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ID Cards. Resistance is necessary

Liz | 27.11.2005 21:10 | Analysis | Repression

It's time to get ready to refuse. Just say no and stop the state and corporations stealing your identity! There will be no hiding place for who you are, where you are, what you are doing, and who you are doing it with.

A human barcode
The identity card is just a front, a human barcode that will allow the state and corporations to delve into the bucket of information about us that will be established by the ID Bill, which should be called the national identity register Bill.

How dare the government go on and on about ‘identity theft’ as if it was something new. From the compulsory electoral register, rates & council tax lists and police DNA database they’ve been doing it for decades. Corporations have been up to it too - creating massive debit/credit card and loyalty card computer records that are bought and sold by marketing groups to track our purchases and learn what we buy so they can target us with even more unwanted goods.

So what could be worse than giving them even more personal detail - like every address you’ve ever lived at or every name you may have had in the past - never mind your ‘biometrics’ like face, iris pattern or fingerprints so that all and sundry can use them, supposedly to keep you safe from other people but really to keep an eye on anything you do, and anywhere you go. Once this information is out and sitting in a computer database, it’s hard to get it back –it belongs to someone else to you as they see fit. Even computer scientists admit that a central database is the worse place to store precious data, never mind the Labour government’s plan to make ID information available across the whole state machine and to offer it to private companies which will mean sharing data between dozens of insecure databases.

But it’s not necessarily useful only to exchange scare stories about how children’s information could be misused if younger people get ID through the Children’s Bill, or if a BNP councillor had access to ‘minorities’ data. The government is using fear to sell its ID card and database idea, like they have by going on about ‘entitlement’ (as well as getting hysterical about organised crime and terrorism). This is helping people believe that immigrants and ‘benefit cheats’ are making them personally poorer, when it’s Labour that is actually making it harder to get disability allowances, are hiking council taxes and fees for students, and it's capitalist corporations and their shareholders that are profiting from increasing fuel prices, year on year.

The result, if they win the fear argument, will be a surveillance society that is much more than a police state, but an invasion of computerised bureaucracy into every transaction we make with shops and welfare services – imagine having to have an eye-scan just to buy beer or get your prescription – and, for activists, a much reduced ability to protest in safety.

The Bill makes it quite clear that, at the whim of a Secretary of State, an application for things that we have taken for granted all our lives - the right to apply for a passport, to access our national health service or whatever comes to the Secretary of State's mind will be dependent on showing our subservience to the state. In providing the state with one database on our whole identity, we are giving the state the power to follow us wherever we go. That is what the Bill is about and why it constitutes a deep and savage attack on your liberty and your life. Our liberty is what makes us who we are - individuals and free - not state property to be bought and sold as a commodity of information for exploitation. It was through the work and struggle of people that the long march of everyman secured for us our relationship separate from total state control, but the Bill says otherwise. The Bill says no. The Bill says that the State will measure, identify and control all of us for whatever purpose a Secretary of State so orders.

The Home Secretary is now touting the notion that our phone, email and internet records should be archived for at least a year for use by security services and police. He believes that mobile and internet service providers should create databases containing information on who we email, who emails us, who we phone, where we use our mobile, our account details and the internet sites we visit. The idea is known as "communications data retention" and the national database will be there ready and able to store all this information about you. Rise Up email lists and freedom to express views on Internet sites and blogs in opposition to the government, state, capitalist and corporate interests will no doubt be target number one.

It’s time to get ready to refuse.
If we stand together we can win. Anyone who thinks they have nothing to hide should be very afraid! It’s really much safer to be anonymous, even more so if you want to fight an increasingly oppressive state. In Australia in the face of mass public protests and civil disobedience, the government scrapped ID cards the Australian government had the option of re-introducing the legislation, but did not do so.

At the third reading of the Bill in the Commons it was passed with a small majority of 25, with 309 in favour. Therefore this Bill had one of the lowest support counts and the closest majorities in New Labour's era. Even the War in Iraq got more support. The Bill now moves on to the House of Lords Action in opposition can be effective - it is close oh so close.

