Friday, September 26, 2008

ID Cards By The Back Door ...

The fight against ID Cards continues but it looks as though the UK Government have switched to 'salami' tactics, i.e., slice-by-slice introduction. The announcement came yesterday that certain groups - those on marriage visas and foreign students - will have to get these cards.

This is of course known as introduction by 'creepage'. The next groups to be added will be students when opening a bank account, airport workers, and others untill there are few left behing in the UK who don't fall into one of the governments 'special categories' The legislation has been delayed because the little public support there was for ID cards has been eroded by the contant loss of personal details by various government departments, particularly HM Revenue and Customs (25 million details lost). The government says it wants to "give people a sure-fire way of proving they are who they say they are". It argues ID cards will "boost national security, tackle identity fraud, prevent illegal working and improve border controls". However all of these arguments were discounted many years ago, but the government keeps trotting them out.

Critics (like me) say identity cards interfere with civil liberties, are too expensive and will do little to tackle problems like terrorism. There are fears the cards might cause friction among ethnic minority communities particularly affected by police stop and searches. And some are worried the cards would force illegal immigrants into avoiding contact with hospitals and police.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are against the scheme and both say they would scrap it if they win power. So you know who to vote for.