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28 June, 2005

Exactly!

NØ2IDCoinciding with the return of the ID Cards Bill to Parliament, and condemnation from LSE researchers that the scheme is likely to cost three times the amount estimated by the government, the Guardian's lead story (online) is that:

The information commissioner, Richard Thomas, yesterday issued his most detailed and hard-hitting attack so far on the government's plans for identity cards.
Mr Thomas was appointed by the government to examine privacy issues for Parliament, so this isn't partisan sniping – the Government would struggle to dismiss his words.

Read the article; there's no point in my merely paraphrasing it. I'll just say that he identifies my main concerns: not cost, but invasion of citizens' right of privacy from government, function creep (and increase in the number of parameters recorded) and availability of information to unaccountable organisations (other than the government itself, I mean).

Mr. Thomas's final point is fundamental, and worth repeating. If we were to accept there is any justifiable purpose to ID Cards (I don't, but just for the sake of argument):

The aim should be for people "to reliably identify themselves rather than one which enhances its ability to identify and record what its citizens do in their lives".

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