13/8/04 NO2ID NEWSLETTER – Supporter's Newsletter No.2
NO2ID NEWS – News From the NO2ID Campaign No.2 – 13 August 2004
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Stop ID-cards and the database state

This is the second regular email bulletin to keep you informed about the campaign against the Home Office's plans to fingerprint and track the entire population of Britain for its National Identity Register. As soon as practicable NO2ID NEWS will also be produced in printed form to let us reach people without email. Meanwhile, if you want to forward this email to friends or print and distribute hard copies, then we have no objections.

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NO2ID PUBLIC LAUNCH and INAUGURAL AGM

Though Mark Littlewood has been interviewed a number of times in his role as National Coordinator, and we have had a presence at related events, NO2ID has yet to be officially launched. We therefore open our public campaign proper on Saturday 18th September with a rally for supporters in central London and simultaneous smaller events elsewhere in the country.

You should shortly receive an invitation to the London rally, which will consist of a meeting at a central location, followed by lunch and some afternoon publicity activities. If you are elsewhere and would like to attend, or to organise, something more local, please contact Guy Taylor guy@no2id.net who can give you help and advice.

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NO2ID will be having its first Annual General Meeting on 9th October in order formally to adopt its constitution and to elect officers. As it is an unincorporated association, each paid-up member of NO2ID will have a vote. Individual membership is open to anyone who supports our aims and who pays an annual membership fee. Membership starts at 15 GBP (with an 8 GBP concessionary rate). We have deliberately set the rate low to make membership affordable to as many people as possible, but encourage you to pay what you feel you can afford. Membership forms are available on the NO2ID website, or you can write in with your name and address, enclosing a cheque for your membership fee to NO2ID. It is our policy not to pass on the details of members and supporters to any outside organisation.

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WEIRD AND WONDERFUL – MR LINTON'S INDEPENDENT SCHEME

Next time someone tells you they are in favour of ID-cards, question them closely. They may have something different in mind from the Home Office. Mr Martin Linton (Lab), MP for Battersea is a fervent fan. According to the Wandsworth Guardian www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/localnews/display.var.515511.0.survey_boost_for_id_card_scheme.php
he has been surveying local residents on their attitudes to ID-cards by the highly scientific method of a self-designed and self-administered questionnaire. The trouble is… that Mr Linton's ideas of the functions of an ID-card are entirely unlike (and very, very, much more ambitious than) those on offer from the Home Office. To his credit David Blunkett is not planning to track your public library borrowings in the near future.

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WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
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NO2ID was well represented at Privacy International's Big Brother Awards on 29th July at the LSE. Mark Thomas as host wore our colours for the cameras, and a packed house bought our entire mobile stock of T-shirts. Results here: www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/29/big_brother_awards/

The House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs reported on the current ID proposals as expected on 30th July. Its report (endorsed by a majority of 5-2, with the two dissenting members producing a minority report) seemed puzzling to many observers.

The Register summed up neatly: “ID cards: a bad idea, but we'll do it anyway” www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/30/id_card_report/

Here is the official parliamentary site for the report itself:
www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmhaff.htm

Bob Russell and David Winnick's Minority Report appears as a rejected amendment in the Formal Minutes at the end of the report:
www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmhaff/130/13012.htm

Most of the serious press seems to have got the “bad idea” point, even if only on grounds of cost. Meanwhile, the Home Office merrily got on with misrepresenting the cautious conclusions of the majority report as thoroughgoing endorsement, and the views of critics as being favourable. Here's a dissection of the technique in action:
blunkettisanarse.blogspot.com/2004/07/blunketts-response.html

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NO2ID Fundraising is now moving forward.
Phil Booth, our Treasurer reports:
“I'm very pleased to announce that NO2ID has received a seed funding grant from The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd – many thanks to the Directors and staff of the Trust for their support. Setting up and running a campaign costs money and, while we wouldn't be anywhere without the time and effort of our growing number of volunteers and supporters, it is crucial that we are ready as soon as possible to distribute free-of-charge printed materials and have a presence at key events.”

“Thanks, too, to those who have bought T-shirts or taken out full membership of NO2ID.”

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An honourable mention too to The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust's 'State of the Nation' Poll, published a few weeks ago. Details here:
www.jrrt.org.uk/SoNSummary.pdf – Executive Summary
www.jrrt.org.uk/FINDINGS.pdf – Main Findings
Again, a properly conducted poll shows that support for ID-cards is neither as uniform nor as strong as the government and other boosters wish to suggest.

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We have a new address of our very own. Until now we've been relying on the generous help of Privacy International. You can now contact us directly by mail at NO2ID, Box 412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP.

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WHAT'S NEXT?
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We will shortly be hitting the political conference season. As well as our own events, there are already plans in train for us to hold a workshop and have a stall at the European Social Forum and to stage a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Anyone who'd like to help—particularly Labour Party members who may be attending the Conference—please get in touch.

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The Conservatives are in Blackpool this year from 4th- 7th October. On ID-cards of late they have sounded more and more sceptical of Mr Blunkett's vague assertions, despite apparently trying to keep up with the Government's fierce “law-and-order” drive. We are actively working to encourage and coordinate opposition from across the political spectrum, so watch out for developments here. Polls do seem to show that Tory supporters are more likely than average to be suspicious of the ID-system. Again it would be good to hear from attendees.

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Dates for your diary:
Liberal Democrat Party Conference (Brighton) 19th – 23rd September
Labour Party Conference (Brighton) 26th – 30th September
Conservative Party Conference (Bournemouth) 4th – 7th October
European Social Forum (London) 14th-17th October

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“ID” IN THE NEWS
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Certainly the Select Committee report has brought the topic, and related ones, up the public agenda. Most views were not as sanguine as the Home Office's…

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ID card plans 'badly thought out' – BBC News
“Plans for introducing ID cards in the UK are poorly thought out and vital
details are still unclear, say MPs.” news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3937535.stm
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ID card plan 'liable to abuse' – This is London/London Evening Standard
“Plans for compulsory ID cards are untested, uncosted and liable to abuse, MPs are warning.”
www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/12242772?source=Evening%20Standard
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MPs slam UK ID card proposal – ZDNet.co.uk
news.zdnet.co.uk/business/legal/0,39020651,39162196,00.htm
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MPs warn of gaps in ID card plans – VNUNet.com
www.vnunet.com/news/1156990
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DATA watchdog's alarm at national ID card plan – ComputerWeekly.com
“The scheme goes way beyond initial plans for a plastic ID card and now
marks a fundamental shift in the way the government collects, uses and
shares personal data.”
www.computerweekly.com/articles/article.asp?liArticleID=132409

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Radio 4's analysis programme last week looked at protecting privacy in light of modern technologies: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/analysis/3937907.stm

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Look out on www.silicon.com/ next week as Carl Gohringer of NEC is offering to answer readers' questions on biometrics. NEC is working closely with the government on its biometric passport trial.

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Politics and IT appear to be awake. Now for the general public!

(Please send me any items of interest you encounter – Editor)

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Publication details: (c) NO2ID 2004 – This document may be freely redistributed in one-to-one communications or physical copies as long as it is reproduced in its entirety including this notice. It may not be mass-mailed without the prior permission of NO2ID. NO2ID, Box No.412, 78 Marylebone High Street, LONDON W1U 5AP.

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