Identity fraud

10:13 pm Politics

I’d like to think that no-one in the House of Commons was particularly swayed by Gordon Brown suddenly wading in with the old “ID cards will help fight terrorism” tripe that most of the rest of the Cabinet quietly dropped some time ago. More likely a few token concessions (another Act of Parliament to make them compulsory, some stuff about costs) were enough to tease all but the hardcore Labour rebels back across to the Dark Side - and there’s nothing like a surprise by-election defeat to make your average only-mildly-rebellious MP start worrying more about his seat than inconsequential stuff like civil liberties. Whatever the reason, the slightly-fragmented remains of the ID card Bill have been voted in by the Commons.

And what do we find in amongst all the stuff about this new, non-compulsory ID card? As of 2008 anyone applying for a passport will have to have one and go on to the ID card register. I’m not sure if “applying” is, in this context, the same as “renewing” and I fervently hope that the Lords give it another light savaging when they get to look at it again. But somehow I fear not.

But it’s all OK, says Uncle Tony:

“I think we’ve won the argument on it. People have this idea that there’s a problem in civil liberties with people having an identity card and an identity registered today when across all walks of our life this is happening.”

Ah, so we don’t have to worry about the Government knowing everything about us because some other people know stuff about us. Riiight. “Everyone else is doing it, so why don’t we?” might perhaps be a valid stance in some areas, but not, to my mind, this one.

“And with the real problems people have today with identity fraud, which is a major, major issue; illegal immigration; organised crime: it’s just the sensible thing to do.”

Oh for heaven’s sake. No-one’s yet explained exactly how an ID card is going to help with identity fraud, especially since most of the vast cost of “identity fraud” is actually credit/debit card fraud - how an ID card is going to stop crims using stolen or cloned credit cards I’m unsure. Illegal immigration? What are they going to do, issue the whole population of the world with a UK ID card on the off-chance that they may, at some point, attempt to crawl through the Channel Tunnel and hop over a fence in Dover? As for organised crime, I suspect it’s probably organised enough to continue to function even with the might of a Government IT project ranged against it. Which when you think about it, isn’t really all that formidable an opponent.

2 Responses
  1. samuri :

    Date: February 18, 2006 @ 12:21 am

    there’s no proof from any country using ID cards that they have any sort of impact on ID theft, card fraud or terrorism. The simple concept of ID cards is wrong, it doesn’t work, proved in so many countries where they’re in place. I’m convinced there’s a conglomerate of hgh powered idividuals paying people in the goivernemnet to push this stuff sthrough, how else could anyone explain why the’re so keen on implementing this structure?

    The only alternative is, and I know you oppose this view ocasionally, is that people in the government are actually not that bright and have little or no view of the real world. That’s my opinion when not being serviced with all the details they they are. End of the day though, they’re public servants, if their actions look stupid to the public, we’ll think they’re stupid until proven otherwise, and I think they’re stupid

  2. John Gourette :

    Date: March 20, 2006 @ 12:03 pm

    After the ID card debate on BM I’ve been noting what my ID card gets used for. I’ve used it to visit Spain without a passport, back up payments by cheque (the number gets noted on the back of the cheque), pick up my new cheque book at the bank, book into accomodation without having to pay cash in advance or give my credit card details and of course - vote.

    ID cards might not stop terrorism but they make life easier for good upstanding members of society.

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