What can you do to resist?

Refuse to register.
Renew passports before they add biometrics as this will soon happen across the EU and, after some initial delays, is due to start early next year in UK (Feb 2006) with the addition of a chip containing your digitised photo.

Legally obstruct.
If you feel you cannot refuse to register because you are unable to risk a £2,500 fine or jail sentence there are many other ways that you can legally obstruct the process. Even being mildly obstructive in the “registration queue” and taking an hour instead of 15 minutes will make this whole process unworkable. The legislation specifies a photo of your head and shoulders so - stand with your back to the camera.

Build communities of resistance.
All across the country, people are pledging their refusal to cooperate with the ID registration and people are beginning to organise resistance. Local groups build communities of trust as well as the networks to raise money, organise and promote active resistance. Join or set up a Defy-ID group and use these groups to support each other on the street and in the courts.

Don’t renew things
Try not to renew driving licenses as new ones already require a photo and we don’t yet know where or when they will start to collect the data, which could happen as soon as the Bill is passed even if we don’t fill in an ID form (driving licenses are being used to introduce ID cards in the USA).

Confound or get off government lists if at all possible.
Misspellings and other dyslexic tricks which then go into the data base, multiple registrations etc

It’s plastic poll tax.
Do not give notification of “every prescribed change of circumstances” as the Bill requires. What if you are someone with a frequently changing address, those moving from shelter to shelter or from one rented room to another? In London, 40 per cent of the population changes address every year. If you change your name - opps that another “prescribed change of circumstance” and thank you very much that’ll be a £1000 fine if you “forget” to give notification. Fact is they will never be able to keep up with population movements and they can not put us all in jail – remember the poll tax - that didn’t last long did it?



Discussion / practical advice on ID cards

28.11.2005 13:55


There will be a discussion hosted by the WOMBLES about Identity Cards and the broader issues of the increasing securitisation of normal life - id cards, bag checks, ASBOs, surveillance, mixing asylum issues with terrorism etc.

This dicussion is intended to discuss practical solutions to surveillance, police/societal control and information security.

All welcome (no tiin foil on the heads please).

7.30pm Tuesday 6 December 2005

Autonomie Club, upstairs at Freedom Bookshop
84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1.

Nearest tube = whitechapel or aldgate
buses, 25, 253, 106

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

Addition of ID card developments over the last month or so

30.11.2005 09:38

Nottingham Dissent is one focus for local struggle against ID.
The group meets monthly (usually third Monday) - see Veggies/Sumac Centre events diary for details:
Come along and help build local action against the ID database and cards!

Some additions for Nottingham, Britain, Europe, the World...

ID cards update: Are we ready to resist? – we’d better be!

Things are moving furiously fast on the ID cards & database front. Here are some developments over the last month or so.

* ID card trials are being organised in the UK. We hear that 'gun crime' Steve Green, Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire is planning to have Nottingham as a trial area for the ID cards, prior to the nationwide introduction of the scheme. And the bill hasn't even got through yet - does that tell us something about whether writing to your MP would work?

* Driving licenses are a problem. The UK's vehicle licensing authority DVLA is working towards adding more and more information. If you apply for a license you already have to have your photo on it and, along with the Passport Office, they have been conducting trials with iris scans.

* Bristol City Council has joined eight other councils who have already voted to refuse to implement ID cards. This might sound good, but this is a LibDem led council. Local council ‘don’t implement’ pledges during the anti-Poll Tax campaign didn't amount to much even when Labour was in opposition – so let's not forget it was the people wot stopped it!

* The European Council has asked their 'Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum' to agree (by the start of December 2005) a set of “minimum security standards for Member' States national identity cards”. These are already drawn up, and include the biometrics that must be used - face and two fingerprints incorporated into a radio frequency chip. Other standards involve making it compulsory for applicants to appear in person, and use of information on existing databases (civil registers, passports, driving licenses). This has been described by Statewatch as introducing ID cards “by the back door”. Don't forget that the US government has already sneaked in a federal identity card by means of the REAL ID Act, based on driving licences and tacked on to a wide-ranging military spending bill.

