Identity Documents Bill 2010
Identity Documents Bill 2010
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Repeal ID cards for all
Liberty has been opposed to identity cards and the National Identity Register from the moment they were first proposed in 2002. The repeal of the Identity Cards Act 2006 by the Identity Documents Bill is therefore hugely welcome.
The Bill repeals ID cards and, most importantly will destroy all information held on the National Identity Register (NIR) within a few short months. Liberty has consistently maintained that ID cards and the NIR were a costly and completely unnecessary intrusion into our personal lives and signalled a dangerous shift in the relationship between the individual and the State. We urge the new Government to go further and reconsider the amount of information being held on foreign nationals, for how long and under what statutory powers, to ensure that no one in the UK, be they citizen or non-citizen, is required to hold an ID card.
House of Commons
House of Lords
11.Consideration of amendments
Missing from the Identity Documents Bill is any reference to ID cards for foreign nationals. Liberty believes that ID cards should be abolished for everyone in the UK, nationals and non-nationals alike. The same principles and reasons for opposing ID cards for British nationals apply to non-nationals. The folly of ID cards is even more divisive and objectionable if it is only applied to one group.
During the Second Reading Debates on this Bill the Home Secretary said that “biometric residency permits for foreign nationals” are “completely separate from the identity card scheme” and they would be continuing in their current form. The Home Secretary later went on to say that these permits were referred to as identity cards for foreign nationals for “purely political reasons” and that no one should “be in any doubt. They are not ID cards”. We are pleased that the divisive language of ID cards for foreign nationals has been dropped.
Liberty has consistently said that ID cards should be abolished for everyone in the UK, nationals and non-nationals alike. We accept that government can legitimately maintain a fair and proportionate system of border control, and as part of that include requirements for residence permits. We are concerned, however, at the amount of information, including biometrics, being held in relation to foreign nationals and the unclear statutory basis for the mass database that will soon hold all fingerprints and other biometric information on foreign nationals requiring residence permits.
Almost ten years after ID cards were first proposed, and billions of pounds later, we are extremely pleased that ID cards and the National Identity Register are finally being laid to rest by this Bill. We now call on the Government to review the amount of information, including biometrics, being taken and retained on government databases from non-EEA nationals. ID cards and the folly they represent should be destroyed once and for all for everyone in the UK – citizens and non-citizens alike.
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