Very tight vote in UK Lower House on ID card

By EDRi · October 20, 2005

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)