Nice to the point post on the no2id site;
Technically, the ID card will remain the property of the Home Secretary and the government.
If the Home Secretary asks you to hand it back in then you must do so (this is one of the powers in the Bill).
If the card is damaged - note the "smartchip" on it is a computer circuit and so could be vurnerable to more things than simply physical damage, such as microwaves. So it could get "damaged" that way without you even realising (and you'll just have to take the government's word for it that it really has been damaged - that they aren't just making it up to get more money out of you - because you can't exactly just look at a "smartchip" and see if it's working or not from appearances only) - then you'll have to pay for a new one and a fine.
Your basic fine is £1,000 (in words, one thousand pounds) for a whole series of new offences like damaging the card, losing the card, failing to give the card back to the Home Secretary if he demands it and that kind of thing. These are fixed civil penalites - not criminal fines - so this doesn't go to criminal court. Which means that there won't be any "pay in affordable installments based on circumstances" arrangements here with the fines as there is on criminal fines. No appeals. The Home Secretary's decision is final. The fines are cumulative that they just keep on coming and, as it's not criminal, you won't go to jail (the government says that it has done this to avoid "ID martyrs" but it really looks like just a means to make this a very lucrative "stealth tax") but the fines will just keep on coming. Mounting up and up.
The Home Secretary has the right to add you to the NIR database at his own discretion. He doesn't need your permission nor even to inform you that you've been added.
The Home Secretary will "licence" commercial companies to access the information on the database (e.g. for the video shop to check ID before you can rent an 18 rated movie or for buying alcohol or taking out library books). This also is at his sole discretion and has nothing to do with you nor does it require your permission or for you to be informed.
So, no, in absolutely no way, shape or form will the ID card nor the personal information on the NIR database be yours.
In fact, the spirit of this whole scheme is the complete opposite:
The government is taking full legal possession of all British citizens and all their personal information.
If the Bill passes then you will become "property of Her Majesty's Government" (even if you refuse to get the ID card: The Home Secretary is allowed to put you onto the database anyway, whether you like it or not. He'll just do so and they'll wait until you cave in under repeated cumulative £2,500 / £1,000 fines to finally submit to the biometric scan).
That's what this scheme is actually about. Changing the constitutional relationship between British citizens and their government.
Currently, you are considered a free citizen by merit solely of having been born in this country. A self-evident inalienable God-given right to freedom (to borrow the Yanks' written constitutional terminology).
If the ID Cards Bill passes then your citizenship and all the rights attached to it become the sole property of Her Majesty's Government.
You don't own the ID Card or your personal information in the NIR database in any way at all - even after you've paid for it and paid any fines associated with it - Charles Clarke (or whoever subsequently becomes Home Secretary over the years) owns it and, thereby, owns you on behalf of Her Majesty.
You gain no actual benefits you don't already possess or are entitled to by the introduction of the ID card. You're actually surrendering those to the government's sole conditional discretion (and they intend to fine you to death, if you don't get with the programme).
Effectively, it's a form of modernised Serfdom.
Why should you pay for this?
Morally, rationally and logically, you shouldn't.
But, regardless, it will become law that you do by 2008 if this Bill passes and isn't killed before that date.
Which pretty much sums up what these ID cards are all about.
The stuff about "terrorism" and "illegal immigrants" are emotional red herrings - it distracts you from what's really going on, which I've summarised above - that the government says one day, retracts the next, changes to something different the day after and doesn't really believe because there are contradictory statements all over the place (e.g. Blunkett says that we shouldn't overestimate what ID cards could do for preventing terrorism, playing it down, and then six minutes later in the very same speech, he's playing it up that it has a substantial contribution to make to preventing terrorism. Even within the very same speech - merely minutes apart - the government has contradicted its own propoganda).
You know, like they did with the "reasons for war" over Iraq. A brand new reason every week when the old reason was proved to be bullshit. Keep changing the reasons and while everyone's distracted arguing over those reasons, the troops go in and invade regardless. Just as Blair'd arranged with Bush that they would long beforehand and the "reasons for war" stuff was a distraction to make the public think there actually was a "debate" going on. There wasn't. It was a pre-determined decision and the "reasons" were just made up as they went along to just give the impression that there was a choice or debate happening.
It worked there, so I guess Blair's thinking that if it worked once then it can keep working forever (and, so far, sad to say, he's absolutely right to think that. The public and MPs swallow it every single time). Because the exact same modus operandi has been used over ID cards so far (but, unlike the war, if you've not been following it along, it's not on the main news every night, so you might not yet have seen the very same thing happening with ID cards too. Blair has already decided ID cards will happen and then ministers have just been making up ever-changing contradictory "reasons for ID cards" ever since to pretend that there's a "debate" going on. There isn't).