PM supports UK ID Cards Act
Tony Blair stated a strong support for the ID card Act that was initially rejected by
the House of Lords in January this year.
The Government had considered the card as essential in the fight against
crime, illegal immigration, and identity theft. However, the House of Lords
required from the Government to give further clarifications related to
detailed costs for such a system, a higher security in recording and storing
personal data and asked for a change in one of the purposes of the system
from ‘securing efficient and effective provision of public services’ to
preventing ‘illegal and fraudulent access to public services’.
The ‘Identity Project’ report of the London School of Economics had also
stated that the government proposal lacked defined goals without clearly
showing the impact upon terrorism or identity theft and also considered the
project as underestimated from the point of view of the costs.
In endorsing the project, the Prime Minister went as far as stating “we need
identity cards both for foreign nationals and for British nationals. If we
want to track people coming in and out of our country and to know the
identity of people who are here, then that is what we have to do.” Foreign
nationals are not presently included in the Act. As a response to the claims
that the ID scheme is a tracking mean, Blair used ‘log’ or ‘identify’ as
synonyms for ‘track’, considered as not a very fortunate choice of words.
The Register’s columnist John Lettice considers that the so called “ring of
steel” promoted by Tony Blair has several failing issues. The e-Borders
which is supposed to help the Government know who is coming into the
country, and who is going out, even if implemented at all border entry
points shows a lot of vulnerabilities. EU citizens will be able to come in
and work if they like, and travellers from numerous countries don’t require
visas. The identity of these travellers is not certain as false documents
can be obtained in these countries. Blair’s plans to solve the immigration
question through the application of IT will meet difficulties on several
Fortress Blair – PM bets on biometric ring of steel to ‘fix’ immigration
EDRI-gram: UK ID card scheme – defeated in the House of Lords (18.01.2006)
London School of Economics ‘Identity Project’