NO2ID National Coordinator, Phil Booth, has been chosen as one of eight campaigners to be followed for 12 months as part of a new web/TV project called 'Activ8'. The project has been set-up by the Community Channel and BBC Action Network and will involve making a series of short films and possibly a longer documentary on NO2ID and the issues surrounding ID cards.
We are asking for volunteers to get involved in the production of one or
more of these pieces, the theme of which will be agreed in advance.
We'll be filming around the country, as the NO2ID roadshow travels the UK, so don't feel that you necessarily have to be in or near London to get involved. We're looking for people with experience of camera work and sound recording, as well as groups doing anti-ID activities (protests, public meetings, stalls, benefit concerts, etc.) that would get across not only our message, but how we go about spreading it.
If you're interested, and especially if you have (DV) camera and/or sound recording experience, please get in touch by sending an e-mail with the Subject: Activ8 to firstname.lastname@example.org
N.B. It's not just about Phil! Anyone can set up their own Action Network campaign site on the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/actionnetwork/.
For those of you who haven't had a go at 'blogging' before, it's an easy way to get started. The more people that write regularly, and from a personal perspective, about what they are doing to fight the ID scheme in their area, the higher profile the issue will become on the BBC generally. Action Network issue pages are now regularly linked from BBC News Online articles and some campaigns have been picked up by the TV news.
'Renew for Freedom' - May was not a deadline
Well done to everyone that took part in our 'renew for freedom' passport renewal campaign in May. During the month there were over 300,000 visitors to our factsheet download page and numerous groups affiliated to the campaign, including the Liberal Democrats and UKIP. We hope that our renewal drive will register on the home office's passport renewal figures(which we will publish when we get them). We would like to stress that May was not a deadline, just the focus of our campaign. If you haven't renewed your passport yet it is still safe to do so, the next big deadline is October, so we will be leaving the renew for freedom website open over the entire summer. For more details and to download our factsheet go to http://www.renewforfreedom.org/
Local groups - the backbone of NO2ID
We have new local groups in Manchester, Taunton and at last we have our first group in Northern Ireland - Belfast. Local groups are the key part of our campaigning arsenal. It is through them and their activities that we keep the public informed and stop the ID card issue slipping from peoples' minds. We still need more local groups, particularly for the Midlands: Coventry, Wolverhampton, Leicester, and Derby are the largest cities without NO2ID groups. If you are interested in setting up a local group please contact us at (email@example.com). A list of groups (and a new interactive map) can be found at www.no2id.net/localGroups
Vacancy - local group coordinator in Peterborough
Our current local group co-ordinator in Peterborough, Mark Ringer, has gone on tour with Snow Patrol. Peterborough is an important area as there is a passport office there. Anyone able to volunteer for this role should contact us at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
New Councils, New Motions
Following the local elections in May many local councils have changed complexion. Now is a good time for supporters to contact their council asking them to pass resolutions against ID cards, with at least a policy of non co-operation where not required by law. Local councils will be hit with costly expenses when ID cards are introduced. A list of similar motions passed by councils around the country is available from www.no2id.net/resources/motions/index.php
What just happened?
Cambridge NO2ID boost passport renewal
Cambridge NO2ID volunteers manned a stall at the city's Strawberry Fair on Saturday 3rd June, collecting the names of 750 new supporters and distributing 400 information sheets on how and why to renew passports this summer. We plan to run further stalls in the city centre every few weeks across the summer. For more information, or to volunteers, contact Andrew Watson via email@example.com.
Southwark NO2ID descend on Borough Market
Last Saturday(3rd June) volunteers from NO2ID Southwark were out in force to speak with shoppers at Borough Market. The group got about 70 signatures on the NO2ID petition and handed out around 500 leaflets. Group coordinator, Martin Smith, said: "We had a very positive reaction from shoppers," cautioning that many people were not aware of the extent of the proposed scheme.
Letters to the media swell enquires
We have had a very noticeable increase in public enquiries arising from people mentioning NO2ID in letters to the press. Mr Mills of Co. Durham got a single paragraph mentioning our address details in the Mirror and that prompted dozens of enquiries on its own. We've also had plenty of feedback from a mention in the Western Daily Press. So we know that writing letters to the local and regional press works, and that people are hearing about us that way who would never do so otherwise.
Home Office fix fake passport law ... and some
Yesterday(7th June) the government finally made possession of fake passports an offence once again, after repealing the previous law when the ID cards act became law in March. The new statutory instrument, introduced under the enabling powers of the ID cards act, also makes it illegal to hold a forged passport, driving license or other identity document even if no deception or intent to deceive can be proved.
Costly Biometric passports - No discount for pensioners
It was revealed last week that the government has no plans to discount biometric passports for pensioners. In a parliamentary written answer, Home Office minister Joan Ryan, revealed that only "those born prior to 2 September 1929 who are already entitled to free passports will continue to be eligible for free biometric passports". Passport have already risen by over 20% to £51 and expected to reach at least £93 when compulsory fingerprinting, iris scanning registration on the national identity register are added. Pensioners should avoid spiralling costs by renewing their passport now. See www.renewforfreedom.org for information about passport renewal.
E-surveillance of Belgian hotel registers
Hotel guests in Belgium will soon be electronically registered with the police, the government has announced. The process will be available shortly for Belgians, who are now being issued with electronic ID cards, and for foreigners from 2009, when e-IDs and e-passports are expected to be the norm. Hotel guests are already obliged to show ID when registering. In future, "hoteliers will have less administrative work" thanks to "digitalisation of the registration slips and digital transmission to the police". Good news for the constabulary, too, as they will "no longer have to fetch and file the slips". The government did not say for how long foreigners' e-identities will be stored in Belgian hotels, B&Bs and police stations, nor how the data will be protected.
