A cackling Phil Booth, No2ID National Coordinator, writes to tell us that six months after he first pestered the Identity & Passport Service about its quotes from ID card-toting happy campers in its publicity material, it has confessed - um yes, all but one of those quoted worked for the government.
"We can confirm that eight of the nine people quoted on the website at the time either worked for the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), the Home Office or another government department or agency", said IPS in an FOIA response (pdf) yesterday, just a week after Phil requested an IPS internal review of its failure to provide a substantive response to his request dated 3 March.
He had asked IPS how the quotations on the now-defunct 'Using your identity card' web page had been solicited, how many of them worked for the government, and how come they'd got hold of ID cards by 4 February, anyway?
This prompted a flurry of wriggling. First:
We have asked customers to tell us of their experiences, including via our website. Individuals who have provided accounts of identity card usage were then contacted to seek permission to use their experiences in the public domain. We have also received unsolicited feedback.
Ah, so they just wrote in… How many work for the government?
In order to protect their privacy, all individuals were offered a degree of anonymity. However, the accounts are all drawn from individuals who were eligible for a National Identity Card under the commencement orders in place by the date 4 February 2010. Accounts have come from a range of sources, reflecting the eligibility outlined in the commencement orders.
'Sorry?' Phil responds. 'How many was that?' Long silence, until yesterday.
"You will see that not all [just nearly all] of the individuals identified above work for IPS, the Home Office or another government department or agency. All identity cards were issued under the terms of the commencement orders in place at the time. The commencement orders are already in the public domain."
Phil is possibly still confused about how they got ID cards by then - we know we are. And we're also intrigued by who the sole non-government-hireling might have been. Surely not Angela Epstein? ®