Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Well, colour me an ID-card-supporting sonofabitch

This post over at Some Lies got me thinking. Clearly Tideliar's problem is ridiculous, but all of this ID-prevents-terrorism thinking is nonsense. We do all know that, don't we?

For my money, this is part of the reason why the proposed British ID-card scheme is failing miserably and has no support from the general public. We are being sold the idea on a spurious basis. We all know it won't prevent terrorism; ergo, we don't need it.

I believe, though, that if the ID card were to be introduced under a different agenda, it might have a better reception. Or maybe not.

I am in a minority in the UK, I think, in that I really couldn't give a fuck whether or not we all have to carry ID cards over here any time soon. Indeed, I'd argue that it's a good idea. The only bit of this proposal that I do object to is the cost to the general public. If something is governmentally enforced, then it should cost nothing or next to nothing for the citizens. To drive is a choice, or privilege, so a licence costs money; to travel abroad is a choice, or privilege, so a passport costs money. But simply to go about your daily business in the country where you live is something in which you have no real choice, so it should not cost money. Am I wrong?

Perhaps my opinion of the ID card has been influenced by the fact that Wife is Italian. She has an Italian ID card. It costs a nominal amount to keep it up to date (something like €20 every five years). And you know what? It isn't the all-seeing, all-pervading eye of Big Brother that we Brits perceive it to be. (I do accept, however, that the British version will likely contain other information, tied in to the "War on Terror".) Indeed, there is even one key benefit to her ID card: she can travel anywhere within the European Union with it and without a passport if she so wishes. Presumably the UK version will also allow this.

I also happen to believe that carrying some form of ID should be mandatory, if only to aid in identifying your body if you get hit by a bus while crossing the street, rather than wasting everyone's time trying to establish who the fuck you are.


Blogger Red said...

If I could, I would have a car sticker that says "I heart my ID card".

As you say, there is no need for ID cards to have the kind of information that the British government is suggesting. But then, this trying to go one step beyond what is required is typically British. Like flavoured water. Why? Water is perfectly acceptable as a drink in its own right. If you want it to taste like blackcurrant, buy some Ribena, not Evian.

06 September, 2006 10:21  
Blogger Shep said...

I wanna ID card. And I want it to be cool and have chips and holograms and stuff. It could have flash memory and hold other stuff too...

My life is too boring, my secrets too minor and grubby for anyone to be bothered with. Bring it on.

06 September, 2006 10:50  
Blogger Tanya said...

I would draw the line at the whole idea of micro-chipping, but as far as ID cards go, I have no real opinion.

In South Africa we had to carry ID books - little tiny green books that had your photo and your ID number in it and your drivers' licence and gun licence if you had one. I think this has changed, though. I haven't lived in SA for 7 years now, so it could well have switched to cards.

But this is what I grew up with and I thought it really odd that other countries didn't have one.

06 September, 2006 11:11  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

I don't have a problem with cameras on the street, in banks, and i.d. cards. These things upset some people I understand as challenging their right to privacy. For me, I just get the i.d. I don't know. I've even allowed fingerprints. But it's not because I think the world is safer.

It's always been a dangerous place. And don't "bad guys" buy fake papers anyways?

The only success on a war against terror is to have communities where people are not alienated. Disenfranchisement is what grows a terrorist. Duh.

And standing in lines for hours with security guards and guns to aquire i.d. cars is in itself a somewhat alienating experience. The process also enhances paranoia.

I don't think there should be a charge either *. I like the idea that you can travel between the countries easily, although I am really surprised that a drivers licence doesn't do the job. We can still cross the border between Canada and America witha drivers licence until 2007. Although the mandatory passport law may be rectified. It was put into action right after 9/11. But tourism is down on both sides of the border. How cana family of four justify a passport just to go cross border shopping? So the passport law between us is being reconsidered. People, especially Americans, are not that willing to get passports. Heck, there are folks in Montana that believe the governemtn is too interferring and don't even have drivers licences!

What's really sad is, that if we don't rise to the challenge of taking care of each other, then the I.D. cards aren't gonna be for when we're hit by a bus. They'll be for identifying us after a bombing.

