ID cards

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by sevenhelz, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    I'm surprised to see there isn't a thread on this already. In my opinion the UK government's proposals for biometric ID cards are morally outrageous.

    Here's the pledge:
    You'll find both me and my brother on there, along with many of our friends.

    But if anyone would like to discuss the issue, feel free to post here.
  2. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    The only way for ID cards to actually help reduce crime, would be if they were to be carried compulsorily and had to be produced on demand by the Police.
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I don't have any personal objection to the idea of an ID card system in itself, although I think the information included should be limited - after all, I had to carry ID in the forces, and many of us in the security industry are also required to carry ID.

    The main danger I see is that it could bring about a false sense of security, and assuming that if anyone produces ID then they must be alright. History has shown that any ID, no matter how sophisticated, will be copied in due course, and should not be taken as guaranteed proof. The ID system may well be useful in the case of minor offenders etc, but terrorists and criminal masterminds - not to mention illegal immigrants willing to fork out enough money - will find a way round it.
  4. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    That's the way it is like over here. At age 12, everybody has to get an ID card with a photograph, address, birthday, your "national number" and our signature. You have to carry this card with you at all times and show it to police if asked. If you have a car accident, you also have the right to ask for the other driver's ID card yourself (to make sure that the insurance papers are filled in correctly).

    Since this year, the old ID cards are being replaced by "Electronic IDs" i.e. little plastic cards with a computer chip, like bank cards. In the future, also the social security system will be linked to this card (at the pharmacy, you put your card in the machine, and you automatically get your refund, no need for other forms any more) and the card will be used as an official ID on the internet, e.g. for internet banking or filling in your tax form online.

    So I really don't have any "moral' problems with this card. The only problems is that it is yet another card in my wallet :s
    On the other hand, we don't have any "biometric information" on our cards (except for the photo and the signature)
  5. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    And there you have a perfect example of why there is nothing to fear. Nobody could accuse Belgium of being a police state. I would suggest Belgium is a far more liberal state than the UK. If they have no problem with ID cards then why should we. And we have more reasons to have them given the security threats.
  6. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    Personally, I have no issue at all with the concept of ID cards, with or without biometric data.
    I do not fear my civil liberties being infringed by being asked to prove who I am in whatever format that is. It is also my opinion that we should have ID cards regardless of whether last week's bombs happend or not - this is not just about terrorism.

    As a regular visitor to the US, I already have to submit to fingerprint and eye scanning - apart from the time it takes, I would prefer that security is improved when I travel.
    In many other countries, you are expected to carry ID with you such as your passport (if a visitor).

    Biometric data on passports will also be a requirement for certain countries in the next couple of years.

    I for one will not be signing up on I'm afraid
  7. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I have absolutely no issue with ID cards whatsoever. The sooner the better in my opinion and they should be carried at all times. Failure to display one at the lawful request of a police officer should be handled in the same way as your drivers documents i.e you get seven days to display them at any police station otherwise you're fined. All these people who bleat on about civil liberties really do go about with their heads up their ar*es. If the police or security services want to find out anything about you then they probably already have the information anyway. Even regular citizens with a little trawl through websites like friends re-united, and the Royal mail can find a whole raft of information about anyone they wish.

    I would take the proposals farther and have every card implanted with a GPS chip so we could track all their movements. Regular people would have nothing to fear but the crims better watch out.
  8. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    I'm at a loss to see what benefits there are to carrying id cards, other than perhaps being able to travel in europe without a passport or prove to barmen that you're over 18. I really don't see how crime and terrorism can be prevented by it.
  9. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    Right... because if I was going to rob a bank or mug someone, I wouldn't leave home without my id card. Next you'll be suggesting they implant the things!
  10. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I was going to suggest implanting but thought it perhaps too right wing - but then again. This debate is inextricably linked to crime and punishment and if a crim needs to be implanted with a gps device then great as far as I'm concerned. They've already deprived some poor victim of their civil liberties so let's take some away from them in return.

    Also, ID cards could probably have prevented the worst elements of the European anarchists getting into Scotland last week because they could all have been intercepted at passport control and sent home. Same idea with football hooligans etc. Granted they will not solve all crime re. your example above but they are another tool in our favour.
  11. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    Sorry, I'm not trying to be argumentative but how do you see that working? If they travelled in from europe then they would have needed to use their own id or passport to get in the country. If the intelligence was there that these people were on their way then they should have been picked up. Nothing to do with us carrying id cards in the uk. I can sort of see your argument for the football hooligans if you were to check people entering grounds, but in the main the police know who these people are already and use their passports to track them abroad, and the hooligans often want to cause trouble outside of the match.

    I just don't see id cards solving all the problems people expect them to.
  12. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Which would defeat the objective.
  13. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member


    If you knew you had the hassle of going to your local nick or be fined wouldn't you just carry the card. Also if you didn't turn up then the local plod would have a pretty good idea who you were anyway and instantly mark you down as 'one to watch'. Where is the big fear in all of this.

    Like I said earlier, and having worked in that area in the past I should know, the authorities already know a heck of a lot about you without needing an ID card. They know your name and age from the births register; they also know if you're married and if you have kids also from the same source; they know your address from various sources e.g. census, electoral register; they know your phone numbers from BT and the various mobile networks; they can track movements via mobile phone (it can be done); they know your financial details from your bank and credit cards; bank cards can and have been used to track a pattern of movement through their usage; if you own a vehicle they know it's registration number and there are an increasing number of number plate recognition cameras around. Of course there are ways to circumvent this but the point is there will always be a trail. The addition of an ID card doesn't give many more powers so why worry.

