Monday, September 25, 2006

UK ID Cards

ID cards have worked in Europe before...
Tony Blair says that state management of your identity is 'modern' and beneficial. He is wrong. 21 countries in Europe have ID cards. Almost all got them decades ago. Almost all the systems were imposed by dictatorships or under Nazi or Soviet occupation. Almost all have been used to harass political opposition, bully minorities, or facilitate mass-murder.
Everywhere - without exception - the purpose has been monitoring the people for official purposes.

Tony Blair is not Hitler. But he is building the tools of totalitarianism. The identity scheme he is pushing is more controlling than any Europe has seen before. He can give no guarantee how it may be used in his lifetime, let alone the lifetimes of our children.

Some practical freedoms - personal privacy, confidentiality, anonymity, going about our business without need for official permit - are so familiar to us that they are unnoticed, like breathing. This ID scheme will choke them. It seeks to replace the trust in our society with formal validation by officials.

Numbered, indexed and tagged, your identity subject to approval, the simplest things in life will no longer be under your control. Tony may have faith in the future, but who else will have that power? In 10 years? In 20? In what back room?