UK acknowledges public criticism of identity-card

By EDRi · June 19, 2003

The UK Government has finally admitted that the public are overwhelmingly
opposed to the idea of a national ID card. In response to a parliamentary
question from member of parliament Anne McIntosh, Home Office minister
Beverley Hughes has confirmed that over 5,000 of the 7,000 responses to a
public consultation on the issue were opposed to the scheme.

Recently, government ministers claimed that they received around 2,000
responses, 2:1 of which were in favour of the idea. Yet, which
allowed user to e-mail responses to the consultation, report that they
forwarded 5,029 — mostly negative — messages on behalf of users. And the
798 responses sent through two phones lines (Yes and No) set up by
EDRI-member Privacy International were also ignored.

Privacy International made an open government request early in May to ask
the Home Office exactly how many responses they had received, and how those
responses would be classified. But on the day the request was due to be
answered, the Home Office told Privacy International that a similar request
for information had been made by a Member of Parliament. Therefore, due to
to parliamentary procedure, they would have to answer that MPs query first.
(This procedure is not mentioned in the open government code that governs
these requests).

The latest press reports suggest that the government intends to press on
with its plans for ID cards – this time using the crime and asylum
arguments that they explicitly rejected in 2002 when they launched their

Dossier Privacy International

(Contribution by Ian Brown, FIPR)