This is real - and it could affect you, your friends or family members. Before you think this is a hoax chain mail, it's not. I have checked with the Passport Office. (personally after receiving this longer email below). I also trust the person who sent it to me, connected to No2ID.
If you are 16 or over and haven't yet got a ten-year adult passport, then you should apply for one BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF APRIL 2007. And if you have a friend or family member in this position then let them know, quick!
This is why:
On March 26th this year, the Identity and Passport Service (did you even know they'd changed the name? - Even better is the fact that its full name used to be the UK Identity and Passport Services, or UKIPS note the link on the BBC website - something they got very touchy about and have now changed, cannot imagine why) opens some new offices as part of the build up to the ID card scheme that the government wants to introduce. By the end of the year there will be 69 of these interrogation centres, and people applying for their first adult passport from April 2007 will the guinea-pigs for a process the government is calling "Authentication by Interview".
There's NOTHING in it for you - though the government is currently spending
lots of taxpayers money trying to tell young people there is. All the information collected will be kept on file for ever. It will certainly end up more expensive than the £66 passports currently cost, too, since you'll have to pay for officials to gather a dossier on you and the perform an "intrusive interview" as part of the price - as well as losing a day of your life to visit an interrogation centre.
If you want to know more about how things will work once the system is in place, carry on reading.
If you care about your freedoms, and not having government officials poking around in your private life - or your friends' and family's - then please apply for your first adult passport BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF APRIL 2007, and pass this message on.
You could save yourself or someone close to you a lot of trouble.
How ID interrogations will work:
When you apply for a passport you will be asked to give lots of information about yourself: official numbers, addresses for the last few years, your educational institutions, that sort of thing. And you'll sign to declare that it's the truth.
That information will be used to look up everything that can be found out about you on all the government and private sector databases they can lay their hands on: school records, social services, police, credit checking, perhaps family details... to build a single dossier on you containing personal information. "Data-rape", some people call it.
First a few people, then every new applicant, will be called in to their nearest interrogation centre. There you will be fingerprinted and photographed (once they have installed the equipment), and put through an "intrusive interview" - the government's own words - to check that you can give answers about private details of your life that agree with the official ones. If you can, you'll get your passport. If not... it is not clear, but trying to get a passport under 'false pretenses' - if the computer says "no" - could be quite serious. If nothing else, it will mean delay and more intrusion.
In fact, the government has already estimated that 1 in 4 people who apply under this new procedure will have to cancel their trip because they don't get their passport in time.
The government's plan is that all passports will be issued like this eventually. But you can take simple action now to keep off the database for ten years. And ALL opposition parties have now promised to abolish the ID scheme - so if you escape for 10 years, you may escape for ever.
If you haven't got one already, get yourself a full ten-year passport now. As long as you apply before many interrogation centres are open, and the system is fully operational, your chances of avoiding data-rape are good.
And by doing so you help to stop the same thing happening to everyone else by telling Tony Blair and his bullying government to "Take a hike".
For more information on the progress of passport procedures, check out http://www.renewforfreedom.org - the Identity and Passport Service website currently tells you very little.
Get a passport NOW. And tell your friends, if you think their private lives should be their own.