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M&C Saatchi reported to be hired to promote British National Identity Scheme

Posted by James Hammerton @ 6:38 pm on 7 September, 2008.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics, the database state.
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According to the Mail on Sunday newspaper:

The Government is paying a top advertising agency to ‘sell’ its controversial £20billion ID card scheme to the public.

The Home Office has employed M&C Saatchi to mount a marketing blitz ahead of the National Identity Scheme’s launch in November.

ID cards will allow the Government to hold the personal details of 60million citizens - including fingerprints and iris patterns - on a central database.

But there are fears that fraudsters, terrorists or blackmailers could steal the information and use it for criminal purposes.

Despite this, the Home Office has ordered that all non-EU workers living in Britain hold an ID card as of November.

M&C Saatchi will begin the campaign with TV adverts and posters explaining the cards’ ‘benefits’ to a sceptical public.

The firm is also believed to be behind a Home Office website, www.mylifemyid.org, which has been advertised on social networking sites Facebook and Bebo since July.

The site invites youngsters to sign up for ID cards on a ‘purely voluntary basis’.

If Saatchi are indeed behind the MyLifeMyId website, this can only be good news for the opponents of the national identity scheme:

Trust Britain’s youth to be characteristically ungrateful. The Government goes to all the effort of making a website for 16 to 25- year-olds to express their views on identity cards, and all they get in return is a solid mixture of scorn, sneering and scepticism smattered across their fancy new forums.

In a bid to get the country’s youngsters on board the controversial scheme, the Home Office has launched MyLifeMyId.org, where 16 to 25 year olds “can have their say about identity issues in the UK.”

But anyone browsing the discussions on the site would be hard pushed to find a single positive comment, with contributors branding the controversial scheme as “creepy,” “dirty” and “illegal” and the website itself as an “online propaganda machine”.

One contributor writes: “I think it’s pretty disingenuous of the government to come out and say “hey, yo, cool dudes! If you sign up for our hip hoppin’ ID card scheme you’ll never have to carry a heavy s*** passport to prove your age to some wack bartender again” or however it is they think we talk.” Meanwhile, amcs1983 had this to say: “So far the stats look like 100% say no to ID cards. Time to lose these results in a train station…..”

At the time of writing, the discussion forums of MylifeMyID.org still seem to be dominated by commenters who are sceptical, if not hostile, to the National Identity Scheme.

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