* Dutch ID card refusers have been fined and taken to court in Holland. A new law came into effect in January 2005, making it compulsory in the Netherlands for everybody above the age of 14 to carry an official ID. Getting stopped without one means at least a fifty Euro fine, which has happened to tens of thousands of people already (many of these children), and a first batch of 250 people was taken to court in September in the city of Utrecht. In January 2006 “all 16 million people in the country will get a new Citizen's Service Number, turning the country into one big jail”.

* In Paris, leading up to the riots across France, ID checks were implicated in the deaths of teenagers who were electrocuted hiding from police in a power substation, because some of them did not have a card. Interior ministry forces continually harass suburban residents with ID checks, scooter checks and racial abuse.

The lessons here are firstly that to build an effective fighting movement against ID, lobbying parliament is pointless – instead we need to strengthen and set up more local activist groups and organise public meetings. Secondly, the move to biometric ID and databases is already happening through passports and driving licenses. Thirdly, it is clear that that the ID cards problem is much wider than Labour's own Bill, and international solidarity will be needed. The Dutch experience is set to be repeated across Europe, and the world, if we don’t put a stop to it by popular revolt and our sharing of experiences across national borders.

For more news and updates read the Anarchist Federation's monthly bulletin, Resistance. The AF’s anti-ID pamphlet, Defending Anonymity is available on the web from, or in print for free (but send SAE) from BM ANARFED, London, WC1N 3XX.
Direct link:



Hide the following 3 comments

Right on the button Liz.

28.11.2005 12:21

I agree Liz.It looks as though evil Blair is going to save his undemocratic parliment act to force this unholy database ID state into effect.
And yes we can do alot to break the machine...heres a few of my ideas:

1 Super glue,mixed with finely ground iron filings will do two crucial things when put on the finger tips:obscure the prints,and my fave if the finger is rubbed on the reader,it'll bugger the reader....big delays, big cost :)

2 If full face scanning is required,fake teeth,cheek padding and maybe a fake scar will render your scan useless...and cost them money ,and you could then double apply,to clog the system.

3 If retina scan is required,there are many substances which will change the appearance of the eye,and yes most are illegal...but a lot a caffiene will certainly enlarge the pupil alot,thus changing the retina size.5 good cups of coffee,or 2 red bulls should do the trick...or if your caffeine sensitive, 48 hrs without sleep will have the same effect.

3.1 Wear contacts if you normally dont,dont if you you normally do...may change the eye slightly.

4 the tic: when being face scanned develop a nervous tic,thus rendering the scan useless "sorry guv,my tic always gets worse when im being subjected to tyranny" hehe

5 if you get to the stage of actually carrying an RFID equipped card,line your wallet with either tin foil or close mesh,steel gauze or the like...this stops anyone from reading the tag throu the wallet.

6 Get down to the local ID application center very early the morning before,and glue/jam the locks!(or cut the power lines to the building,or pour a safe but stinky substance thou the letter box,down the chimmney etc.

7 If the application center is in a building in which food is prepared,a rat in the right place,followed by a phone call to the council or environment agency could see the building shut until its been de-ratted.This worked when i was in school, consistently, along with bomb scares,dunno if it still will...

8 kick up a fuss about the technology not being secure,then when they say,thats not true,whip out your dossier of webpages,which prove your point,and show to all LOUDLY

A legal note:these are just IDEAS remember.By writing down my ideas i am in no way encouraging anyone to break any law,just sharing my hypothetical ideas.

Rage against the 4th reich!!!

I am not your slave.

Keep up the good work Liz ;)

Silicone Synapse

Just refuse to register

30.11.2005 05:48

Silicone Synapse - while your ideas are perhaps OK as a very last ditch effort (I too have had similar ideas: prosthetic face, several weeks of continuous guitar playing beforehand to mess up my fingers, growing a huge beard and long hair, then shaving it off again the next day etc.) they still fall into the domain of actually registering.

