TapID Card Victory?

The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced yesterday that there was to be a change in policy and that Identity Cards were no longer to be made compulsory for any UK Citizens. This would abandon the trial for air-side staff at airports. They would, however, become compulsory for foreign nationals and the voluntary scheme was to be speeded up.

Does this make sense? Not really, as foreign nationals should have their own passports anyway so an additional card won’t make a lot of difference. There may be more of a case for people who have “mislaid” their papers.

Is this a victory? Well, partially. It is a clear indications of a steady back-pedalling by the government on the policy. You can no longer be required to produce it if there is no requirement to have one. There will no longer be an issue with lost or damaged cards or fines for failure to register.

However, there was no mention of the back-room ID Register. This will remain and be populated with information from passport applications. There is no indication that the amount of information required here will be relaxed at all. A passport, in theory, is voluntary but, if they can argue that digital television and broadband access are essential for daily living, then I can hardly see that passports can be regarded as optional.

My old (pre-blog) article on the issues is still largely relevant and, of course, No2ID.

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