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Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Manchester and the ID card

sample of National Identity Card
Fingerprint records will be stored on a chip on the card

Would you sign up for a national ID card? As Manchester rolls out the controversial scheme, we ask: will you carry one? And why?

From 16 November 2009, Mancunians became the first in the country get the chance to to enrol for a national identity card.

Anyone over 16 in the city with a UK passport can now apply with the first cards being issued on 30 November. The scheme is not compulsory but if you want one, you can register via the Directgov website.

Biometric equipment has been installed at the Manchester passport office and is ready to receive applicants. To be issued with an ID card, applicants will have to be interviewed and have their fingerprints and photo taken.

As well as displaying your name, date of birth, gender, nationality, photograph and signature, the biometric card will also carry a chip storing other information including your fingerprints.

However, up to 49 other pieces of information can potentially be recorded about you on the National Identity Register.

For and against

ID cards will cost £30 compared with £77.50 for a passport
valid for travel within Europe instead of a passport
ID cards are voluntary and would require further legislation to make them compulsory
will contain basic identification information including a photograph, along with name, gender and date of birth.
will not store details about race, religion, sexuality, health, criminal record or political beliefs
failure to update the National Identity Register with any changes could result in a £1,000 fine

The Home Office argues that a modern, credit card-sized ID card would allow people to "easily and securely prove their identity" removing the need to carry a passport.

They also claim it will reduce fraud and prove vital in combating terrorism and organised crime.

Critics including the No2ID campaign group say the ID card is the 'tip of an iceberg' and claim that the government is intent on building up a massive database to 'keep tabs on everyone.'

They also say the voluntary roll-out is a "softening up" exercise for the introduction of identity cards for everyone which they claim would cost the taxpayer between £10bn and £20bn.

An attempt to make ID cards compulsory for pilots and other airport workers at Manchester Airport was dropped in June 2009 following resistance from unions who accused the government of 'coercion'.

The Manchester launch will mark the beginning of the main phase of the ID scheme which, ministers say, will culminate in cards being available nationwide by 2012.

Your comments

Even if you have 'nothing to hide' you should be very worried. You don't have to be a criminal end up in prison. The police are already collecting data on people who protest peacefully and using it against them. This system is open to corruption at a frightening level. It won't stop terrorism; look at Spain. If you have a passport and/or a driving license you already have ID it should be enough.

- Carole, Ashton-under-Lyne

[I think a compulsory ID card for everyone is a good idea. Alone the hassle of providing different documents as proof of address to open a bank account etc.."]

Re the above comment from Stefan Schmitt, no bank, not a single one, has ever said that they would let you open an account on the basis of an Identity & Passport Service (IPS) ID card alone. IPS said it. But they don't run banks. The banks haven't said it. Now, how many more of IPS's delusional claims have you got at the back of your mind, justifying the introduction of these toys? Check them. Check all these claims. Pretty soon, I suspect, you will have run out of reasons to have an IPS ID card. And then you will be left in the same position as everyone else who has examined the IPS ID card scheme in detail. What is it for? Do IPS know what they're doing?

- David Moss, London

The facts section is interesting, in that it misses out some of the key facts. For instance it's a fact that once on the register you have to update the Home Office every time you move house or change details, else risk a £1,000 fine! If the computer says NO, you're the one denied services... or worse. Detailed state-held dossier of your relationships and every ID transaction: GP, bank, medical. The Home Office makes money off your details, every time it 'verifies' your ID. Official snooping, and not just by the police - the taxman, Department of Transport, Whitehall

- James Elsdon-Baker, Manchester

According to the DirectGov web site there is no passport office in Manchester. The closest one is in Liverpool. How exactly are Mancunians to apply for the cards?

- Richard Hodson, Wigan

If you really do have nothing to hide, William, then you are fortunate. Not everyone is so lucky. Some are fleeing abusive relationships, or are witnesses under protection, and want their address to be kept secret. Some have a medical history that they want to keep private, especially from their employer. Some are adopted voluntarily or by court order, or have given up a child for adoption, and don't want to be linked with their natural family. Perhaps you might think about those people and consider the devastation that a national identity database could cause?

