Home Office Plans for ID Cards: Say 'No'

It's been reported in the news many times that our favourite Incompetent Fool, David Blunkett wants ID cards in the UK as soon as possible. The chances of this working properly? Negligable. Say 'No'.
Update: First step: Email trial@mori.com to say "no" (via The BBC)
Update II: Liberty's Response
Update III: The Glasgow Trial and a possible backlash. Also something else that's related.
Update IV: A Watchdog's 'alarm' over UK ID Cards
ID cards are dangerous in a number of ways:

- They infringe on your civil liberties, even if you are completely innocent of any crimes
- The information derived from them can be abused by unknown groups of people
- They have limited ability to stop crime
- The implementation and running of the necessary systems is complex and expensive
- Very few people trust the government, or their abilities to operate systems and programmes
- The seemingly irrefutable nature of ID cards will make miscarriages of justice much harder to overcome
- In the future it will be a "small step" to add DNA information to the ID card
[More ideas]

Your civil liberties are infringed by ID cards. Why would it be necessary for you to identify yourself to the 'authorities' on demand? They may have little tangible reason to suspect you, but your refusal to identify yourself would imply guilt, and thus would make you a suspect. Without ID cards, you can choose to remain anonymous if you wish. Also, 'authorities' could include any number of government controlled groups. Refusal to identify yourself to, say, a traffic warden, could result in you being suspected by MI5 (or others - after all, "you should have nothing to hide if you're innocent").

The information derived from the use of your ID card can divulge enormous amounts about you. You are (currently) a free individual - free to do what ever you wish. If everything you do is logged via your ID card, a minor, but unsavoury action in your teen years (for example) could be used against you at any time in your life (whether in court or simply as part of an investigation). Such information may "go towards" a mistaken investigation or prosecution.

ID cards do not stop crime. Will the kid burgling your flat right now leave his ID card behind? The only way the ID card can help in that scenario is if it contains DNA information. DNA databases add a whole, much scarier angle to ID cards (currently not being admitted to by the goverment). Without DNA, the ID card is unlikely to tackle any crime, except identity theft. Whilst identity theft is serious, it is far rarer than say, burglary, assualt, drug crime etc. ID cards do not address these issues.

The implementation and running of the necessary system is complex and expensive. Very few computer systems are secure enough to keep determined attackers away. Any ID database is a very attractive target for hackers, unethical businesses, foreign governments, invading forces, etc. Simply by virtue of the fact that the ID database must be kept secure for all time makes the likihood of some breach of security a certainty, not "a maybe".

Given the government's complete failures at far safer and simpler things (eg. trains, military purchases, passports, inland revenue etc) the liklihood of sucessfully implementing and running ID cards without mishap now or at any time during the future is virtually zero. Even if the current government is sucessful, there is no guarantee that any future government will continue to be. Also, future government may have different political agendas that may use (or misuse) the ID database or systems in other ways. You may not agree with these changes, and may vote against them, yet they may still happen.

If identity theft is possible, even with ID cards (as it surely will be, given enough time and sufficient resources), the defense against the seemingly irrefutable evidence against an ordinary person will be impossible. If an ordinary individual was prosecuted by a multinational company, or the state, the individual is not likely to be able to fund a suitably strong defense against the prosecution. Thus, a miscarriage of justice occurs, yet no one knows about it, or even considers that it can possibly be mistaken.

If ID cards are carried by everyone, and accepted by the majority, then the addition of fingerprint information is relatively easy ("you've already got this much, so a bit more is no problem"). After that, the addition of DNA information is again "relatively easy". A DNA database could be used to discriminate against you in ways that you cannot possibly control (eg. you don't get a job because you are genetically disposed to get back problems, even though you're healthy right now).

Say 'no' to ID cards at every stage. Write to, or Fax your MP. What ever you are asked to do for ID cards, either refuse or do the opposite. As a law abiding person, you do not need to carry an ID card.

Submitted by coofercat on Thu, 2004-04-22 15:13


Home Office Plans for ID Cards: Say 'No'

Well, yes and how would it work for me then? As a "resident alien" in the UK, I wouldn't have a UK ID card but I would still be allowed to vote for local and European elections, have access to NHS, etc. Does it mean I'd have to have my passport on me at all times? But that passport only has a photo on it, no chip, so as a foreigner I would be in a way more "free" in the UK than British people themselves...

It just doesn't make sense...

Submitted by Bruno (not verified) on Thu, 2004-05-13 15:29.
Home Office Plans for ID Cards: Say 'No'


Submitted by robert (not verified) on Thu, 2004-07-29 20:56.