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July 13, 2005

Fingerprints on ID Cards.

Charlie’s response:

The home secretary, Charles Clarke, is to press today's emergency European counter-terrorism summit to adopt a plan to compulsorily fingerprint all EU citizens who already carry identity cards.

The scheme is a crucial part of a 10-point anti-terrorism package that includes the retention of email and phone records for up to three years which Mr Clarke will propose when he chairs the emergency summit called in the wake of the London bombings.

The outline of the plan for all ID cards in Europe to carry an electronic fingerprint was submitted to a high-level strategic committee on immigration, frontiers and asylum on Tuesday by British officials acting in their capacity as the presidency of the EU.

"Identity cards are valid travel documents. We cannot afford to have them be a weak link in international travel," a Home Office spokesman said, confirming the plan.

"A really significant amount of travel within Europe is done not on a passport but on an identity card which is just a piece of cardboard with a photograph attached. It is a weak link. We need to have a common standard."

The spokesman stressed, however, that the measure would not mean the EU was compelling those countries which do not have ID cards to adopt them.

Britain is to start introducing "biometric" passports from next year; all applicants will have to go to one of 70 new centres to be fingerprinted and have their face "scanned". In December the EU decided that all passport holders, visitors and foreign resident nationals should be fingerprinted.

Wonderful. He’s already agreed that ID cards wouldn’t have stopped the bombings. Travel documents wouldn’t have stopped them as we now know the bombers were home grown. What the hell is this for? Just the general desire to have a huge database of everyone?

This is one of two things.

1) A politician cannot be seen to be doing nothing. No one of them actually has the courage to say that there are problems that cannot be solved by politicians.

2) It’s the Home Office reflex approach to anything. We need to have a database of the helots so we can control them.

Update: Marlene Dietrich (?) sends in this link to Statewatch. They’re using the European Union like companies use consultants, to push through something they cannot get support for any other way. The international rules agreed to do NOT require biometrics or fingerprints, only a digital photo. But if the EU says all ID cards must have those then voila, our domestic ones must as well.

As ever, Chirs Lightfoot has the info.

BTW, we might note that fingerprints are not unique. Amongst 450 million people we will all have several if not many matches. This is a function of the way in which fingerprints are compared. And yes, it was many years ago but I do have some knowledge of the systems used. I bought the source code of the KGB’s system for use by those planning the FBI’s.

July 13, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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How exactly would this have helped prevent people travelling by car from leeds and by train from Luton?

Posted by: Mark T | Jul 13, 2005 11:04:38 AM

Nature provided each of us with a bar-code that uniquely identifies us. Our fingerprints. The European Parliament (The "democratic body)approved new rules on mandatory inclusion of both facial recognition and fingerprinting for passports and travel documents , in an “emergency” debate, on the 25th November 2004, the European Commission (the non-democratic body) approved it at their plenary meeting 2 weeks later and it became EU law from December 2nd 2004, throughout the EU. President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell on 15 Nov 2004 said, “this is a requirement imposed by the US authorities” (1 see ref )

That means, that under pressure from the US, every EC citizen requiring a passport, visa, or other travel document, and eventually identity document will have to accept that their identity, will be registered as part of an EU wide database. This is something that the US citizen (only 8% of whom have passports) are not obliged to provide, although visitors are refused entry if they refuse..

We are all born free. We are all born with nature’s bar code, a fingerprint. It is unique, we share it with no-one, but if all goes to plan you will share it’s image with every law enforcement agency and God knows who else besides, who has access to the EU database.

That is now EU law.Your Government and the other 24 in the EU have signed up to it.
Reference -

Posted by: Edward Teague | Jul 13, 2005 11:17:12 AM


Latest poll data:

61% agree with the introduction of ID cards, 34% are opposed.

Posted by: Heiko Gerhauser | Jul 13, 2005 11:43:36 AM

Had the bombers been carrying ID cards, their homes would have been raided Friday not Tuesday of the next week, giving the cell organiser less of a head start in getting out of the country.

If it was more difficult for the cell organiser to acquire false papers, there is some chance he would have been caught while doing so.

If he travelled under his own identity, it would be much easier to issue an international arrest warrant for him.

It's a ludicrous denial of the reality to state that because id cards couldn't prevent all possible terror attacks, a good id card system would not make the terrorists lives more difficult, and so reduce the number of attacks.


Posted by: soru | Jul 13, 2005 12:04:53 PM

A really significant amount of travel within Europe is done not on a passport but on an identity card which is just a piece of cardboard with a photograph attached. It is a weak link

Huh? Where does he get that knowledge from? He has probably never seen a German id card.

My (now expired) German id card issued in 1994 is essentially the same as plastic part with the picture in my passport. It even has the machine readable code at the bottom. All the other security features are the same. Piece of cardboard with a picture, yeah right.

As I can't renew it anyway (you can't renew a German id card if you live abroad) I haven't really followed the debate in Germany, but I believe Otto Schily (home secretary in Germany) is pushing for biometrics in them as well.

Interestingly enough I might end up with a UK id card (didn't I read somewhere foreigners resident in the UK are going to get them first?) and a German passport. That'll be fun. Not.

Posted by: Armin | Jul 13, 2005 12:49:12 PM

Not only are fingerprints not unique they can be faked very easily. Using about $10 of household goods if the person that is donating the print is willing. Latent prints can also be used, again using easily found materials, for a slightly increased cost.

Posted by: chris | Jul 13, 2005 2:23:43 PM

"It's a ludicrous denial of the reality to state that because id cards couldn't prevent all possible terror attacks, a good id card system would not make the terrorists lives more difficult, and so reduce the number of attacks..."

Like the terrorists would have meekly had their own/any id card on them that would not have been blown to smithereens. Get real! Ask the Isrealis how easy it is to stop a suicide bomber - good ID system or not. And exactly how would it reduce the number of attacks? How many attacks have we had in Britain? One set of attacks on one day.

"If he travelled under his own identity, it would be..."

Yeah, like a cell organiser is going to travel (unplanned), on his own ID. What do you think this is? A childrens spy game? The naivity of some people is astounding! Don't you realise this guy is a 'mastermind' (according to every media source in the UK at the moment)?

Posted by: Nik | Jul 13, 2005 11:35:33 PM

IDcards are the "killer app" that civil servants, control freaks and crypto-fachos everywhere have been waiting for an excuse to introduce...

This has nothing to do with terrorism.

Posted by: not convinced | Jul 22, 2005 10:08:09 PM