Furthermore, if you register using deliberately altered biometrics, the only person it stands to hurt is yourself, because you will be denied access to services, or forced to pay to "fix" your record. Possibly even under the clause of your appearance changing significantly, they could actually fine you for failing to notify them of a significant appearance change.

My approach (and the one favoured by most of the other NO2ID activists I've spoken to) is to simply refuse to register at every stage, and accept whatever the consequences are.

When I get my notice of registration appointment, it is going to be sent back unopened with a "not at this address" written on it. I'll probably do this several times if possible, since there will already be a lot of legitimate "not at this address" post for them to deal with.

If they phone up, I'm not in the country at the moment, and so on - basically, anything that will delay them for as long as possible.

If they should manage to take it further than that, I'm going to re-arrange my appointment as late as possible, then claim the car broke down (I don't have a car, actually) / I have amnesia and completely forgot / taxi didn't pick me up / I got lost on the way / family emergency / cat needed to go to the vets / sudden bout of explosive diarrhoea / agoraphobia and I can't leave the house without serious panic attacks (I work at home, I actually don't leave the house very often anyway!) / whatever comes to mind at the time. They can call me a liar if they like, but it will waste their time.

If they send me a fine in the post, it's "not at this address" again.

If they send me a court summons in the post, it's "not at this address" again.

If they send notice of bailiffs, then I will literally empty my house of any valuable items - should be easy, I really don't have too much stuff of value. We can easily set up "emergency property rehoming coalitions" if needed, so that someone's house can be emptied within hours, if required. Not to mention the fact that we could even form "un-bailiffing squads" to invade someone's house with 50+ people, and prevent the bailiffs coming in. This affects enough people that anything like this is doable if we all stick together in solidarity.

If they take me to court, I will claim low income (I'm self employed, so I can cause this situation with ease... oops, no new contracts for a few months) and arrange to pay the fine back at a rate of £1 a month, or whatever the lowest rate available is. Then I'll accidentally forget to pay, and take up more court time if I can.

If they send me to prison for a while, then so be it - better to do a short spell (and I can't see it being more than a month, with most likely a suspended sentence so no actual prison time) than live in Labour's "open prison" country.

A criminal record will not affect me in any way - I'm not applying for any jobs (and I have a nice portfolio of work and a bunch of satisfied clients, which *IS* my job reference) or wishing to do anything that would be affected by that, really. Any restrictions, I can live with - it'll probably simplify my life, really. There is a lot you can do to make yourself untouchable by their punishments, as long as you can live on very little, and don't have much material stuff - being self employed is a major bonus, I guess.

Furthermore, at the first possible opportunity (most likely after refusing to pay fines and being taken to court), I will enlist the help of the large legal defence fund that NO2ID is building up. Current count is over £110k (assuming all the pledgers pay), which should be enough to hire a good lawyer and set a legal precedent, if nobody else has got there first. If for some reason there is no legal defence fund available, I'm sure it won't be too hard to find people to sponsor me, or a pro-bono lawyer (possibly even a team of them - imagine the headlines "Lawyers Smash ID Bill", they'd become a household name overnight!) to help out.

So, in short, I am personally prepared to go to prison over this, if required, and I'm far from alone - Simon Hughes MP (Lib Dems president) has already vowed to do the same, along with 11,000+ NO2ID pledge signees who will at least refuse to register, if not actually going to prison.

The government have probably banked on all of the above tricks, but what they don't appear to have worked out (and can do nothing about) is the fact that thousands of people will willingly go to court and prison over this, no sweat - there is no deterrent. I cannot be financially ruined beyond the point of no return - I have little anyway, I've never cared for material things, I need nothing but myself, and can live on scraps easily enough. Nothing short of actual physical force, drugging or torture will be required to make me register, which will only ever happen under duress. Yes, I realise prison will not be fun, but I have been through some ridiculously heavy shit in the last few years (the suicide of one's dad is quite an awakening experience, to put it bluntly), and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I am mentally strong enough to deal with prison, if it becomes my only choice.

