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The Propsed UK Identity Card

Liberal democracy is based on the principle that the people through their elected representatives control the State. This does not happen, of course, because the Government of the day through Party majority controls Parliament, but it does deny the implications of the biometric Identity Card.

The implications of the biometric Identity Card are that the State is entitled to license and control individuals. The detailed information on the card not only identifies the individual, but informs the database of everything about the individual which the Government may wish to record. This would give any repressive Government the opportunity for total control and surveillance.

The present Government is not in that sense repressive, but certainly has authoritarian tendencies, and the threat of terrorism can be used to sanction any increase in control and surveillance which any future Government may wish to introduce. This will gradually reduce democracy to a sham. It is worth noting, too, that the European Union is not in any real sense democratic but becomes every year a more closely centralised bureaucracy.

The danger is all the greater because the technology and organisation required to implement the system of biometric identity cards is so complex and expensive that once introduced it will (if it works) be permanent.

Control, after all, is so much more convenient for administration than freedom that every Government and bureaucracy has it as an unacknowledged aim. Only the people's belief in democracy saves us from the erosion of those rights and liberties now considered normal.

It is the combination of terrorism as a threat, and the introduction of Identity Cards as a theoretical counter to terrorism which makes the present situation so dangerous. The British people seem complacently unaware of this danger, being perfectly willing to trade their liberties for what they imagine to be increased security. In fact the cards will not make us more secure, but will certainly make us less free, It is necessary to say 'Wake up!' before it's too late.

© JBP 5th May 2004

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