X Close

How ID cards could set us free Once they were seen as a threat to civil liberties, now they might preserve them

A protest against a British national identity card in 2004. Credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images

A protest against a British national identity card in 2004. Credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images


August 11, 2020   7 mins

On 21 January, 2011, the Identity Cards Act of 2006 was repealed. So ended New Labour’s attempt to push compulsory ID cards on the British people. The repeal was a mere formality, of course — the fulfilment of a promise made by the Coalition Government in 2010 — but it was a rather odd, if now forgotten, moment in our politics: liberal Conservatives coming together with the Liberal Democrats to overturn the ‘tough-on-crime’ policies of the Labour Party. You try telling the young people of today that — and they won’t believe you.

The Lib Dems have since disappeared into irrelevance. The lib Cons are still around — and include in their number our current Prime Minister. But could the man who buried David Cameron’s premiership be the one to resurrect ID cards?

There’s no point rehashing the arguments made in the early 2000s. This is an issue in which the case for and against is prone to exaggeration. The fact is that a liberal democracy can have compulsory ID cards without sliding into dictatorship — or not have them and avoid anarchy. There are plenty of examples of both scenarios.

So, instead of having the old argument, let’s have a new one. I’ve always been instinctively opposed to ID cards, but looking at the underlying dynamics of the issue, 2020 looks very different from 2010. The most obvious — and recent — of game-changing developments is the Covid crisis. The future is pathogenic now. Even if there’s no second wave, we cannot assume a new normal in which pandemic disease risk isn’t a major policy consideration.

Lockdown has restricted our freedoms in ways that make the concerns of the ID card debate look trivial. We’re now presented with plausible — indeed, likely — scenarios in which our freedom of movement and association depends on us being able to produce documented facts about ourselves: quarantine certificates; vaccination records; immunity status; test, trace and tracking data.

In terms of international travel some of this is already in force — with passports serving as the primary means of proving ID. How long before ID cards serve a parallel function as ‘internal passports’? It’s a disturbing concept, but as an alternative to general lockdown, it may be the least worst option.

Another game-changing development is new technology. Back in 2010 we hadn’t yet woken up to the full implications of social media. We didn’t realise just how much the tech companies knew about us. A lot of people weren’t even using smartphones yet. In 2020, we still don’t know the whole story, but we’ve come to accept a significant degree of electronic surveillance in our everyday lives. Thus the idea of being easily identified doesn’t seem so foreign anymore, not when we’re identified every time we go online to shop, socialise and express our opinions.

Of course, the information flows that would be enabled through ID cards would be controlled by the state — and the state, unlike Facebook or Google, has the power to arrest and imprison you. So, the stakes are higher. But, then again, if the authorities want to track your movements and behaviour, they already can.

The last ten years have seen rapid advances across a variety of surveillance technologies, including facial recognition, gait recognition, and even heartbeat recognition. The CCTV network is ever expanding in scope and sophistication and is supplemented by drones and other mobile forms of image capture. And that’s just one form of big data collected by the various arms of the state.

In short, if you’re leading any sort of normal life, the authorities don’t need you to carry around an ID card in order to identify you.

Indeed, the bigger risk may lie in not being identified. This was demonstrated by the Windrush Scandal — in which people who had immigrated to this country from the Caribbean were required to prove to the authorities that they’d been legally resident in the UK. For the Windrush generation who arrived before legal immigration was documented in the way it is now, this was difficult to do. Shamefully, longstanding UK residents were deported because they were unable to assemble the documentary evidence that wasn’t there — or, at least, wasn’t accessible. The scandal was in fact two scandals: first and foremost the inhumanity of plunging innocent people into a Kafkaesque nightmare; but also that it should be so hard to prove the basic facts of your own life.

A future full of big data will be a hyper-bureaucratic future. In our dealings with both the state and private corporations it is, therefore, vital that we have some consistent hold over the way our identities are recorded and recognised. ID cards could provide that control — a key that grants us access to what we need to know and what we want others to know about us. There’s no guarantee that the introduction of such a system would guarantee our rights, but it would be an opportunity to fight for them.

*

We also need to think about the people who slip through the cracks of the system — living undocumented, unofficial lives unsupported and unprotected by the authorities. Only a small minority of these will be citizens who freely choose an ‘off-grid’ existence — a choice that should be respected. The great majority, though, will be vulnerable adults and children, many of them illegal immigrants, some of them trafficked against their will — and all of them at risk of exploitation. A recent report from the Centre for Social Justice estimates that there may be 100,000 or more victims of modern slavery in Britain alone.

We make things easy for this vile trade by tolerating, even celebrating, a bargain basement labour market — the legal and illegal components of which shade into one another. This is further enabled by a context in which it’s still possible for people to live and work without needing to prove who they are — and without their employers and landlords having to confirm those identities. A robust ID card system that made this simple and straightforward — but also inescapable — would be a severe blow to the modern slavers, people smugglers, slum landlords and other exploiters who depend on the anonymity of those they exploit.

Of course, no such system can be foolproof, nor would it be completely free of inconvenience for law abiding citizens. However, the same can be said of our passports system. Ultimately, it is a question of comparing these potential harms against the consequences of the status quo — in which we’re neither able to fully control our borders nor to prevent the everyday violation of basic human rights.

*

What about the practical arrangements? One of the reasons why there was such resistance to New Labour’s ID cards policy was the lack of confidence in the government’s ability to manage IT projects. Indeed, the decade was marked by a series of fiascos — including one occasion when two CDs containing confidential child benefit data on 25 million people got lost in the post. Yes, really. The ensuing outrage was probably what doomed the ID policy before it was even implemented.

Is there any reason why we should have any more confidence in government today? The faltering progress on the promised test-and-trace app isn’t exactly encouraging. However, there’s no reason why governments can’t deliver ambitious IT projects. Singapore and Taiwan have impressed the world with their use of tech to control the spread of Covid. As it happens, both countries also have compulsory ID card systems. Another interesting model is Estonia, a world leader in providing online government services. Estonians can even vote in national elections online. And that’s despite the country being under constant cyber-attack. 

So if they can do it, why can’t we? Well, the fact is that we can. Any ID card system could be based on systems that have been successfully and reliably computerised. The passports system is the obvious example and an appropriate one if ID cards are re-introduced as means of exempting individuals from future lockdown restrictions. 

If HMG ever persuades the British people to accept ID cards it must be in the service of our overall convenience, not theirs. Every ID card should come as part of a package that also includes a free passport and, for those suitably qualified, a free driving license too. As in Estonia, it should provide strong authentication for access to online government services and participating private sector websites. And even if we don’t immediately follow the Estonian example of internet-based voting, ID cards could be used to provide a robust system of confirming identity for voting by post and at polling stations. 

*

Then there’s the question of electronic cash. Thanks to innovations like contactless payments and online retail we’re using less physical cash than ever. Covid has only accelerated the decline of notes and coins, whose circulation through so many hands makes them a potential vector of disease. But to do without them altogether would require some form of e-cash — that is, not a credit or debit card, but a card that carries a digital currency for making instant, frictionless payments. In other words, something like an Oyster Card, but which could be used anywhere.

The big tech companies smell an opportunity. Some of them, like Facebook with its Libra project, are already on the case. But do we really want private companies running the digital currencies of the future? Or do we want one of the very oldest functions of government to stay in public hands? Writing in The Guardian, the economist Kenneth Rogoff suggests one possible way forward:

“The most radical approach would be a dominant retail central-bank currency which allows consumers to hold accounts directly at the central bank. This could have some great advantages, such as guaranteeing financial inclusion and snuffing out bank runs.”

It doesn’t have to go quite that far, but if currencies do go fully digital then making sure that everyone has access to the means of exchange becomes absolutely essential. At the very least, government needs to provide some form of guaranteed basic account. But that, of course, raises the question of identification. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to have our electronic cash on the same piece of plastic as our ID, but the two would have to be linked in some way.

*

William Gibson once said that “the future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed”. Well, a future in which everyone is subject to constant, electronic, centralised identification is certainly on its way.

The things that were decentralised — the little bits of information we give away through our relationships with friends, family, strangers, suppliers, customers and the agencies of the state — are inexorably coming together. But that process of centralisation is not evenly distributed. It privileges the most powerful organisations and is taking place away from public scrutiny.

