The Scottish Identity Card Scandal:
Campaign News - 2007

Scottish ID Card

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1.  The Scottish National Entitlement Card: an exercise in wholesale systematic deception, with minor revisions, 28 Dec. 07, by Dr John Welford


Early in 2006 national identity cards were reintroduced into the United Kingdom for the first time in fifty-four years. The subject of identity cards is always a controversial one for the British, and so it is surprising that their reintroduction was given almost no publicity and met with minimal opposition. The reason for this is quite simple - nobody was told about it. What happened is that the elderly and disabled citizens of Scotland were invited to apply for a new kind of travel card. But unbeknown to them, what they were subsequently issued with was not a travel card, but a multi-purpose identity card. Moreover, this card and its associated centralised database are so intrusive that they would not today be permitted by law in Germany. The present paper outlines the nature of this ‘Trojan Horse’ identity cards project and the wholesale systematic deception which it involved.

The 12 page report can be downloaded from:  report.pdf (544Kb)

2.  Scottish News of the World, 19 Aug. 07 - Compulsory ID is on the cards, by Mark Howarth

But just see what frightening powers the (Scottish) Executive has awarded itself here. In short, they can now seek out, store and pass on any information about you that they want. And I mean ANY. Your debts, politics, sex life, what you buy at Tesco. Friends, phonecalls and favourite websites. Even the latest tittle-tattle about you from the pub gossip. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it...

So what's going on? FACT: Labour want us all to have compulsory ID cards. And if they can trick the Scots into having them - using Section 57 and cuddly “entitlement cards” instead - they reckon they can con the rest. That's why London’s watching these events unfold in Scotland so very carefully...

And when it comes to ID cards - just like the poll tax - it’s obvious who England's lab rat is. So how much does Scotland love her liberty? Is freedom just a 90-minute big-screen bunk-up with an Australian actor? Or does our Braveheart FM Alex Salmond actually have the balls to tell London the show's over? Let's find out...

3.  Scottish Green Party, 21 Aug. 07 - Greens Back Protest Against Government-sponsored 'Electronic Stranger Danger'

Green MSP Patrick Harvie today joined campaigners outside the Scottish Parliament against the government misuse of the 'Scottish Entitlement Card' - widely suspected to be the precursor to a full-blown national ID card and Identity Database system...

He said, "Many people welcome the Entitlement Card to help them access public services, but it was never parliament's intention to set up the first phase of a National Identity Register. Such a database ... flies in the face of the principled position Parliament took when it agreed the Green motion against ID Cards...

"The majority of MSPs in the last parliament backed our motion to reject the National ID scheme and public support for it has fallen dramatically - I hope the SNP Government won't make the mistake of creating a similar system in Scotland. I'm calling for a clear statement that it does not support this infringement of privacy, that it will look again at the terms of section 57, and that the dangerous drift toward a surveillance society will not be repeated in Scotland."

[Link no longer active]

4.  Sunday Herald, 26 Aug. 07 - 'Back-door' ID cards under fire, by Mark Howarth

Each file on the register will be tied to a microchipped National Entitlement Card, which one in four Scots now has to access public services such as free bus travel and leisure centre facilities. Campaigners say it is effectively an ID card and will allow greater surveillance of people's activities as more data banks are fed into the central structure...

5.  Edinburgh Evening News, 27 Aug. 07 - Entitlement card 'a threat to civil liberty'

EDINBURGH campaigners have mounted a protest against the introduction of a Scottish Entitlement Card...

They say the card, which has replaced things like bus passes for the elderly and disabled, poses a "threat to civil liberties"...

[John Welford's] views were supported by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who said: "Many people welcome the entitlement card to help them access public services, but it was never parliament's intention to set up the first phase of a National Identity Register."

Such a database is not only expensive and unnecessary; it also flies in the face of the position parliament took when it agreed the motion against ID cards."

6.  Herald, Society supplement, 11 Sep. 07 - Being taken for a ride?

To popular acclaim, the Scottish Executive introduced free nationwide bus travel for pensioners. All they had to do was return their old bus pass and sign up for a new Scottish Entitlement Card. Well, why not? What's the difference?...

There will be records of where you travel, what you read, what you do in your spare time. All these records will be tied together by the number on your Entitlement Card, the index to a "Citizens Account''. An account is being created for every person in Scotland. There are undoubtedly good reasons for recording all of these data, but do we really want databases to know so much about us? It was never previously necessary for the government to track the movements of pensioners. Who will have access to these data? What will they do with the information?...

NO2ID are not opposed to free bus travel or library cards, but these Citizens Accounts are being implemented without regard for basic data protection principles. The Scottish Government has a duty to protect our privacy. Until it does, I would not advise anyone to accept an Entitlement Card.

