I would like to clarify the difference between the proposed National ID card and simple function-related ID cards so that the problem of the scheme
can be recognised.
The National ID card scheme is seen as a panacea, a method of ensuring that at any time a member of the population can be (uniquely) identified and
their history checked. This relies on a check-point methodology, by the police and by the departments and agents (e.g. Post Office) of the
A street-check of an individual by police may indicate that they are wanted for an offence. In this instance they can be arrested if identified
correctly or taken into custody for failing to produce ID. The key is the 2nd point. Unless the government introduces the custodial restraint if no
ID can be produced on the spot the whole enterprise is exactly as it is now and the "£5bn" would be a waste of money. Remember this
It could also be useful in reducing benefit fraud since one of the big problems is the method of iterating claims at multiple benefit offices using
false identities. Clearly, using an identity card that is "difficult" to forge would reduce this - as long as the back-end systems exists to
x-check the claims. These systems do not exist per se, otherwise they could be used right now, without the need for a specific National ID card.
Remember this point
A street-check of an individual by police may indicate that they are under surveillance for suspected terrorist offences. The officer may arrest them
or be advised to let them continue on their way as part of an ongoing investigation. The same rules of custodial action would apply as Scenario #1.
In this instance, the police have been able to isolate and hold an individual based on their crime or suspicion thereof. However, in general, such
information is on a "need to know" basis and the average "beat cop" would not be privy to information that identified a "suspected terrorist" -
action by "PC Plod" could compromise the ongoing investigation and so would be counter productive. So, we have scenarios where "suspected
terrorists" are encountered "cold" in the street, just by accident. The security services already know about "suspects" - that is why they are
suspects, so... How about a house raid. The "suspects" are detained but there are some unknown associates in the house. Great, we can identify
them from the National ID cards. Oh no... They came here on foreign passports as "holiday makers" and do not need a card. Damn. Remember this
There are a number of scenarios whereby the card could be seen to work and a myriad of others where it does nothing. Besides which, I haven't
touched on forgeries yet. Once the card becomes the primary focus of identification a successful forgery "proves" that the holder is who they
say they are even if they are not
. So... £5bn for something that would actually work in the majority of relevant cases
. Remember our law
system... we don't need to prove that innocent people are innocent, we show that guilty people are guilty. The argument that in these "modern
times" people need to prove that they are not criminals, illegal immigrants or terrorists is a nonsense - the dream of dictators everywhere.
Ms Smith promotes these cards out of naivety. Fair enough, "Home Secretary" is an important role and one that requires an understanding of the
dynamics of reality. It isn't her fault that she has the brains of a barnacle and isn't fit for the post
. However, the costly and
ineffective schemes of such a person should not be allowed to continue.
Pieman (love the moniker...), you said "you can't stop terrorists getting into the country either unfortunately". I agree completely - if you knew
they were terrorists then clearly you wouldn't let them in (unless you are Ms. Smith in which case you WILL let radicals and suspected terrorists in
but not Dutch MPs who's views you disagree with).
However, an increased budget (just a portion of the £5bn) directed to improve border security checks would go a long way. An improvement across the
EU of background checks for individuals from "risk" countries and especially for students has to be an improvement.
I quote the "TimesOnline", "Manchester College of Professional Studies acted as a gateway to Britain for foreigners willing to pay £50 for the
letter of admission that earned them a student visa."
It appears that "Manchester College of Professional Studies" was a "a bogus college that sold places on fake courses to hundreds of Pakistanis
seeking entry to Britain".
Would it really costs that much to prevent this type of scam. In fact, it isn't so much the cost as the administrative chaos of the government that
allows this to happen. The government cannot even ensure that a "college" is real so how the hell are they going to be able to support an ID card
scheme with 60 million + participants?
[edit on 6-5-2009 by SugarCube]