ID cards might just be our best chance to drag the centralisation of our data — our very identities — into the light. It’s not a question of whether we’ll be ID’d in every moment of our lives, but how.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

peterfranklin_

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

110 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nick Welsh
Nick Welsh
3 years ago

“The most obvious ” and recent ” of game-changing developments is the Covid crisis. The future is pathogenic now. Even if there’s no second wave, we cannot assume a new normal in which pandemic disease risk isn’t a major policy consideration.”

It’s this type of statement (and the following lines) that scares me far more than any virus.

Can someone please tell me (and this is a genuine question) why a seasonal respiratory virus with a fatality rate equivalent to a strong flu year, that has pretty much run it’s course in this country (as per deaths/hospitalisations), is a game-changer? Or requires a ‘new normal’?

I am genuinely perplexed as to how and why we have arrived at this point.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Welsh

Because at least half this nation are natural born ‘shriekers’, and the Government is capitalising on this lack of moral fibre to impose draconian restrictions on what little ‘liberty’ we have left.

A truly pathetic state of affairs, but the logical outcome of years and years of putrid, bovine, political incompetence in this once ‘sceptred isle’.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Welsh

Peter Franklin is bought and paid for and this article is transparent in its agenda.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Welsh

Exactly. Instead of writing drivel like this, that so-called journalist might be better employed investigating the deceit and lies that have put us here in the first place.

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Welsh

Good points.

The more we observe the course of COVID, the more it looks like the overall fatality rate from it will be around the same as the 1957 and 1968 flu pandemics. The fatality numbers that I have readily available for those pandemics are for the U.S.: deaths per million of ~670 from the 1957 pandemic (116,000 estimated U.S. deaths) and of ~500 from the 1968 pandemic (100,000 estimated U.S. deaths).

We can debate the various arguments that COVID-19 deaths are either undercounted or overcounted, but it seems – looking at the Worldometer COVID-19 site – that COVID-19 deaths per million in the U.S. and Western Europe are broadly in the same range as those two flu pandemics.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Welsh

It’s a game changer because millions of people and their employers have discovered that WFH is perfectly feasible and, on some measures, desirable. There are many other examples. It’s not that CV has forced a new, ongoing normal, it’s that almost everyone in the country has tried out new ways of living their lives and some of them will stick.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago

This article is based on a series of disastrous false assumptions.

Lockdown has restricted our freedoms in ways that make the concerns of the ID card debate look trivial.

Yes, lockdown has restricted our freedoms in horrible ways, and that is a bad thing. We should be applying the logic in the other direction: just as we opposed compulsory ID cards, so we should oppose lockdown.

The future is pathogenic now. Even if there’s no second wave, we cannot assume a new normal in which pandemic disease risk isn’t a major policy consideration.

Again the false assumptions. There was no need for the lockdown in the first place”this coronavirus, like its close relative the common cold, did not require such historically unprecedented measures. At most there should have been a quarantine around care homes, and recommendations for self-protection for the very old and the very sick.

At a time when fewer and fewer intelligent people are buying into the Covid hysteria at all, it is strange to see it being used as a foundational premiss for such an extreme policy shift.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
3 years ago

” which people who had immigrated to this country from the Caribbean were required to prove to the authorities that they’d been legally resident in the UK.”

Perhaps the author can clarify the scandal: were these people, over the course of decades, prevented from acquiring government-issued ID that established their citizenship, or did they just all never get around to it and because we hold them to the standards of small children and farm animals, it’s really the government’s fault?

Generally, I find the article’s prescription of capitulation off-putting, but I’m on the other side of the Atlantic.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

unherd used to provide objective reporting but so many articles lately are just regurgitating the leftist, WHO, Gates and Globaist agendas. Just goes to show… where you have greedy men, corruption follows. The articles argument is so weak and transparent.
Bye bye unherd.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

But this article started with the agreement with the old social contract of no ID card (but obligation to give authorities your name etc.), being good and explored the probable benefits to having an ID card.
Given my logic in argument …
I hope you have the lefty imposed driving license and lefty passport and lefty National Insurance number. The lefty NHS number. The lefty bank and lefty credit cards.
The article under discussion is hardly a lefty agenda, is it?

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

In the days when people started posting on this site – not that long ago, so even I remember them tolerably well – there were plenty of intelligent posts and no or minimal questioning of the author’s motives. Now there seems to be a group of libertarian conspiracy theorists who will not argue based on evidence and who dominate the number of posts here, if not their quality.

harminder111980
harminder111980
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

Well judging by the contents of this article, the ‘conspiracy theorists’ seem to have hit the bullseye. The article is literally the script Bill Gates has been spouting since the beginning of the lockdown.
Also people need to go and look up the world economic forum are pushing in repsonse to the pandemic and the Rockerfeller ‘Lockstep’ document. It’s not a conspiracy theory when these influential organisations and people are open about it…

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

I found my way to Unherd from Reason, whose objectivity has gone the way of the Dodo, or at least has mutated into mindless equivocation. Generally, I find Unherd to be better, though perhaps my standards are low.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
3 years ago

I’m not sure HMG really want ID cards – it would reveal the real population of the country, somewhat awkward for a government that wants as much mass immigration as it feels it can get away with.

After the last census, the major supermarket chains disputed the ‘official’ population count, believing it to be out by about 10 million or so, judging by their combined provision. Now? Likely to be pretty spectacularly different from 2011.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

Just no
Why must there be this constant interference in our lives by the state?
Cashless society
Id is for your benefit
Dont tread on me you authoritarian

Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

I don’t know about the French or the Germans, but the Spanish ID card doesn’t seem to bother anyone. I’ve carried an ID card for most of my 80 years, and the only problem I had was leaving a ferryboat in Portugal, because I forgot to carry my card.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago

Privacy is the only guarantee of freedom and an ID Card (plus the database behind it to register when you used it, where you used it, why you used it etc) will be the end of it.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

The phrases “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind. Giving government ultimate control over all information because Google and Facebook harvest data is not a reason to have ID cards. I would also like to point out that the Bank of England was nationalised in 1946, before that it was privately owned. So the idea that government must control currencies is not a convincing argument either, never mind the information on spending habits this information would provide. Could you imagine the government deciding no one was allowed to spend more than £20 a day on alcohol and then instructing the central bank to apply that rule through our ID linked central bank accounts.

Covid 19 has taught us one thing, we are only one piece of legislation away from a totalitarian state. Just imagine what a Corbyn government would have been able to do with all that data. We need to stop kidding ourselves, this isn’t about law abiding citizens having nothing to hide but about us electing a government wants to find out what we are doing and using against us.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Or imagine what a future woke-fascism government could do with that data. Everyone categorised and segmented according to their demographics, like in apartheid South Africa. As you rightly say, that we are already close to dystopia is no reason to rush into it even faster. Resist, resist, resist!

Jacques Francis
Jacques Francis
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

You’ve been around long enough to realise that no democratic government has ever been or will ever be competent enough to conspire against the populace in the way you suggest. Your fears are without foundation.

As for limiting an individual’s spending on alcohol, if an individual is an alcoholic who is prevented from buying the booze that’s ruining their life, then that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it? Preventing everybody from spending as they choose on booze or chips would be as successful as current measures against marijuana or cocaine. It’s too fantastic.

Our governments aren’t evil, malevolent, or conspiratorial, not so long as the population continues to see through characters like McDonnell and Corbyn, they’re just not very competent, and they’re time-limited in the damage they can do.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago

Jacques – sorry, you could not be more wrong. Do you think the Government cares that they are inefficient? And don’t forget, it won’t be the Government actually doing this, it will be the Police over-reaching, ignoring rules and taking names. Automatic fines will have people running scared of every camera.

By the way, yes, let’s ban excess booze, then we can ban excess sugar, then we can ban excess salt, then we can ban all booze, then we can ban all sugar, then we can ban all salt, then we can start banning all those things that destroy the environment like excess flights and taking too many holidays a year, then we can ban people earning too much, then we can ban people saying nasty things about the government …

plynamno1
plynamno1
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

It would be nice to see a ban on exaggeration.

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  plynamno1

Likewise, to see a ban on trivialization. Or on irony. Or on the inability to recognise irony.

blanes
blanes
3 years ago
Reply to  plynamno1

Look at China’s Social Credit System where the state can limit what you do, buy or where you go. Its already happening in China and it WILL happen here eventually if the plebs don’t rise against it.

harminder111980
harminder111980
3 years ago
Reply to  blanes

Yep, I also mentioned about china’s social credit system.

