back to article ID cards: the first year report

Sir Joseph Pilling, the ID commissioner who oversees the ID card scheme, said he is generally satisfied with progress after the first year but it was too soon to give it a clean bill of health. In a 28-page report presented to Parliament yesterday by Home Secretary Alan Johnson Pilling said: "my initial reaction is to be …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The other night I noticed the latest promotional twist

    which takes the form of posters in pub toilets promoting use of the ID card as proof of age in order to fuel those binge-drinking sessions that are the greatest threat to our society after terrorism

  2. Andrew Watson

    How to become "Identity Scheme Commissioner"

    Readers may be curious to know how Sir Joseph got his job providing "independent oversight" of the ID Cards scheme, despite having worked for 20 years for the Home Office, the very department that's now actively selling ID cards.

    It turns out that the government spent £42,000 on recruitment consultants and £9,000 on advertising this post in the Sunday newspapers and on the internet. Twenty people applied and six were interviewed - after which Sir Joseph, who did not apply and was not interviewed, was 'phoned at home out of the blue by his former Home Office bosses to be offered the job. He's paid £88,000 annually for a three-day week, and reports directly to the Home Secretary, the minister who's relentlessly promoting the ID cards scheme. His annual reports are vetted by the Home Secretary before publication, and he has no powers to investigate individual complaints or to punish the Home Office if it abuses the personal data that will be held in the massive database behind the ID cards scheme.


    FOI request about how Sir Joseph was appointed

    BBC News story about his appointment and pay

    Sir Joseph's biography, including his career at the Home Office

    His first report, in which he says he provides "independent oversight"

    Identity Cards Act. Section 22 says what he can and can't do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for facts!

      Quality work, thanks.

      BTW: how do you get a positive feasibility study? Easy, the consultancy doing the study gets the work if the answer is "yes". Of course, you must keep up the illusion of "Chinese walls" but the people above those are the same..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Jobs for the boys .... as usual ...

      Sir Joseph acts as he's amply paid to act, speaks as he's amply paid to speak, and presumably thinks as he's amply paid to think.

      Anyone REALLY surprised?

  3. Incredulous


    Half a million quid to spend in less than a month - I'll bet he's the envy of every MP alive!

  4. Hollerith 1

    Who am I? Only the Govt can say.

    I recently renewed my passport and had to deal with the Identity and Passport Service on the phone. I love the fact that we have a Govt body looking after my identity, and presumably conferring it upon me, or at least confirming i had one.

    Yet it was my understanding that free-born English persons were assumed to come with an identity and with rights that a Govt could only abrogate with their collective permission.

    Or did I miss something on the route from the Magna Carta to the Glorious Revolution to the upheavals of the 1840s to the 20th century.

    1. SleepyJohnR

      @Hollerith 1: You did miss something - the EU

      The EU is forcing Britain to change from English Common Law (where your beliefs come from) to the Napoleonic Law prevalent on the Continent, under which the only rights a man has are those permitted him by the government.

      There is a saying that in Britain a man can do anything unless it is specifically proscribed by law, whereas in Germany a man can do nothing unless it is specifically permitted by law. This sums up the difference rather neatly; and frighteningly so for those who live in a Britain now subsumed into the EU, whose de facto government is not only Napoleonic, but neither elected nor accountable.

      I was once told by a newspaper editor in Glasgow that the essential difference between the Scots and the English is that the former see authority as their master while the latter see it as their servant. For Scots substitute Europeans and you will see what the essential problem is.

      Under the Napoleonic Law of the EU the State is the master of the people; under English Common Law it is their servant. Not hard to see why the British people have been lied to so systematically by the political classes in their self-serving determination to join their powerful pals in the EU.

      Proving your identity, and the Master/Servant relationship inherent in doing so, may be rooted in the psyche of Napoleonic Continentals, but it has no place in the lives of the Freemen of Britain. "Who am I? Mind your own business and get back to running the Country; that's what we, the people hire you for". We won't be able to say that for much longer, now the hirelings are becoming the masters.

