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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 13:13 UK

'Why I love my ID card'

John Kirby and his identity card
Nottingham man John Kirby and his ID card

R.I.P the National Identity Card for the UK, ditched by the new government because of concerns about civil liberties. John Kirby - one of 15,000 people who took up the card - says he will miss this simple form of ID.

My identity card is the same size and almost the same colour as a driving licence, and I can carry it in my wallet. It's got my photograph, my name and my citizenship on it - and it works well.

I've been interested in the identity card since it was first mooted. I pre-registered for a card on the Identity and Passport Service website before they started the roll-out in Manchester last autumn.

Airport check-in
I've used it on internal flights because you must have some form of photo ID

The area I live in was not involved in the initial roll-out, but they invited people who had registered online to take part too. Within a week of that invitation, I had been to Manchester Airport, paid my £30, had my photograph and fingerprints taken, and been issued with a national identity card.

And very useful it is too. Previously, I was in the nightclub business and identity was an important issue because, with alcohol, I had to look out for people's ages to protect my licence.

In the eight weeks since I've had it, I have travelled with it and used it to open bank accounts. I've used it on internal flights in the UK because you must have some form of photo ID. The identity card is accepted here and is accepted as a travel document across Europe.

When I turned up at the airport, the identity card was recognised straight away. There were absolutely no qualms at all. They took it, put it through the machine reader, the same as they would with your passport. It was all set up, ready for it.

I'm not worried by the civil liberties arguments. I believe the state already has all the same details on me - they've got my photograph and the details on my driving licence. So the only extra thing I've given over is my fingerprints - and that's fine by me. I've got no big secrets.

Most European countries have got an identity card and we implement technology quite well in this country. There are, of course, big failures when they lose data. But given the number of data sources there are in the world, you don't hear of that many losses taking place, so I'm quite comfortable with it.

I'm not worried by the civil liberties arguments - I believe the state already has all the same details on me

I think it's definitely a backward step for the government to do away with the identity card. I'd have liked to have seen a situation where every time you got issued with a new passport, you got an identity card with it. It would give you a choice of which document to use in daily life.

I paid £30 for this identity card and I certainly would have paid £75 for it because of the advantages it has given me.

The new government says that it's costly, unwanted and unneeded. I totally disagree. I certainly know of three people who have gone out and applied for one because they have seen mine. Some people do want it.

As told to the BBC's Dominic Casciani. The image of Mr Kirby's card has been digitally manipulated to remove his personal data.

ID cards
1. Symbol meaning a chip is embedded in the card
2. ID card number
3. Citizenship. Foreign nationals in the UK are being given different cards
4. Place of birth
5. Signature - digitally embedded in the card
6. Date of card issue and date it becomes invalid
7. Photo taken to biometric standards
8. Biometric chip holds fingerprint record
9. Swipe zone. Information which can be automatically read by computer

Below is a selection of your comments.

John Kirby says: "In the eight weeks since I've had it, I have travelled with it and used it to open bank accounts. I've used it on internal flight." How many bank accounts has he opened in 8 weeks? Is he doing an advertisement for the Labour party to promote the ID cards? Personally I am pleased that no more money is going to be wasted on the scheme. A driving licence or passport would do the same job, and I don't have to spend more money that I can't afford.
Bernard, Chesterfield

I travel widely on business and the absence of some form of photo ID which is widely accepted is a constant source of irritation. A passport is fine, but it's big and not always convenient. If I have to travel abroad and my passport is in an embassy awaiting a visa I'm stuck. I also don't see what the concerns are with the civil liberties. The UK government has most of the information already and the US has all of it, since the fingerprints are recorded at entry.
John, Crawley, UK

I live in Spain. We have a national ID scheme here and it is wonderful. Only one problem - the government has now decided to scrap ID cards (including the one that I used to have) for all European nationals. Now every time we get asked for ID if you do not carry your passport at all times (very bad idea), you have a major problem.
Paul Chynoweth, Spain

Why did you remove his details from the photo of the card? ID cards are totally secure and prevent ID theft, everyone knows that. Right?
Alex Merriweather, London

I have no problem with the state providing some kind of photo ID for anyone who wants one. The problems with the last government's ID card scheme were:
1. the vast database that would underpin it, storing not just personal data, but recording every time we used the card and what for
2. the intended ultimate compulsion of the scheme - when the government couldn't even make their minds up as to why they were necessary in the first place
3. the huge penalties involved if you failed or forgot to inform Big Brother of any changes in your circumstances, such as if you move address.
The ID card scheme was intrusive and obnoxious and I'm glad to see the back of it.
S Foster, Laholm, Sweden