What price a free bus pass? To journey blindly towards a database state? Protect your privacy: say no to ID.

7.  Scotland on Sunday, 16 Sep. 07 - Firms invited to bid for controversial smart cards, Murdo Macleod

EVERY adult Scot is to be offered a controversial smart card to access council services as part of an expansion of the use of electronic information.

As part of a move described by a Scottish Government official (in 2002) as the "tip of the iceberg", the 'National Entitlement Card' will store personal details and could potentially be used to access healthcare and to pay for public transport...

ID card sceptics said that the scheme was another step towards a "surveillance state".

Geraint Bevan, the spokesman for NO2ID Scotland, said: " In the past they have promised opt-outs to cards and to data being shared.

"What happens if or when they scrap these opt-outs." John Scott, the director of the Scottish Human Rights Centre, said: "I don't think you have to be cynical to believe this is a bad idea...

But a Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities spokesperson insisted this was an entitlement card, not an ID card.

8.  Sunday Herald, 21 Oct. 07 - Plan to 'hijack' bus passes as ID cards, Mark Howarth

Scottish government excluded from discussions

A CROSS-BORDER spat erupted last night over new Home Office plans for compulsory ID cards in Scotland.

The Sunday Herald can reveal that the UK government is considering fast-tracking the project by using the micro-chipped bus passes held by more than a million Scots. Whitehall officials have set up a working group which will look at how to piggyback the National Identity Register (NIR) on to the Executive's entitlement card scheme.

Last night the Scottish government claimed it had been excluded from crucial discussions and warned that any data-grab attempt would be illegal...

The influential London think-tank New Local Government Network (NLGN) also claimed the cards could soon be ready for use to document citizens' mental health and their "reporting a crime, attending an accident and emergency department or claiming benefits".

The revelation will spark fury among ministers at Holyrood who have vowed not to link devolved public services to ID cards, a position agreed with former home secretary Charles Clarke...

The Scottish smartcards have already provoked controversy since they were launched as a bus pass for pensioners and the disabled in 2006. Each micro-chipped piece of plastic is linked to a Citizen's Account, a computerised register which provides an index to every public service used by the holder.

Geraint Bevan, spokesman for No2ID Scotland, said: "We have been proved right: entitlement cards are nothing more than ID cards by another name. The SNP ... have to realise that when they won the election they inherited an unfolding Labour plan to introduce ID cards by stealth."

9.  Campaign leaflet, 31 Oct. 07

The Trojan Horse ID Card - ACT NOW!

If you care about your freedoms and liberties you should read this information leaflet very carefully - and then make sure that your political representatives know the truth about what is happening at present and will take urgent action - NOW...

The very dark side of this picture is that this card and its associated central database will bring about ‘cradle to grave’ surveillance. In such a world the state and its civil servants (inevitably, as well as internet criminals) will have ready access to every detail about you and your personal life: where you travel, what books you read, what illnesses you suffer from, your educational record, where you shop, what you buy - and indeed anything else the government thinks it might find useful.

And to think that all this will have developed from a harmless looking ‘bus pass’, first issued by a duplicitous government in 2006...

The 2 page leaflet can be downloaded from:  trojanhorse.pdf (406Kb)

10.  Scottish Parliament, 13 Dec. 07

Motion S3M-1017 - Civil Liberties, Margaret Smith ( Edinburgh West, LD), incorporating amendment S3M-1017.2 from Patrick Harvie (Glasgow, Green)

That the Parliament believes that the fundamental liberties enjoyed by generations of our citizens must not be eroded; welcomes the commitment by the previous Scottish Executive that ID cards would not be needed to access devolved services and its proportionate position on DNA retention; is concerned at the threat to civil liberties from the UK Government's expensive and unworkable proposal to introduce compulsory ID cards; believes that the Scottish Government should not put citizens' privacy at risk by allowing the UK ID database to access personal information held by the Scottish Government, local authorities or other devolved public agencies; therefore calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that all data protection procedures comply with the principles of data protection, namely that personal information must be fairly and lawfully processed, processed for limited purposes, adequate, relevant and not excessive, accurate and up to date, not kept for longer than necessary, processed in line with individuals' rights, secure and not transmitted to other countries without adequate protection, and that audit of data under its jurisdiction is independent of government and accountable to the Parliament; further calls on the Scottish Government to review plans for Scottish Citizens Accounts on the basis of these principles, and takes the view that there should be no blanket retention of DNA samples and that the Assistant Information Commissioner for Scotland should have specific powers to carry out spot checks on the compliance by Scottish government agencies and bodies with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Motion agreed to: For 64, Against 1, Abstensions 60.

(My emphasis)



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