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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help


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First off (and apologies in advance to those concerned), the large-scale conspiracy stuff should not be considered integral to the campaign against identity cards. I mean no offence to the advocates of such theories (I make no claim either way about such issues, as I know nothing about them), but it is important to realise that there are very good reasons for opposing the identity scheme without believing all of this. Thus those people who would be sceptical about such theories should not think that their advocates represent the core of our argument.

Roger, you raise some interesting points and your viewpoint is far from uncommon. However, with respect, it is also mistaken.

1) You say that ID cards will "greatly help" the fight against "the yob culture, under age drinking, drugs etc". Underage drinking: yes, quite possibly it will reduce this a little, but this can hardly be considered a major crime. As to the others... how exactly do you think ID cards are going to help counteract yob culture and prevent drug-related crime? Surely you have the burden of proof the wrong way around. If you (and the government) are advocating the introduction of a new scheme on the basis that it will have a positive impact on society, then surely it is for you to prove that it will, not for us to prove that it won't?

2) "also if someone has an accident and is unconsious the medicle details on the card could save that persons life." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that it has been expressly denied that medical details are going to stored in the NIR. Even if I'm wrong on this, they certainly won't actually be on the card itself, so in emergencies it's doubtful any such information could often be retrieved quickly enough to be of any use.

3) Re major crime: "if you give the criminals and their associates one more hurdle to overcome in their quest to commit crime then it makes it harder for them". What types of crime are you talking about, exactly? The government has already conceded that the cards will make little difference to terrorism, and the types of benefit fraud which might be prevented by the cards accounts for only 5% (if I recall correctly) of Treasury losses to fraud - far less than the scheme itself will cost to set up and maintain. Which 'major crime' do you foresee as being impacted by the introduction of ID cards?

4) "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear". Ouch. Many arguments are possible against this old chestnut, but here's just one: it will not just be "the government" which will gain powers under the scheme: e.g the police will. The police have a track record of rife institutionalised racism, for example... and the cards (not just the data on them, but the police powers which will accompany them) are clearly open to abuse. The mere fact that we may trust the government as a whole does not mean that specifical individuals will not abuse the information, or the powers they gain.
Nic Shakeshaft, 13 years ago.

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