Belgium, where it has long been compulsory to carry ID, is rapidly switching over to electronic cards. It is one of the first countries in the world to bring in e-ID for all. The LSE study of the British scheme caused a small ripple in the Belgian parliament last year. Elio Di Rupo, Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of Labour's counterpart the PS, sought to reassure the House. The new Belgian cards do not contain biometrics, he explained (true enough, although there is spare capacity on their chips, 33 of which fell off last year due to weak glue). Also, an e-ID costs 10 euro in Belgium, plus any local taxes, while "the cost of an identity card, without a passport, in the United Kingdom is put at 52-60 euro". The UK's ID cards and NIR "diverge widely" from the Belgian ones, he said, so "the criticisms made of the former are in no way transferable to the latter". That's all right then.
Calling All Scots Against ID
A curious exchange, that looked rather like a planted question, took place in the House of Commons this week between two Scottish Labour MPs:
"Mr. Jim McGovern (Dundee, West) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that the people of Scotland deserve the same level of protection against terrorism and identity fraud as their fellow citizens in England and Wales?"
"David Cairns: My hon. Friend goes to the heart of the matter. It often amuses me when others seek to represent the people of Scotland as being wholly opposed to identity cards. I have never seen any evidence of that. Identity cards have been introduced because there has been a big increase in identity theft and fraud, because 30 per cent. of terrorist suspects have been using false identities, and because of ongoing problems of illegal immigration. That move will be welcomed in Scotland, as it will be throughout the rest of the United Kingdom."
Perhaps some of our supporters north of the border could write to the MPs in question and ask how exactly they thinks ID cards will protect Scots from the zero levels of terrorism experienced by the people of Dundee and putting them straight on the levels of support for their costly scheme.
"ID" in the news
DNA database is shared overseas - BBC News 7/6/06
The Home Office has revealed that other nations have made 519 requests for details from the database since 2004. All of the requests were granted and the Liberal Democrats fear there are not enough checks on the system. It emerged in January that 24,000 under-18s never cautioned, charged or convicted are on the database, which was established in 1995.
Biometric whitewash gathers pace - The Register 22/5/06
Europe has passed the "tipping point" over which citizens fall head over heels in love with the idea of a society regulated by biometric identity scanners, according to a survey published today. The survey was commissioned by LogicaCMG, who installed an optional biometric fast lane at the customs in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. That was five years ago. A mere 20,000 people have enrolled to use it, whereas 42.5m people used the airport last year. What does that say about how eager the Europeans are for biometrics?
Austria presents "fraud resistant" passports
The Austrian government has recently presented its new electronic passport which will be available to Austrian citizens as from this summer. No date has been fixed yet, but issuing of the new document will start before 31 August 2006. The new ePassports are in line with EU Regulations (Regulation 2252/2004) calling for the introduction of electronic passports in all Member States by the end of August this year.
MPs want an inquiry into NHS IT scheme - Computer weekly 30/5/06
Members of the House of Commons Health Committee want to hold a series of hearings into the NHS IT programme later this year in response to an open letter from 23 experts in computer-related sciences. The committee would investigate the case for an independent audit into whether the programme, as originally announced by the Department of Health, is feasible and will help clinicians improve patient care.
US: ID Theft the Potential Reward for 26.5 million US Veterans -
Defense Industry Daily 25/5/06
In a shocking illustration of the truism that more integrated databases make for larger and more lucrative honeypots/ disaster magnets, the data of approximately 26.5 million US veterans was stolen recently. A Veterans' Affairs employee disregarded security protocols and took a laptop with sensitive data home, then the laptop was taken during a burglary at the employee's residence. Information stolen included the veterans' Social Security numbers, birthdates and in some cases a disability rating.
US: Fake ID Sellers Dismiss Tamperproof Push - Associated Press
Luis Hernandez just laughs as he sells fake driver's licenses and Social Security cards. The joke to him and others in his line of work is the government's promise to put people like him out of business with a tamperproof national ID card. "One way or another, we'll always find a way".
US: Verichip injects itself into immigration debate
Scott Silverman, Chairman of the Board of VeriChip Corporation, has alarmed civil libertarians by promoting the company's subcutaneous human tracking device as a way to identify immigrants and guest workers. He appeared on the Fox News Channel earlier this week, the morning after President Bush called for high-tech measures to clamp down on Mexican immigrants.
(Please send me any items of interest you encounter - Editor(firstname.lastname@example.org) )
What you can do
You can help us by:
1. Writing to your local paper
Personal letters to the local press can be effective persuaders and help to promote NO2ID. Make sure to include NO2ID's web address in your letter.
2. Getting involved with/setting up a local group
Organise leafleting, a stall or a public meeting to educate the public about the database that lies behind the proposed ID card scheme.
South West Groups
Bath Contact: Matthew Austin email@example.com
Bournemouth Contact: Raymond Wills firstname.lastname@example.org
Bristol Contact: David Gould email@example.com
Phone: 0117 914 9141
Chippenham Contact: Andrew Meredith firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorchester Contact: Andrew Phillips email@example.com
Newton Abbot Contact: Dr Andy Marchant firstname.lastname@example.org
Plymouth Contact: Tony Staunton email@example.com
Salisbury Contact: Henry Lawson firstname.lastname@example.org
Swindon Contact: Lynda Warren email@example.com
Mailing List: http://www.no2id.net/mailman/listinfo/no2id.swindon
Torquay Contact: Jim Camp firstname.lastname@example.org