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Frequently Asked Questions....
 
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Q: “What do you stand for?”
 
A: We are a single-issue protest group set up with the aim of stopping the government introducing a compulsory National Identity Card into the UK. We are also against ‘voluntary’ National Identity Cards as a back-door route to compulsion. For the full arguments against such a card, click here.

Q: “In a nutshell, why are you against this?”
 
A: This is not ‘merely a step too far,’ it is 100 giant paces towards totalitarianism. It is also expensive, unworkable and will produce very little of the ‘advertised benefits.’ It will not stop crime, it will not stop terrorism – indeed it could aid both of these. Whatever the problem or question, the National Identity Card is not the answer. If you care about our privacy and freedom please join us in our fight to stop this right now.

Q: “I have heard that this will cost a lot to implement. Is this true?”
 
A: The government’s own estimate is three BILLION pounds. Add to that the usual mess-up caused when any government gets involves with impossibly large projects, and you can double or triple that estimate. This at a time when our hospitals are a disgrace, schools are in urgent need of repair, our public transport systems are a joke and children in deprived areas are living in squalor. Now ask yourself why a government (and a LABOUR government at that) would rather spend three billion on logging us all into a giant computer system, than on such essential social tasks.

Q: “Who will pay for it?”
 
A: YOU will. Either directly (there are plans to charge you for the privilege of being turned into a number) or through increased taxation. Governments don’t have any money – it all comes from you and me, one way or another. And under a compulsory ID card system, you will be compelled to pay. You will not have a choice. Resistance will be met first with fines and then imprisonment.

Q: “Where is the real danger here?”
 
A: In the sneaky ‘stealth’ introduction of such cards, thereby disarming opponents. First our driving licences and passports will be chipped’ with biometric information. This will ‘soften us up’ to the idea. Then foreigners will have to carry a biometric ID card – who will object? They’re only foreigners after all. Then social security claimants (on the ‘anti fraud’ ticket) will have to have a card. Finally, and ‘reluctantly’ (maybe under the disguise of ‘preventing terrorism’) they will introduce legislation forcing us all to be registered on the government computer.

Q: “What is this ‘biometric’ I keep hearing about?”
 
A: Unlike a photo or a signature (both of which can be easily faked) biometric information is truly unique to you. Fingerprints are nearly, but not quite, good enough (they are not quite unique and they are hard to read and match by computer). Current favourites are iris scans (your iris pattern is pretty unique) and DNA (your DNA is also nearly unique). Out of these two, iris scanners are much cheaper and easier to implement in the millions of scanners which will be required in the field. They are far from foolproof and produce many false readings.

Q: “What’s wrong with having ID? Surely we need that in our modern world?”
 
A: CASNIC does not oppose voluntary identity documents. Bus passes, library cards, bank cards, etc. Furthermore, we are not against any particular methods (e.g. biometric) of identification. Put simply, if you choose to have a biometric card issued by (say) ABC Bank, then this is your choice. You can bank there or not, carry their card or not – and sue ABC if they release your private information to a third party without your consent. We are against the compulsory introduction of a National Identity Card for every resident, with its associated ‘citizen database’ run by government bureaucrats. Such a database would grow year on year until eventually the government held a file on every person in the UK. The file (and card) could contain financial history, health background, religion, ethnicity, criminal convictions, purchase history, physical whereabouts of the ‘target’ citizen, political profile, DNA profile etc. etc. Each passing year will call for more data to be added to the card in the name of “anti-fraud” “anti-crime” “anti-terrorism” “protecting children” “anti tax-evasion” or any one of a number of similar reasons.

Q: “Sounds a bit Big Brotherish I agree, but what makes you think this government want that kind of level of control?”
 
