Powers related to ID cards on their way back?

Do you remember all the fanfare, after last May’s general election, over the Coalition’s supposed commitment to restore the civil liberties trampled upon by Labour? You do? Then you may well ask how well that commitment has withstood the pressures of government.

Statewatch’s Six Months On analysis, published in November and available to download here (it’s about halfway down the page), is clear, precise, and thorough. Want to know what’s happening with the Interception Modernisation Programme, or the DNA database? Fancy a heads-up on the much-touted Freedom Bill? You’ll find all the info you need in the Statewatch Report.

We sifted through it for the most important messages, with the intention of giving you a chance to get a sense of the report’s contents as swiftly as possible. We’ll be blogging on various aspects over the next few days, kicking off with what would appear to be an obvious win; the summary scrapping of ID cards.

Senior Conservative and Lib-Dem figures must have been rubbing their hands at this one: a grand political high-five that won plaudits by reversing Labour’s most obviously misguided policy. OK, one of Labour’s most obviously misguided policies.

On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that various aspects of the ID card scheme are popping up again in slightly different guises. NO2ID point out some of the major flaws with the Identity Document Bill’s current drafting:

The Bill, as drafted by Home Office officials, broadens further some of the already over-broad offences created by the 2006 Act, and worse, reintroduces some of the deeply flawed official conceptions of ‘identity’ inherent in the ID scheme – such as sentences of up to 2 years for quite legitimately, or accidentally through error or misprint, holding identity documents in more than one name.

More worryingly still, the data sharing powers that made the identity card a huge step on the road towards a police state are being resurrected and applied to passports instead. ID cards may be dead, but the sinister urge to bring the populace under surveillance lives on.

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