As someone who doesn't drive it would have given me the chance to leave my more expensive to replace passport at home when I go out to buy alcohol. I am often asked for it... even though I'm almost 30.
Jilly, Edinburgh

I understand what John Kirby is saying, but I don't necessarily agree with him, especially in regard to the cost. Unfortunately the ID card does not replace the passport unless you are travelling in the EU. You still need it to travel elsewhere. I just paid £77 for a passport and that acts as ID, proof of citizenship and allows me to travel abroad. Do I need an ID card as well? Not really. While he is probably correct about the government already knowing everything about me, I'm not sure that makes me feel better about civil infringements. I like my privacy and don't see why the government should have extra information about me. Concerning data storage, so far I have not seen any evidence that any large scale IT project in England has ever worked properly or to an appropriate cost. It may be cheap to individuals at £30, but what is it costing the government to actually set it up?
Kay, London

I don't have a problem with the idea of ID cards, it is all about the implementation. The system as sold before was for a one-stop form of identification to get access to health-care, travel, tax information, employment information, financial information, criminal record information. All of this to be managed by a single overarching database linking deeply into all the others. This would provide a one stop shop for criminals, or corrupt officials, to either completely take over my life or destroy it. For this reason I am against ID cards, however if they could simply upgrade my driving licence to an ID card that could be used to travel then I would be happy. If banks and private institutions start to require it then that's fine. I just think we shouldn't give an individual, whether legitimate or illegal, the ability to have a one-stop way of ruining my life.
Nick Claridge, Aylesbury, UK

Having used an ID Card in Italy for 15 years, I was delighted when they announced that ID cards would introduced to the UK. I found my ID card very handy especially when travelling to the UK as it is an accepted form of ID across Europe. I did not have to carry my bulky passport unless I was travelling outside Europe. It is handy for banking, police identification and a multitude of other things. My privacy was not invaded in Italy and as far as I am concerned the UK have my identity already, so what is the big deal. The added plus is that if you do not have an ID card then you have to present yourself to the carabinieri (police) so, in the case of illegal immigrants, I believe they would also be useful.
Mairi Tognin, Glasgow

I totally agree with John, and though I have the same concerns about data loss etc, these are no more a threat then all the other data about me that is about in the world through bank cards, driving license etc. I think passports are outdated and these ID cards would be the best way to update them.
Mary, Colchester

I have avidly opposed the introduction of these ID cards. My opposition was never based on fear of a Big Brother society just on the fact that the whole system was hugely expensive and gave practically no benefit. The idea of a credit card-sized passport is appealing but not a necessity - carrying an ID card was never intended to replace your driving licence so having photo ID is not a big problem for the majority of us. The flaws in the plan were only the huge waste of money involved in something not actually needed - that would have led to more uses being forced on us to justify its costs at a later date.
Damian, Baldock

I'm a British citizen living in Germany and would love an ID card like the Germans have. Examples on when it would have come in useful in recent years:
As ID is needed for a variety of things from proving age to spot checks on debit cards, I initially carried my passport around with me. This worked fine until I accidently left my bag on a train. With no ID whatsoever, I then couldn't withdraw money or prove to the mobile phone company who I was.
Crossing Germany's borders; friends do this without thinking as they have wallet-sized ID with them at all times.
My passport is currently at a national embassy having a visa put in it. I cannot leave the country for the four weeks it takes as I have no other form of ID. Such a shame, being so near a national border.
When my passport was updated a couple of years ago (another six weeks weeks without ID) the British consulate sent the new passport by recorded delivery, which can only be collected with valid ID.
A second, wallet-friendly ID would be extremely useful.
Mel, Stuttgart, Germany

I also have an ID card and like Mr Kirby, am not worried about what's on it or what the government has to hold about me. It's got exactly the same information as my passport apart from the fingerprint - my driving licence discloses more. Oh well, it'll make a pretty bookmark.
Darren, London

I had my National ID card delivered yesterday and I am very annoyed it will only be valid for a couple of months. I think it would have been very useful and the new government's view that it is costly, unwanted and unneeded is what they've been hearing from a paranoid few. Nearly everyone has a passport and/or a driving licence, they're not mandatory and nearly all of the £4.5bn has been covered by fees. Getting rid of the ID card is a complete waste of effort and I know it will be back in some form soon.
Jared Steadman, Winchester

"My identity card is the same size and almost the same colour as a driving licence, and I can carry it in my wallet" - so it's like a DRIVING LICENCE then?
"They took it, put it through the machine reader, the same as they would with your passport" - so, like a PASSPORT then?
These two statements show why the scheme was a big waste of taxpayers' money and a civil liberties intrusion. We already have two perfectly good documents for proof of ID.
Jess, Surrey, UK

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