Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, GMTV interview transcript on Identity Cards and House Arrest

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Here is a transcript of some of the GMTV interview with Sir Ian Blair (SIB), the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, broadcast on Sunday 6th February 2005. The interviewer is Cathy somebody or other - the ITV and GMTV websites are pathetic compared with, for example the BBC

"Cathy: One of the, one of the big issues you've got coming is, erm, Identity Cards. Are you convinced of the, the case for Identity Cards ?

SIB: Yes I am. I wasn't. A few years ago I really was not convinced. Err, two things have changed that. One is that that the technology has got better, so if we are really into iris recognition, which I think we are, as far as I can see, that appears to be technologically unforgeable."

Compromised Biometric Scanners ? Iris printed contact lenses ? Why the need for fingerprints and facial recognition as well, if Iris Scans are better ? Why a Central Database Target instead of a distributed system with the biometric identifiers only stored on an individual SmartCard and Digitally Signed ?

"But the second point is that Identity Theft itself, is becoming a a serious problem"

So there are Metroplitan Police Statistics on Identity Theft which show the extent of the problem are there ? Or is this just speculation ? There are no such statistics, as there is no one crime of "Identity Fraud", and most Credit Card Fraud is not Identity Fraud either.

"Always, criminals adapt to a new market, and the, just as an example, the Chip and PIN technology, we are going to see an awful lot less credit Card Fraud that way, and an increasing amount of Credit Card Fraud on the Internet, becuase you don't the Chip and PIN

Cathy: sure

SIB: at that point"

Exactly the same is true of Identity Cards - they will do nothing to stop Credit Card Fraud because a) they are not Chip and PIN compatible, and b) they rely on Biometrics etc which cannot be trusted over the Internet.

So how is this a justification for Identity Cards ?

"In the old days, a Forged Passport, was sort of done in a basement with a press, I could give you your passport now

Cathy: [smile, sigh]

SIB: Literally. And it would be absolutely identical to the one that you carry

Cathy: [indistinct]

No, no, nobody could. The only difference is one wold be Authorised and one's Unauthorised."

So no special ultraviolet inks then ?

"And I think this this issue about not knowing who somebody is, at all, and, er, some of the arrests that we've had recently in connection with terrorism, they've had multiple identities, and nobody's sure who they are."

Multiple British Identities ??? Even with a perfect UK Identity Card scheme, how can this affect people with multiple foreign identities ?

"Cathy: I was going to ask you, you seem clear the the, er, that ID cards will help in the fight against crime, but what about terrorism ? You, you're, con, convinced as well that they really will have an impact there ?

SIB: Yeah, I am, because I mean, I don't think people should distinguish Crime and Terrorism too easily, The networks, the logistics, of terrorism, are based, a lot of them, around fraud,

Cathy: Yeah

SIB: money lauundering, and so on, and that, of course, is the Identity Fraud area, and nobody really knows who some of the people we've actually got in custody are. We have lots of names that they have, but who they actually are, is a question that, we've, as yet unanswered."

So how does a compulsory National Identity Register make any difference in these cases ? You managed to catch these fraudsters without knowing their "True Names". Why wouldn't professional fraudsters have at least one UK ID Card with their own Biometrics on it ? You still won't know their "True Name"! Why does it matter, they can still be sent to jail under one of their false aliases anyway.


"Cathy: But, do you really think that is a balance, when you are talking about ditching, habeus corpus , effectively"

[she did say habeus rather than habeas]

"SIB: Well let's, I, I think we're looking at some sort of form of 21st Century "House Arrest", I don't use the term "House Arrest""
Detention without trial is detention without trial, even if you do not want to use the term "House Arrest"
"Cathy; right

SIB: I think this is a set of "Control Orders", that will prohibit, and prevent, as far as we possibly can, individuals from becoming involved in activities, that we know are Dangerous to the State, and I think that's very important.

Cathy: You're talking "tagging" rather than ...

SIB: Yeah, we're talking all sorts of things, I, I mean there , I'm afraid before the Bill comes out, I think it would be a bit unwise of me to speculate about what would, might be in it."

We cannot seee how electronic tagging technology is appropriate for any criminals who are highly motivated to offend. If these terrorist suspects or their friends and families are not dangerous enough to sentence and lock away in prison, then why should we trust such easily foiled technology as electronic tagging ?

