Blairs response to ID card petition.

#1
Along with many others I signed up to the Anti- ID card petition on the No. 10 website.

Today I (and no doubt several thousand others) received this response:
The e-petition to "scrap the proposed introduction of ID cards" has now closed. The petition stated that "The introduction of ID cards will not prevent terrorism or crime, as is claimed. It will be yet another indirect tax on all law-abiding citizens of the UK". This is a response from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
[hr]

The petition calling for the Government to abandon plans for a National ID Scheme attracted almost 28,000 signatures - one of the largest responses since this e-petition service was set up. So I thought I would reply personally to those who signed up, to explain why the Government believes National ID cards, and the National Identity Register needed to make them effective, will help make Britain a safer place.

The petition disputes the idea that ID cards will help reduce crime or terrorism. While I certainly accept that ID cards will not prevent all terrorist outrages or crime, I believe they will make an important contribution to making our borders more secure, countering fraud, and tackling international crime and terrorism. More importantly, this is also what our security services - who have the task of protecting this country - believe.

So I would like to explain why I think it would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to use biometrics such as fingerprints to secure our identities. I would also like to discuss some of the claims about costs - particularly the way the cost of an ID card is often inflated by including in estimates the cost of a biometric passport which, it seems certain, all those who want to travel abroad will soon need.

In contrast to these exaggerated figures, the real benefits for our country and its citizens from ID cards and the National Identity Register, which will contain less information on individuals than the data collected by the average store card, should be delivered for a cost of around £3 a year over its ten-year life.

But first, it's important to set out why we need to do more to secure our identities and how I believe ID cards will help. We live in a world in which people, money and information are more mobile than ever before. Terrorists and international criminal gangs increasingly exploit this to move undetected across borders and to disappear within countries. Terrorists routinely use multiple identities - up to 50 at a time. Indeed this is an essential part of the way they operate and is specifically taught at Al-Qaeda training camps. One in four criminals also uses a false identity. ID cards which contain biometric recognition details and which are linked to a National Identity Register will make this much more difficult.

Secure identities will also help us counter the fast-growing problem of identity fraud. This already costs £1.7 billion annually. There is no doubt that building yourself a new and false identity is all too easy at the moment. Forging an ID card and matching biometric record will be much harder.

I also believe that the National Identity Register will help police bring those guilty of serious crimes to justice. They will be able, for example, to compare the fingerprints found at the scene of some 900,000 unsolved crimes against the information held on the register. Another benefit from biometric technology will be to improve the flow of information between countries on the identity of offenders.

The National Identity Register will also help improve protection for the vulnerable, enabling more effective and quicker checks on those seeking to work, for example, with children. It should make it much more difficult, as has happened tragically in the past, for people to slip through the net.

Proper identity management and ID cards also have an important role to play in preventing illegal immigration and illegal working. The effectiveness on the new biometric technology is, in fact, already being seen. In trials using this technology on visa applications at just nine overseas posts, our officials have already uncovered 1,400 people trying illegally to get back into the UK.

Nor is Britain alone in believing that biometrics offer a massive opportunity to secure our identities. Firms across the world are already using fingerprint or iris recognition for their staff. France, Italy and Spain are among other European countries already planning to add biometrics to their ID cards. Over 50 countries across the world are developing biometric passports, and all EU countries are proposing to include fingerprint biometrics on their passports. The introduction in 2006 of British e-passports incorporating facial image biometrics has meant that British passport holders can continue to visit the United States without a visa. What the National Identity Scheme does is take this opportunity to ensure we maximise the benefits to the UK.

These then are the ways I believe ID cards can help cut crime and terrorism. I recognise that these arguments will not convince those who oppose a National Identity Scheme on civil liberty grounds. They will, I hope, be reassured by the strict safeguards now in place on the data held on the register and the right for each individual to check it. But I hope it might make those who believe ID cards will be ineffective reconsider their opposition.

If national ID cards do help us counter crime and terrorism, it is, of course, the law-abiding majority who will benefit and whose own liberties will be protected. This helps explain why, according to the recent authoritative Social Attitudes survey, the majority of people favour compulsory ID cards.

I am also convinced that there will also be other positive benefits. A national ID card system, for example, will prevent the need, as now, to take a whole range of documents to establish our identity. Over time, they will also help improve access to services.

The petition also talks about cost. It is true that individuals will have to pay a fee to meet the cost of their ID card in the same way, for example, as they now do for their passports. But I simply don't recognise most claims of the cost of ID cards. In many cases, these estimates deliberately exaggerate the cost of ID cards by adding in the cost of biometric passports. This is both unfair and inaccurate.

As I have said, it is clear that if we want to travel abroad, we will soon have no choice but to have a biometric passport. We estimate that the cost of biometric passports will account for 70% of the cost of the combined passports/id cards. The additional cost of the ID cards is expected to be less than £30 or £3 a year for their 10-year lifespan. Our aim is to ensure we also make the most of the benefits these biometric advances bring within our borders and in our everyday lives.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Blair
I don't suppose he'll get to see my response but for the benefit of everyone else, here it is:

Mr Blair.

You've lied to the British people, you've lied to Parliament and you've lied to the United Nations time and again.
What makes you think that anyone believes a word you say now on this subject or any other?

