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3. National Identity Cards

Many countries around the world, from Argentina to Turkey to South Africa, require their citizens to carry around identification papers.

ID card

There has been an ongoing debate about whether to adopt such a policy in the UK. And, if we did, whether to make use of the latest technology to ensure that everyone can be uniquely identified. Biometric data such as fingerprints would be included in the card, along with a photograph registered in a national database.

There is no real technical barrier to do this, after all every new UK passport has similar technology.

The controversy lies in the right of the innocent citizen to privacy and why should they be forced to carry around such a card.

Argument for:

  • It is argued that it will reduce crime and terrorism.
  • It will also be convenient for opening bank accounts and so on as proof of identity.
  • No need to carry other forms of ID e.g. driving licence or passport

Argument against:

  • Citizens should not have to prove who they are wherever, whenever
  • We already have documents to prove ID - passport, driving licence, so why another one
  • It is expensive. Why should we pay for yet another document
  • It may not be secure - there is a chance of fake ID cards being used for identity theft
  • Used for surveillance - further erosion of privacy
  • Risk of it being scanned and cloned, much like bank cards are today.

For now, the idea of a national identity card in the UK has been shelved. But it may be revisited by a future government.

Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: What is a national identity card?