Coming soon, national ID cards in the UK
Coming to the UK? National ID card
Blunkett: ID cards about removing fear
Simon Jeffery, Mark Oliver and agencies
Monday November 29, 2004
David Blunkett, the home secretary, today denied he was shifting Britain towards an "authoritarian state" as he unveiled plans for identity cards and a national identity database.
From 2008, all passport applicants will be issued with cards, and a decision will be made in 2011 or 2012 as to whether holding identity cards will be compulsory.
An identity database using biometric data such as iris scans and fingerprints will back up the cards and provide further information including photograph, signature, date of birth, address and nationality.
Mr Blunkett - who is at the centre of allegations that he fast-tracked a visa application to help a former lover - said his aim in introducing the scheme was to help to "remove fearfulness from people's lives".
"The national identity card scheme will give people confidence, convenience and security in an increasingly vital aspect of modern life - proving and protecting their identity," he told the Commons.
Ministers argue the project will combat terrorism, illegal working, illegal immigration and the abuse of public services such as the NHS.
The bill contained little new information on the cost of the massive project, previously estimated at up to £3.1bn, but it revealed that card readers required at thousands of benefits offices, GPs' surgeries and government departments will cost up to £750 each.
It also unveiled a series of new offences: a fine of up to £1,000 for failing to disclose a change of address or other important personal details for use in the database and up to 10 years in jail for fraudulent use of the card or tampering with the database.
He said the cost of the scheme over 10 years would be a "comparatively small" price to pay if the cards protected Britons against identity fraud, which he said cost the UK £1.3bn a year.
The price of a passport is expected to rise from £42 to £85 when identity cards are introduced.
You want something to worry about, this is it. National ID cards are the first step to an authoritarian state. Especially with a national database behind it.
And of course, they will be forged and stolen.
posted by Steve @ 7:47:00 PM