Identity Cards

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During 2003, the UK government appeared to blow hot and cold about the feasibility of introducing an entitlement - or identity - card. However, by the end of the year, the possibility of a roll-out of ID cards in the UK strengthened following the announcement in the Queen's Speech (the centrepiece of the UK's opening of parliament, and the process that sets out the legislative agenda for the year) of measures to create a national identity card system.


However, debate continues as to how well a smart identity card containing a biometric will actually address the problems of terrorism, illegal immigration and working, benefit fraud, abuse of public services and identity theft. The terrorist attacks in London have stoked up the debate over the UK Government's identity card scheme, and highlighted the central issue of whether they would actually make such incidents less likely. Yet it is not just core privacy activists who continue to argue that any benefits will be outweighed by the growth of surveillance and snooping that would inevitably in their view occur once the scheme is up and running. A counter argument is that the cat is already out of the bag, and that we will live under a canopy of increasing surveillance and leakage of personal information whether or not identity cards come in. According to this argument, biometric passports, combined with growing databases of personal information relating to health, life style and identity, held by both government and private agencies, will ensure that privacy will be eroded come what may. ...
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