06 September, 2006 12:57  
Blogger Pie said...

I'm not a fan of ID cards at the moment, at least not British ones.

The idea itself is quite good, and could be used for a lot of good things. Unfortunately I don't have much faith that it will be used for good things.

It would be quite good to have a cashcard/passport/credit card/driving licence/ID all rolled into one card thingy that updated automaically but then imagine the hassle if you lost it.

06 September, 2006 14:23  
Blogger Spangly Princess said...

I have no problem with carrying an Italian style ID card. I have a considerbale problem with the proposed biometrics, fingerprinting, catch-all id card which si being proposed in the UK. MOst of all I have a problem with the ways in which it is proposed to apply such a card. I know how the system works in Italy & it's news to me that we should model a) our bureaucracy or b) our civil liberties on that model, dealry though I love the country.

06 September, 2006 16:06  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Red: Calm down with the bumper sticker, now, will ya?

Shep: Is it clichéd to say you only have something to fear if you have something to hide?

Tanya: Yeah, the microchipping, biometric thing is scary crazy, but the concept otherwise is sound, I think.

Candy: Whatever anyone comes up with, the fakers will be right there five minutes later producing copies that are indescernible from the originals. That's the bottom line, isn't it?

Pie: Sounds like you have a tale to tell, eh? Rolling everything into one = very bad idea, methinks...

Spangly, For sure, Italy's bureaucracy is not something anyone should be emulating! But, as above, it's once you get into chips and biometrics that it all goes a bit tits-up.

06 September, 2006 17:27  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

great post... i agree

(i realize i'm not saying anything profound here... but i'm so behind that i'm reading all your posts for the last two weeks or so... therefore i don't have enough time to write significant comments... but i'm reading :)

06 September, 2006 18:07  
Blogger apositivepessimist said...

I recall a few years back ours was talking about a similar thing...I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to it at the time...and since I have not got a “ID card” in my hand I guess they may still be talking about it. I’ll just wait and see when/if it comes about...but if it helps cut down on all the “proof” needed when opening up various accounts...I’d be all for it.

alas she is no more BUT there is a Mimi [found on my links] that bears a resemblance to her ;)

06 September, 2006 18:37  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

I'll never pay for one. Ever. If it's free (allright it's still being paid through taxes) I suppose I might but on principal I'll never pay directly out of my pocket for one.

06 September, 2006 19:41  
Blogger The_'Real'_Batman said...

My parents livedin Italy, where ID cards, were, as you say, Asterisk, compulsory, and they found them useful and easy.

However I am totally against them, as the easiness for identity theft and hacking into the database is too great. At a conservative estimate, the Pentagon in 1997 was hacked once every 3 seconds. With our government's standards who knows what are figures could be and the implications because of it?

06 September, 2006 20:23  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Martha: Thanks. Yes, I realize that the number of posts I make can make it difficult to catch up later. Sorry!

APP: It'll probably happen. If Australia is anything like the UK, they'll undoubtedly sneak it in thru a back door at some point. Thanks for the tip-off, too.

4D: I think it's absurd to expect us to pay for it (taxes aside), and that should definitely be a key issue if and when they do bring ID cards into play.

Shamash: I guess the concern over ID theft would depend on what sort of info was held on the cards. If it's as simple as what they have in Italy, then there'd be almost no point in hacking in to steal that. But if we're talking everything there is to know about a person on a microchip (and this has been mooted), then security of governmental computers etc would need to be really stepped up.

07 September, 2006 09:54  
Blogger tideliar said...

'Ello. Cheers for the link. I agree with you all (I'm that magnanimous). In theory it could be a useful and helpful idea, but in practice it could easily be taken too far. The big issue the Right to Privacy folks have isn't the old "Why hide if you've got nothing to fear?"; it's that giving up one thing will lead to another and then another, thus allowing the gradual erosion of all civil liberties and our decent intoa fascistic police state.

Which is a load of old bollocks if you ask me, but no one ever does...

08 September, 2006 23:54  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

TL: Pleasure, sir. People are afraid of anything new, too, and I'm sure that's part of the problem.

09 September, 2006 07:42  

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