Friday, 19 June 2009

The Database Society

I was at a well attended local meeting of the NO2ID campaign the other night. This was the first meeting of the group locally here in Haringey, although a national campaign has been running for some years now.

The ID scheme isn’t just about identity cards. A huge database is being constructed to keep tabs on everyone in the UK. People will be obliged to give notice of any change in their registrable facts and such things as NHS appointments and MOT tests will require identity verification and therefore appear in the audit trail. Anyone newly applying for a passport, or renewing an existing one, will automatically have to be interviewed. The Home Office has the power to record personal information on the database without informing the individual. But, there is no duty to ensure that such data is accurate. The state gets control of your personal information and you have no means of checking whether it is accurate or not.

And it doesn’t end there. We heard at the meeting about children as young as five having their fingerprints taken at school often without parental consent and an operation in Yeovil where pub landlords are forced to check customers’ fingerprints, before serving them a drink. Is this the sort of society we want to live in?

The Green Party supports this campaign because we believe that the ID scheme has serious implications for civil liberties, will not deliver the benefits claimed by the government, in terms of reducing crime and terrorism and is a huge waste of money. The £5 billion cost of the scheme would be better spent on real crime reduction initiatives such as employing more police officers and having more local police stations.

The local NO2ID group will be running a stall in Crouch End (outside Budgens) from 12pm to 3pm on Saturday 27 June and their next meeting will be on Wednesday 8 July at 8.15pm, venue The Gate pub, opposite Alexandra Palace railway station.

More information on the campaign here

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