People need to do a quick youtube search on it. Scary stuff – it’s big brother’s bigger brother on steroids!

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  plynamno1

If I had suggested 12 months ago that our government would have imposed a lockdown and forced us all to wear face masks within 12 months I would have been told I was exaggerating. When Blair porpoised ID cards and the information collection that went with it people asked what would happen if we elected someone like Corbyn. It was laughed off, then in 2017 we almost elected Corbyn.

You think things are exaggerated because you think it’s impossible but no one knows the future and what might happen. Don’t create the opportunity for a mass surveillance and control apparatus and it can’t be abused. If it’s there, someone, sometime will abuse it!

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  plynamno1

I’ve told you a million times that will never work.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Government competence and the ability to conspire against the populace are two different things. Incompetent governments are very good at conspiring against the population.

You are really paving the road to hell there! A central bank, controlling all spending really is bad. I picked a very obvious example which looks great to a certain type of person who thinks they are “progressive”. It speaks to those who think liberty should be curtailed for the person own good. But what if a government decides we should only be allowed to buy £15 of petrol a week to protect the environment or that we should reduce the amount of meat we eat, so limits spending in the butcher or supermarket to promote that. Then what about limiting our spend on Amazon because they are “bad”, maybe we should only be allowed to fly once a year, so only one holiday can be bought. Once you give government the right to limit our spending then everything becomes possible.

That argument fails, just look at the 2017 election to see how close Corbyn came to being PM!

harminder111980
harminder111980
3 years ago

Look at what the SNP are trying to pass with their hate speech law! Also look at what’s going on in Victoria, Australia with their extreme authoritarian lockdown measures! So yes i’m extremely worried what can happen here!
Looking into the future, I see the Chinese style social credit system being implemented here!

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

I don’t think Franklin has good intentions… he’s just looking after his pay-check.

Alan Matthes
Alan Matthes
3 years ago

ID cards work well in Spain and would routinely be requested when paying with a credit card to avoid fraud. I think they are now worth having, primary to combat human trafficking and illegal immigration but first you would need a government that actually cared about stopping illegal immigration and I don’t see much chance of that.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Matthes

ID Cards work well in Spain because they are the same culture that happily accepted Francoist Fascism for decades within living memory.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

Every Brit had ID during WWII. Fascism
has nothing to do with it. Many states have. Spain still does and they are not Fascist s.
Now. Consider a country where the social contract is to allow Police in public, any time, to ask for your name and address?
That is our current non ID card carrying contract.
And don’t people love it?
Look at the videos of barrack room lawyers whingeing on about not having to say, when stopped and asked for name and address.
One can be arrested for refusing to provide or providing a false name and/or address. But apologies abound from ‘right on’ career officers when the subject of the question screams on video instead of answering a bloody simple question.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

Yes, during WWII the UK had to impose many quasi-fascistic rules on a temporary basis. There is a reason why those rules were mostly discarded once the emergency was over. Besides which, despite the current fetishisation of the period by certain individuals, the WWII national government was not a perfect utopia, capable of doing no wrong. There is absolutely no reason to believe that every decision they made was right and just.

You are only supposed to be arrested in the UK for refusing to give your details in certain circumstances, such as if the police have a reasonable belief that you have committed or are about to commit a crime, or if you’re driving a vehicle.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

It’s not fascistic to require some form of ID. And many UK subjects still carry ID by law.
Police do. Military do. NHS staff need it to get into their environments.
Driving Instructors require it … I’m certain you would wail if just anyone could get into a Nuclear power station … I could bore more.
So , why is everyone else immune?
You also misunderstand that it is in fact, an offence in its own right, to refuse to provide name and address when asked by Police. They don’t need to prove another offence. Refusal or incorrect details is the offence. Refusal etc. is the proof of offence.
Off track; I well remember needing to carry the minimum of 5 Marks when leaving home in Germany, to avoid charges of vagrancy which applied similarly in the UK too. Not aware if it’s still available to Police if they need it.
Which is more fascistic? Needing to carry cash on the street just outside your gate or needing to provide ID?

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

If you truly believe that staff ID to get into a nuclear power plant is the exact same thing as ordinary citizens being forced to submit all details of their lives to the state and submissively abase themselves before arbitrary authority, then I don’t think we have any common ground from which to start a fruitful discussion. I thus close this discussion and wish you well.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

Closed as it is, you didn’t argue the far less obvious need for Driving Instructors to have very large visual ID in their windscreens.
And discourse should lead to common ground or some settlement, shouldn’t it?
But by all means closed in accordance with your wish.
All the best.

harminder111980
harminder111980
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

You are incorrect, you are not required to give your ID to the police, only under certain circumstances.

It’s a different argument to say for eg. NHS carrying ID for entry access, compared to the general populace out in public.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

And of course, everyone knows all the circumstances?
Read the bit here about stop and search. (Name and address is required), If you are unaware of the area being so designated, you will get in trouble for refusal. Probably more by being resistive or awkward.

“You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it has been approved by a senior police officer. This can happen if it is suspected that:”

QUESTION. How do you know if it has been permitted? Refusal could cause you problems. A violent response in defence of rights that have been temporarily removed, will not help.

“violence could take place
you’re carrying a weapon or have used one

””””::you’re in a specific location or area ”””’

Now, here, in this last; to do what you think, won’t work.
In any case, no Copper should be interrupting anyone in general, unless they are suspicious of them or require assistance. So refusal to give name and address in many circumstances, regardless of your belief that you did nothing wrong, will likely get people in trouble because it is unlikely that everyone knows every law and it’s requirements.
As an example of crazy law: Police cannot with total immunity, ignore red lights. However, certain security forces in time of national emergency, can do so and cause damage and injury without charge. Law is complex.

The laws may have changed in 1966 and 96 but it is not as clear in all situations as you make out.
Such beliefs is what has lead to many of the self righteous video clips that accuse Police of wrongdoing.
And as far as arrest for false or refusal, I write from some practical experience.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

In regards to your NHS comments.
Why do I as a non NHS employee, I have to prove who I am and how long I’ve lived here, to get treated?

plynamno1
plynamno1
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

Fascists ‘happily accepted’ fascism in Spain. Other people didn’t.

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  plynamno1

Ultimately all in Spain, whether happily or unhappily, were forced to accept fascism. However, the Spanish people largely rejected it upon the death of Franco and the restoration of the Monarchy under a Constitutional King, Juan Carlos. This makes that country’s acceptance of ID cards – a European norm, after all – an historical irony, not an historical consequence.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  plynamno1

The vast majority of the population got on contentedly with their lives. In particular, as a devout Catholic country, they were strongly influenced by the firm support that the Catholic Church gave to the regime.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
3 years ago

Surely the most crucial argument is this: If you are not required to provide proof positive of your identity, then no one else is either. And what could be easier to forge than a printout of an online gas bill? Hence the high levels of identity fraud in the UK.
It’s interesting how not just individuals but also whole nations can have hang-ups. In the US it’s guns. In Germany it’s speed limits on the autobahn. And in Britain it’s ID cards.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago

What ‘Covid crisis’?
If we believe the Governments figures – which no sane person does – Covid was ‘mentioned’ (!?) in approx. 46k death certificates to date. That’s a mortality rate for our population of 70 million of 0.06%. Perspective? That’s about a normal flu year, and you’re suggesting that this is the ‘burning platform’ to surrender what’s left of our freedoms? Are you on Bill Gates payroll as well?
Loon.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

It’s quite possible to say the government restrictions have gone on too long or have been too severe, but the ‘it’s just like a normal flu year’ argument does not make sense and undermines your credibility.

blanes
blanes
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

Where was the lockdown when we had 70k flu deaths. That idiot Hancock even put is foot in it when he stated “around 10,000 old age people die in care homes each month in a normal year” Do the Maths. https://www.youtube.com/wat

harminder111980
harminder111980
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

It’s not though. Flu often kills 10’s of thousands a year. If I remember correctly (sorry I don’t have the link to the source at hand), the flu was responsible for over 650k of deaths (globally) last year

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
3 years ago

Draconian lockdowns and failed border enforcement are both government-created problems.

And now further draconian measures and expanded bureaucracy are presented as the solution.

By all means require ID at certain key points, like voting and claiming benefits, but passports and driving licences should suffice for this.

