Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Former DPP predicts information 'hellhouse'

In his most scathing attack yet on the proposed communications superdatabase, former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald has told the Guardian that government assurances on security would prove worthless and warned that a ‘hellhouse’ of personal private information would be created. The cost to the taxpayer could be as high as £12bn, twice the cost of the national ID card scheme.

In a consultation paper to be published next month, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will outline plans to invite the private sector to manage and run the database that will keep track of everyone’s phone calls, emails, texts and internet use. The paper follows on from Ms Smith’s October announcement to postpone the database legislation to allow her to set out proposals for the protection of civil liberties

Mr Macdonald told the Guardian: "The tendency of the state to seek ever more powers of surveillance over its citizens may be driven by protective zeal. But the notion of total security is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. We must avoid surrendering our freedom as autonomous human beings to such an ugly future. We should make judgments that are compatible with our status as free people."

You can read the full story here.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Local politicians unite against ID cards for foreigners

At the end of November, the first of seven centres due to issue 'ID cards for foreign nationals' opened for business. Birmingham NO2ID wrote a letter to local newspapers, signed by a broad range of politicans, to draw attention to what was going on.

Dear Editor

You may be aware that from this month the government begins issuing what it calls, with an obvious nasty spin, ‘ID cards for foreigners’. You may not be aware what this means for Birmingham. First affected will be students and those marrying Britons. The plan is that gradually residents from outside Europe will be fingerprinted and have to account for their movements. (Later, so would we all.)

Successful foreigners such as Randy Learner or Brad Friedel and the overseas students at Birmingham’s universities have a lot of choice where they study or exercise their talents. Some will decide Britain has become too unfriendly. When the US introduced more hostile visa conditions three or four years ago, the numbers applying to study there fell by 15% and Bill Gates complained that Microsoft could no longer hire some of the best software engineers.

If this scheme is continued it will lead to less fee-income and lower international status for Birmingham. British students will have to pay higher tuition to make up, and will have less money to spend with local businesses. Fewer of the world's star performers in every field will choose to make their homes here than do now.

We, the undersigned, value the contribution that these gifted people currently make to our institutions and our society. We think our country should treat them as guests, not criminal suspects. ‘ID cards for foreigners’ is not just a small-minded slogan – Birmingham will suffer culturally and economically.

Yours faithfully

Lorely Burt MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

John Hemming MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Dr Lynne Jones MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Andrew Mitchell MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Clare Short MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Councillor Matt Bennett
c/o Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Councillor Iain Bowen
15 Coppice Oaks, Birmingham, B13 9DP

Councillor Gareth Compton
c/o Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Councillor Alistair Dow
c/o Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Councillor Jerry Evans
67 Dovey Road, Birmingham, B13 9NT

Councillor Roger Harmer
71 Oak Farm Road, Birmingham, B30 1ET

Councillor Colin Hughes
172 Daisy Farm Road, Birmingham, B14 4QQ

Councillor Jon Hunt
52 Perry Avenue, Birmingham, B42 2NE

Councillor David Osborne
27 Elan Road, Birmingham, B31 5EP

Councillor David Radcliffe
46 Regent Street, Birmingham, B30 2LG

Councillor Peter Smallbone
c/o Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Councillor Robert Wright
c/o Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Councillor Salma Yaqoob
c/o Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Felicity Norman, Prospective MEP, Green Party
c/o West Midlands Green Party

Sunday, 7 December 2008

New NO2ID advert

NO2ID has launched a video dramatising some of the dangers of the ID scheme and in particular the national register. The advert is available from:

Please forward the links to anyone you think may be interested.