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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
ID cards: Does Britain need them?
The UK government is considering making identity cards compulsory as part of a crackdown on terrorism.

The cards could help police in the fight against terrorists like those responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington.

Yet, unlike most of continental Europe, Britain has no national ID card system giving police and other authorities a quick and easy way to make sure people really are who they say they are.

But civil liberties groups have always resisted the idea of compulsory ID cards, which they see as an infringement of personal privacy.

Would ID cards help in the crackdown on terrorism? Are they an encroachment on people's privacy?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I very much doubt that anyone who has every been a member of a club or society has ever objected to producing proof of membership when asked to do so. Why is it apparently considered so different to have proof of membership of this particular society? Maybe the real problem is the many individuals who are quite happy to enjoy all the many and varied benefits of being part of a civilised society without taking any of the responsibilities that should go along with membership.
Dave Hermelin, UK

Already the UK has more CCTV than any other country per head

Alan Caddy, UK
This is a frightening development. Already the UK has more CCTV than any other country per head. Marry this with the proposed checks on internet traffic in the form of the black boxes and George Orwell was a visionary. 1984 was a typo.
Alan Caddy, UK

The use of I.D. cards can only be a good thing for all law-biding citizens - only those with something to hide have to worry about people knowing who they are. These cards could save lives if medical information was put on them. Some of this could be in barcode/magnetic strip form so that one's medical history could be downloaded by a hospitals etc. They will also allow the detection of underage drinkers and smokers. I can't see any thing wrong in them at all
Steve Regester, England

If you have nothing to hide, what is the objection? What utter rubbish. That argument assumes that the people with the access to the information on us, those in control of our movements within our own country, are impartial, non-prejudiced and apolitical. That is what they will not be. They will be human beings. While we now have a relatively liberal government, put these sorts of powers in place and you may find that the next one is quite different.
Andrew Bartlett, UK

In Malaysia, it is compulsory to carry a personal ID card. It helped in reducing crime as the police force can easily know if I am a Malaysian or an intruder in the country. In case of a dead body being found, the ID also aids the authority to notify the next of kin. After all, it was the British Government that introduced the ID system in Malaysia during the colonial period. The UK should have a better understanding in the administration of personal IDs.
Eddy Wong, Malaysia

We are monitored every day of our lives as soon as we step outside our front doors. We leave a trail whenever we use credit cards, banks, the NHS, roads or public transport. One more card collating important information about us will make little difference to our individual freedoms. However it will be a very useful tool in monitoring those involved in all criminal activities including terrorism. It would also serve to deter social benefits fraudsters. But I find it extraordinary that whilst a huge majority of those polled favoured ID cards our politicians still appear to favour the views of civil liberty minority. Is this a democracy serving the majority of its electorate or a country continually conceding to minorities?
Sue, England, UK

While I'm not disturbed by the idea of carrying personal details on a card at all times, I am more worried about losing the thing - losing a bus pass is one thing, losing your National Insurance card isn't bad providing you've taken a note of the number, but what would happen if you lose your ID card? Just wait for the first "88-year old woman loses ID card, taken into custody" story if they're introduced.
Darren, UK

People are worrying about having to prove who they are if they carry an ID card. The civil libertarians are concerned about the civil liberties aspect of carrying an ID card. For once in their lives these worriers should start looking at the advantages of an ID card and not be totally negative in their attitude. If you have not done anything wrong then don't worry. For the civil libertarians, the ID card is for the retention of our civil liberties and not become a police state as a result of terrorists and other wrongdoers. For those who do not want to prove continually who they are, I suggest they look at their lives today and take stock of the number of times a day, week or what ever that they are asked to prove who they are at present.
Alan, England

An ID card would be forged by those who wanted to. An ID card would always have to be on your person, even when playing golf! A bogus asylum seeker could swear blind he had lost it! There are 80 million Nat. Ins. numbers issued (about 20 million more than the population) How would an ID card deal with the ability of those who issued them? It's another slice of "big brother". No thanks!
Maurice, England (I think)

Why does David Blunkett believe that we should all somehow stand meekly by whilst unquestioningly accepting a "reduction in our civil liberties"? I have lived in countries that require the possession of an ID card and have previously had no problem with the notion. What offends me today and now puts me firmly in the "no" camp, is the cynical way in which this Government have used a terrorist event that has captured the public mind to introduce a fundamental change in policy without even mentioning a referendum. Governments may be allowed to take special measures at times of conflict, but we should all remind ourselves that, despite President Bush's use of such inflammatory language at times, we are not yet a nation at war.
Anna, UK

