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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Protest over ID card pilot scheme
ID card protesters
Protesters say ID cards infringe civil liberties
Campaigners in Glasgow have shown their opposition to the new national identity card pilot scheme.

They showed their disapproval during a visit of Home Office Minister Des Browne who was in the city to view the technology which will be used.

Volunteers are being invited to sign up to have their irises, fingerprints and facial biometrics recorded as part of the UK Passport Service (UKPS) trial.

Defy-ID Glasgow is a newly-formed group which opposes the project.

Among the protesters to greet Mr Browne as he arrived at the DVLA office in West Campbell Street on Friday, was Patrick Harvie MSP, the Green Party justice spokesman.

He believes the scheme, which is being piloted with 10,000 volunteers across the UK, threatens civil liberties and is "technologically" unworkable with massive costs for the taxpayer.

Using cutting-edge technology, the cards will link individuals' unique biometric data, such as iris scans, to a secure national database
Des Browne
Home Office Minister
Mr Harvie said: "The government's ID card scheme will be an over-priced, unworkable project with few benefits for the taxpayer and far too many risks to civil liberties.

"I've already committed myself to boycotting the scheme and I call on other Glaswegians to do the same."

Protesters made their way inside the building but were asked to leave before Mr Browne made his speech.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "In the first week more than 5,000 people expressed an interest in volunteering."

He said the majority of people in "poll after poll" were in favour of a national ID scheme.

Mr Browne said: "Identity crime is a growing threat to all countries. It costs the UK 1.3bn a year, and facilitates organised crime, illegal immigration, benefit fraud, illegal working and terrorism.

Draft legislation

"Only by planning ahead and taking steps now to create a modern, secure means of confirming identity, can we ensure that in the years to come we will be able to take on the increasingly sophisticated methods used by criminals, and that UK citizens have a secure form of identity to use in everyday life and travel.

"The government is to introduce a compulsory national UK identity card scheme to help tackle organised crime and protect the identities of British citizens.

Des Browne views ID card
Des Browne views his own biometric ID card
"Using cutting-edge technology, the cards will link individuals' unique biometric data, such as iris scans, to a secure national database."

The UK Government published draft legislation last month to bring in a compulsory national identity card scheme.

The trial is taking place in four sites including the London passport office, Newcastle registrar's office, Leicester post office and Glasgow DVLA office.

The government intends to introduce identity cards on a phased basis from 2007.

Volunteers will receive a demonstrator smart card containing their details on an electronic chip.

The UKPS trial will investigate the practicalities of the biometric enrolment process.

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