Re-posted from archive of infinite ideas machine 2004:
The Government, and David Blunkett in particular, seem to be unclear on the real benefits of ID cards. Indeed, the Home Secretary has been making conflicting and contradictory statements on their potential to combat terrorism for quite some time – as evidenced by, for example, the record of Hansard on 3rd July 2002.
This month Privacy International have released a new study, ‘Mistaken Identity; Exploring the Relationship Between National Identity Cards & the Prevention of Terrorism’ [227 KB PDF file] which presents evidence and analysis to support the conclusion that Identity cards are not “a meaningful or significant component in anti-terrorism strategies”. In fact, “[O]f the 25 countries that have been most adversely affected by terrorism since 1986, eighty per cent have national identity cards, one third of which incorporate biometrics”!
Similar points are touched on in the BBC’s article, ID cards ‘cannot stop terrorism’ which reports recent objections from both Liberty and the Lib Dems with regard to terrorism, and the Earl of Selborne who warns of the “very real danger that we are sleepwalking into our technological future.”