We need to get this into perspective. ID cards are a very small chunk of the overall "civil liberties" issue to be taken away, it is nothing compared with the liberty that some very bad people running around would like to exploit, and take away. It looks as if we need to give some away, in order to secure our future.
Rob, UK

I don't want to be under threat of arrest if I forget to carry a piece of plastic

Sam, UK
ID cards will not stop terrorism. because there is fraud. I don't want to carry a wallet all the time with an ID card in it. I don't need to identify myself when I buy something or go somewhere, credit cards and passports do that. I don't want to be under threat of arrest if I forget to carry a piece of plastic. What kind of criminal law is that? Can you call this a free society? I think not!
Sam, UK

Many of us are burying our heads in the sand claiming ID cards will not work. Why not support a high tech scheme (fingerprint or iris recognition) that in most instances will make it very difficult for terrorists to plan and implement large scale murder. This scheme will be a very expensive one but probably less compared to the extra cost for security manpower that will now be needed. The fear of 'Big Brother' is relative compared to the fear that terrorists may have chemical, biological or nuclear capabilities which could also interfere with my civil liberties.
Tom Kiely, St Albans, UK

The more I see of this debate, the more the argument becomes, "If you don't have anything to hide, what's the problem?" against, "What use are ID cards in the fight against terrorism?". I think the answer to the second question is very little will be achieved against terrorism but it will cost a lot of money to run. Administering 50 million cards will cost billions. Monitoring them will either take up a huge number of police or be completely ineffective. Many other countries have ID cards (e.g. driver's licence in USA) and these countries have suffered terrorism.

As for hiding things, what will be revealed by an ID card? It will say who I am but not what my intentions are. I won't be declaring myself as a terrorist when I fill in the application form.
Andy, Surrey, UK

Is one more card really going to cause so much hassle?

James, Tokyo, Japan
As a foreigner living and working in Japan, I must carry my foreigner's card at all times. It is the most useful card I have ever had. I can use it as ID for buying a mobile phone, making reservations, going to a nightclub and so on. Nowadays most people have credit cards in their wallet, is one more card really going to cause so much hassle?
James, Tokyo, Japan

People are assuming that photo-ID cards are infallible. However, we have all seen cases where someone has changed their hair colour and put on weight and now look nothing like their passport photo. In the real world, people are not going to spend ages scrutinising these cards - if the age, sex and skin colour match then, more often than not, they will be accepted.
Chris Walker, UK

The civil libertarian issues are profound

Tania, UK
Apparently at least one of the suspected highjackers in the US was travelling on a fake passport. Fake passport or fake ID card - either way this proposed measure will do nothing to fight terrorists with the ability to create their own identities anyway. What it will do however, is provide an establishment which has already been branded institutionally racist, another tool with which to lawfully exercise their discriminatory and prejudiced views. The civil libertarian issues are profound.
Tania, UK

Here in France most people carry ID cards and non-French residents carry a "carte de sejour". I do not consider this in itsself to be an infringement of my civil liberties. In many ways (cheques etc) it makes life easier. But, I do object to the mindset ID cards create. I often have to prove I am who I say I am, then I have to prove that I live where I say I live, then I have to prove that my children are my children and that they live where I say they live and then that they go to the school I say they go to, and so it goes on. ID cards are not a problem but the mindset that requires them is.
LTW, France

As a Brit in the States, it's become second nature to carry an ID card as this is a legal requirement. It's called a driver's licence. The system though is flawed because whilst most people drive, everyone under the age of 15 does not. I'd have thought that in the UK, since we already have a unique numerical identifier, the National Insurance Number, all one would need to do is add a photograph, and put the whole thing on a piece of plastic. What's the problem??
David Wright, USA

I grew up in Apartheid South Africa and ID Documents were the instrument of racial classification, the first weapon of racial oppression. However, post-1994, whilst racial classification was discontinued, ID documents were not. In an established democracy like the UK, there should be no fear of the state manipulating ID documents for the oppression of its citizens. Accept ID documents as an instrument of the state and commerce to deliver security and efficiencies. However, be aware, ID documents are a powerful tool of the fascist state.
Philip Pitel, Australia

I think we all need some identification but the main worry is someone may steal our identity. Remember the movie? Also it's another step towards the famous George Orwell novel 1984.
Jupiter, San Francisco, USA

Most of Europe and (I believe) the US have ID cards. Does it stop terrorism? No. This is just the UK government finding a convenient excuse to impose yet more control over us, using the recent attacks in the same cynical way they used the hysteria over child abuse as an excuse to pry into people's electronic communications with the RIP Act. What's the point of defending a democracy if we have to turn it into a police state in the process?
John W, UK

Let the people who want them pay for them

Peter M, UK
Why should I have to prove to anyone who I say I am? The IRA failed to force them on us. Why give in to any other fundamentalist threat? Let the people who want them pay for them. The rest of us - just say no!
Peter M, UK