(Ex_STAB).
I'm reminded of the policy of "re-education" in George Orwell's 1984 - (the new labour handbook.)
 
#3
I got exactly the same email, and here was me thinking that he was concerned about my concerns so much that he wanted to write to me.

Oh well!

OS
 
#4
Still, you've got to admit that Tony's listening to us, and makes a great effort to respond in a democratic and caring way.
 
#5
Whiskybreath said:
Still, you've got to admit that Tony's listening to us, and makes a great effort to respond in a democratic and caring way.
No, he's not listening to us. He's just using the petition to indentify the dissenters so he target/market his b*llshit agenda. He had no intention of changing his mind for a second.
He no doubt thinks that these are the only 28000 people that disagree, same as the hacks that have suggested that only 1.5 million who signed up for the road pricing one are the only small majority that disagree there. That said even if it had been 31million names he would still have thought he knew best. If King Tony's rule had been a few centuries ago he would have been thrown in the tower for all his misadventures. I am constantly staggered that with all the technological potential we have for a referendum system, like switzerlands, he's actually using diplomatic tools like this petition to just collect together an email mailing list for his unique brand of political re-education. Shocked and awed? Sad thing is have come to expect it now.


Ps. its ok whiskeybreath - did get your sarcasm. Wasnt it...?
 
#6
The petition calling for the Government to abandon plans for a National ID Scheme attracted almost 28,000 signatures - one of the largest responses since this e-petition service was set up. So I thought I would reply personally to those who signed up, to explain why the Government believes National ID cards, and the National Identity Register needed to make them effective, will help make Britain a safer place.
How?????

The petition disputes the idea that ID cards will help reduce crime or terrorism. While I certainly accept that ID cards will not prevent all terrorist outrages or crime, I believe they will make an important contribution to making our borders more secure, countering fraud, and tackling international crime and terrorism. More importantly, this is also what our security services - who have the task of protecting this country - believe.
As long as there is systematic failures within the Home Office and with Immigration Control, this high tech expensive system will fail to deliver. Effort should be to get the fundamental policies right first.

So I would like to explain why I think it would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to use biometrics such as fingerprints to secure our identities. I would also like to discuss some of the claims about costs - particularly the way the cost of an ID card is often inflated by including in estimates the cost of a biometric passport which, it seems certain, all those who want to travel abroad will soon need.
The nation was lied to yet again. This was a voluntary scheme, but the Government introduced legislation requiring individuals to have a National Identity Card to obtain a passport. This in effect changes the context of the word voluntary!!!

In contrast to these exaggerated figures, the real benefits for our country and its citizens from ID cards and the National Identity Register, which will contain less information on individuals than the data collected by the average store card, should be delivered for a cost of around £3 a year over its ten-year life.
I would like to know where he has dug these figures out from. I would imagine it would be comparative in cost to the passport, about £80.00. The 10 year life is in doubt due to "age changes" effecting biometric information. Five years has been stated by professional biometric firms.

But first, it's important to set out why we need to do more to secure our identities and how I believe ID cards will help. We live in a world in which people, money and information are more mobile than ever before. Terrorists and international criminal gangs increasingly exploit this to move undetected across borders and to disappear within countries. Terrorists routinely use multiple identities - up to 50 at a time. Indeed this is an essential part of the way they operate and is specifically taught at Al-Qaeda training camps. One in four criminals also uses a false identity. ID cards which contain biometric recognition details and which are linked to a National Identity Register will make this much more difficult.
Not the Bin Laden bogeyman again. I`m surprised WMD hasn`t been mentioned. And easier to track movement, transactions etc. The surveillance society.

Secure identities will also help us counter the fast-growing problem of identity fraud. This already costs £1.7 billion annually. There is no doubt that building yourself a new and false identity is all too easy at the moment. Forging an ID card and matching biometric record will be much harder.It has already been forged. Movement within EU countries is pretty free, and unless all other countries adopt this system, its target audience will be the law abiding British subject.

I also believe that the National Identity Register will help police bring those guilty of serious crimes to justice. They will be able, for example, to compare the fingerprints found at the scene of some 900,000 unsolved crimes against the information held on the register. Another benefit from biometric technology will be to improve the flow of information between countries on the identity of offenders.
Hope this is not inept, as the latest DNA scandal has proved!!! I hope this is not as one sided as the Brussels agreement to share DNA information between countries seeing as the UK has the largest DNA database in the world.

The National Identity Register will also help improve protection for the vulnerable, enabling more effective and quicker checks on those seeking to work, for example, with children. It should make it much more difficult, as has happened tragically in the past, for people to slip through the net.
Why are politicians afforded celebrity status for there offspring on a "more secure" childrens database than you or I?????

Just a few comments on the opening paragraphs of Bliars response. Quite frankly, I have not read it any further as I have never heard such a bigger bunch of lies since reading the Labour Party manifesto or listening to Hoon stating the "troops had enough kit" to the convincing "Iraq has loads of WMD" sexed up dossier.

Arrogant excuse of a man, who treats the electorate with disdain.
 
#7
No, he's not listening to us. He's just using the petition to indentify the dissenters so he target/market his b*llshit agenda. He had no intention of changing his mind for a second.
+1

Just because he got some staffer to write a form letter out doesn't mean he gives a toss. It take far more to convince him then 28000 people signing a petition.
 

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