We should strongly resist all the COVID measures outlined (“quarantine certificates; vaccination records; immunity status; test, trace and tracking data”). They are completely out of proportion to the threat we face.

Franklin is far too comfortable with a big, powerful state.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
3 years ago

A very dystopian further being painted by the progressives were each person is a number. The false assumption of Peter Franklin is that the people of power are interested In maintaining liberty and supporting the common good. However events have shown this to be false, with our government putting the nation into house arrest and in an Orwellian double speak calling it quarantine.

No we are sliding into a totalitarian globalist New World Order which will have no liberty and if we don’t wish to conform our access to money and food will blocked till we do conform. This is how progressives will control the population. Facebook, Apple, google and twitter will be ‘nationalised’ by the one World Government. Don’t worry if you not doing anything wrong, and that is excepting every mandate from the globalist authority then you will have nothing to fear.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago

Apart from there being no evidence for any of paragraph 2. I’d suggest you start writing novels, as you clearly have a vivid imagination.

J Moore
J Moore
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

Ummm…possibly not so wild an imagination after all! https://intpolicydigest.org

And with China in a race to produce the world’s first quantum computer, all of our digital information/access is exposed and up for ready manipulation. Anyone who has experienced, for example, a TSB IT balls-up for weeks at a time will know how frustrating even mundane tasks like being able to buy petrol for the car can be. Having omnipotent control over data/digital processes would allow, for example, the crashing of financial systems in any country or region, let alone the possible nefarious tweaking of an individual’s digital identity (credit score;’prison record’; land registry info.; qualifications…). Also, a world without hard cash is just asking for the inevitable digital apocalypse, either through design or error. Indeed, I’m stocking up on turnips and worked flints already in preparation!

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

So you think novels have absolutely no serious bearing on reality? May I suggest that you start reading more serious novels? Allan’s worries about our ultimate destination are well-founded in growing tendencies daily observed. Your high-handed dismissal of such real concerns is an empty gesture of smug complacency.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago

The problem with dystopian novels is that they are just not very accurate as forecasts, at least not of what has happened in the UK. 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale (OK, that was supposed to be about the US, but was no more prophetic) and Brave New World all come into this category. For pointing out this inconvenient truth, I will probably be called complacent again.

clements.jb
clements.jb
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

I’ve always thought Brave New World was rather prophetic. Totalitarianism through media domination and newspeak, soft drugs readily available to soften all our edges, sexuality approved as a right providing certain protocols are observed, early classification of ability, with no possibility of social uplift. Can’t remember how’s it dealt with currency ðƾ’® our ID, but enough said. It demonstrates trends, if not entire predictive.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  clements.jb

So we’re in a totalitarian state that voted Brexit and elected a Conservative government in an election with wider differences between the parties than for a generation. Soft drugs are widely available, but they are also largely illegal and politicians insist on fighting a ‘war’ on them. The promiscuous sex bit is fair enough, although it’s hardly state-encouraged. Childhood state-sponsored indoctrination, social caste systems, state breeding programmes? Well, I guess it’s possible to jump on some existing trend we dislike – e.g. the left-wing domination of university teaching – but this is hardly what Huxley was writing about.

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

I’m with John Clements on this one! Your sublime indifference to the troubling world the rest of us have to live in is remarkable. All good novels are about the human condition, it’s dangers and rewards. Most journalism tells us very little about the reality of that, and is ‘factual’ only in a very limited sense. And politics gives us very little ground for optimism. ‘Current affairs’ is trapped in the present, and it takes an imaginative leap to fill in the unseen dynamic that, hidden behind the scenes, pulls the strings of the poor puppets. History provides many revealing patterns for how things develop – unless perhaps you would dismiss even that narrative as mere lies? History – as students of Herodotus’s seminal accounts in this field know – is no science, dealing as it does with the many ultimately unprovable facts and accounts of the past. Nevertheless, when some narrative freedom is allowed to accounts of the vanished past, perhaps some intelligent allowance should also be made for the probing freedom with which people do continue to insist on investigating the unknown future? Both the past and the future of our species has always remained largely doubtful and obscure, but since we must live in Time, we are bound to resort to whatever omens and haruspices seem to guide us upon this dark path. Your sunny uplands of blithe uninterest in such stumbling attempts to grasp this puzzling and challenging world, burgeoning with oppressively monstrous and hostile life, amazes me. Perhaps you have your own hotline to the Supreme Source of all Truth? Only that would explain or excuse your pose of Olympian detachment.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

This post is absolutely brilliant. Thank you for writing it with an eloquence that is beyond me. Dystopian novels are, of course, mostly works of fiction, but they help join up the dots between the events taking place around us. I feel the same about very good fantasy and science-fiction novels.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

If you don’t think global and local politics have taken an unpleasant authoritarian twist in recent months you must have been on another planet. We are now into treating humans like vectors of disease. And we have to give Mastercard or whoever the absloute ability to spy on us, control our movements, our thoughts, our financial freedom. No evidence! No evidence! When people appeal to “no evidence” you know you’ve had it.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

No evidence? Really? You are obviously totally unaware of the constant defunding, blacklisting and censoring of right wing voices on Twitter, Google and Facebook and their censoring of any medical expert and doctors who disagrees with the pro lockdown, masks etc narrative. Sounds as if you are ignorant about the boycotting of companies that have owners who support Trump. You obviously haven’t heard about Patreon, Master Card and other such financial institutions withdrawing services from organisation, thus preventing them from having an income stream, for the crime of not agreeing with the radical progressive social agenda.

To anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear the evidence Is under your nose. Some are optimistic and believe that the radical left will implode before it can completely destroy western liberty, others believe we are just witnessing the feeble thrashing of the already defeated librarians who, having been asleep, are rudely awaken by a leftist with a Woke pillow descending over their face and smothering them.

Chris Esterson
Chris Esterson
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

About nineteen hundred years ago it was written in The Book of Revelation that a time would come when all people would be forced to receive a mark on their hand or forehead so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark (Revelation 13:16-17). The Bible foretold of this time in history a long time ago. Trust me, it will happen.

John Stone
John Stone
3 years ago

This is the most outrageous try-on and Unherd are making fools of themselves. Excellent article on Mintpress News by Raul Diaz: “Africa to Become Testing Ground for “Trust Stamp” Vaccine Record and Payment System -A new biometric identity platform partnered with the Gates-funded GAVI vaccine alliance and Mastercard will launch in West Africa and combine COVID-19 vaccinations, cashless payments, and potential law enforcement applications.”

I suppose this is the age when the liberal project turns into the post-liberal (anti-liberal) opportunist project. Setting billionaires free to lord it over everybody. Yuck!

harminder111980
harminder111980
3 years ago
Reply to  John Stone

Agree 100%. The vaccine and payment system is called the ‘wellness app’.

This has been in the background before the pandemic, now they have their excuse to roll it out!

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago

Uh oh! The conspiracy theorists seem to be out in force today. To all those fretting about ID cards please wake up! If there was an intention to impose a totalitarian state the current absence of ID cards is of no significance whatsoever. Totalitarian states come about not because of ID cards. So if you lie awake thinking that cards will lead to our total control by the State then you should either stop fretting or fret with turbo charge when it dawns on you that any Government has current tools to impose total and unlimited power. In practice all it has to do is get full and total control of the armed services and police. So, stop fretting and stop your outrage about ID cards. On the other hand, if it pleases you to see conspiracies and threats round every corner and get a surge of excitement every time you spot something that confirms your suspicions that ‘they’ are out to get us, then carry on and enjoy your thrills.

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago

Of course ID cards are just one of the symptoms of any regime restrictive of liberty, and no-one sensible believes a symptom can be a cause! Yet this is no reason not to be deeply suspicious of their introduction, especially at a time of such alarm and confusion, when bad judgements can all-too-easily be made and as unwisely accepted. A health card has seriously been canvassed by scientists who have the ear of government, as a means of restoring what they please to call ‘normality’. Of course, anyone without a dubious anti-popular agenda can see that this is just another way of only letting us go about our business as private persons on licence: an ID card by another name, and a mark of state-ownership that abolishes our individual Freedom. In other words Communism/Fascism (those two sides of the same worthless coin), where only the collective is sacred, while the individual is merely a disposable unit of purely political instrumentality. Law in such a toxic dispensation rapidly mutates into an apparatus of Secret Police. ‘Test and Trace’ is already the embryo of that, even down to threats of the ‘knock on the door’ to encourage our collaboration. I kid you not. No-one can afford to consciously and willingly accept such base collaboration with increasingly unaccountable Power! We the People are supposed to hold government to account, not the other way around! Have we learned nothing from history?

