Monday, November 06, 2006

YES2ID!

Tony Blair used the first twelve minutes of his monthly news conference today to set out the case for a secure identity system in our modern, open world. You can watch him via the BBC news web site.

Like blogger ‘on the knocker’ I really don’t understand the objections to the proposed system. I also don’t understand the objections to a DNA database, speed cameras, CCTV surveillance or systems for tracking mobile phones, cars or users of Oyster cards. Most such objections seem to come from the ‘little Englander’ school of philosophy and/or from people reluctant to understand and/or admit how uninteresting their small lives are to themselves, let alone to ‘the authorities’...

6 Comments:

At 05:11, Blogger cassilis said...

We're on very dangerous ground Brian if we get to a place where those objecting to legislation need to make their case up front and governments (of whatever colour) are free to legislate unless we can 'come up with' reasons not to?

Surely it's a fundamental tenet of liberal democracy that the government need to make their case FOR legislating up front? Despite being the most formidable political communicator of his generation Blair has failed time & again to make the case for ID cards convincingly and the opposition comes from all the main parties and all parts of the political spectrum. If the best the pro-ID card lobby can do is ‘why not’ we really have reached a new legislative low…

p.s. Can’t source this so could be wrong but I think system Blair’s proposing is very similar to the one already in use in Spain that did nothing to prevent (or aid solving) the Madrid train bombing..?

 
At 14:22, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Hello cassilis. The PM set out about half a dozen positive reasons for the system. And no, it's nothing like the Spanish ID system which I think is like the French one ie non-biometric and essentially paper-based.

Philosophical question: how do you know how many bomb outrages even those primitive ID systems in other countries haven't help prevent?!

 
At 20:00, Blogger Mike Ion said...

For me it is what might be described as the 'Ronseal' test - will ID cards actually solve anything. I have just posted about this issue myself and my conclusion... noy convinced they will work.

 
At 09:29, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Thanks Mike - an ID system won't solve all life's problems but it will help to provide partial solutions to some of them...

 
At 10:26, Blogger Simon said...

Brain, I don't accept the 'if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear' argument.

Using this argument what is to stop the state putting cctv into everyone's home? Perhaps to monitor how we bring our children up or if we are all eating properly. Or how about it monitors each individuals carbon footprint.

The state can be a great instrument of positive change but it can also be inflexible and authoritarian. We should always demand that to take extra power government should prove beyond doubt that those extra powers will liberate rather than subjugate.

 
At 11:50, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Thanks Simon - I think there are a lot of forces that will prevent the state from putting CCTV cameras into our homes. I can't imagine why they should want to or who would watch the tedious results.

I don't accept the 'slippery slope' or 'thin end of the wedge' arguments. I think the case for a secure ID system is well made and so is the one for CCTV in some of our public spaces...

 

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