A: All governments of all persuasions in all countries constantly seek increased power and control – often, by the way, for genuinely benign reasons, but often not. Successive governments-in-waiting in the UK have chattered abut ‘rolling back the frontiers of the state’ – each elected government has done the exact opposite when in power – introduced more laws, higher taxes, more centralisation and stripped away more freedoms. It is central to our argument that a National ID Card and its associated citizen database are the ultimate enabling tools for corrupt regimes. This government may be benign – but the next? And the next fifty governments? Basically, do you trust governments to have your best interests at heart?

Q: “Won’t it stop crime?”
 
A: Maybe it will prevent a certain amount of social security fraud, but that’s all. Certain other major crime may even be aided by such a card. For reasons, see the question below on terrorism. The proper way to tackle social security fraud is through proper identification of social security claimants – not compulsory introduction of ID cards for all citizens, claimants or not. (The same class of argument would be the introduction of a compulsory National Identity Card for all because... people were borrowing books from libraries using fake names and address and not returning them. The answer – better ID for library users, not for everyone.)

Q: “But won’t it stop terrorism?”
 
A: No. In fact it could make the terrorists life easier, if anything. Even the government dropped their tired ‘fighting terrorism’ slogan in 2002 regarding ID cards when they realised it didn’t stack up. David Blunkett has started using it again recently to bolster his other very weak arguments for this draconian measure. Imagine the Sept 11th terrorists abandoning their evil plan because... they didn’t have a valid ID card. That’s not very credible. Will lack of an ID card stop any determined terrorist? No. Also, many terrorists (e.g. Timothy McVeigh, Oklahoma bomber) are ‘card-carrying citizens’ of their own countries. The National Identity Card can and will be faked (see below) allowing terrorists to enter the country with fewer security checks than at present. Why? If you carry the card, and your eye scan matches the database – then “pass friend”, without a second glance. Normal ‘common sense’ anti-terrorism precautions will be dismantled and total reliance placed on the card.

Q: “But these things cannot be faked, surely?”
 
A: It’s a plastic card, made by man, with a chip, made by man. Anything made by man can be faked by man. You could not create such a fake card in your workshop. But what about an ultra-modern laboratory, run by the most sophisticated criminal minds on the planet, designed and built specifically to clean-up on the estimated 300 BILLION pound market in counterfeit cards? Would this headline from The Telegraph, June 2007, surprise you?

“Parliament Bombers Used Fake National
Identity Cards to Gain Access to Westminister.”

Or this one:

“Counterfeit ID Card Ring Discovered in Taiwan.”

Or this one:

“Drug Lords Now Making More on
Counterfeit ID Claims Report”

Also, these cards are produced by people, working in factories (huge factories) staffed entirely by... people. These workers will be, in the main, minimum wage employees. Do you think some of them might be tempted by a bribe of £500, £1,000, £10,000 a time to run a few ‘specials’ through the system, or deliver 100 ‘blanks’ to a guy in the pub, no questions asked? If not them, how about the supervisors or managers? £100k a year ‘back-hander’ is pretty tempting.

Q: “I still don’t quite get it. How can an Iris scan or finger-prints be faked?”
 
A: The biometric information cannot be faked (let us assume). In other words, your iris and your finger-prints are unique. It is the detail on the card that can (and will) be faked. Thus a terrorist will have a false card with his iris scan and his finger-prints, but a fake name address and citizen number – all illegally (but properly) registered on the Citizen Computer by (say) a paid insider. When he uses the card at the airport, the iris scan will match the card and his record will come up as John Doe, 43 The Street, Anytown – whereas he is really Mr A Terrorist, c/o Osama Enterprises etc. Remember, there is no ‘iris’ or ‘finger-print’ actually on the card – all that is there will be a lot of ones and zeros (a digital code) representing your iris and your finger-print.

Q: “Are you saying that terrorists and criminals will be running around with fake ID, whereas the law-abiding citizens will be subjected to yet more government scrutiny and control.”
 
