Fined…Just For Being You

The authoritarian New Labour government has published the implementation process for ID cards. In it they reveal that a consequence of their privatisation of your very identity will be heavy fines – merely for not telling them updated information…about you!

People who fail to tell the authorities of a change of address or amend other key personal details within three months will face civil penalty fines of up to £1,000 a time when the national identity card scheme is up and running, according to draft Home Office regulations published yesterday.

The Home Office made clear that repeated failures to keep an entry on the national identity register up to date could ultimately be enforced by bailiffs being sent round to seize property.


Under the plans, those who enrol for an ID card will have to pay for a new card if they change their name – for example after getting married – and will have to tell officials if their appearance drastically changes – such as following an accident – or if their fingerprints are damaged by injury.

And let’s look at other means of enforcement:

Ministers expect to roll out a “voluntary” ID card scheme for the general public from 2012. But yesterday’s document makes it clear that people will be forced to enrol on the national ID database when they apply for a passport after that date.

So as with the roll-out to aviation industry workers, foreign nationals and students, the process is to be done by stealth? The general public won’t have to have one, but won’t be able to travel abroad without one? Insidious, and deeply troubling. Fortunately:

yesterday’s detailed regulations to implement the national identity card scheme make clear that they intend to avoid the creation of ID card “martyrs”, by levying no penalty on those who refuse to register for the national identity card database in the first place.

Pity. I was looking forward to becoming a ‘martyr’ of the initial roll-out. I still cannot believe for a moment though that denying individuals the right to a passport without complying with the National Identity Register will be legal. This is the privatisation of your very identity – the government inverting the relationship between individual and state which has survived since the Enlightenment. To allow them to determine who you are, rather than the reverse, would be in my mind unthinkable. This isn’t about this government’s predisposition to losing huge amounts of sensitive data, this isn’t even about the cards’ unworkability in their purported central function of combatting terrorism. It’s about the greatest attack by any Western government on the individual in centuries.

Henry Porter believes developments in France, Scotland and England (such as the quiet dropping of the ‘Big Brother’ database and strike threats by airline pilots about ID cards) point to an eventual derailment of the ID card project as well; I’m not so sure. There’s no widespread public rejection of the government’s SOCPA legislation (massively curtailing the right to protest), against the police’s Home Office-backed clampdown on the right to photograph in public spaces, and the increase in the government’s ability to hold people without charge to 42 days was only rejected through the intervention of the House of Lords. ID cards must be shown to be the instrument of oppression that they are intended to be, and this can only be achieved by civil disobedience (after the fact if need be) and education. Phil Brown from NO2ID reminds us:

“State identity control means telling them everything there is to know about you, under threat, and pay for the privilege”.

“This is a wake-up call for anyone who thought this was just a simple card.”

Join me in refusing to register forever:


One response to “Fined…Just For Being You

  1. Pingback: Cancel ID Cards! Cancel Them Now! « Cosmodaddy

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