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

You already have similar ID courtesy of Mr Blair. Most everyone, benefit claimants included, have a bank card.
Everything stated so far is already available. Even discounting the internet and social media.
But none of that will help you when law enforcement challenge you in the street

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

Peter,
One thing you mention is that everybody could have a bank account at the BoE.
Many central banks are already running negative interest rates for large banks. How long do you think it would be before they run negative interest rates for individuals?
No doubt, to start with, it would be to pay for the cost of them.
After we have another pandemic (they happen from time to time); I can imagine the Government of the day saying we need to get the country going again. People must spend their money, and if they do not we will apply large negative rates to their account.
How would you feel if you were saving up for a wedding, a car, a house, a holiday – perhaps even Christmas presents for your children and every week you look at your savings account it becomes smaller and smaller?

You have far too much faith in Governments.

Ian Wigg
Ian Wigg
3 years ago

If the interest rate you receive on your savings is less than the rate of inflation you do effectively have a negative rate as the purchasing power of those savings is eroded by the day. You pay a fee for your current account? Again an effective negative rate of interest on the money held in that account.

harminder111980
harminder111980
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Wigg

But the biggest road block to implement nominal negative rates is that we have the ability to withdraw cash from the banks.

The banks know if rates go nominally negative, the vast majority of the public will do a ‘Northern rock’ and withdraw what they can and cause a run on the banks

neilyboy.forsythe
neilyboy.forsythe
3 years ago

You’re here to see how your application for council housing is progressing? ID Sir!
Oh dear! I’ve swiped it and it says someone has reported being offended by a joke you make on Twitter last week. I’m afraid you’ve fallen to the bottom of the list for a council house.
Next!

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago

Absolutely. And with Peter’s flirtations with bundling it all up with digital cash in mind, they consequently wouldn’t even be able to find the money to pay the rent anyway.

Christopher Hodgkinson
Christopher Hodgkinson
3 years ago

I am fascinated by all those that oppose what I consider to be a sensible move – compulsory ID cards. The benefits clearly outweigh the downsides and surely that rationale should prevail.

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
3 years ago

I was all for ID cards due to the amount of fraud and all the “other” ID’s we have as long as one thing was resolved : the misuse of the card by government. We can all think of ways to protect your information, to have your own track and trace on who, in authority, is looking at your data (remember it would have full details about what you bought, accessed and where). The use of the blockchain makes it 99.99999999999999% unhackable so that’s OK BUT here’s the bummer. The Covid crisis, which is totally unnecessary, highlights what governments can do in an instant. Your card may be secure, your details may be secure but there is absolutely no way of preventing anyone from “not accepting” your card. After all you have no access to the computer system that Adsa has and it is Asda’s system within the shop that accepts your card or not. Thus government can simply download a black list to all shops and you are screwed.

harminder111980
harminder111980
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

Yep, Twitter has already lied (under oath) that there were no blacklists, but when they got hacked a couple of weeks ago, that was exposed.

The big tech giants and payment processors like patreon & paypal have cut off people for wrong-think.

Also look at the Project Veritas videos that exposed the employees of the big tech who were flexing their power against their political opposition!

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

Well, Peter, all I can say is you must be out of your tiny, myopic mind. The only thing that springs instantly to my mind is: “YOU VILL PRODUCE YOUR PAPERS OR BE SHOT”

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Is that what happens in almost every other country in the world? The countries without any form of card are few, notably the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. A larger (but still small) group have vountary or quasi cards.

Mike Young
Mike Young
3 years ago

Good grief. Really!! Is there no end to the measures people want to introduce and use COVID as the excuse? I despair at the stupidity of people’s ideas lately. Thank god I am heading into the twilight of my years and god help the young and the world they will inherit. A horrible despicable world in which they know no better.

Ian Wigg
Ian Wigg
3 years ago

Why does every commentator seem to want to promulgate the notion that the current Covid pandemic is some apocalyptic plague that will change the whole social system globally?

It’s insignificant in comparison to the real game changers such as the Black Death, the plague of 1666, the great typhoid, cholera, smallpox, and measles plagues of the Victorian times and insignificant in mortality rates to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918/19.

Yes we need to re-evaluate our social support and care systems along with welfare support and benefits but that’s been obvious and argued long before the current crisis.

A MacK
A MacK
3 years ago

“Even if there’s no second wave, we cannot assume a new normal in which pandemic disease risk isn’t a major policy consideration.”

So states the author, in his opinion. It certainly sets the stage for what follows, but is a Straw Man.

Breaking that down a little and looking at some facts:

So far there’s been one spike and the total deaths outwith “normal” has been two months. In that time it was not a “normal flu year” – deaths were probably a once-in-two/three-decades event (but some are lost in the CV19 noise and would have resulted directly and indirectly from Lockdown).

There is no evidence of a “second spike” in deaths, despite a ~10x increase in testing detecting more positive cases nowadays. No second spike from the beach gatherings, mass BLM etc. protests, pubs reopening, despite them happening long enough ago to be evident in the data.

“Second spike” appears to be Newspeak for “let’s continue to scare them witless even though the disease has killed most of those it would have anyway”.

Lockdown is a “pandemic disease risk” management strategy. Such as the author would have policy maker’s consider, perhaps.

We know for a fact that our (and many other countries’) outcome has been much worse than that of Sweden when adjusted for population size. Sweden of course did not have a totalitarian-style lockdown.

There is limited evidence anywhere that Lockdown helps stop CV19 in it’s tracks, or even changes the outcome of CV19 infection through a country. Masks and hyper-lockdown were de rigeur in France, Spain and Italy, to null benefit (c.f. Sweden). Many still died anyway even with all these “precautions”. “ah but, think how bad it could have been” is another fake Straw Man.

On the contrary there is ample evidence that Lockdown has an incredibly bad effect on employment rates, society as a whole, mental and physical health, the economy, and normality.

Of course we can, and must, resume the old normal. The author is correct (perhaps for the wrong reason): “we cannot assume a new normal…” Especially one in which HMG use the chestnut of “Pandemic Disease Risk Management” as an excuse to erode civil liberties and freedoms. No libertarian would surely argue otherwise.

Pandemic disease risk of CV19 is negligible for the vast majority of the population who are not already past their evolutionary reason for being here and afeared of the reaper…

To state otherwise is accepting of infringement of civil liberty and human rights. To legislate otherwise is totalitarian.

neilyboy.forsythe
neilyboy.forsythe
3 years ago

Next week – “How knives could help prevent violent crime”.

Adamsson
Adamsson
3 years ago

ID cards may be used to allow conditional freedom in a totalitarian state but conditional freedom is not freedom

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Adamsson

So you choose in the UK to drive on the right. Only go on red. Without insurance. Use your phone when driving. Drive drunk.
How free are you now?

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago

The more information the State has the less free we are. So no we should not have ID Cards. It use to be our right to walk down the street in complete anonymity without Plod stopping us and demanding ‘Your papers’ ! This isn’t Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia. The requirement to ‘prove’ who you are has already got to quite ridiculous proportions. For example yesterday I had an an email from an auction house because I had left a bid on a small antique. It demanded a photographic id such as a passport or driving license and a utility bill – they were doing their ‘due diligence’ and I could be money laundering ! I only wanted to buy something for God’s sake, so what business is it of theirs who I am ? This unwarranted and unnecessary intrusion into basic privacy should and must be resisted.