  5. Eponymous Cowherd
    Big Brother

    52% and rising....

    think ID cards are a BAD idea.

    And the best way of resolving that "tricky issue" is to scrap them and the insidious NIR that backs them.

  6. ShaggyDoggy


    check the real story at Big Brother Watch

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      URL please

      Yeah, because i'm going to put BBW into a search engine on a monitored computer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        I'd be more worried

        about your tinfoil hat.

        FFS, get a grip.

      2. MadonnaC


        I'd be inclined to put Big brother Watch rather than BBW - Results would be more relevant to the issue in question

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          I'm not honestly.

          But don't you think searching for Big Brother Watch might be a self fulfilling prophecy?

  7. Joseph Haig


    Doesn't he realise that NIS is horribly insecure, and they should be using LDAP instead?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's not the real question

      He doesn't care about security or anything like that. His lifelong dream has been realised. Sir Joseph has been at the Home Office since year one and throughout that time the HO has been pressing for ID cards. It's hard to believe his anything other than a firm supporter of the scheme.

      Our only hope is that Sir Joseph will be out of a job in a few weeks. No doubt to spend more time with his luxuriously furnished pension in the country.

  8. Guy Herbert

    For the record...

    Sir Joseph wrote to NO2ID but has provided no particularly good reason why it is worth our while meeting him. Because he is trying to consult people and make his office look of value is not really sufficient.

    His report puts our correspondence in a misleading context. Our response to his first letter was:

    <blockquote>Dear Sir Joseph,

    Thank you for your letter, which just arrived. NO2ID is, of course, aware of your recent appointment as Identity Commissioner.

    Given the tightly circumscribed nature of your statutory role and the clear intention of the Identity and Passport Service to proceed with its roll-out of ID cards and a National Identity Register along the lines laid out well before your appointment, it is unclear to us what, if anything, remains open to debate or consultation, or how you are able to influence the development

    of the scheme.

    I would certainly be willing to speak with you, if there were any prospect that our meeting could lead to a restriction or abandonment of the Home Office's scheme. Otherwise my time is better spent in further promoting the widespread public opposition to it. For now I am somewhat perplexed as to what the basis of our discussion might be. I would be grateful if you could

    explain how you see your office could act as any constraint at all on the activities of the Identity and Passport Service.

    Yours sincerely,

    Phil Booth</blockquote>

    No explanation has been so far forthcoming.

    Guy Herbert

    General Secretary, NO2ID

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I believe the correct term is..


      Nice one Guy.

  9. James Pickett


    >the Identity and Passport Service was doing "a pretty good job"

    I'd no idea it was that bad!

  10. Andrew Culpeck

    MP's First

    If this scam is so wonderfull why are the MP's not queing up to join it?

  11. Somerset John
    Big Brother

    Why encourage the idiots.

    Given the abysmal level of competence shown by other quangos, why on earth would any sane person want to give the bureaucraps more powers to annoy, control and manipulate us. I will not carry a card. I will not pay for a card.

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    "Are doing a pretty good job"

    How would he know?

  13. Winkypop Silver badge

    "some tricky issues are not yet resolved"

    Yeah, like no one wants one?


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, I'm a member of NO2ID (unless I forgot to renew my sub) but let's face it - I could be attracted to a job that pays £88K a year for a three-day week of doing, essentially, nothing. Oh, and a half million (every year, I take it that means) to set up my "office". It's intriguing to wonder what kind of office or equipment are necessary for the exacting task of writing grovelling reports that say ministers are right about everything and ID cards are doing a great job. (I could do that right now, armed with nothing but a simple PC and a text editor - although no doubt I'd have to translate it into Word for the government to take notice of it).

    1. Ascylto


      And now that Microsoft are paying for their postage, are you still a supporter?

  15. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    Which part of 'NO' don't they understand?

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    C. S. Lewis

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