Trevor Mendham

UK Compulsory National Identity Cards (ID Cards)


The presumption behind the 'nothing to hide - nothing to fear' mantra is obnoxious
- Kirk Committee, Church of Scotland

"The innocent have nothing to fear"

This mantra is often trotted out by those who support compulsory National Identity Cards for innocent British citizens. They claim "If you oppose ID Cards you must have something to hide." That argument is as wrong as it is simplistic.

Where I go and what I do is not illegal, however it is my business and no-one else's. What the innocent have to fear is loss of privacy:

  • Every time your card is checked against the central register a record will be made in the government database saying when that check took place and to whom the information was given (Schedule 1, para 9)
  • The information held on the central database will inevitably expand and be made available to an increasing number of agencies
  • Private companies will be able to demand to check your ID Card once universal compulsion is introduced (Para 18-2-c)
  • There is nothing to stop private companies recording your National Identity Number on their database, allowing easy cross-referencing of your entire life
  • Advances in technology could allow the cards to be read from a distance without you even knowing it's happened.
Maybe I'm just old-fashioned but I believe strongly that privacy is important.

Opinion polls show that one person in five opposes ID Cards on principle, regardless of cost. If they've all got something to hide, that means that one person in five is a criminal, illegal immigrant or terrorist. Next time you're on a train or in your office take a look around and ask yourself if you really believe that.

If you want concrete examples, Natalie Solent has written the following article that lists many innocent people who could have a lot to fear from invasion of their privacy:
A law-abiding person has nothing to hide?

If you still believe "The innocent have nothing to fear" then consider this: there is a large amount of marital, child and other abuse that takes place in the home. This could be wiped out by installing compulsory cameras in every room of every home and recording their output centrally. Why would you object to that?

Yes, that's a deliberately extreme scenario, no-one's suggesting it would ever happen. However it makes the point that even the most innocent person fears loss of privacy.

If you still want to email me telling me that the innocent have nothing to fear from loss of privacy, please remember to include your full name, address, phone number, bank statement, medical history, list of places you've visited in the last six months, names of the videos you've rented and your shopping lists - and the same information for your immediate family.

The National Identity Register won't hold all that information, but it will make it much easier for it to be tied together.

UK ID Cards - Introduction

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