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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help


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Roger: you admit yourself that "the biggest threat to our everyday security does not come from international terrorists but from within our own communities (the everyday crime), I am more likely to be stabbed in a night club than be caught up in a terrorist act."

So with respect to you, I am at a loss to see how your nighclub attacker having an ID card would increase your local security and stop you being stabbed in the first place (or for that matter being mugged, robbed, car-jacked, held up in a bank, or subjected to any other type of "everyday" crime). Besides, much of this type of crime is completely spontaneous: drunken vandalism, fights after closing time, assaults in the street, you name it. The compulsory issuing of ID cards is not going to suddenly remove people's tendencies to get drunk, get angry or pull out a knife. Particularly as you'd have to catch the perpetrators in the first place, and they're hardly going to wave their ID cards at the surveillance camera as they run away.

And ID cards will not stop organised crime. Otherwise any criminal with an up-to-date genuine photo driving licence or passport (which are currently the 2 principal means of ID in the UK) would have retired a long time ago. Yes, these documents are forgeable; but within a very short time of their issue, so will ID cards be. In terms of documentation, there is NOTHING that cannot be forged. A criminal needing a fake ID card need only steal or buy the equipment needed to process one, and he's in business. And if you think that organised criminals would not be able to arrange this, think again. It only takes a good computer programmer/hacker (or even an inside job), together with the theft of ONE set of card equipment (ONE!) to completely compromise the entire national system, as nobody could tell for certain what was real, what was fake, and what was illegally duplicated for ID theft purposes. Back to square one, after spending £19 billion and giving up our private lives to the government.

And would the police / intelligence agencies have enough resources to absolutely and unequivocally track down and remove these "fake" people from the system, and seal up the holes (as well as continuing to deal with all the 98% of crimes which ID cards DON'T prevent)? Somehow I think not. Fingers in leaking dykes come to mind. Again, back to square one, and at what cost?

The sorts of people who commit organised crime have deliberately evaded legal authority in the past, and they will continue to do so, even if ID cards were introduced. People of that ilk will always find a way around the system, because they refuse to co-operate with established laws. If ID cards are introduced, the only people whose activities will be dramatically curtailed and invaded by the authorities will be the law-abiding majority who do what they're told and turn up to register for one.

The only sort of crime that might be tackled by an ID card would be certain types of fraud and administrative crime; but as I say, there is nothing that cannot be forged, and tagging the entire population and recording up to 51 types of personal information about them on a central database, just to stop a single variety of bureaucratic crime (if indeed such crime could be eliminated) is draconian and totally unnecessary. Much of this crime could be resolved by simply tightening up existing systems and educating people about how to protect their identities themselves. There is no need to compulsorily confiscate their identities in order to do it for them.

(With respect, I hope this is enough "real" argument for you to bother to defend your stance now)
Serena Jones, 13 years ago.

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