House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on UK ID Cards

 by Martin Belam, 30 July 2004

So the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has been having a look at David Blunkett's plans to make us all own biometric data enabled ID cards. It doesn't make good reading, despite some of the headlines being that it is critical of the Government's plans. In fact on the whole it approves of them - the opening paragraph of the report's conclusion states that:

"We believe that an identity card scheme could make a significant contribution to achieving the aims set out for it by the Government, particularly tackling crime and terrorism. We believe that the Government has made a convincing case for proceeding with the introduction of identity cards."

And this is despite earlier noting in the report that:

Liberty said that all of those involved in the 9/11 atrocities had either legitimate identification papers or very compelling forgeries and argued that sophisticated terrorist networks would be able either to forge the cards themselves or produce false papers enabling an individual to register under a false identity. During the course of our inquiry, Privacy International released a study on identity cards and terrorism, which argued that "of the 25 countries that have been most adversely affected by terrorism since 1986, 80% have national identity cards, one third of which incorporate biometrics". When we put this argument to the Minister of State for Citizenship and Immigration, he replied that other countries did not have the biometric database that was being proposed as part of this scheme, and that this, rather than the card, was the defence against the use of multiple identities.

This is genius - it is the database that is going to make us safer. And anyway, we know introducing such a scheme isn't going to increase the demand for stealing biometric data that is already included in the database, as there is no chance that terrorists would ever be interested in puchasing fake ID cards from organised criminals is there? *sigh*

The full report (if you can bear to read it) is available as a PDF file via the BBC News site - House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Identity Cards

Out of interest, the talent behind this brilliant piece of investigative work was:

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