Why not introduce identity cards in the UK?
- They won't work - identity cards won't be enough to stop terrorists or organised crime - the determined and the criminal will always find a way to forge or fake
- It's compulsory - they say it isn't, but if you don't get an ID card you can be refused public services (e.g. NHS)
- Bye bye privacy - too much personal information can be required to be stored on the "National Identity Register" or the ID card, including all your addresses, fingerprints etc - whatever the government minister (not an elected Parliament) says, really
- Too many people can get at that information for too many purposes - effectively, whoever and whatever the government minister says
- Comparisons with other countries' ID cards schemes aren't valid - it depends on the setup and security of the infrastructure and who can have access to the associated information
- Hello crackers (i.e. bad hackers...) - the info will be in electronic databases - so crackers can get at it too (see above on terrorists and organised crime), and don't forget leaky staff. Do you really trust government departments' IT security and confidentiality? (remember the various incidents involving police staff using police databases for their own purposes?)
- Hello identity fraud - identity theft is much more prevalent in the USA because they have a single social security number associated with an individual; do they want to make life easier for identity thieves in the UK too?
- Hello divisions in society - it's going to foster a climate of suspicion, fear, resentment, paranoia and dissent - racial, religious, you name it; spot checks, maybe depending on what you look like; having to carry the thing around even if you're just going about your lawful business
- Bye bye hospitals, schools - like all UK government IT projects it's bound to be underscoped and undercosted, and will come in way over time and way over budget - transferring money from taxpayers' pockets to private IT contractors'. Money which most ordinary people would much rather was spent instead on sorting out the hospitals, education, the Tube and public transport. That's the best way to defeat terrorism - education, raising the average standard of living, and people talking to each other.
Bottom line: it'll be a waste of taxpayers' money and do more harm than good - it just won't be worth it.
Government Links on Identity Cards
- Identity Card Bill
- Official Explanatory Notes on the Bill (the original version)
- Links (kept updated by the government) to the Bill, amendments etc
- Information Commissioner's FAQ and press release on ID cards (in Word format) - yes, even the Information Commissioner is against ID cards, for privacy reasons.
- Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights' report on the Bill - and yup, they're worried about the proposed identity card scheme too, for human rights reasons.
Other Links on Identity Cards
- No to ID Cards campaign
- Liberty's ID card info page
- SpyBlog - ongoing reporting on developments plus comment, such as this post
- The Register's "pub bore's" guide to ID cards - long, thoughtful, very good.
Technorati Tags: Identity Cards, ID Cards, Government, Politics, Society, Privacy, Human Rights, Identity Theft, Crime, Hackers, Crackers, Cracking,Terrorism