12 Dec 2008

A lifetime of ID Control

Click to see full sizeAs noted a combination of work commitments and broadband difficulties means that I wont be able to update this blog until around 16th. I have also changed the 'Comment' setting so that they wont be added until my return (this is after having over 60 spam adverts added last time). But I have scheduled a couple of blogs in my absence so it will not be all quiet here. Here's another:

Photo: See how this was created here.

The government has now launched a consultation into secondary legislation under the ID cards act, some details of the civil penalties under the act have emerged. Regular blog readers will know I am wholly opposed to this move and publicise here some of the latest developments courtesy of NO2ID...

Here is how NO2ID describe what this
will mean under a heading 'A lifetime of ID Control': "For instance you could have £1000 penalties sent to you by e-mail if you fail to turn up at a time and place of their choosing, refuse to be fingerprinted, photographed or hand over documents (e.g. birth or marriage certificates), or fail to tell them you've moved house for 3 months. Anything that the Identity and Passport service think is "deliberate or reckless" provision of incorrect information could lead to 2 years in prison. Other dubious 'highlights' include: a tax on marriage - women who change their name will have to buy a new card; those without bank accounts won't be able to get ID as you can only pay by credit or debit card, or cheque; and the homeless will be able to nominate a park bench as their 'address'. Welcome to a lifetime of state identity control!"

The Coroners and Justice Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech last week has extraordinary new data-sharing powers which could be exercised without Parliamentary debate. It seems the government is trying to sneak through new powers in a bill "to create the new role of The Office of the Chief Coroner".

Here is
NO2ID again: "The new powers follow on from the Thomas/Walport Data Sharing Review which recommended "that where there is a genuine case for removing or modifying an existing legal barrier to data sharing, a new statutory fast-track procedure should be created". Jack Straw highlighted these new 'fast track' data-sharing powers which he said will "simplify the data protection framework and remove any unnecessary obstacles to data sharing".

"These powers would allow the government effectively to set aside not just the Data Protection Act and data protection principles when it suits, but the much more fundamental protections of Articles 6 and 8 of the ECHR/HRA, of common law confidentiality and of ultra vires
(Ultra vires refers to acts of a public body which fall beyond its jurisdiction or remit). This goes far beyond data protection into administrative and constitutional law. Rather than protecting our personal information as it should, the government is cutting away safeguards for its own data-trafficking convenience. This bill as it stands smashes the rule of law and builds the database state in its place. We need to do everything we can to stop these powers being passed otherwise it really could mean the end of privacy as we know it."

1 comment:

Rachel Cotterill said...

As a woman who's just got married & changed my name - the extra tax is already there in the form of new passport charges. I'd had to get my previous passport renewed only six months before the wedding, and then had to get a new one. I could have waited ten years to change my name, of course, but it's probably going to take that long anyway!! And several banks & other institutions will only accept a changed passport as proof of name-change, these days...