Perdu En France
Perdu En France
3 years ago

Yes, a UK ID card would be beneficial. But how do you get there from here. An ID card would not only be an obligation. It would be a right. Everyone would be compelled to have one. Anyone could demand to be issued with one. In a country where there’s a large number of people who do not have a reliable way of proving their identity now.
Think of what’s necessary to open a bank account. That’s the level of documentary evidence you need to create an ID card system on which all other requirements for identity proof will rest. How do you do that for millions of people over a fairly brief period? You’re going to have people claiming a card on the flimsiest evidence of personal identity. Those who don’t have a driving licence, a bank account. Who hardly interact with the official system now. It’ll be a boom time for creating a false identity

tranby1
tranby1
3 years ago

The key point which the author rather glosses over is this – “the state, unlike Facebook or Google, has the power to arrest and imprison you.” Concentrating the discussion on the ID card rather than the database developed on the back of an ID card system is the problem. Who controls that database is the real threat to our civil liberties. I for one prefer the current checkerboard of databases which I have voluntarily contributed to, and which I could withdraw if I wanted to. That is a civil liberty I would not wish to give up.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  tranby1

Within three months of living in Bulgaria as a foreigner I had to obtain an ID card.
The paper based folder, (amassed after visa application), they brought out was already over two inches thick.
What makes anyone think that the government needs ID cards to compile data?
They simply allow rapid identification and less risk of argumentative interaction with authority figures.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago

Mr Franklin makes compelling points (as usual) but his fond enthusiasm for universal ID cards sends chills up my spine.

John Ottaway
John Ottaway
3 years ago

Just wanted to point out that Landlords do actually have a legal obligation to check a tenants right to reside in the U.K. We are obliged to personally have sight of their documentation, passport or I’d card and record such sight, which I do by photographically recording my tenant holding their passport to show photo matches the person. So that’s one of the authors examples out of the window.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  John Ottaway

What do you do when that person doesn’t have a passport? Lot’s of UK citizens don’t. Presumably, none of the ‘Windrush scandal victims’ did, for example, nor I presume any other documentation.

A MacK
A MacK
3 years ago

“Even if there’s no second wave, we cannot assume a new normal in which pandemic disease risk isn’t a major policy consideration.”

So states the author, in his opinion. It certainly sets the stage for what follows, but is a Straw Man.

Breaking that down a little and looking at some facts:

So far there’s been one spike and the total deaths outwith “normal” has been two months. In that time it was not a “normal flu year” – deaths were probably a once-in-two/three-decades event (but some are lost in the CV19 noise and would have resulted directly and indirectly from Lockdown).

There is no evidence of a “second spike” in deaths, despite a ~10x increase in testing detecting more positive cases nowadays. No second spike from the beach gatherings, mass BLM etc. protests, pubs reopening, despite them happening long enough ago to be evident in the data.

“Second spike” appears to be Newspeak for “let’s continue to scare them witless even though the disease has killed most of those it would have anyway”.

Lockdown is a “pandemic disease risk” management strategy. Such as the author would have policy maker’s consider, perhaps.

We know for a fact that our (and many other countries’) outcome has been much worse than that of Sweden when adjusted for population size. Sweden of course did not have a totalitarian-style lockdown.

There is limited evidence anywhere that Lockdown helps stop CV19 in it’s tracks, or even changes the outcome of CV19 infection through a country. Masks and hyper-lockdown were de rigeur in France, Spain and Italy, to null benefit (c.f. Sweden). Many still died anyway even with all these “precautions”. “ah but, think how bad it could have been” is another fake Straw Man.

On the contrary there is ample evidence that Lockdown has an incredibly bad effect on employment rates, society as a whole, mental and physical health, the economy, and normality.

Of course we can, and must, resume the old normal. The author is correct (perhaps for the wrong reason): “we cannot assume a new normal…” Especially one in which HMG use the hoary chestnut of “Pandemic Disease Risk Management” as an excuse to erode civil liberties and freedoms. No libertarian would surely argue otherwise.

Pandemic disease risk of CV19 is negligible for the vast majority of the population who are not already past their evolutionary reason for being here and afeared of the reaper…

To state otherwise is accepting of infringement of civil liberty and human rights. To legislate otherwise is totalitarian.

blanes
blanes
3 years ago

So you are talking about going the way of China and their Social Credit System. Thats fine if you want to live in a totalitarian state that can limit your lifestyle, because you jay walked or dropped a piece of paper. Check out their system and see if you could live under that kind of control. Why not just jump to the final solution and chip us all like cats and dogs. Every bit of information and our digital money in one little chip. What could possibly go wrong. And look at the control the state would have over you. Step out of line and they could turn off or change certain parts of the chip. Stop you travelling, stop you trading, turn it off all together. That is the kind of control governments have been pursuing for years. The plebs just never sussed it.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  blanes

By the way, Blane. An ID Card is effectively a chip in your arm. Modern ID Cards including your passport are fitted with radio frequency identity chips (RFID). In simplistic terms they are capable of transmitting data to responders over a short distance. That can be enhanced easily enough and when we are all forced to carry our ID card and sufficient responders are in place, we will be tracked in real time and at all times.

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
3 years ago

The one aspect missed in the argument is biometric ID, the combination of ‘markers’ which make us all utterly individual, an individual identity which we could own, and whose use we could agree, or not, to licence for specific purposes, and which the government would have to get authorisation to use. As the author notes, we already give our identities away for others to use and profit from; look at reversing the deal.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago

Well, all you conspiracy theorists, you are right, we should resist otherwise we might end up in the sort of total totalitarian state found in Belgium, Portugal, Spain and other similarly horrendous countries with ID cards. We must resist sleep walking into the horrors of life suffered by citizens of Belgium and Portugal.

Psychedelia Smith
Psychedelia Smith
3 years ago

I dunno precisely who you are shilling for Peter but this bizarre cult-like propaganda tells us you’re either selling an extremely creepy authoritarian ideology or you’re a posturing clueless cretin.

The crux of your entire article is the “well he’s kidnapped me, he’s keeping me in the basement but if I start having sex with him, he’ll let me upstairs and give me a better life” argument. It’s insane.

With COVID daily infection rates currently at one thousandth of a percent of the UK population with a 99.75% recovery rate, your article looks like the cover note to a job application from an 1980s East German bureaucrat.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

I remain strongly opposed to an ID card. However, I have no objection to carrying a card that shows that I meet the contributory, residence or other requirements to qualify for services provided by the state; healthcare, welfare, education, pension, voting etc.
No taxation without representation was a powerful rallying cry once. Its corollary is just as valid today.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago

Who would issue it? And would the intended users trust it?

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago

I too opposed ID cards 10 years ago, based on a romantic idea of British freedom, but I’ve changed my mind. Since then, the volume of identity frauds and similar problems have led to ever more invasive MLR requirements, which I have found more easily satisfied by foreigners who carry ID as a matter of course then by British people (although many have now become accustomed to having to produce passport and proof of address). And yet such frauds continue to increase.
We have had a number of problems as a result of having no ID system. Because UK citizens don’t have to prove residence, the EU wouldn’t allow restriction of benefits. The Grenfell disaster caused unnecessary difficulty because there is no official record of address. The ‘Windrush scandal’ would never have happened if ID cards were in use. The ‘hostile illegal immigrant environment’ wouldn’t have been necessary. We’d know the EU citizens who’d keep right of residency. If we’d have remained in the EU, a card would have made a passport unnecessary. We have no idea whatsoever how many people are here illegally, many working in the black market (as the French allege), maybe in crime, and creating a burden without contributing, or even being counted in the increasing population. I don’t trust the electoral rolls as much as I’d like.
Modern technology makes them easy to manage and check when necessary, although initial introduction would encounter large and interesting problems.
I also think that the freedom for British citizens to have an unlimited number of passports is another anachronism, allowing holders to play fast and loose if so inclined.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago

I have no problem with a ‘centralised ID card’ as the cloud, as I suppose you could describe it (banks, passports, card payments, doctors/dentist notes, mobile phone signal/text tracking/logging etc etc etc), already has everything about me in bucket loads anyway – what’s the problem with centralising it? Nothing to hide nothing to fear I reckon

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago

Andrew – the logging of a pile of boring data is not the problem.

Once ID Cards have been introduced, we will be required to use them all the time – at the doctors, in the bank, buying goods over £500, going on holiday etc. Your life will become completely bound up in your ID Card. No ID Card = no ordinary life.

The Government will have the power to turn off your ID Card if you’ve been a naughty boy.

