Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today's Letter on Identity Cards

This letter from Councillor Chris Howell was published in today's Cambridge News:

I HAVEN'T led a particularly sheltered life, but I confess to never being in "difficult situations [where] the police need a quick and reliable identification" as described by Mr Gazeley in his recent letter. But then I also disagree that Cambridge is so dangerous we need to hold up undemocratic regimes like China, where police can stop you just to demand papers, as models for law enforcement.

If a police officer did need to question my identity, there would be no problem using a combination of questioning, examining existing forms of identity and applying thought and common sense - a test that would be failed by someone trying to hide their identity.

The last thing needed is the planned ID card backed up by a huge "big brother" database.

Police, assuming cards are infallible, will not question it if the information on the card is consistent with the full complex set of personal circumstances that actually defines an identity. Of course criminals will have fake ID cards - it only takes one person to infiltrate the thousands of bureaucrats in whose hands our valuable identities will then rest.

The ID card and database will then be an expensive white elephant that will hand my identity over to the state and put me more at risk from criminals faking their ID, which is why I will never co-operate with the scheme.

Coleridge Ward
Cambridge City Council

See some of Cllr Howell's blog posts on identity cards.

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