back to article Home Sec says 17m ID cards in circulation by 2017

The government expects to have issued 17 million ID cards by 2017, Home Secretary Alan Johnson told the Commons yesterday. Johnson was responding to a question from his Tory shadow, Chris Grayling, who asked: "What proportion of the estimated 49 million products to be issued between April 2012 and March 2017 ... will be …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Why amazed?

    "Some observers may be amazed that the government expects to issue 17 million ID cards by 2017"


    The Government haven't even begun turning up the heat under the "frog" yet.

    Once the Government starts targeting the brain-dead "nothing to hide" brigade (who are already trotting out doubleplusgood duckspeak on their behalf), there will start to be a stigma associated with hot having (or wanting) an ID card, which will only serve to accelerate take up.

    Before you know it, the frog will be simmering nicely, and most people won't have even noticed how we got there.

    1. Craig (well, I was until The Reg changed it to Craig 16)

      Just like CRB and the upcoming vetting agency

      We're now at the stage where if you grumble about filling in a CRB form then you've obviously got something to hide, thanks to great spinning by the political PR machines and the willingness of the media to buy it and hype it even further.

      Give it those 7 years and you'll see much the same with people being openly queried about what they have to hide if they don't want an ID card.

      On a separate thread... I wonder if the police are actively investigating those who already have the ID card. The only sane reason I could think for someone wanting one is to study/break it to make forged copies for any number of nefarious reasons.

      1. Number6


        I'm not grumbling about CRB forms, I'll just refuse to fill one in. I'm not going to stop anyone else from making inquiries, but I'm not going to assist in any way. It's the only way to defeat such things, and ideally all 11 million people who'd be caught up by the vetting rules would also refuse. Mass cancellation of activities for young people may not be popular in the short term, but in ten years time they may be worse off if we don't take action.

        Sadly, too many people are asleep and following the road to the police state.

  2. SuperTim

    That's because....

    They will force people applying for a passport to also then have an identity card. Probably with some "special offer" of buy one get one free. That's how they will get to 17 million.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge


      You are perfectly correct, as publicly stated by Admiral West on 14th Oct 2009:

      14 Oct 2009 : Column WA27

      The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead):

      "It is intended that, in due course, the provisions of the Identity Cards Act 2006 should be amended by further primary legislation so that, from 2012 when fingerprint biometric passports are introduced, every adult applying for a British passport would be offered the choice of being issued with a passport or an identity card, or both documents and their identity details and biometrics would be recorded on a single national identity register.

      There are no plans for information of people renewing their driving licences to be held on the national identity register."

      So, there we have their plans in black and white - Labour intend to force people onto the NIR from 2012 onwards.

  3. Guy Herbert
    Big Brother

    We already know how they propose to do it.

    The plans haven't changed in the slightest. By designating first passports (now from 2012? having been quietly slipped again), then some other documents, you will be in effect forced to have an ID card to carry out perfectly ordinary civil functions - such as fleeing to seek political asylum in another country - but it will still be *called* "voluntary".

    In fact primary legislation would have to be amended in order for them *not* to issue you with an ID card with your passport once it is designated. For card fetishists, it is worth pointing out that at that point having a passport would in any case be equivalent for all purposes to having an ID card, so at that point the card would start to have relative benefits. If you are on the database for life *anyway*, then it is merely a difference in format and an ID card might be handier to carry.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How very honest of him. Yes, we are paying for them. Twice, or possibly three times, as far as I can see.

  5. The BigYin


    Once you need an ID card for insurance, bank account, NHS, benefits, and police random stop (where not having an ID card is taken as 'suspicious') there will be a stampede of applications.

    The ID cards are coming.

    You will obey the machine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In place of an ID card

      I intend to give the police a prime example of Alabama black snake.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Bank accounts

        That would meen getting it past the FSA, which, as much as people hate them sometimes, do have more sense than that. They will realise the ID card is no better than a driving license for them.

  6. Eponymous Cowherd
    Big Brother

    Back door compulsion.

    How do the Government expect to get 49 million people to "volunteer" to sell their souls to the National Identity Register by 2017?

    By making life virtually impossible unless you *are* enrolled.

    Want to leave the UK? You have to be on the NIR.

    Want to buy alcohol? You have to be on the NIR.

    Want to open a bank account? You have to be on the NIR.

    Want to buy a house or rent a flat? You have to be on the NIR.

    And, before we get all of the ovine "nothing to fear" brigade start saying ID cards are used in the rest of Europe, etc, lets not be under any illusions here. ID cards are *NOT* the issue. It is the biometric NIR database that is behind the cards *and* passports (from 2012), and that has *no* equivalent outside of (other?) police states.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      "Back door" compulsion

      For a moment you had me thinking they put Mandelson in charge of this. Pfew.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not quite so sure...

