9 November 2003
Finally (damn those retailers for wanting xmas websites ;o) we have finished typing up our notes from FIPR and PI's Seventh Scrambling for Safety conference. Our notes (HTML: 50kb) are on the site now. There was a follow-up meeting at the House of Lords last Wednesday, but we couldn't make it to that (see above re real jobs), but we'll link to some notes as soon as we can find some.
7 November 2003
Looks like Blunkett's got his way — in part, at least. The government is going to be introducing a Draft Bill for the introduction of an ID card scheme at the State Opening of Parliament, later this month. We'll put up some more information once we have it. Whilst you wait, you may enjoy some of these opinion articles in the wake of the government's announcement: Philip Hensher in the Indy (sorry, pay site); Alan Travis in the Guardian; Nick Cohen in the Observer.
Whilst the government is trying to spin this as a climbdown — nothing will happen "until the end of the decade" — this seems to us more like everything the Home Office wanted, with a few trials and a voluntary scheme being introduced first, so that the actual, mandatory scheme is delayed until safely after the next election. Cynical, us?
17 October 2003
One of our volunteers, Owen Blacker, faxed his MP, asking about the "Entitlement Cards" consultation — how much longer we're gonna have to wait for a summary of the consultation responses, for example. Well, he got a response, at last, which he's scanned as JPEGs (page one, page two; sorry, no OCR handy). Though it seems to bear a striking resemblence to the Home Office's "Entitlement Cards" page.
15 September 2003
The Home Office has press-released its summary of the consultation on the withdrawn "Snoopers' Charter". You can read our response (Word doc; 130kb), submitted back in June, but we're still thinking about the new Draft Statutory Instrument (Word doc: 71kb; PDF: 66kb), so we'll get back to you with an analysis shortly…
Update, 2003-09-16: The Home Office has just provided us with the five Statutory Instruments laid before Parliament last Friday. We have created a page linking to all five Orders.
8 July 2003
You may have read in the Times (article, leader) over the weekend that there was a Cabinet memo from everyone's favorite Home Secretary leaked over the weekend, regarding the introduction of an ID card scheme (despite the Home Office finally admitting that the overwhelming majority of respondents to the consultation were opposed to the idea, see below).
Several newspapers have been quite sensible and seen through Mr Blunkett's rather optimistic, misleading and unrealistic assessment of the "help" they might provide in some areas (asylum seekers, terrorists, benefits fraudsters, identity thieves etc) and have published articles on the subject. Some others (curiously, all the ones owned by a certain Australian-American) have been rather more swayed by Mr Blunkett's rhetoric. The Guardian, though — who were very good at giving the consultation due exposure and who raised some interesting and valid points on the subject some months ago — have been strangely silent. So we wrote them a letter. They've not yet published it, but we'll put up a link, should they do so.
16 June 2003
We've been a little slow at getting this consultation response online, but the Home Office recently finished consulting on the withdrawn "Snoopers Charter" extension to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act, that we campaigned over last summer.
As you might expect, we had a few words to say on the matter. Whilst we've not managed to make a nice HTML version yet, you can read the Word doc we submitted to the Home Office (130kb) until we do. Or you could go on to look at the mess the Home Office still seems to be getting itself into about ID cards, below…
31 May 2003
Yes, it appears that — either by having outdated figures, or by counting all the STAND-relayed submissions as one collective statement — the government is claiming much lower (and more positive) figures for their ID card consultation than our statistics indicate. We've written them a letter to find out more, and are currently pursuing a couple of other channels to get an answer. In the mean time, if you wrote a submission via STAND and wouldn't mind it being used publicly by us as an example of the contributions made through the service, mail us at email@example.com. We'll get in touch if we need to. Thanks!
31 January 2003
The government's consultation on "entitlement" cards has now closed. many thanks to the thousands of people who took the time and effort to write a response to the home office's proposals and/or let their mp know about their feelings regarding id cards.
The proof of the pudding is in the legislating, but it certainly looks like you all had an impact. The Government's rhetoric has moved rapidly since just before Christmas when Lord Falconer's over-hasty self-congratulation woke us up.
Over 5000 of you responded to the ID card consultation via this website, of which several thousand went on to use FaxYourMP.com to inform their MP of their concerns.
Allow yourselves a brief, gentle glow of pride… but keep 'em peeled.
If you want to know more, the Privacy International FAQ on the ID Card proposals is well worth a read.