- Rob Findlay, Shrewsbury

If you've nothing to hide then you've nothing to prove. You're innocent til proven guilty. The ID Card scheme and, particularly, the Big Brother database behind it will be a huge intrusion into the private lives of everyone. The goal is to have everyone showing these cards several times a day from everything using public transport (as a replacement for the Oyster card etc) to buying alcohol. The checks will ultimately all be electronic and each one will be recorded on the Big Brother database, building up a detailed picture of everyone's daily lives. I value my privacy and freedom so will not be submitting to this lifelong surveillance, state control and a strange presumption of guilt 'til I prove myself innocent. The UK is now a surveillance state surpassed only by China and Russia. The East German Stasi would have loved this scheme.

- Gary Stimson, Sheffield

Personally, I have no problems either with ID cards in principle. However, this government has proved itself incapable of introducing any scheme where IT is concerned without: a) spending far too much money on it and b) ensuring the data is not 'accidently' misplaced. Whilst I have nothing to hide, the information to be held on these cards is far too sensitive to entrust to them. At this time of recession, they would serve this country better by getting us out of the hole they have dug instead of creating another revenue stream that us poor tax payers will have to endure.

- Martin Kendrick, Stockport

I do not have a problem with ID cards - just think they a waste of time and money! Most people possess a driving licence,passport, or are on the list for council tax etc. The Council/State knows who they are and where they live. ID cards will not protect us from those who live "off the radar" - illegals,would be terrorists etc any more than compulsary driving licence,road fund licence and insurance deters many in this area from driving without these documents.

- Phoebe, Manchester

I left Salford in 1965 for Cape Town. First thing I had to get was a ID.and works really well. Every transaction we do here you give your ID & show it with Pic -address etc, it helps to stop the CON merchants -and people know who they are dealing with -cannot understand why its taken so long for a 1st world country.

- George Dore, South Africa

Correct William, if you got nothing to hide why should you be bothered? How many of those campaigning against the ID have an account on facebook, ebay etc., do internet banking and provide all their details for various other things without moaning?

- Stefan Schmitt, Wigan

I think a compulsory ID card for everyone is a good idea. Alone the hassle of providing different documents as proof of address to open a bank account etc.. An ID with your address makes it easy to identify you. It also prevents other people taking out contracts naming a random address as it happened with my own address which was used by someone to get a new mobile phone contract. If the police or other authorities need ones details they can't give wrong names etc, as it will be clearly stated on the ID. I think an ID actually helps protecting a persons details rather than having negative effects.

- Stefan Schmitt, Wigan

[An attempt to make ID cards compulsory for pilots and other airport workers at Manchester Airport was dropped in June 2009 following resistance from unions who accused the government of 'coercion'.]

Further to the above quote, in my local newspaper at the weekend I saw adverts that had been placed by the National Identity and Passport Service for ID cards being marketed to businesses ("let your organisation find out about the benefits of ID cards...") I just wanted to flag this for all you people out there, don't let the government impose ID cards 'by the back door' by convincing your employer to introduce a compulsory ID scheme as a condition of employment. This is a shocking development and must NOT be allowed to happen.

- Tracy Navin, Manchester

Personally, I've no problem with the ID cards. I read about the big brother state, and the massive data base that the government are apparently trying to build up and that doesn't bother me either. I haven't got anything to hide, and thus do not care what the government do and dont know about me. The main people who do seem worried are those who have skeletons in their wardrobe! However the problem I do have is that we have to pay an initial £30. A figure that only seems to rise the longer the topic is brought up. How can it be fair that we are forced into something and also have to pay for the whole system as will, it feels just like Wembley at the moment, as its costing a lot of money, and the average public are once again hit in the pockets.

- William Penketh, Manchester

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