      I had to recently get a new French ID card. They took fingerprints and and Iris scan for that...

  7. Chris Judd

    They think 28% coverage is a big achievement ...?

    Only 28% of the population by 2017... so they'll still be useless for decades. The card is an epically bad idea, but if it was ever to work it would have to be a case of everybody having one. If only 28% have it, you can always say "no guvna, I dont have one, here's my (faked) [passport/drivers license/whatever]".

  8. Dazed and Confused


    Was that 17M as in

    M == Million


    M === MMMmmmmmmmmmm we think so

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  9. John Murgatroyd

    Since... cannot get a job now without some sort of id...

    And since loads of people (well, a few thousand...ish) have applied for the cards....and you can register your interest on the site...

    I should say that whichever gov is elected the cards are coming.....or else !!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    F*** em

    I'll gladly do without a passport, and if they try to impose it by other means, I'll still not get one, I'd rather suffer than become a "number". The police are bad enough as it is without being stopped by some power mad cretin asking for "Papers please" These fuck wit politicians seem to forget that they are there to do our bidding, no the other way around. How is it that so many people, so easily want to be ruled by corrupt criminals. If anyone needs ID and tracking then it should be the charlatans in the house of commons.

    The time for civil unrest approaches. Summer fun and games!

  11. Anonymous Coward

    No Country for Spoofed Spies

    Given the complete lack of assurance over the Dubai debacle where biometric passports where cloned and passed the mustard in one of the most paranoid and heavy handed identity checking world states...

    17 million ID cards + 32 million Biometric passports = 49 Million identities falsely roaming the planet bumping off people that someone else doesn't like.

    If the shit scared, pants wetting, security forces in the UK are so freaked out about the prospect of not recognising every face that passes before them then there has to be a better way of setting such fragile minds at ease. (Thanks to the Reg its hard to escape the fact that a national database means fake id records are easier to hide, false positives are numerous & impossible to remove from searches, and the whole setup screams non-performant).

    Instead of proving identity, which is terribly zen and likely beyond the grasp of most security personal, so how about we collect and carry personal references that the police then call up to verify with the referee. Of course the referees would need to be people beyond reproach (or at least viewed as such by a government) so how about the your local MP, the Home Secretary and the Queen, which will ensure that only those that need to be stopped-and-harassed will be so inconvenienced.

  12. Paul Hates Handles


    The true way to stop identity fraud is to give ALL your ID to the person we can trust most not to lose data. Yep. Nice.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    chip people

    I see there is a proposal to chip all dogs, why not just go the whole way and chip everyone. Then no need to carry ID! Simples....

  14. Mark York 3 Silver badge

    Thank Gawd I'm Out.

    I was planning on keeping my UK passport as soon as I got my Canadian citizenship (one year down two more to go), begining to feel I should just sever ties at that point instead.

    Just glad we got out.

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    Isn't their plan to 50% of people going to university by then aswell?

    Simply require them to have id cards - so uni can check their attendance or for security, or so that they will be 'safe', or require it for their student loan

    You could hand them out for free and make money from the change of address fine - if you move house every year there are bound to be lots of missed changes of address.

    Then since the loan payments are tied to the card you have a reason to link it to the inland revenue, and their employers databases - to reduce paperwork

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. hplasm

      You say you have nothing to hide.

      You don't say you have nothing to fear. That would also be incorrect.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon


      "they've only got to pick up one of the hundreds of objects I touch every week."

      and plant them at their next crime scene. Nice.

      You do understand that once all your details are on the NIR you are effectively owned? Any kind of mistake in the database or it's application and it will be YOU who is inconvenienced/ locked up.

    3. Paul 4

      If it was just

      A cheep EU only passport then I wouldent have a problem, but it is all the other things. Apart from anything else it is very expensive if it dose no more than a driving license and a passport.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Something to hide?

      I've actually got quite a few things to hide. Here's a small list (examples, not all are actually mine):

      * Email password (from everybody)

      * Bank details (from scammers)

      * Girlfriend's name (from my ex)

      * My British citizenship (when on holiday in certain countries)

      * Documents detailing my election campaign plans (from the government)

      * The evidence I'm gathering against my employer for the pending whistle-blowing court case

      * What I bought my mum for Christmas

      ... for a start. If anybody cares to add to this list, I could do with more when I post this to a less sympathetic forum.

      Anonymous Coward. Because anonymity isn't a crime.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        * the location of my pron (form everyboady)

        * the content of my pron (form everyboady)

        (any man who says he has not looked at pron in his life is 90% likley a lier)

        * admin passwords for the work network (form everyboady as per my job discription)

        * my boady (nobaody wants to see it any way)

        1. Anonymous Coward


          What's a boady? Do you have to fill in paperwork to get one (the 'form everyboady')?

