I have today received in the post my first full passport. This may surprise my reader, Mrs Trellis of North Wales, who may have gotten the impression that I am a rural sophisticate, well-travelled and versed in the ways of strange folk. All right, I did spend five years in Birmingham, but don’t hold that against me – there is no trace of the accent left.
I have a beef with the UK passport authorities and the new biometric passports, which is that I don’t trust the Americans with my personal data, and for that reason, have no intention of ever darkening their shores. I put my concerns to the UK Identity and Passport Service thus in an email dated 4th February (suffice to say that I haven’t received a reply yet):
I read on your website that,
” We will pass the personal information in your passport to UK and foreign immigration authorities or law enforcement agencies responsible for border control. This will enable them to confirm that the personal information that appears in your passport is the same as that on the Identity and Passport Service database.”
I am specifically concerned that my personal data should not be disclosed in particular to the authorities of the United States of America, whose regime I consider to be oppressive and where I have no intention of ever travelling for the self-same reason. I have no confidence in the American legal system and none whatsoever in the present extradition arrangements between the United Kingdom and the USA, for which reason it is better that they should not hold an identity about a UK national in the event that it is mis-identified with an offence within their jurisdiction.
As I am about to apply for a passport for the first time, I should appreciate your assurance that my personal data will not be passed outwith the control of the United Kingdom authorities without my consent, which appears to be the intention of the IPS.
Oh, and by the way, this is the working bit of the new nasty passport:
You’ll note the irony of the bug being on the page labelled, “for official observations”, but the picture of the finch is nice, anyway.