Do you think that given so much power, a government will not use it? You only need to look at the Covid over-reaction (and the amount of people cheerleading for more of it) to realise we are very close to a police state. ID cards will make it far easier and in a very short space of time, you will have something to hide or you will have become a drone.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

Once upon a time, I used to keep my passport in a safe, to be extracted once a year. Now, I keep it in my desk because I needed it so frequently, and was quite glad to receive a photo driving licence, which I carry in my wallet, in the same way as I have found e.g. French people to do – when I needed to confirm their identity, it was out in seconds, quite unlike the struggle I had with British people when complying with money laundering regulations.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago

If I trusted our Government, I’d consider it. But I don’t. The Covid / vaccine farce has convinced me that they are just a bunch of revolting Eton-old-boys who have been bought by big business and, like Franklin here, are making hay whilst thhe sun shines.

juggledonuts
juggledonuts
3 years ago

Hopefully logic will prevail . ID cards would indeed set us free and simplify so much of our lives. Those with things to hide will shout very loudly in opposition.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  juggledonuts

I can’t tell you if you’re being satirical or not. I am not against ID cards per se, but I do recognize their potential for misuse by a government with despotic ambitions. Claiming that those who have ‘things to hide will shout very loudly in opposition’ is a rather dim and naive view to take against those with legitimate concerns about their adoption. In some countries, citizens risk a fine for leaving their home without one. There is also the risk of criminals stealing data from them and using another person’s identity for illicit purposes.

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  juggledonuts

Should I then feel guilty and ashamed because I value my honest privacy and wish to protect it from prying eyes? Your use of the words ‘set us free’ is a fine example of Orwellian NewSpeak, because having to account for oneself on every occasion is the antithesis of what many still understand ‘freedom’ to mean. When there is no hiding place from authoritarian government then it is an ordinary, decent life which is at the greatest risk. The unannounced and intimidating presence at the door of suspicious officialdom is the ultimate degradation of civilised life. And the only lives this regime will simplify – and enrich – will be the lives of the millions of faceless state bureaucrats required to micromanage our every breathing hour. Your view frankly disgusts me.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

But if suspicious officialdom was investigating others by stopping cars and pedestrians in regard to you being burgled, robbed, assaulted or your car stolen, does that make you any the less free?

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

Surely if the police are pursuing enquiries in relation to actual law-breaking, and while responding to particular offences, they are defending the right of the law-abiding to go about their business unmolested, and thus are not interfering unnecessarily in people’s lives? That isn’t indiscriminate harassment, is it? It is just seeking information – ‘Did you see on Sunday last a red van with – – – etc’. That sort of enquiry. So, Yes, of course I support ordinary policing!

But I do object to the increasing demands for me to constantly re-validate my very existence, as when my passport has effectively now become an internal pass without which I cannot transact important personal business that was formerly possible to conduct by mutual recognition and consent between the parties directly involved – as between my banker or my broker and myself. I know this impertinent necessity is the result of our naturalisation of EU money laundering law, but it does illustrate how overweening authorities do tend to clamp down on even the law-abiding when expediting the pursuit of their suspects – suspects only identified by bureaucratic ommission, rather than by the commission of an actual crime.

The crucial difference between ordinary British policing that follows actual lines of enquiry and seeks to discover individuals that can legitimately be targeted as likely suspects, and an institutionalisation of suspicion that expediently regards everyone as guilty until proven innocent, is that the individual under any ‘pass law’ system is always regarded with suspicion and is consequently constantly under the obligation to demonstrate his innocence. The basis for this difference is that The English Common Law leaves undisturbed the person who does not break any law, while the Code Napoleon of the EU, by contrast, requires us always to sue for the permission of authority, which must licence even our legal activities by demanding to see our permits on every occasion.

We began to import such onerous and offensive continental ways of doing things upon our misguided participation in the experiment which led to the EU.

The continental Code Napoleon is a fundamentally dictatorial system, more fitted for a country on a war footing. The secret is in the legal term itself; it is a law of diktat, quite alien to the spirit of British freedom. We do not want more of the same, particularly when we are now in the process of disentangling ourselves from such a disgraceful historic betrayal of our national character and our best interests.

Technology already gives authority far too much opportunity to institute a surveillance state staffed by secret and unaccountable policing agents, and we really do not want Victor Hugo’s scenario of Inspector Javert contra Jean Valjean to play out in a British context. Such a system is nothing more nor less than a form of terror to control a despised and suspect mass. The will to such controlling omnipotence over the populace is, ironically, a sign of a weak administration driven by it’s fear of the mass discontent aroused by it’s incompetent and unjust rule.

Such universal contempt and suspicion by authority for it’s own populace is morally unhealthy. Such a regime sees everyone under it’s rule as guilty of something. It is institutionally paranoid. But we cannot live constantly as if we were fugitives from the law, running in fear EVEN WHEN WE KNOW OF NOTHING WE WOULD ORDINARILY WISH TO HIDE, as this makes a prison of society itself, when people fear the ‘knock on the door’ of arbitrary suspicion, the suspicion that makes our very existence as independent beings an offence against the prying State! The representatives of such a State may come armed as Judge and Jury – even Executioner, when the law becomes so absolute in trusting it’s own unaccountable procedures, that are open to no-one’s scrutiny, as having been decided a priori on the basis of mere bureaucratic infringements. Such as their ability to cast doubt on one’s legitimate identity by simply confiscating it in the form of the ID document. This is what inevitably comes to pass when one surrenders one’s own identity into official hands.

Needing permission to go about our ordinary business is indentured slavery. The ID card is the badge of the crushed and controlled helotry of a Police State, who daren’t raise their heads or voices without permission. It is very like the sinister calls for a Health Card for all during the present over-dramatised epidemic. The pressure for surveillance and control is now continuous, and totalitarian measures are being introduced at every opportunity, measures which, if we are not vigilant, will long outlive the threat of the virus. Our liberty is under immediate threat.

Those who declare that they wish to betray their fellows by defending, and propping up, any such rotten regime do, frankly, disgust me.

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

Surely if the police are pursuing enquiries in relation to actual law-breaking, and while responding to particular offences, they are defending the right of the law-abiding to go about their business unmolested, and thus are not interfering unnecessarily in people’s lives? That isn’t indiscriminate harassment, is it? It is just seeking information – ‘Did you see on Sunday last a red van with – – – etc’. That sort of enquiry. So, Yes, of course I support ordinary policing!

But I do object to the increasing demands for me to constantly re-validate my very existence, as when my passport has effectively now become an internal pass without which I cannot transact important personal business that was formerly possible to conduct by mutual recognition and consent between the parties directly involved – as between my banker or my broker and myself. I know this impertinent necessity is the result of our naturalisation of EU money laundering law, but it does illustrate how overweening authorities do tend to clamp down on even the law-abiding when expediting the pursuit of their suspects – suspects only identified by bureaucratic omission, rather than by the commission of an actual crime.

The crucial difference between ordinary British policing that follows actual lines of enquiry and seeks to discover individuals that can legitimately be targeted as likely suspects, and an institutionalisation of suspicion that expediently regards everyone as guilty until proven innocent, is that the individual under any ‘pass law’ system is always regarded with suspicion and is consequently constantly under the obligation to demonstrate his innocence. The basis for this difference is that The English Common Law leaves undisturbed the person who does not break any law, while the Code Napoleon of the EU, by contrast, requires us always to sue for the permission of authority, which must licence even our legal activities by demanding to see our permits on every occasion.

We began to import such onerous and offensive continental ways of doing things upon our misguided participation in the experiment which led to the EU.

The continental Code Napoleon is a fundamentally dictatorial system, more fitted for a country on a war footing. The secret is in the legal term itself; it is a law of diktat, quite alien to the spirit of British freedom. We do not want more of the same, particularly when we are now in the process of disentangling ourselves from such a disgraceful historic betrayal of our national character and our best interests.

Technology already gives authority far too much opportunity to institute a surveillance state staffed by secret and unaccountable policing agents, and we really do not want Victor Hugo’s scenario of Inspector Javert contra Jean Valjean to play out in a British context. Such a system is nothing more nor less than a form of terror to control a despised and suspect mass. The will to such controlling omnipotence over the populace is, ironically, a sign of a weak administration driven by it’s fear of the mass discontent aroused by it’s incompetent and unjust rule.

Such universal contempt and suspicion by authority for it’s own populace is morally unhealthy. Such a regime sees everyone under it’s rule as guilty of something. It is institutionally paranoid. But we cannot live constantly as if we were fugitives from the law, running in fear EVEN WHEN WE KNOW OF NOTHING WE WOULD ORDINARILY WISH TO HIDE, as this makes a prison of society itself, when people fear the ‘knock on the door’ of arbitrary suspicion, the suspicion that makes our very existence as independent beings an offence against the prying State! The representatives of such a State may come armed as Judge and Jury – even Executioner, when the law becomes so absolute in trusting it’s own unaccountable procedures, that are open to no-one’s scrutiny, as having been decided a priori on the basis of mere bureaucratic infringements. Such as their ability to cast doubt on one’s legitimate identity by simply confiscating it in the form of the ID document. This is what inevitably comes to pass when one surrenders one’s own identity into official hands.

