ID cards – a bad idea

As a number of people have said to me over the past year when discussing the forcible introduction of ID cards into the UK,
“Why are you against them? Only people with something to hide will have anything to worry about.”
In reply to which I post the following (a large part of which is shamelessly lifted from Charlie Stross’s excellent blog)

OK, so you haven’t done anything wrong, you’ve no reason to be scared of the police, the government, debt-collectors, immigration or the social security fraud squad; and you’re not bothered about the endlessly exciting possibilities open to anyone who can hack the government ID card database and pretend to be you, and therefore the ID card idea is a good idea, yes?

Jolly good, so you won’t mind in the least being forced by law to do all of the following, will you?

ATTEND an appointment to be photographed, have your fingerprints taken and iris scanned, or be fined up to £2500. Additional fines of up to £2500 may be levied each time you fail to comply until you submit to these procedures.
PROMPTLY INFORM the police or Home Office if you lose your card or it becomes defective, or face a fine of up to £1000. If you find someone else’s card and do not immediately hand it in, you may have committed a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for up to two years or a fine, or both.
PROMPTLY INFORM the National Identity Register of any change of address or face a fine of up to £1000 (you will supply evidence of your previous addresses, not just your current address).
PROMPTLY INFORM the National Identity Register of significant changes to your personal life or any errors they have made or face a fine of up to £1000. You may also be obliged to submit to being re-interviewed, re-photographed, re-fingerprinted and re-scanned, or face a fine.
PAY between £30 and £93 (Home Office estimates — every other body involved says it will be substantially more) to be registered, with further charges possible to change your details and to replace a lost or stolen card.

If you’re quite happy with all that, then well done, you! You’re an awful lot more patient and forgiving than I am.
And since you’ll have an ID card you’ll be eligible for all of the following “privileges”:

You’ll be allowed by the government to:

  • Rent or sell a home
  • Stay in a hotel
  • Buy or sell a car
  • Buy a mobile phone
  • Open or close a bank account
  • Travel overseas
  • Obtain medical care
  • Attend an institute of education
  • Work or run a business
  • Be declared dead (or alive)
  • Be registered to vote

What a glittering array of bright “new” opportunities await you!

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