          I'll gloss over 'lier', 'likley' and 'nobaody' as they are all probably some kind of new slang.

  17. Ashley Stevens


    What proportion of the estimated 17 million ID card in 'circulation' will be genuine?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you Alan Johnson

    for reminding us who not to vote for in a couple of months.

    Nanny Labour - $%^& you and the ID cards you'll be riding out on.

  19. Richard Cartledge


    It's not the card it's the database stupid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Dead Vulture


      It's not the (almost identical to the passport ) database,stupid. It's your paranoia.

  20. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Thank Gawd I'm Out

    If you renew your passport abroad at a consulate they can't do all the biometric stuff - you get a chipped 'biometric' passport but the only biometric part is a digital thumbnail of your photo.

    So if you live in Manchester you get a supersecure digital inside-leg measurement bio-chipped ID card, if you live in Syria/Afghanistan/etc you go to the UK consulate with a photo and get a passport anyway - and this is in order to protect you against terrorists,

  21. Professor Quatermass

    Shameful hubris and shocking waste of my money

    Surely the illiberal measures taken by the New Labour Government will be staked through the heart by our incoming Tory Government? Yes? Maybe? Hmmm.

    At the moment I'm a resident alien in the UK and haven't been compelled to obtain an ID card. I only wish my citizenship would come through in time to vote these rascals out!

  22. rharrisuk

    Think you can use this as a!

    I've got the new ID card and have tried to use it.

    Fine on the way out of the UK, but on the return it was impossible from Germany. Immigration might accept but the airlines don't. Lufthansa doesn't recognise the UK card as a valid travel document. I was told passport or no travel for British citizens (luckily I had my passport with me as well).

    Be careful if you think you can travel on this alone......

  23. Mike Richards Silver badge

    It's kind of sweet when you think about it

    Dear easily bewildered Alan Johnson still thinks he and his crowd are going to be in any position to say what happens to ID cards after a couple more months.


    Hello Alan, you've got some nice visitors. I SAID do you want a cup of tea? Oh, it's not one of his good days. best keep back and not make any sudden movements, he gets a bit like this close to an election.

  24. Joseph Haig

    Passport without ID card?

    "...people would be able to buy an ID card or passport or both"

    How does this work? The last I heard you would need to have an ID card to be able to apply for a passport, so shouldn't this read "people would be able to buy an ID card *and* a passport or neither"?

    I intend to renew my passport just before it becomes compulsory to buy a voluntary ID card, so that I can keep of the database for as long as possible.

  25. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Home Sec thinks he will still be in power in 2017.

    I doubt either belief is *any* more likely than the other.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Tuttle Buttle

    Soon we'll have bar codes welded to our foreheads and cables coming out of our backs and will be little more than batteries inside a huge machine producing a mass hallucination that we're living on a doomed rock spinning around a sun that will burn out in 5 billion years.

    But before this, before you even know it, we'll all have to work for a living AND have to give part of our earnings to a government just so they can build stuff to enable us to work and get to work!

    Next thing you know, they'll have CCTV cameras everywhere and the Chocolate Factory will be looking in all our windows just to make sure we're doing the right thing.

    We're doomed!

    This country is going to the dogs!

    I'm packing up and shipping out to the Colonies first chance I get - I'll be there, with my Ticket to TGGLand (The Grass is Greener Land), with my Rose Tinted specs firmly embedded on my fizog as I rant and rave about the loss of liberties we never actually had in the first place.

    I'll cast my mind back to the good old days of the 50's, post war, when the masses were uneducated and we believed everything the Lizard queen told us. Then later, to the heady 60's that only existed if you were tripping on acid and had a great deal of dosh.

    Spin forward to the fantastic 70's when everything went tits up and the rozzers would bash your door down crying "I'm 'avin 'oops", whilst the country was on strike and the rubbish piled up in the streets. Then we'd be waxing lyrical about the 'loadsa money' 80's except if you had dreads and a dog on a string, in which case you'd be battling the rozzers in a bean field because you wanted to party on down to rave music and blow a whistle. Onto the 90's when the country was fantastic but nobody had any money till those labour fellows came in and gave us loadsa money for free until the noughties when we realised it wasn't ours and had to give it all back.

    ... I'll get my coat ...

    Your a number already, join the queue...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In *Circulation* ?!?!

    Errr... Won't that rather defeat the whole object?

  28. kevin biswas

    Anyone remember...

    The Poll Tax riots ?

  29. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    By 2017?

    Is this the same government that wont have any new power stations on stream by 2017, or the same government that wont be starting any major rail link until 2017, or the same government that pisses money away on IT schemes that fall over when someone tries to enter some data?

