back to article Travel agents accused of shilling for ID cards

Lobby group NO2ID has told the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) to stop acting as a propagandist for the government's doomed ID card project. Sean Tipton, senior spokesman for ABTA, has been quoted in various publications banging the drum for the card that no one wants. Tipton claimed the card would encourage people …

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  1. Marvin the Martian
    Flame

    Ach, grow up you lot.

    Get an ID card system instead of the present combination of TV-licences, gas bills and council tax notices, all circularly dependent ID-confirmations that started from a single video rental card or coffee-shop-card. It's excruciating.

    Only reason I could settle in the UK was a 10y old student bank account I never closed and thus could revive --- from that I built up an identity, escalating from library card to voting rights.

  2. Dabooka
    FAIL

    Well that says all you need to know about ABTA members

    they're arseholes

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    travel agents?

    There's a job you don't hear much about these days. I thought they'd gone the way of the lamp-lighters, wheel-tappers and helpful Post Office clerks.

    Still, I suppose with everyone booking their holidays online now, there's not much else for them to do.

  4. Captain Mainwaring
    Thumb Up

    No ID cards, still no travel worries.

    Even if the ID card scheme never really gets off the ground and is scrapped by the next government, this still shouldn't present any further worries to a hard-pressed travel industry. When the enquiry was made at the start of the year, IPS revealed that there were in fact nearly 52 million current UK Passports in circulation. They of course have the additional advantage over ID cards of being able to allow potential travellers to visit all countries around the world and not just Europe!

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I cant wait to see their faces

    when they have to shell out £10k for a secure ID card reader in EVERY shop so they can book in customers.

  6. Guy Herbert
    FAIL

    @ Marvin - All of which inconvenience...

    ... is designed and quite recently implemented by the same surveillance and citizen-auditing obsessed bureaucracy that wishes to implement the ID scheme. A competent money-launderer is not troubled in getting use of a bank account by the Money-Laundering Regulations. They are only a problem to the honest and compliant who do have a simple life in the pattern of the Weberian Ideal Type of citizen posulated in abstract by officialdom.

    Marvin's line is similar to saying we shouldn't have attempted to eradicate smallpox but should instead have learned to enjoy the survivors' scars as and attractive sign of immune-system vigour.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    He also insisted that the cost of an ID card "compares favourably with the £77.50 cost of a passport.”

    Well that's easliy solved then isn't it. Stop charging ridiculous amounts for a passport. Get rid of all that unwanted chip tech and return to treating citizen's with respect. Then maybe some of us wiill renew when our existing one runs out in order to retain our right to travel.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    £30 covers everything - including travel?

    "The government ... did take issue with No2ID. “It is wrong to suggest there is an additional expense for undergoing biometric enrolment. The entire process, from application to card delivery, is included in the £30 charge."

    Thanks for the clarification, I'll take that to mean that the government will pay for my petrol cost/taxi fare/train fare when I have to go for my interview at ID card centre. Sounds a good deal, £30 to cover any fares which could cost more than that, or even £30 cash even if you travel by car for a couple of miles. .......... Oh, sorry my mistake I thought the government always knew what they were saying.

  9. Campbeltonian

    NO2ID are missing their own point

    The whole ID card debate is a distraction in the context of travel documents, given that (assuming current plans are not cancelled) the passport application process will have you fingerprinted and added to the National Identity Register from 2011/12 anyway.

    An ID card *would* be more convenient for European travel than a passport, especially as certain countries (Belgium I believe) require you to have your ID card or passport on your person at almost all times. I'd quite happily have one if the rules and requirements were identical to the current passport.

  10. benito darder oliver
    Big Brother

    I wouldn't like to look unpopular...

    But I've been living all my life with passport and id card (photo + fingerprints), and I've never felt uncomfortable with that; 'au contraire' i feel more secure as if I've an accident people at the hospital can know for sure who I'm; if somebody steals it from me and leave it at a crime scene, my photo will prevent the police comes after me; when I'm traveling I've two documents to prove who I'm if needed, my ID and my Passport, still i can loose one (or be robbed) and have the another one as backup when I'm at the border or embassy.

    Only wanted to share some good points from id with photo and fingerprint

  11. C G Braisby

    Great Value

    Very cheap compared to a passport, lets make it greater value by making a passport cost £100.

