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7 November, 2006

Don't patronise me, Blair

NØ2IDTony Blair insisted yesterday that the national identity card scheme should go ahead as a question of "modernity", not civil liberties.

That's from the Guardian. If it's an accurate quote, the Prime Minister seems to be saying privacy and individual rights are inherently outmoded, and that they are to be overtly denied. Utter rubbish, of course.

Mr Blair also stressed the personal benefit of having a national ID card, saying it would do away with the need to produce other documents for the purpose of proving one's identity.
I want to be able to produce multiple forms of identity for specific purposes; an NHS card for health care, for example, and a National Insurance number for employment purposes, without one organisation having access to information about the other. Blair won't sell ID cards to me on the basis of empty 'convenience'.
He also conveniently ignores the huge issue of eggs and baskets: that making a single identifier usable for all purposes means criminals only have to falsify or compromise the security of one document/database to gain access to everything.
He claimed that because most citizens provided personal information to private companies on a daily basis he did not think "the civil liberties argument carries much weight".
That is totally false logic. Because I might choose to provide a minimum of contact information to, say, my electricity supplier, it doesn't remotely follow that any other organisation can take information without my permission – it's not 'all or nothing'.
I demand the right to decide who has access to my private details, on not only an organisation-by-organisation basis, nor even department-by-department, but instance-by-instance. I am not remotely willing to make information available to all 'designated users' unless I'm the one doing the designating.

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