UK Compulsory National Identity Cards
Dangers of ID Cards
Some people welcome Identity Cards because they will
make wallets and purses lighter. Most people today carry
several different pieces of ID for different purposes. Wouldn't it
be convenient to combine them all together?
Convenient, perhaps. Dangerous, certainly.
Almost all the current pieces of plastic are
optional. Passport? Lots of people never leave the country.
Driving licence? Not everyone drives. Credit cards? Many people
don't - or can't - use them.
Today's ID is optional, you can choose for yourself whether the
benefits justify the loss of privacy. You carry the cards
you need as and when you need them. You consent to giving the relevant information.
With 's ID Cards there will be no choice and no consent.
Today's ID cards are also dedicated to specific purposes. The government, the credit
card company, your doctor, etc all hold different pieces of
information about you. In general they know what they need to
know in order to provide a service. This is a fundamental concept of data protection.
The introduction of a universal
card - or even simply the National Identity Register - threatens
this "need to know" principle. It opens up the prospect of all this information - your
"data shadow" - being combined and made available at the push of a button. We will all
have one universal identifier which will be entered on every public and private database
Every time you use your card, details will be recorded in the National Identity
the form of an "audit trail". That's a lot of information about your private life, even
before combining it with information on other databases that now conveniently use the same
key. Convenient, yes - but for whom?
What happens when you lose this convenient super-card? According to the Government's own figures, over a
quarter of a million passports are lost or stolen each year - and not everyone has a
passport. The figure for ID Cards is bound to be higher. When your Identity Card is lost
or stolen, it won't seem so convenient. As Mark Oaten of the Liberal Democrats said:
"We are all familiar with the hassle of losing a wallet full of cards. The
cost and inconvenience of losing your ID card will be much worse. You will effectively be
a non-person until the card is replaced."
And what happens when the entire system goes down - something that seems to happen to
every Government computer project. The National Identity Register is a single point of failure. If - when - the ID Card system goes down, what will be the impact? What will be the cost
to British business? Who will bear this cost? The taxpayer?
In many ways "the card" itself is less dangerous than the centralised database behind it. It is the
central database that the Government plans to build first.
The Home Office has admitted that every single use of the ID Card will
be recorded and tracked centrally. See:
UK ID Cards - Introduction
Contact Trevor Mendham