Who cares about your privacy? Liberty joins forces with filmmaker to highlight dangers of ID card scheme

29 July 2009

Will MacNeil created the 30 second film and donated it to Liberty for use in campaigning work. Final sound design and picture colour grade was provided by Unit Post-production and the voiceover was supplied by long-time Liberty supporter Simon Callow.

Sabina Frediani, Campaigns Co-ordinator for Liberty, said:

“The striking images that Will MacNeil has created in this film should remind us all how fragile and precious our personal privacy is. ID cards are not, as the Government proposes, the magic bullet against terrorists, fraudsters, and illegal immigrants. In addition to the exorbitant financial cost, this scheme comes with immeasurable hidden costs to our privacy, race relations, and traditional freedoms.”

Personal details recorded on the National Identity Register, the database behind ID Cards, would include fingerprints, facial images and up to fifty pieces of additional information. The £5.6 billion ID card scheme has been unsuccessfully touted by the Government as a solution to identity theft, benefit fraud, crime, and terrorism.

Contact: Mairi Clare Rodgers on 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831 128


1. Will MacNeil has worked in film and television production for 16 years. He worked as assistant editor on several films including Billy Elliot and Gosford Park. In 2002, he began editing documentaries for UK broadcasters including several episodes of The Art Show, and Channel 4’s I’m Free – Inside the Comedy Closet. His first solo graphics job, the Channel 4 series Bricking It, won the Onscreen Learning Award for Technical Achievement in Graphics. Since then Will has been producing graphics for UK broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Discovery, National Geographic, Sky and Virgin.

2. UNIT, founded in May 2006, is Soho’s only all-online, all-Apple, all-HD finishing house. Led by the team of Adam Luckwell, Tom Bridges and Roland Woolner, UNIT is the first of its kind in the UK and continues to lead the way in Final Cut editing. The company offers the full spectrum of post and creative service solutions including editing, online, grading, audio and visual effects. The company has built a strong reputation since its inception and was 23rd in this year’s Facilities 50, an annual report produced by Televisual magazine ranking the UK’s top 50 post houses. They were also ranked 9th best commercials post facility and 7th best for corporate in the survey. UNIT's clients are from all sectors: from commercials to promos; from documentaries to features - notable names include the BBC, HSI, National Geographic, Five, Academy, Jetix, Believe Media, and CNN.

3. Liberty’s principal concerns about the ID cards and the National ID Register include:
- They will fundamentally change the relationship between individual and state.
- They will have a detrimental impact on race relations and will adversely affect vulnerable groups in society.
- They will intrude on privacy as the amount of information held on the database and the uses made of that information will increase dramatically.
- The Government’s poor record on IT projects makes this a huge financial risk.

4. Liberty does not accept that ID cards will have any particular benefit:
- They will have no impact on illegal immigration as asylum seekers have been required to carry ID cards since 2000.

- Arguments that they will protect the UK from terrorist attack are unconvincing. The men responsible for the 9/11 and Madrid terrorist attacks had valid identification.

- They will not help fight crime but will be counterproductive, as they will deflect financial and policing resources away from crime prevention and detection.

- They will have minimal impact on benefit fraud, as this is usually about financial circumstances rather than identity.

- Most identity fraud takes place remotely, online, over the phone or using false ‘seed’ documents (driving licences, passports and so on). Identity cards will not address this.