour' by feeding a preconditioning question to people who haven't heard of the national id card scheme. It's frequent survey is obviously designed to *market* the policy not *measure* the support for the policy.

    Do you remember 'cake', when a researcher went around MPs to see if they condemned the new drug 'cake'. Sure enough they condemned it as they were told to do by the preconditioning. Pretty funny to see.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    "There were also a number of people who believed public and private sector organisations will be able to access their information (56%), but again this is a false statement."

    Just like the DVLA not selling your details to anyone with £2.50?.. Oh hang on, they do!

    Even if it's not the case at rollout, within a few months there will be widespread access by anyone with a flimsy excuse.

  28. b
    Dead Vulture

    I expect better from the Reg...

    Although the trend is unmistakable the figures quoted are ludicrous, and there is a reason for that.

    Take a look at the actual survey, it's utterly rigged to get a positive result, as rather well described by Mr. Frizzlepop up thread:

    Now I'd expect the lazy drooling spunkbaskets in the dead-tree press to mindlessly regurgitate whatever pan-fried nonsense the government provides, thus allowing them to fill pages with minimal effort, but I expect better from El Reg.

    Have a look at the survey questions and see if you can see the problem, and also see why reputable polls from organisations most people have actually heard of show such different results. The government survey is designed to find the best ways to sell the scheme and not get an accurate picture of it's support.

    I would expect any properly conducted survey to show a significant majority against the scheme now, after all this 55% is down from a high of 80% some years ago using the same bent methodology.

  29. michael

    title title I do not need no stinking title

    ""There were also a number of people who believed public and private sector organisations will be able to access their information (56%), but again this is a false statement.""

    if they can not access the data how will they use them (the goverment have said they will for age checks and stuff) or how will they be able to take the data (the goverment have been putting pepol up for tender to coletc the data now they are getting rid of the post office)

  30. michael


    "Now I'd expect the lazy drooling spunkbaskets in the dead-tree press to mindlessly regurgitate whatever pan-fried nonsense the government provides, thus allowing them to fill pages with minimal effort, but I expect better from El Reg."

    as I read the article our belopoved El reg was giving us the facts of the goverment statment with prahaps a little scarcasm on the goverments comments and hi lights of the sillest bits

    "One would have thought that some public-sector organisations - for instance the Immigration and Passport Service itself - would be able to access the information, but apparently not."

    and then left it to us there beloved commenttards to criticise it it was a fact article not a comment article I am shure if they crawl out of the pub before mon they might put togeather an article on how silly this poll is but seames this comment thread is doing such a fine job at it they might not bother and just have another pint

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Survey this! say Mancs.

    That'd be the same sort of survey that predicted Mancunians would vote for the govts road-pricing wheeze then would it?

    They'll be telling us most people support the EU and want to joint the Euro next.....

  32. Dave
    Thumb Down

    Don't need to carry it my arse!

    If that were the case, then why is there already planned legislation to make it an offense to NOT carry the thing and not make it available upon request. Yeah, might not be until 2010 or 2012 or whatever, but it's still there! That is still the point of the whole scheme - otherwise, why bother having a national identity scheme at all?? (as others have already said)

    Calling a turd a rose, no matter how nicely it is phrased, does not change the fact the turd is just a piece of shit!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @pfft and You mean that 55%

    I'm afraid it's entirely possible that a significant number of people have swallowed the bullshit whole. Speaking from my personal experience manning the local No2ID stall in the market square on Saturday mornings, there are a significant number whose eyes glaze over the minute they hear the word "immigrants" and become utterly impervious to reason. (Or indeed conversation; these are the people who come up to you to have a "discussion" about cards, which turns out merely to consist of them repeating over and over "but what about the immigrants" and not actually letting you get a word in edgeways - presumably their confidence in their belief is shaky enought that they don't want to hear any suggestion that it wouldn't actually get rid of all those strange-sounding funny-smelling odd-looking coloured people who they fear and loathe so much....)

