No2ID is calling for mass passport renewals next month to create a spike in the system that shows the government how unhappy people are with its plans to have everyone clocked in an identity database.
Guy Herbert, general secretary of No2ID, said: "If everyone renews their passport now, that inconveniences their plans to get everyone on the register."
The May renewal date is also good for people who want to delay having the government store their fingerprints, mugshots and eye-scans.
Biometric passports of a sort are being rolled out already in time for an August switch over. From then on all passports issued will include chips that store a scanned photograph of their holder. Passports issued after 29 October will have to include photo-chips if they are to get their owners through US customs without a visa (as is possible for people from countries included in its visa-waver programme).
By 2009, when the government hopes its identity card system is up and running, and just a year before the compulsory imposition of identity cards on anyone who renews a passport, the EU will require fingerprints on passports as well.
The system set up to record people's biometric details for the new passports, including 69 interview centres across the country later this year, will become the basis of the identity card system.
A Home Office spokesman said there were no plans to use passport information to populate the national identity register (NIR), the database that will be the engine of the ID system. "The NIR will be a clean database," he said.
Yet there is growing concern about a host of government databases that No2ID said in the Scotsman today was creating a system of "cradle-to-grave surveillance".
More details of No2ID's plans here here.®