  12. Rich Harding
    FAIL

    @Pete 2

    Me and my better half walked into both travel agents in an Oxfordshire market town recently - okay, it was Banbury - and basically said in so many words, "We've got a grand to spend if you can sell us a week in the sun, in Europe, by a beach, last week of September." I'm a regular traveller and book online trips all the time - even though I'm based back in the UK now, I probably still go abroad almost once a month on average - but I thought I'd see what the professionals could come up with. Not too tall an order, you'd think.

    Flabberghasted. I mean the only restriction we put on them was that we didn't want to go to Turkey or Benidorm, yet one of them kind of tried to help but was actually as much use as a chocolate teapot, whereas the other one, well, we just couldn't believe it; it was like we were asking her to walk barefoot to Land's End or something. I very nearly did the Holy Grail, "Er, is there somebody else we could talk to?"

    Now, what was I doing? Oh, yeah, splitting up the soundboard recording of our last jaunt (to Norway) into tracks...

    Toodlepip!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha

    Love how No2ID explain all the reasons these ID cards aren't something people would want, and the Government response is that they are mistaken about the fee, the most minor point. What about all those other negative points?!

    People need to get more angry about this. Perhaps the whole thing is unavoidable, but I was hoping it'd at least take another generation before people were willing to submit to this.

  14. Richard IV
    Grenade

    Re: Ach, grow up you lot

    "the present combination of TV-licences, gas bills and council tax notices, all circularly dependent ID-confirmations that started from a single video rental card or coffee-shop-card. "

    How do you think they are going to get the "clean" data that'll be in the ID database?

    "It's excruciating"

    Yes, and if the government get their way, it'll be excruciating plus fingerprints. It's the centralisation of and potential mischief with the data that I am against, along with the "we solemnly swear not to" that's _not_ in the legislation itself which to me is an open door to abuse, wilful or otherwise.

    Bloody typical of ABTA though, not like them to sell things that are only half built and not anywhere near as good as advertised...

  15. janimal
    Alert

    @benito & Marvin etc...

    "Only wanted to share some good points from id with photo and fingerprint" - Benito

    "Get an ID card system instead of the present combination of TV-licences, gas bills..." - Marvin

    "An ID card *would* be more convenient for European travel than a passport, especially as certain countries (Belgium I believe) require you to have your ID card or passport on your person at almost all times. I'd quite happily have one if the rules and requirements were identical to the current passport." - Cambeltonian

    Have you only just joined this ancient debate? The problem is not in having a photo ID card, most of us have one of them, it's called a drving license.

    The main problem is the backend central database (National Identity Register) with your biometrics on it, the amount of people who will be able to access that data, the intention to store the time and location of every check made against that ID.

    Originally they suggested 250 government departments would be able to access data on the NIR, they then increased that to somewhere around 4000 private & government organisations. Note that's 'organisations' not individuals. There have been several low profile instances recently of police officers and backroom police staff accessing the Police National Computer, also of Health staff innappropriately accessing health records on the NHS systems for their own nefarious purposes.

    How secure is your identity going to be when unvetted low paid data clerks from some random organisation have access to everything stored?

    In addition I am assuming you all work in IT in some form or other? Unless you are very new to the profession you should know by now that ideals are rarely achieved.

    Of course all of the above is kind of moot because they have predictably already strayed far from the ideal. They have no readers, only 30 ID registration centres for the entire country. Now they want to farm out biometrics collection to high street stores (oh how very secure!)

    If they ever were to actually get the readers implemented, how will you feel when you are turned away from blockbusters, or your bank, the border, or worse the hospital because the reader is faulty or the network is down?

    How are you going to reclaim your identity when your biometrics get inexplicably confused with someone else who registered at WHSmiths on a busy Saturday afternoon?

    Then of course we have the invevitable function creep which, many of the government proposals on cards from the last 10 years clearly imply they will be looking for further uses of the card (including commercial considerations to recoup costs). I have already had the joy of having my DVLA data sold to a private firm who are attempting to reclaim a debt that I do not owe.

    Finally as No2ID stated, once you are on their you are signed up for life. It is your responsiblity to ensure your data is upto date and current no doubt at your own expense. I live in rented property and there are times when your landlords wish to move back to their property or sell it etc... sometimes we have moved every 6 months for 2 years. What a joy it will be to have to be legally obliged to pay the government whatever fee they decide is appropriate at any given time to have them update my records.

    This government (and unfortunately the opposition, regardless of what they say) are obsessed with control. On every level they are determined to create an all encompassing record of every citizens movements on a daily basis. ANPR records, DNA data, ID card check tracking, National Communications Database. They have also repeatedly proposed llinking standard CCTV to the ANPR system, face tracking on public CCTV, Audio surveillance on public CCTV. I'm sure they would happily consider RFID readers on lamposts to track any passing NID cards.