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It's worrying, isn't it, that the gestapo chief can't string together a coherent sentence. I seem to recall that it was Sir Ian Blair who pushed long and hard for the government to allow the police to take DNA samples from everyone arrested, no matter how minor the offence, and to keep the samples even if no charge, or acquittal, followed. So no surprise that he's in favour of ID cards then.

I see from the Telegraph that the Conservatives are withdrawing their support for ID cards. I wonder if this will make a difference.


The Tories have betrayed their own supposed fundamental principles by not wholeheartedly and actively opposing this particular ID scheme from the start.

A leak to the media about a possible half hearted u-turn on Thursday still oozes political opportunism, which they will not reap any political benefit from.

David Blunkett would have been quick to point the finger and say "well, you lot voted for this Bill", and no doubt Charles Clarke or Des Browne will do the same.

So, is Ian Blair any relation to Tony Blair?

Apparently neither of them are related to each other, and neither are they related to Eric Blair aka "George Orwell"

Sir Ian Blair has implied that "Arabs" are either "Law abiding" or "terrorists". Will someone please sack him?
We break the law when we protest against the real terrorists; Bush, Blair & Sharon; The big CIA; The Crypts and the KKK.
The actions that brought Universal Sufferage were illegal. It is unlikely that we will get full representative democracy where the will of the people is the law without further law breaking.

the system could not work without a central database of biometric data because PKI is not sufficient to prevent fraudulant cards. PKI can be broken in a relatively short amount of time using an ordinary PC. this means that the government's private key would have to be constantly changed and each card updated (presumably each card would be digitally signed), which is not physically possible. checking against a secure database is the only way to make sure that biometric data is authentic.

with a central database, the way to get a fraudulant identity is to make a fraudulant application. application checking is likely to be the weakest part of the system.

if PKI and/or biometric data could help tackle fraud due to identity theft then i would like to know what the banks have to say about this. they would have to implement any proposals within their systems. there is only one transaction where a national database could help them and that's the initial application for an account. the idea of a police system that could authenticate a person for every credit card transaction is not feasible. any changes to credit card authentication and authorisation would fall on the banks. as the banks have it within their power to use these technologies themselves, then why don't they? in my view they consider it too impractical.

another big problem with this scheme is the government's IT project management ability which is appalling. it will massively overrun on cost and time (probably by years) and it won't work properly. i would like to know if the government or police have had discussions with major IT suppliers over this project. government IT suppliers have a history of promising what they can't deliver and their salesmen are notorious.

to achieve a working system they should scale back their ambition. start with the database and get it working with a database of offendors. scale up the database to include everyone. scrap the idea of cards altogether and match the information in the database to NI numbers. why do you need the card if you have access to the database, an NI number, and a biometric reader.

finally, what do we get out of this system? it seems to me that the police are looking for a technological silver bullet to do their job for them. what they will end up with is a technological white elephant that will gorge their annual budgets.

don't get me started on Ian Blair. i hate the way that moral philosophy is his answer to everything.

Sack him, make him face charges over the death of mr mendez and the coverup thats followed.

The whole chain that were involved in the coverup and murder, should all face charges.

They are murderers and liars. They lied for 3 weeks about what happened. The truth is so far from their original story its unbelievable.


Get a grip on reality !

Shame that Mendez died, a victim of terrorism rather than an innocent victim of police brutality, he was here illegally and if he had been "legal" his name would have appeared as showing up on the numerous databases, electoral role, credit, etc, etc, and the old bill might have known that there was a risk that persons other than the terrorist scumbags were residing there.

Sack Blair, why, he like all the rest was just trying his utmost to protect us all, fair enough he didnt have all the facts, but who did at the time?.

@ "Reasonable person" how exactly were the police meant to check Jean Charles de Menezes on any "databases" when they did not even ask him his name before they shot him ?

Sir Ian Blair is meant to take responsibility for the errors made under his command, not just the blunders which lead to the shooting, but the media spin and lies afterwards.

If frontline police officers and soldiers are willing to put their lives at risk in the fight against terrorism, then the senior officials and politicians should at least put their jobs at risk, and do the decent thing and resign when a major cock up happens on their watch, even if they personally had no direct hand in it.

The last such man of honour that I can recall was Lord Carrington, the then Foreign Secretary, who resigned over policy failures which lead to the Falklands war in 1982.