    Look at the plus points. Bio-metric data could be used easily to get a tissue match if you're involved in an accident. The ID card could also be used to track your next of kin in an emergency. In my view the pros far outweigh the cons so why are people scared about it.
  14. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Having a financial background I often look at these issues on a "what's it going to cost" against what benefit do we (the nation) get out of it.

    The cost seems to be anywhere between £100 and £300 per card per person so not small change (is that about £10billion?)- what are the benefits, assuming the system works and is not subject to counterfit copying etc - less fraud of state benefits, crime fighting and an implication that we will all be safer from terrorist actions.

    Of course this will only work once everyone has a card - initally it is intended to be voluntary and will take something like 8 years to roll out the system. I really cannot see how the holding of an identity card will stop criminal actions - perhaps just a little easier for the police to know who they've arrested - they still have to catch them in the first place.

    Benefit fraud could be stopped very easily - everyone claiming benefits should be the first people to have a card - the system will have to be sufficiently effective to prevent multiple claims by the use of alias or alternate identities. I suspect it is fairly easy to get duplicate drivers licence what systems will be used to prevent the use of more than one ID - or even fake cards?

    The whole thing will of course be one almighty mess, the government has had an appaling record on any major project using modern technology (CSA, passport office etc) and what happens when some little old lady tries to claim her pension but she's lost or forgotten her ID - Daily Mail headline news - "Police arrest Grandmother"

    Sorry but I'm just not convinced there is any really benefit for the whole country (and a majority of law abiding citizens) to be required to pay for this.
  15. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    But if the local plod knew who you were, they wouldn't need to check an ID! What would be needed is, 'No ID, then nicked, taken to a police station and detained until ID verified.' I mean without the ID being produced on demand then the police wouldn't be able to tell you to produce docs at the nick, because they wouldn't know who you were in the first place.
  16. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The real danger with this sort of national ID card (which has also been discussed over here in the US since 9-11) is that it can be used to control people's movements. It's not very large steps from "you have to show the ID to the police when asked" to "You can't enter this zone (or building, or train station, or other public accomodation) without your card" to "You can't buy item X without your card" to effective house arrest or detention by the simple act of confiscating someone's card.

    The first thing any dictatorial regime does is make everyone get identity papers - this is the way that they control the movements of their citizens. The Nazis did it and so did the Soviets. The Cubans still do.

    I'm not saying that the British government or the Belgian government has any of this in mind - but once the mechanism is in place, then the use tends to grow over time.
  17. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    some examples of why I would be pleased to see an ID card:

    - when a murderer or child molester is caught because his fingerprints are on record
    - when a store refuses a credit card belonging to me which has been stolen because of a lack of ID
    - when it is no longer possible to give a false name when stopped for dangerous driving
    - when it is possible to have better control over the whereabouts of illegal immigrants in this country who are awaiting asylum status but then disappear
    - when benefit fraud has been reduced by better control over claimants
    - when employers who work with children will be able to know if they have inadvertantly taken on a sex offender
    - when it takes hours rather than days to identify a family member involved in a major incident

    You will note I have mentioned nothing about reducing terrorism.
  18. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    I think that the ID card system is excellent, it can only make things better, and I totally agree with everything you said andy.

    I think that people who say they don't want to carry and ID card around with them have something to hide, what difference is it going to make to us to carry an ID card around?
  19. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    Things can still be forged. Unless the store are going to scan your retina and check your fingerprint every time you pay by credit card? People will still pay staff cash in hand knowing full well that they're on benefits. The dangerous driver can still hand over fake id or claim they left it at home. The immigrants won't have id cards yet because they aren't residents - there should be an independent way of monitoring them. CRB checks are required if you're working with vulnerable people - if they aren't stringent enough then the process should be fixed, the employer won't have direct access to criminal records just because we're all carrying id. And you still need to place your murderer/child molester at the scene at the time of the incident. The introduction of id will certainly help with some of Andy's list, but I still question how effectively on some points and think that id cards aren't the solution on others.

    I have nothing to hide, and I'm not at all keen on the idea. If I'm suspected of a crime and the police need to trace my mobile, check my credit cards etc it's one thing. If my movements are going to be traced just because they can be then I object to that. I certainly won't carry one on a voluntary basis.
  20. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    I have nothing to hide either. But why should all my details be in one big database for criminals to hack into? Okay, call me paranoid... but there is a serious possibility of fraud and identity theft because no technology has ever been that far ahead of the hackers. Even if no one can get past the security now, what happens in five, ten, fifty years time? Also, consider the amount of people needed to keep such a database running; who watches the watchers?

    But I'm not signed up to those websites, and we are ex-directory and can choose not to be listed on the royal mail website. At the moment it is a choice, that they wish to take away from us.

    As brasscrest sort of pointed out, it's not far from having ID cards to using them to track innocent people's movements; for laughs, for blackmail material, just because those in power can. It's one step closer to dictatorship. It's the thin edge of the very large wedge.

    Aren't there other ways we could combat crime? Or have we given up on conventional methods? Do we really think our police are that incompetent? Do we really think ID cards will help? Because I don't.
    I also think the money could be used in more worthwhile ways.

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