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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Fighting ID cards

A new poll in today's Guardian newspaper reports that the number of people strongly opposed to the introduction of a national identity card scheme has risen sharply:

Those campaigning against ID cards said last night that the poll, with results showing that 25% of the public are deeply opposed to the idea, raises the prospect that the potential number of those likely to refuse to register for the card has risen. If the poll's findings were reflected in the wider population, as many as 10 million people may be expected to refuse to comply.

The ICM survey also shows that a majority of the British people say they are "uncomfortable" with the idea that personal data provided to the government for one purpose should be shared between all Whitehall-run public services.

The poll, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, shows that British public opinion is deeply split over the introduction of identity cards, with 50% against the idea and 47% in favour.

Recent disputes over the further delays to have hit the project have strengthened opposition to the scheme, with those who think it is "a very bad" idea rising from 17% last September to 25% now. This compares with only 12% who think that pressing ahead with ID cards, which will cost around £93 per person when combined with a passport, is a "very good idea".

The report suggests that in the aftermath of the government's recent embarrassing losses of confidential personal data, public opinion appears to have turned sharply against the idea of sharing information within Whitehall and the creeping introduction of the "Big Brother" state.

Fifty two per cent say they feel uncomfortable with allowing "personal information that is provided to one government department to be shared between all government departments that provide public services".

This is the first empirical indication of how the Government's mishandling of our data has impacted on their plans and it is not good news for those who wish to impose a compulsory or otherwise ID card scheme.


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