  34. blue

    Intentional Duplicity

    >"There were also a number of people who believed public and private sector organisations will be able to access their information (56%), but again this is a false statement."

    What isn't a false statement is that the government have recently just given the Secretary of State the power to remove any and all barriers to data sharing, that may exist now or in the future, without parliamentary approval.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    She's whacky, but...

    ID cards will enable Whacky Jacqui to put your face next to the wealth of data she holds on you.

    You can change your name and mix up data and photos to confuse her - but get this; you have a facebook page right?

    You post pictures of yourself, your family, your friends and your pet(s) there right? Work colleagues perhaps?

    You post what music you are currently listening to, what your mood is, what you are thinking about, your opinions and your comments on everything from current affairs to what your favourite action film is.

    The obsticle in '1984' for Big Brother was that your mind was your castle, and people had to be starved almost to death, beaten and tortured and then subjected to their worst fears to give up their minds to him.

    We give up our minds on the internet thinking we are annonymous behind our screen/nicknames.

    Then Whacky Jacqui correlates the data from all that, mixes it up with your purchase history, travel history, health records, tax records, voting history etc and puts it next to your biometric ID - and gives you a number.

    Whacky Jacqui is tightening the noose rapidly.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    I know **2** people who think ID cards are a good idea

    My brother-in-Law and (saddest of all) my own father. Both are of the "If you have nothing to hide..." line of naivety even though neither of them particularly trust politicians of any persuasion, and both are well aware of the ways in which Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Saddam Hussein abused their power.

    Never underestimate the power and effect of stupid (or misguided) people in large numbers.

    One express elevator to Hell - going D-O-W-N!

  37. Semihere

    Survey or Publicity exercise?

    This taken from the actual 'survey' document:

    "1. Introduction

    A sixth wave of questions was placed on Taylor Nelson Sofres’ general public omnibus

    survey to establish awareness of, and attitudes towards the National Identity Scheme

    (NIS), including identity cards. "

    They openly admit that the survey was "to establish awareness of" the ID card scheme - not 'measure' awareness of it. From then on in the results are moot.

    Also, if you look at the document, you'll see the demographic of the surveyed sample is suspiciously almost identical (in terms of sex/age range/employment status etc) right the way across all of the surveys carried out to date, so how can it be claimed that the 2098 were 'random' and still arrive at an almost identical cross-reference of demographic across 5 surveys? What's the probability of achieving that without first choosing how many people of each gender, age range and social status you're aiming to interview?

    For instance, in the 16-24 year old age range, there are 14 interviewees in EVERY stage (from Oct 07 to Nov 08), in 25-34yo range exactly 16 across the board, in 35-44yo range it's 19, in 44-55 range it's either 15 or 16 and in the 55+ range it's either 34 or 36 interviewees. Does this mean they're interviewing the SAME people each time? If they are then it's not random at all.

    Also note how the figures are seriously skewed by the number of people interviewed who are over 55 (over 55yo women make up the biggest group of participants). This group are also the least likely to be regularly getting their news from sources other than state-approved television (BBC) or establishment-oriented mainstream media (other TV/Newspapers/Radio) - so what does this tell you about the traditional media channels in general?

  38. Pat
    Black Helicopters

    ...and we pay their salaries!

    According to the survey report, "there is still confusion and uncertainty, particularly regarding the belief that individuals will be required to carry their identity cards with them at all times". Some 69 per cent of respondents believed this to be true, but according to the Home Office pollsters "it is in fact false".

    Absolutely. We won't be required to carry ID cards

    - in a CAT scanner

    - in the shower at home

    - in a police cell.

    Here is my poll.

    Pick the option that will best benefit Britain, and protect against crime and terrorism.

    1 - ID cards.

    2 - Tattooing an identity number on peoples foreheads.

    3 - Rioting in the streets.

    4 - Hanging politicians from lamp-posts.

    5 - Other (please state your opinion while you can).

  39. Anonymous Coward

    As if

    "We are seeing the beginning of the end of ID cards," NO2ID's Phil Booth told the Telegraph.

    Famous last words.

