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Thursday, May 26, 2005 

May I See Some ID Please?

The UK and the United States are seriously considering the implementation of identity cards for its citizens. The governments claim that the cards are needed in order to combat terrorism and illegal immigration and to prevent identity theft. So far, they have yet to show any proof that national identity cards will, in fact, achieve these aims. Before inflicting this idea upon their populations, shouldn't they at least PROVE that they work? All I've read so far are personal opinions about the viability of such a scheme from government mouthpieces who back the idea but nothing which resembles concrete proof.

Considering that most countries in Europe already have national identity cards and they still face ballooning numbers of illegal immigrants, identity theft and terrorism, I don't see how the UK and US still think it's the cure-all they imagine it to be.

In Greece, we have identity cards as well which can be issued from the age of 14 and up. A lot of people still have the pictures of themselves at that age on their ID cards and they're over 40 now. Their addresses have changed several times since their ID card was issued but has not been updated on the cards. They're quite easy to duplicate since they're all handprinted and any person with a 300dpi laser printer could manufacture a sharper fingerprint image than the one the government affixes to the cards. Of course, not all European countries have such primitive ID cards but it doesn't seem to matter just how technologically advanced they are, they don't seem to prevent Spain from thwarting terrorist attacks or Germany from receiving thousands of illegal immigrants each year.

Israel is a prime example. They have identity cards with biometric information on them and they were subject to 227 terrorist attacks in 2004. While some people may claim that if they didn't have the cards, more attacks would have occurred. But again, they can provide no proof of it. What is certain is that ID cards definitely do not eliminate terrorism.

As far as the claim that it will also prevent identity theft, even the new cards with retinal scans and biometric information aren't foolproof. I would think having one card replacing all other forms of identification would be a counterfeiter's dream come true. Instead of having to forge driver's licences, social security cards, healthcare cards, they can save themselves half the trouble and just concentrate on forging one card instead.

The logistics of implementing compulsory identity cards outweighs its usefulness especially when we all carry so many forms of identification already. The only way a national identity card scheme would work is:
  • if 100% of the population applied for them and carried them with them 100% of the time (do you honestly believe a criminal would apply for one?)
  • if 100% of law enforcement officers enforced this rule (ie., not one pregnant woman or 90 year old man were given a reprieve if they didn't have the ID with them)
  • if 100% of government workers who handled the issuance of the cards were 100% honest (how hard do you think it would be to bribe a $10/hour civil servant to input false information?)
  • if 100% of the people's data could be successfully recorded onto the card (already the card's are less than 96% accurate for certain segments of the population)
  • if 100% of the technology used to create and read the cards were 100% accurate (present technology fails to recognize 1 in 25 people)

Most of us already have birth certificates, driver's licences, passports, social security cards and insurance cards. Do we really need even more? I just can't wait to blog the implementation of mandatory daily DNA tests just to get on public transportation. Even better...let's employ citizen informants. It's cheap, effective and most people just love to rat out their neighbours. If it works for the IRS, it can work on terrorism, illegal immigration and identity thieves too.

I think it is another ploy to get more hard earned money out of you to pay for these ID cards ect,Itwon't stop anything thats already happening ect.I mean that the cards themselves could be easily forged ect ..

Dusk

UK 2034 A.C.E.

The UK and the United States are seriously considering the implementation of embeded recognition circuits for their citizens. The governments claim that the circuits are needed in order to combat terrorism and illegal immigration and to prevent identity theft.

US President William G. Bush I, remarked "...(this is) a directive from 'On High', y'know like that Creationism thing".

Yiannis

I didn't realize the States didn't already have ID cards? I knew they didn't have them in the UK because I'd read that certain people over there feel that they would be an invasion of their civil liberties. From a personal point of view, having an ID card has never bothered me. I've never really seen it as any kind of protection against anti terrorism or any way of proventing illegal immigration. It just comes in handy for travel within the EU without a passport and also these dodgy video club owners ask to see it before they let you sign up at their stores. But let's not get onto these dodgy video club owners at the minute, the sooner they have to handwrite ALL their reciepts then the better!

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