A: Yes. If this is hard to believe, consider guns. The government stripped tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens of their legitimate rifles and pistols and closed down most of the gun shops in the UK. Meanwhile, armed criminals freely roam around our inner cities, laughing at such laws. The going price for a hand-gun in London is £50. £100 if you want fifty 9mm rounds with it. A sub-machine gun? Yours for £250. The citizens suffer, the criminals laugh.

Q: “We had them during the war...”
 
A: That ID was equivalent to the average library card. It is not what we are talking about here. Forget war-time ID cards – this is a whole different league.

Q: “If you have nothing to hide, surely you have nothing to fear?”
 
A: Your need for privacy does not, in any way, imply you have something to fear or hide. This is an entirely erroneous notion. To invade your privacy, someone had better have a VERY good reason. One valid reason would be if you were committing criminal acts or strongly suspected of doing so. Then, with due process of law, the police could invade your privacy for a strictly limited period, strictly associated with that criminal activity. Only vicious, out-of-control dictatorial regimes believe in monitoring and controlling all citizens all of the time just ‘in case’ some individuals get up to no good. If you are still unsure about this ‘nothing to hide’ argument, consider this imaginary situation: The police are demanding powers to put a spy camera into every room of every house in the country, linked back to a central police 24- hour monitoring station. Apparently a lot of crime goes on in people’s houses. Children are molested in the tens of thousands, marital rapes occur by the hundred and criminals use private houses to plot their crimes and to divide up the spoils of their activities. Such a move would give the police the powers they need to protect vulnerable children and to clean up crime. Hopefully, such a move would fill you with horror. But why? If you have nothing to hide, what could you possibly fear? Are you molesting your children or plotting a crime? No? Well you have nothing to fear. Hopefully this example should convince you of your right to privacy. Interestingly, we have gone so far down the route of Big Brother State Control that some people reading this would actually welcome the compulsory introduction of these cameras.

Q: “Surely we can’t have total individual freedom in society. Do you want government to grant us more freedom?”
 
A: Our freedoms are not granted to us by governments! It does not work like that (at least it shouldn’t work like that). We have our freedoms by right – and then we employ servants (the government) to curtail those freedoms in certain strictly limited but essential ways. Again, they’d better have a VERY good reason to curtail more of our freedom. It is the duty of every citizen to closely monitor the freedoms that are curtailed and the alleged reasons for doing so – and to protest vehemently if they disagree with the latest restrictions. We must very carefully balance the freedom of the individual with the needs of living in a social group and be constantly on the look-out for corrupt or spurious reasons for curtailing freedom.

Q: “Aren’t there other benefits of the card? For example, if it contained my health history, medicines I took, food allergies etc – wouldn’t that be useful if I collapsed in the street and an ambulance came?”
 
A: Without doubt, if we all carried a National Identity Card and were logged and tagged on a government computer, there would be advantages. Interfacing with bureaucrats would be easier, for example. Just because something has advantages, it does not mean it should be implemented. (Example: Banning all motor vehicles from the UK would save 3,700 lives a year and save billions in road maintenance, oil imports etc. Example: A curfew on all citizens from 6p.m. would probably save thousands of lives each year and halve the crime rate in the UK. Example: Banning alcohol and cigarettes would save 20,000 lives each year.) The specific answer to your question is this: If you think you are at risk, or you think you want a Medical Emergency Card, then you may have one and carry it always. This has nothing to do with the rest of us and we should not be forced to carry the same card.

Q: “They have them in other countries. They don’t seem to mind do they?”
 
A: Again it is not a good argument for something to say it has been implemented in another country. (Example: They have banned Internet Access in China – so why not here?) A few other countries have an ID card. It is often a piece of plastic with a photo and scrawled signature. This is not what we are protesting against. In our view, no government has the right to keep a database on each citizen and use force to ensure compliance in registration. Citizens who have accepted this are playing the very dangerous game of relying on a benevolent government now and forever.

Download entire Q&A; as pdf document.
(Right-click and choose 'Save Target As' to save to disk)