    Governments are not going to roll over on this any more than the EU will accept a "no" vote on the Lisbon treaty.

    Public antipathy counts for nothing. The powers that be will do whatever they want regardless because they know that they will never be truly held to account for their actions (bar a few mumblings and the occasional protest vote).

    We have to keep saying "no" over and over and over again in order to prevent this from happening, whereas the Government only have to win the "yes" argument once, and it's game over.

  40. kain preacher

    Confused yank

    I've talked to alot of people in the UK online from various web forums. I've yet to to find some from the UK that supports these cards. So were e people supporting it ??

  41. RogueElement

    2098 sample from 60 million

    ...equates to a sample of 0.00345% of the population, or possibly just a pole of the permanent residents of the free lunch rooms at commons.

    These figures are most impressive however when one compares them with the "officially released" figures of those "in favour of" the Manchester C-charge prior to the vote and the complete "extended middle finger" that the actual vote generated.

    Oh, and Pat, I'll take option 4 please, much more fun than voting.

  42. Tony

    @kain preacher

    "So were e people supporting it "

    The address is:

    Home Office

    Direct Communications Unit

    2 Marsham Street


    SW1P 4DF

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    more like 5.5%

    the government boffins missed out the dot...

  44. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters

    Oh yeah?

    And did the survey continue to say that those 55% also believed in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus?

    Or were they prevented from answering further questions by their warders calling them in for their medication?

    I resent the implied slur on my intelligence from the Home Office in suggesting that I would give credence to ANY of their statistics.

  45. John
    Black Helicopters

    Quick, chop off your fingers.

    How do people keep falling for this "wont be compelled to carry the card" nonsense?

    It must be remembered that the ID "Card" is not in reality a bit of plastic. Its sodding great database with your personal information, linked to you via your biometric information. Yes there is *also* a card, but it is not going to be needed to access your ID database record.

    So unless you have a natty way to leave your biometric information at home in the drawer with the plastic card, you can be linked up with your records just as easily.

  46. peter

    Don't have to carry cards.....yet.

    "......carry their identity cards with them at all times". Some 69 per cent of respondents believed this to be true, but according to the Home Office pollsters "it is in fact false".

    And of course the police will not use the 'failed to prove identity' excuse to cart you off to the cells for an 'open mouth please' and 'here is a tissue for your fingers'.

    Before a year is out, everyone will be carrying them as a matter of course and the law will be quietly changed..... "for the sake of terrorism/fraud/children*". (*insert excuse here).

  47. Wotan Son of Tharg

    French Resistance in WW2

    In WW2 the Germans forced the French to carry ID cards. Their use then didn't stop the activities of the French Resistance who continued to blow-up infrastructure and kill in the name of their cause. Some got caught but their 'terrorism' continued. So ID cards didn't then and won't today prevent terrorism.

    The UK government wants us to believe ID cards will protect us by controlling immigration. People moving within the EU are not now classed as immigrants. Those not from the EU are a relatively small number. So ID cards do not help control immigration since immigration is now allowed but has a new name.

    The government would have us believe ID cards will ensure state benefits are only received by those entitled to them. For years the National Insurance number achieved this function so ID cards again are not required.

    But perhaps the real reason is that the state now wants to move to the next level simply because it can. Having sanctioned and encouraged ubiquitous communicating and information sharing it wants to harvest the benefits. Computers can monitor phone calls, email and internet traffic/usage without the use of humans, thereby technically not breaking any laws that require warrants to be signed. Computers already plot relationships between people, their thoughts and purchases. The UK government wants a new Generation 2 surveillance system, basically an upgraded version of ECHELON that the EU parliament has already investigated and questioned twice, at a cost that vastly exceeds any damage that could be inflicted by the terrorists and criminals it is intended to catch. But all this will be a waste of money if the government is not 100% sure who is at the end of the communication. That is why it needs ID cards - to close a gap in the chain.

  48. kain preacher

    I forgot to ask

    Dose Jacqui have one of these cards ??? if she is not the first in line to get one then she should shut up.

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