    Surely you can see that if they actually managed to get NID cards accepted as the de-facto method of ID, they would then insist they were presented not just for every public service accessed but for voting, job interviews, every financial transaction made etc... It is the data miners dream, when any crime is commited they just check who was in the area, coupled with some pre-crime profiling from all that crap they are holding. Of course the cost of the card & updating your data will have to go up considerably to pay for all the joined up infrastructure but by then it will be your legal responsibility to pay for it.

    So yes a photo ID card MIGHT be handy if you are into that kind of thing, unfortunately that bears no relation whatsoever to the government proposals.

  16. TeeCee Gold badge
    Flame

    Re: Great Value

    They've already done that in Europe.

    Up 'til recently, the drill was to apply for a renewal with the local British embassy, paying the usual fee, plus postage.

    Now they've changed it to run the whole lot though Paris and outsourced the whole shebang to a bunch of shady incompentant thieves.

    There's now a surcharge for the privilege and your passports are returned using what has to be the most overpriced courier service on the planet*. The only payment methods are either something electronic unique to French bank accounts and post offices (very clever) or by enclosing all your Credit card details with the application (yes all, including the CVV details - driving a coach and horses through the rules here). There's a surcharge for Credit Card payments too.

    To cap it all, the thieves in question run an enquiry number. This is a local, premium rate, number in each European country affected, each charged at the maximum allowed under local telco regulation rules. The first thing you're asked for is your Credit card details so they can charge you two euro a minute on top of that, which if not breaking the letter of the charge cap regulations is certainly at odds with the spirit of same. Then they put you on hold..........

    Total cost runs to a shade over 100 quid a pop, plus any eye-wateringly expensive time on the phone spent bollocking them for screwing up, which they do all the time (hardly surprising when failure is so handsomely rewarded).

    I had a total sense of humour failure. They make Ryanair look like philanthropic angels.

    *and I'll bet a stack of cash that the courier service only sees about 10% of it, which would be nearer the market rate.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All you need to know about NOTOID

    No, I far too polite, but if you feel like winding up one of their street campaigners, just tell them you wholeheartedly support ID cards.

    I was recently accosted by one of these numpties, who was rather taken aback by the fact I didn't want to sign his petition, and was positively angry when I said that I supported ID Cards, which I do.

    He wanted to debate the issue, but I told him that I'd been brought up not to attack an unarmed man.

    NOTOID basically haven't got a clue as to how it will really work, they are just filling an emotional vacuum between reality and perception. Like all emotional pressure groups they have very little grasp of the true facts, bit like ministers really. The letter is so inaccurate, if you think about it, it's laughable. Sadly much of the process and reality can't be discussed in public because its subject to commercial confidentiality and official secrecy over how its being put together, for very good reasons, which plays directly to the conspiracy theorists in NOTOID, who assume because it's secret it has to be a civil liberty violation. They also do not appear to have had any advice from anyone who really knows how this kind of system would work, or if they have , they have ignored it because it doesn't fit with their world view.

    People are also prepared to believe them as well because they believe government systems are crap, and leek like sieves, which actually they don't, most of the failings are human.

    Don't forget the people who specify, design and build government systems are citizens of the UK, be they civil servants or SI employees and are just as committed to our rights and freedoms as anyone else, because it's our sodding data as well, and we don't want it abused any more than the next man.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC: All you need to know about NOTOID

    "People are also prepared to believe them as well because they believe government systems are crap, and leek like sieves, which actually they don't, most of the failings are human."

    There you hit the nail squarely on the thumb. It is BECAUSE humans are involved and WILL use the db inappropriately that people don't want the db.

    It is precisely because it is planned to have thousands of low paid workers with access to the data that many people do not want the database at all.

    Whether government systems leak or not is a bogus argument. The "system" is the hardware, software, people and processes that will use it. That system will leak like a sieve, because of the people using it and the poor processes this government (and others in general) are renowned for.

  19. asiaseen

    @Great Value

    100 quid would be cheap. I live in Hong Kong and to renew my passport will, at the current rate, cost me 150 quid. Seriously thinking of becoming Chinese and getting a HK SAR passport which would cost 35 pounds.

  20. Ascylto
    Stop

    @ Marvin the Martian

    "Only reason I could settle in the UK was a 10y old student bank account I never closed..."