I agree with you, polititions should resign for the mistakes of those who they have working for them. I do not agree that members of the civil service, armed forces or police should be used as scapegoats and "expected" to do the honourable thing in place of those whose role is to oversee and create laws and policy.
The Menezes situation, is by its nature difficult, however you can bet your life that before the fatefull day checks were done on the addresses under surveilance and as an illegal menezes would not have shown at the address, therfore it is most likely that he was misidentified because they only thought the bad guys were resident (and accomplices) which from the outset sets him up as a suspect, tyhe rest id history.

@ Reasonable person - any surveillance of a suspect property in London would have been incompetent to rely on database checks on the address, rather than direct observation techniques, to tell who might be inside a particular, multi-occupancy block of flats.

The Local Government Association gave evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, that around 40% of the people on the electoral roll, (i.e. *not* illegal immigrants) change their address in London every year, and about 25% in other big cities, so all the databases are constantly out of date. This of course does not reflect the true number of people who are staying overnight at someone else's address at any one time, for perfectly normal reasons.

Todays teletext read "one od 2 people were arrested for criticising the police for not making arrest during the islamic protest in london and for attempting to give out mohammed cartoons".

does that not smack of double standards by the police?

Regarding the UK: What type of person makes policing their life's work? The sort of person that identifies with authority and can blindly follow regulations, but with an underlying streak of lawlessness. Take the schoolyard bully: Not exactly "A-level", university material, so gets off on putting the fear of God into the other kids. Inevitably seen with a handpicked gang of like-minded henchmen.
The police send their recruiting team around shortly before the Sixth Form are kicked out onto the street, and young "Flashman" is an absolute shoe-in for the force. Education (or lack thereof)? No worries, son. Two "O-levels" and a budgerigar and you're in. Face it, nobody can spell these days.
Remember, the police (unlike the military) have no officer corps. So your average solid bone-between-the-ears plod is very gradually promoted to the level of his own incompetence. By which time he's worked out a few techniques to disseminate blame. And also a few scams to supplement income. I think licensed crooks essentially sums them up. Of course there are a few university-educated, fast track elite, but they are the exception. Care to comment Sir Ian. With Tony Blair’s Police State UK well on track, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act providing justification, it’s no surprise the worst elements in the police force are getting off on harassing demonstrators and generally pushing their weight about. But lacking the brain to be pro-active; simply reacting to events. Even the most right-wing governments must realise that it’s asking for trouble to ban or severely restrict peaceful protest. Because without a legal avenue, violence becomes the only remaining channel for the most extreme elements to express grievances. Ban marches and the bombing starts. Nice, neutral Buddhist country, anyone?

He needs to go. Is it something to do with the surname...?? it seems the Blair's once in are as likelly to go as lice...

It is all too easy to critise someones speach as you have every opportunity to review your words before you post them. I don't expect you would be able to string a decent sentence together if you were speaking to him! Ian Blair must be allowed to stay where he is and learn from errors of his team and system. After all, how many times have they had to practice? And in any event, if we were not under attack from extreamists we he would not have to tackle them would he?

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Cool Britannia

Identity Cards Bill clause by clause analysis and comments


Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

RIPA Consultations

RIPA Part III consultation blog - Government access to Encrypted Information and Encryption Keys.

RIPA Part I Chapter II consultation blog - Government access and disclosure of Communications Traffic Data

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January 2009

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

intelligence_gov_uk_150.gif - Cabinet Office hosted portal website to various UK Intelligence Agencies and UK Government intelligence committees and Commissioners etc.

0800 789 321 free, confidential, Anti-Terrorist Hotline (use 999 or 112 to report immediate threats)
Anti-terrorism hotline 0800 789 321 free and confidential - use 999 or 112 to report immediate threats.

MI5 encrypted contact web form use 999 or 112 to report immediate threats
Encrypted MI5 web response form NuLabour's "Climate of Fear" is not the same as the real fight against terror.

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

Serious Organised Crime Agency - have cut themselves off from direct contact with the public and businesses - no phone - no email

Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

netcu_logo_150.gif National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit
National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit - keeps a watch on animal extremists, genetically modified crop protesters, peace protesters etc.
(some people think that the word salad of acronyms means that NETCU is a spoof website)

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


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