Don’t like ID cards? Hand over your passport

Anybody who objects to their personal details going on the new “Big Brother” ID cards database will be banned from having a passport.

James Hall, the official in charge of the supposedly-voluntary scheme, said the Government would allow people to opt out – but in return they must “forgo the ability” to have a travel document. Mr Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, delivered his warning during a Downing Street “webchat”.

The first ID cards will be issued in 2009, to anybody who applies for a passport. People will be required to give fingerprints, biometric details such as a facial scan and a wealth of personal details – including second homes, driving licence and insurance numbers. All will be stored on a giant ID cards Register, which can be accessed by accredited Whitehall departments, banks and businesses.

While The ID Cards Bill was going through Parliament, peers agreed an “opt out” with Ministers for people who needed a passport, but did not want to participate in the ID cards scheme. It was the only way the Lords would accept the legislation, amid howls of concern that it represents yet another move towards a surveillance society.

But, as Mr Hall’s comments this week make clear, the opt-out only applies to being physically issued with a card. In order to get a passport, people will still have to hand over all their personal details for storage on the ID cards Register – where they will be treated in the same was as those who agreed to sign-up. They simply avoid getting the card – even though they will have to pay the full combined price of £93 for an ID card and passport.

It means that, despite the Government repeatedly insisting the scheme is voluntary, the only way to avoid signing-up is to never obtain or renew a passport. Therefore, anybody who objects to ID cards on principle and wants to keep their personal details private must remain in the UK for the rest of their lives. Critics said it was clear ID cards were being made compulsory by stealth.

 London Daily Mail

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