On 11th November 2003, the British Government announced its proposal to introduce a national identity card scheme to Great Britain.
In вЂњIdentity Cards вЂ“ The Next StepsвЂќ a report published by the Home Office on the same day, the Government announce their reasons for the introduction of this scheme. They claim that advancing technology and greater global mobility is making it increasingly difficult to authenticate peopleвЂ™s identity. The consequences of this have been a substantial increase in; illegal migration and working, identity theft and fraud and organised crime and terrorism, which has resulted in increasing threats to our security and prosperity. The Government state that their proposal is part of a comprehensive strategy to contain these threats and to establish a more reliable way of authenticating peopleвЂ™s identity.
The Government plan intend to use Biometric introduce the scheme on an incremental basis, proposing that by 2007 all new driving licensees and passports will include biometrics data, with separate identity cards for those that do not hold either of these documents. They proposed that the scheme will be compulsory for all by 2013.
European countries that already have Identity cards include Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. However whilst the GovernmentвЂ™s proposals have received support from many members of the British public, there is also much opposition and controversy surrounding the motion. Whilst some feel that the huge benefits to society outweigh any potential negative effects, others greatly oppose the cards, believing that the effects could not only be disastrous, but also that the reasons put forward by the Government for the need to introduce cards would not in any way be resolved by the introduction and enforcement of them.
Within this report, the author has looked at the main arguments put forward by the Government and supporters for the introduction of the cards and also the main arguments put forward by those opposed to the cards and their reasons for this. Due to the topical nature of this subject, this report had been researched mainly from information sourced on the Worldwide Web and Government papers.
Following the terrorist activities in New York on Sept 11th 2001, one of the key arguments put forward by the Government for the introduction of ID cards is the increasing threat of terrorists and organised criminals and their theft of identities to aid their criminal activities. The Government argue that it is essential that they take steps to counteract this, stating: -
вЂњTerrorists use false and multiple identities to help undertake and finance their activities in the UK and aboard. False and multiple identities are also essential вЂњtools of the tradeвЂќ for organised crime to facilitate money laundering and also other crime which causes the most misery in our communitiesвЂ¦Disrupting