    Note : if they can prosecute and convict me for having no ID card, then they can prove my identity well enough to prosecute and convict me without one.

    Therefore why do I need a card in the first place?.

    Alien... because we know our 'leaders' are on a different planet to the rest of us

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Big Brother

      Its the same one

      ***"Is this the same government that wont have any new power stations on stream by 2017, or the same government that wont be starting any major rail link until 2017, or the same government that pisses money away on IT schemes that fall over when someone tries to enter some data?"***

      Yes, the very same.

      But, more importantly, its the same Government that will sell your name and address to any wheel-clamping crook who presents them with your car registration number.

      Anyone seriously believe this cash-strapped Government will treat the (much more personal) data on the NIR any differently and won't sell it on to the highest bidder?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Young Adults

    Unless you want a driving license, you have to get one of these ID cards if you want to have a beer in a pub if you've just turned 18. No one is going to carry their passport around.

    There's nothing wrong with an ID card - it's just the database that's the issue. If Labour lose then perhaps a new government will get rid of the database element.

    Why on earth is there a paper bit to the Driving License ? Shouldn't the govrnment fix that first ?

    1. Guy Herbert

      @ AC: 14:03

      "Unless you want a driving license, you have to get one of these ID cards if you want to have a beer in a pub if you've just turned 18."

      Nonsense. You can get any of the PASS scheme cards for a tenner, you can stop using it whenever you like and they will not fingerprint you, pass out your personal details to other people or impose penalties on you.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The National Identity Service cost report shows the total volume of passports and identity cards predicted to be issued each year over the cost report period. As published in the October 2009 National Identity Service cost report, over the time period April 2012 to March 2017, we expect to have issued approximately 49 million products (48.7 is the total in the October cost report-p7)."

    Quesion and answer obtained here: []

    October cost report obtained here: []

    1) 48.7 million is what you'll get if you sum the product totals from 31-Mar-13 to 31-Mar-17.

    2) Using the total, plus the figure of 17 million Postman Johnson gave us, we can work out:

    a) The proportion of ID cards to passports (35% / 65%)

    b) The total number of ID cards to passports for each of the time periods in the report:


    31-Mar-13 31-Mar-14 31-Mar-15 31-Mar-16 31-Mar-17 TOTAL

    ID Cards 2.94 3.29 3.47 3.64 3.71 17.0 (35%)

    Passports 5.46 6.11 6.44 6.76 6.89 31.7 (65%)

    TOTAL 8.40 9.40 9.90 10.40 10.60 48.7 (100%)

    (figures in millions)


    c) If we assume the same division over time from 2010 to 2017 we can work out what Alan the Builder expects the IPS should currently be issuing:



    ID Cards 0.91

    Passports 1.69

    TOTAL 2.60

    (figures in millions)


    And now we have an estimate of the number of ID cards Fireman Arthur expects the IPS to be producing right now we can compare his estimate with that final arbiter of all things: Reality. What do we find?

    Well here ( we find that from 01-Apr-2009 to 30-Sep-2009 the IPS produced 2.96 million passports and ( at least 2,700 ID cards.

    Which means the estimate of the total number of products for 01-Apr-2009 - 31-Mar-2010 is likely to be really quite wrong seeing as the IPS actually issued 2.96 million passports in half a year (not 2.6 passports and ID cards combined over the course of a full year), and 0.0027 million ID cards (not 0.91 million).

    All of which support the conclusions that:

    1) ID card uptake isn't what Surfer Sid hoped it would be;

    2) Passport uptake is in excess of what TinkyWinky predicted it would be.

    3) Seeing as the latest estimates for numbers of passports and ID cards produced are wrong, the estimates for future years are likely to bear little resemblance to the truth. (But then this /is/ the Home Secretary we're talking about: I can't remember the last time I believed a bloody word a Home Secretary uttered).

    One final observation. While researching this shit I noticed the IPS have a number of KPIs, one of which is "To reduce the level of undetected application fraud to below 0.08% of passport applications". How would they ever know?

  32. Rob Burke


    They've already started targeting the young...

    This ad

    points to

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      @Rob Burke

      "They've already started targeting the young..."

      Sounds like online grooming. I thought that was illegal in the UK?

      thumbs down for the whole idea.

  33. Guy Herbert

    @ AC 14:03 - misinformed

    "Unless you want a driving license, you have to get one of these ID cards if you want to have a beer in a pub if you've just turned 18."

    Nonsense. You can get any of the PASS scheme cards for a tenner. You can stop using it whenever you like, and they will not fingerprint you, pass out your personal details to other organisations, or impose penalties on you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Neither of those schemes are run by Government, this is good news. The local council here have a similar scheme (so the tall youths of today can prove their age for cheap bus tickets, sports halls etc.) and I had assumed the government would want them to cease...

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