Warnings of computer chaos as compulsory registration looms

April 3, 2006 4:45 PM

Local campaigners have criticised Parliament's decision last week to force everyone to travel to registration centres for compulsorily fingerprinting and identity registration. Failures of the scheme's central computer would hugely disrupt people's lives, and even when working properly it would be a daily inconvenience to law-abiding citizens without much affecting

criminals or terrorists.

Compulsory fingerprinting and registration are part of the mis-named Identity Cards Bill, which passed the House of Lords yesterday. The legislation's main aim is force everyone to hand over control of their personal details to the authorities. Every change of circumstances would have to be reported on pain of repeated £1000 fines.

"After the computer fiascos at the Child Support Agency, the Child Tax credit system and the Department of Work and Pensions (amongst others), does anyone believe this government is capable of running a huge system to

control everyone's identities?" asked NO2ID spokesman Chris Lightfoot. "It's bad enough when a government computer messes up one specific part of your life, like your Child Tax Credits. Think how much worse it will be when the Identity Register fails and turns you into an un-person."

"The scheme will not solve any of the problems that the Government claims that it will" agreed Cambridge MP David Howarth. "It is illiberal, ineffective and unnecessarily expensive. The cost of compulsory registration would pay for

10,000 more police officers, who would be far more effective at fighting crime".

Campaigners have vowed to continue fighting the proposals.

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