Very tight vote in UK Lower House on ID card
The UK ID card proposals have come closer than ever to defeat in their final House of Commons vote. The government's majority shrunk from the previous vote by 11 votes to 25, despite several concessions over cost and claims to improve privacy protection.
The legislation now moves to the House of Lords, where it is certain to face sustained attack from the House's majority of Conservative, Liberal Democrat and independent peers. The close vote in the Commons will encourage the Lords in their efforts to amend and defeat the Bill. Debate is likely to take place at the end of October 2005.
The Government continues to claim that the scheme is "voluntary" and would not hold detailed personal information. In the current version, it would not be compulsory to buy or carry ID. However, the Bill leaves open the possibility that ID Cards could be made compulsory at a later date and government has stated that this is their ultimate intention. Moreover, all applicants for passports and potentially for driving licences and criminal background checks would automatically be registered. A Home Office Minister claimed that "It is not our intention to create a database that will seek to hold detailed personal profiles on every individual," entirely missing the point that other government databases such as those holding medical records and police files will be linked up using the ID card number.
No to ID campaign
(Contribution by Ian Brown, EDRI board member)