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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May, 2004, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Poll suggests ID card backlash
Protestors on London streets against war in Iraq
Would ID card spark protests like those against war in Iraq?
The government could face a public backlash to its proposals on ID cards a new survey has found.

Up to 5 million people (28%) would demonstrate against ID cards the survey conducted by online research firm YouGov found.

One million would be prepared to go to prison rather than register for a card.

The survey paints a different picture to the recent MORI poll which found that 80% of UK citizens were in favour of cards.

By contrast the YouGov online poll found that a smaller majority - 60% - of citizens were in favour.

61% support compulsory ID cards
28% of those opposing would take to the streets to demonstrate
16% would participate in campaign of civil disobedience
6% would go to prison rather than register
45% object to legal requirement to inform government if card is lost or stolen
Nearly a quarter of Tory voters object to compulsory ID cards

YouGov questioned a sample of over 2000 electors in the UK, asking for opinions on ID cards and what measures people would take to fight the introduction.

16% of those opposed said they would participate in a campaign of civil disobedience - which would equate to around 2.8 million people if the survey is accurately reflected in real life.


"The more people hear about the government's proposals, the less they like them," said Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, a human rights group which commissioned the survey.

"What this survey suggests is that the government is staring down the barrel of another Poll Tax revolt but on a larger scale," he added.

Privacy International believes that if there is resistance on the scale suggested by the survey the scheme could be completely derailed.

Home Secretary David Blunkett wants to see ID cards phased in gradually, making it compulsory to have one by 2013.

The total cost of the ID scheme, which the government says will combat terrorism, cut down on fraud and help ease problems with illegal immigration, is estimated at 3 billion.

Privacy International has been an outspoken opponent of the ID scheme, which is says offers little protection against terrorism and much erosion of freedom for citizens.


There is particular concern among opponents of the scheme about the cost and possible misuse of the database that would be needed to store all citizens' details including biometric information.

Privacy International is hosting a debate about the implications of the government's ID scheme in London on Wednesday 19 May.

Home Office representatives have declined to take part in the debate, a signal that the government is not prepared to compromise on its decision to introduce ID cards says Mr Davies.

"It is obvious that as far as the Home Office is concerned there is no debate and there is no consultation on the ID card," he said.

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