    No wonder the UK has problems with immigration. Even Martians can get in with an old student card!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    @ AC 09:31

    Ok so if it's all so lovely and sweet and the many billions being spent on it aren't a total waste of money. Why don't they lead by example and make all MPs and Lords be the first to have to have a card? I know they have opened up the voluntary phase to civil servants, but the MPS aren't included in this.

    So, I want to see all Labour MPs sign up & purchase their card straight away please.

  22. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    AC@09:31

    "People are also prepared to believe them as well because they believe government systems are crap, and leek like sieves, which actually they don't, most of the failings are human.

    "Don't forget the people who specify, design and build government systems are citizens of the UK, be they civil servants or SI employees and are just as committed to our rights and freedoms as anyone else, because it's our sodding data as well, and we don't want it abused any more than the next man."

    Well that's all right then. Clearly the voice of one who knows. It's very secure, but in ways that cannot be explained, "commercial confidentiality " and all that. If your so convinced of its worth why won't you put your name on your post? After all, NTHNTF, right.

    I strongly doubt most (if any) of either the civil servants or their con-tractors (no that's not a hyphenation mistake) spent 30 seconds in total thinking about the rights of people whose lives they will be recording. The data fetishists whose wet dream started this believe it's *their* data anyway, we merely provide it for them.

    The con-tractors and con-sultants who have abetted them know the first rule of con-sultancy is "The answer is yes, as long as you want it to be yes and no otherwise."

    As for the UK subjects (we are subjects of the crown technically) remind me where Thales and IBM's global HO is.

    In the abstract it is a fascinating hugely challenging IT system development and implementation. That is justification enough for some people. The fact it will implement cradle-to-grave surveillance of every individual in the UK is (they would say) "just a policy decision."

    The only effective way to prevent this system being abused is not to implement it.

  23. Guy Herbert
    Pirate

    @ AC 09:31

    Happy to be corrected on any inaccuracies in my letter, if you would care to identify them. Broad-brush sneering does not encourage anyone to take your points seriously.

    The process and reality could be discussed in public did the Home Office not refuse to do so. One therefore has to proceed by proper inference from public documents and announcements that are couched in carefully drafted, minimally revealing (and quite often misleading) terms, That analytical and interpretative task is largely what NO2ID at a national level does. However: 1. It is really quite hard to get people, whether supporters, or opponents, or basically neutral like ABTA, to know the grounds for what they are saying before they open their mouths; and 2. We are necessarily a political campaign deploying more emotive arguments than rational ones. Nevertheless we have a long-term strategic interest in honest debate that is shared neither by politicians nor by those whose job it is to implement the policies by hook or by crook.

    BTW "Commercial confidentiality" in this context is just official secretiveness by another name, an extremely handy excuse for the civil service to draw a veil over everything and anything when an external contractor is involved. Commercial firms would still line up to be paid large sums of public money were the contracts and other details public, just as they will do whatever stupid, wasteful or dangerous things they are asked to do for large sums of public money, despite the personal preferences of staff and the well-established principles of project management. They are businesses, and the customer with pockets as deep as his capriciousness is right.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    RE:All you need to know about NOTOID

    You really aren't concerned about all your personal data being made available to literally tens of thousands of people - all of which have a 'genuine' need to know every little detail about you?

    Given the track record of losing data, outsourcing to countries that haven't even heard of the data protection act and function creep you still trust this bunch of incompetent numpties?

    Then why post AC?

    Surely a comment about something you are obviously passionate about on a news site is far less important than everything else about you including your DNA and yet you don't want people to know who wrote the comment but are quite happy to let the world + his dog know everything about you in the form of a handy card just because they have been 'authorised' by the government - who as we know are not a bunch of self serving power mad freaks, but genuinely have your best interests at heart.

    This is the future Citizen - where are your papers?

    Posting AC - While I still can

  25. Tom Chiverton 1

    costs

    The passport is only the stupidly high price of 70 quid because it's gone up hugely in the last few years to pay for the ID card shambles.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @A.C 09:31 - All you need to know about NOTOID

    "The Government basically haven't got a clue as to how it will really work, they are just filling an emotional vacuum between reality and perception. "

    Oh, sorry. Did I mis-read that?

  27. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    @benito darder oliver

    I don't think having an id-card is the issue, its all the bio-metric data that big brother also wants to put on it.

  28. ElFatbob

    @AC: All you need to know about NOTOID

    lol, you deserve one of these fuckin cards...

    quick, if you hurry to Manchester you can have one now...

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