Wednesday, October 27, 2004

What do *you* think?

According to their press release, the Home Office have issued a couple of documents today, including their response to the HAC (40 pages), and a Summary of Consultation Findings (104 pages).

The Summary of Findings looks interesting. I note initially that while the government are quick to tout the popularity of the old "Entitlement Cards" as a solid backing for progressing with a scheme ("The purpose of the consultation exercise was to elicit views on the draft legislation, rather than on the principle of introducing identity cards, which has already been shown to have widespread public support."), they note that the consultation itself should be viewed from a much more skewed viewpoint:

"It is worth bearing in mind that responses to consultation exercises are by definition self-selecting rather than representative. People tend to be motivated to write in because they are opposed to the proposals under consultation."

This may be worth bearing in mind when the consultation figures seem to conflict with recent research. Compare:

Consultation Responses

Opposed: 48%
In favour: 31%
Supportive in principle, with reservations: 8%
Neutral: 13%

General Correspondence received during the consultation period

Opposed: 21%
In favour: 31%
Neutral: 48%

Hmm, hardly an overwhelming majority in favour, I'd say...

I've yet to go into further detail about the document, but it seems that the general public are often as confused as the government over exactly what ID cards are for, although the consultation hints that really, it's for everything it could possibly be for.

I encourage all to read.

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