For one thing, I have a hyperactive imagination, and nothing they can do can stop me passing the time listening to music in my mind, or if I'm allowed pen and paper, writing the book I have been thinking about writing for a few years now. Believe me, life is so hectic at times, I would be more than happy with a forced break from it all, and a chance to spend all day thinking. They can't break me - they can't even lay so much as a finger on me to dampen my spirits. I have never felt bored in my entire life, and I have never felt unable to engage myself in deep thought and solve the world's problems, or make myself laugh. Even a prison sentence of several months or longer (OK, years would be pushing it) does not phase me in the slightest, however bad the reality turns out to be.

So what can they do to touch me? Absolutely nothing, because I will not let their punishment have any impact on me at all, except to make me even stronger and more determined to smash their scheme.

If you don't feel you can go that far, there is still plenty you can do to help out. Delay your registration as much as possible, even if you do eventually register. Chip in to the legal support fund for those of us who will challenge this in court - I will personally be setting up a standing order to pay £10 a month or more to the legal defence fund, if and when the time comes - but one-off donations are still extremely useful.

Labour's scheme and estimations depend very heavily on nearly all the public co-operating, with a very narrow margin of error (this is even in the KPMG report, from what I've heard). If even a few hundred thousand of us do everything possible to mess up the system (and many more will do this anyway for genuine reasons, such as simply forgetting, or moving house and never getting their letter) it will completely screw their cost estimations and time estimations, and ultimately make the registration process unworkable.

I think that's the best option really, since you REALLY don't ever want to get as far as registering - it'll be too late by then.

So, that's my message: join NO2ID, join Defy-ID, join neither, I really don't mind as long as when the time comes, you simply do everything you can to slow them down and make their badly-planned system fall flat on it's face.

I didn't even go into the computer science reasons this system can never work - will save that for another day when it's not nearly 6am and way past my bedtime!

Dave Silvester
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

The meta-database - the REAL threat behind the ID scheme

02.12.2005 00:48

My friend at Dave Gould at Bristol NO2ID has written a good article explaining the issue of the meta-database. If you're unfamiliar with the word "meta", it simply means "relating to", "based on" or "about", so meta-data essentially means "data relating to other data".

The meta-database is not a self-contained system, but rather the concept of all the other databases that will be able to tie into the National Identity Register (whether directly with a network connection, or indirectly by the use of a common indexing key as a link across multiple unrelated, unconnected databases), so although they don't strictly fall under the scope of this bill, the fact is, this is really what NO2ID are campaigning to stop.

The meta-database is quite possibly more dangerous than you can possibly imagine, and I say that with no word of exaggeration.

Tony Blair, Charles Clarke and Andy Burnham can conveniently say whatever they like about limiting the scope of the actual NIR, but the fact is, the very existence of each person's NIR number is the real far-reaching surveillance database being created here.

Even though it won't exist as one self-contained system, the meta-database is the real serious threat, and the foremost aspect of the ID bill that we must prevent at all costs. Of course, since it's only a side issue of the main bill, the politicians can conveniently neglect to mention it. The politicians knowingly "understate" (a euphemism for "lie about") the true scope of the system, and the public have no idea that it all goes so sooooo ridiculously much further than what they've heard in the media.

I was going to write an article like this soon, but it seems Dave has already done a great job of it. Read it here:

It's all there in black and white, but you have to piece it together, and as yet, it seems not many people have (even many of those who do object to the ID scheme). It's designed to be utterly confusing to non-technical people, in order to slip under their noses. The meta-database is the main reason all of us computer consultant types are literally crapping ourselves about the ID scheme.

So, hopefully this will be another big bombshell to propel our campaign forwards, but the difficulty is in explaining it well. Dave has done a great job, and I'm intending to help him with it a bit more when I have some time.

It's not about the cards - the cards are redundant, useless pieces of plastic. It's all about the National Identity Register, and the meta-database that it will facilitate.

In many ways, we should stop referring to this as "The ID Cards Bill", because it has almost nothing to do with cards.

The meta-database spells the end of privacy, and seeks to be the crowning achievement of the world's premier surveillance state.

Welcome to the United Kingdom of Great Big Brother and National Intrusion.

Dave Silvester
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

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