Needing permission to go about our ordinary business is indentured slavery. The ID card is the badge of the crushed and controlled helotry of a Police State, who daren’t raise their heads or voices without permission. It is very like the sinister calls for a Health Card for all during the present over-dramatised epidemic. The pressure for surveillance and control is now continuous, and totalitarian measures are being introduced at every opportunity, measures which, if we are not vigilant, will long outlive the threat of the virus. Our liberty is under immediate threat.

Those who declare that they wish to betray their fellows by defending, and propping up, any such rotten regime do, frankly, disgust me.

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

Surely if the police are pursuing enquiries in relation to actual law-breaking, and while responding to particular offences, they are defending the right of the law-abiding to go about their business unmolested, and thus are not interfering unnecessarily in people’s lives? That isn’t indiscriminate harassment, is it? It is just seeking information – ‘Did you see on Sunday last a red van with – – – etc’. That sort of enquiry. So, Yes, of course I support ordinary policing!

But I do object to the increasing demands for me to constantly re-validate my very existence, as when my passport has effectively now become an internal pass without which I cannot transact important personal business that was formerly possible to conduct by mutual recognition and consent between the parties directly involved – as between my banker or my broker and myself. I know this impertinent necessity is the result of our naturalisation of EU money laundering law, but it does illustrate how overweening authorities do tend to clamp down on even the law-abiding when expediting the pursuit of their suspects – suspects only identified by bureaucratic ommission, rather than by the commission of an actual crime.

The crucial difference between ordinary British policing that follows actual lines of enquiry and seeks to discover individuals that can legitimately be targeted as likely suspects, and an institutionalisation of suspicion that expediently regards everyone as guilty until proven innocent, is that the individual under any ‘pass law’ system is always regarded with suspicion and is consequently constantly under the obligation to demonstrate his innocence. The basis for this difference is that The English Common Law leaves undisturbed the person who does not break any law, while the Code Napoleon of the EU, by contrast, requires us always to sue for the permission of authority, which must licence even our legal activities by demanding to see our permits on every occasion.

We began to import such onerous and offensive continental ways of doing things upon our misguided participation in the experiment which led to the EU.

The continental Code Napoleon is a fundamentally dictatorial system, more fitted for a country on a war footing. The secret is in the legal term itself; it is a law of diktat, quite alien to the spirit of British freedom. We do not want more of the same, particularly when we are now in the process of disentangling ourselves from such a disgraceful historic betrayal of our national character and our best interests.

Technology already gives authority far too much opportunity to institute a surveillance state staffed by secret and unaccountable policing agents, and we really do not want Victor Hugo’s scenario of Inspector Javert contra Jean Valjean to play out in a British context. Such a system is nothing more nor less than a form of terror to control a despised and suspect mass. The will to such controlling omnipotence over the populace is, ironically, a sign of a weak administration driven by it’s fear of the mass discontent aroused by it’s incompetent and unjust rule.

Such universal contempt and suspicion by authority for it’s own populace is morally unhealthy. Such a regime sees everyone under it’s rule as guilty of something. It is institutionally paranoid. But we cannot live constantly as if we were fugitives from the law, running in fear EVEN WHEN WE KNOW OF NOTHING WE WOULD ORDINARILY WISH TO HIDE, as this makes a prison of society itself, when people fear the ‘knock on the door’ of arbitrary suspicion, the suspicion that makes our very existence as independent beings an offence against the prying State! The representatives of such a State may come armed as Judge and Jury – even Executioner, when the law becomes so absolute in trusting it’s own unaccountable procedures, that are open to no-one’s scrutiny, as having been decided a priori on the basis of mere bureaucratic infringements. Such as their ability to cast doubt on one’s legitimate identity by simply confiscating it in the form of the ID document. This is what inevitably comes to pass when one surrenders one’s own identity into official hands.

Needing permission to go about our ordinary business is indentured slavery. The ID card is the badge of the crushed and controlled helotry of a Police State, who daren’t raise their heads or voices without permission. It is very like the sinister calls for a Health Card for all during the present over-dramatised epidemic. The pressure for surveillance and control is now continuous, and totalitarian measures are being introduced at every opportunity, measures which, if we are not vigilant, will long outlive the threat of the virus. Our liberty is under immediate threat.

Those who declare that they wish to betray their fellows by defending, and propping up, any such rotten regime do, frankly, disgust me.

philip.davies31
philip.davies31
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

Surely if the police are pursuing enquiries in relation to actual law-breaking, and while responding to particular offences, they are defending the right of the law-abiding to go about their business unmolested, and thus are not interfering unnecessarily in people’s lives? That isn’t indiscriminate harassment, is it? It is just seeking information – ‘Did you see on Sunday last a red van with – – – etc’. That sort of enquiry. So, Yes, of course I support ordinary policing!

But I do object to the increasing demands for me to constantly re-validate my very existence, as when my passport has effectively now become an internal pass without which I cannot transact important personal business that was formerly possible to conduct by mutual recognition and consent between the parties directly involved – as between my banker or my broker and myself. I know this impertinent necessity is the result of our naturalisation of EU money laundering law, but it does illustrate how overweening authorities do tend to clamp down on even the law-abiding when expediting the pursuit of their suspects – suspects only identified by bureaucratic ommission, rather than by the commission of an actual crime.

The crucial difference between ordinary British policing that follows actual lines of enquiry and seeks to discover individuals that can legitimately be targeted as likely suspects, and an institutionalisation of suspicion that expediently regards everyone as guilty until proven innocent, is that the individual under any ‘pass law’ system is always regarded with suspicion and is consequently constantly under the obligation to demonstrate his innocence. The basis for this difference is that The English Common Law leaves undisturbed the person who does not break any law, while the Code Napoleon of the EU, by contrast, requires us always to sue for the permission of authority, which must licence even our legal activities by demanding to see our permits on every occasion.

We began to import such onerous and offensive continental ways of doing things upon our misguided participation in the experiment which led to the EU.

The continental Code Napoleon is a fundamentally dictatorial system, more fitted for a country on a war footing. The secret is in the legal term itself; it is a law of diktat, quite alien to the spirit of British freedom. We do not want more of the same, particularly when we are now in the process of disentangling ourselves from such a disgraceful historic betrayal of our national character and our best interests.

Technology already gives authority far too much opportunity to institute a surveillance state staffed by secret and unaccountable policing agents, and we really do not want Victor Hugo’s scenario of Inspector Javert contra Jean Valjean to play out in a British context. Such a system is nothing more nor less than a form of terror to control a despised and suspect mass. The will to such controlling omnipotence over the populace is, ironically, a sign of a weak administration driven by it’s fear of the mass discontent aroused by it’s incompetent and unjust rule.

Such universal contempt and suspicion by authority for it’s own populace is morally unhealthy. Such a regime sees everyone under it’s rule as guilty of something. It is institutionally paranoid. But we cannot live constantly as if we were fugitives from the law, running in fear EVEN WHEN WE KNOW OF NOTHING WE WOULD ORDINARILY WISH TO HIDE, as this makes a prison of society itself, when people fear the ‘knock on the door’ of arbitrary suspicion, the suspicion that makes our very existence as independent beings an offence against the prying State! The representatives of such a State may come armed as Judge and Jury – even Executioner, when the law becomes so absolute in trusting it’s own unaccountable procedures, that are open to no-one’s scrutiny, as having been decided a priori on the basis of mere bureaucratic infringements. Such as their ability to cast doubt on one’s legitimate identity by simply confiscating it in the form of the ID document. This is what inevitably comes to pass when one surrenders one’s own identity into official hands.

Needing permission to go about our ordinary business is indentured slavery. The ID card is the badge of the crushed and controlled helotry of a Police State, who daren’t raise their heads or voices without permission. It is very like the sinister calls for a Health Card for all during the present over-dramatised epidemic. The pressure for surveillance and control is now continuous, and totalitarian measures are being introduced at every opportunity, measures which, if we are not vigilant, will long outlive the threat of the virus. Our liberty is under immediate threat.

Those who declare that they wish to betray their fellows by defending, and propping up, any such rotten regime do, frankly, disgust me.