Thursday, Nov 27, 2008
For the first time since 1952, the British government is issuing identity cards. In order to test the system and ease its introduction, there is to be a cynical requirement for foreign nationals resident in the UK to register.
To begin with, this will affect students and the foreign spouses of British citizens. The fact that they already possess an identity document – a passport and/or a visa – does not seem to enter into the Government’s thinking, principally because they are guinea pigs. Over time, residents from outside Europe will be fingerprinted and have to account for their movements. Starting in 2010, so will the rest of us.
We have many objections to this proposal, which is the latest manifestation of an intrusive state that wants to track the movements of its citizens. However, it is not necessary to have civil liberty scruples to oppose it. It is questionable on practical grounds, too.
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
Every argument given for requiring ID cards – they will prevent crime, stop illegal immigration, deter terrorists or eradicate fraud – has been demolished. Ministers have subsequently sought to turn this into a debate about efficacy, maintaining that the lives of British citizens will be made easier by the possession of an ID card.
But the greatest beneficiary of an ID scheme is not the ordinary individual; it is the state, since its agencies gain access to information they would not otherwise have.
This article was posted: Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 11:31 am