I cannot understand what possible objection any honest person can have to carrying a photo ID card. I already have photo debit and credit cards and would not wish to be without the additional security that they give me.
Brian Crockett, England

I have an ID card in Singapore and it has a thumb print as well as a picture which means I can clear immigration by scanning my thumb really quickly. I think it's a great system and it works. Criminals operate by being anonymous - stop that and you stop crime
Mike Smith, Singapore

ID cards would be as inconvenient as carrying keys and misplacing them when you really need them. I propose a barcode be tattooed on our bums so we can prove who we are...or profess to be.
Ron, Australia

I am in favour of introducing ID cards as part of a wider ID scheme. If you have nothing to hide, it's not a problem? The Government should make greater use of the photo driving licence as an ID card to stop credit card and all manner of fraud.
Phil W, UK

ID cards are not feared by law-abiding people

Owen Palmer, Spain
People in Spain accept ID cards as a method of adding security to financial transactions. I have never been asked by a policeman for my residence permit in the 14 years I have spent here. ID cards are not feared by law-abiding people.
Owen Palmer, Spain

A card with your information on it will not stop any criminal act. It does make it easier to access database information however. If that's what is desired, then go for it. Given the choice, I would not carry an ID card. Too much information is already available for misuse.
Alex PM, USA

ID cards are not an invasion into our privacy. People who are up in arms at the thought of them must have something to hide and are worried about getting caught. I say bring them on and help put a stop to all of those people who get their kicks from inflicting misery on others. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.
Craig Bessant, England

People need to come out of the dark ages! ID cards would not be there for the government to control the population of Great Britain. This is not an infringement on any civil liberties. There is something called the Data Protection Act. This has so many positive aspects. These cards could carry medical information, national insurance details, tax codes, next of kin information, and so on. I would welcome this proposal and if it came to a vote mine would be yes. As for terrorism, these cards could also carry criminal records. If criminals had to produce this when booking fights, buying restricted goods or hiring cars it would make their life more difficult.
Andrew Brown, Yorkshire, England, UK

ID cards for freedom? Closely followed by bombing for peace

David, UK
What would we want an identity card to do? Spain has them, and they don't stop ETA. Germany had them and they didn't stop the Baader Meinhof gang. Israel has them now and I expect that Palestinians have to carry them too. Not much good there either, are they? I believe that Nazi Germany was pretty hot on ID papers, but they still lost the last world war. ID cards for freedom? Closely followed by bombing for peace.
David, UK

The US Immigration and Naturalization service has a very sophisticated green card/ID card that has your fingerprint and photo ID on both sides, thus making it very hard to forge. ID cards are a good idea. Even the US is considering requiring all of its citizens to possess one, as well as our driver's license. What would be the harm in it?
Nicole Groom, California, USA

The events of September 11 remind us all that democracy has to be protected. Citizens with ID cards should enjoy more freedoms because they will have nothing to hide.
Colin Grace, UK

Has everyone forgotten that the IRA men who were arrested in Colombia had fake UK and Irish passports? If they can fake a passport, an ID card is hardly going to be a problem for them.
Jon Livesey, USA

Presumably, those who claim "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear" are also in favour of indiscriminate phone bugging, e-mail monitoring and government CCTV in their homes. If not, why not? If you've got nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear I've lived elsewhere with these systems too, and hated them. If I pay my taxes and commit no anti-social crime, what business is it of the government where I am, what I am doing, who I know and what I spend my money on?
Phil Hockley, UK

A mass of private information is already held on us all

John Broadway, UK
I have carried an ID card nearly all my adult life, first as a Serviceman in the Royal Navy and later as an ex-pat working and living in Asia and Europe. I have never seen this as interfering with my civil liberties - in fact I would say it has enhanced them. It has shown that I have the right to be in the country where I am temporarily resident and I am entitled to the protection of the authorities and assistance if I require it.

Big Brother watching and loss of "civil liberties" are, I believe groundless fears - a mass of private information is already held on us all - this is part of the modern world and on the whole it makes our lives run smoother.
John Broadway, UK

In response to Anthony, UK and others, why shouldn't you carry an ID card to prove you are who you say you are? Would you go out of the house without your credit card? Would you expect to drive a car without a driving licence? Why see it as a loss of liberty. It is only a loss of liberty to those that hope to deceive and gain some advantage.
Martyn, UK

The introduction of compulsory ID cards would be a major blow to our civil liberties and human rights. It would be both cynical and shameful of the government to take advantage of the current public unease and fearfulness to introduce such unnecessary measures.
Chris D., UK

I've never heard an explanation of why ID cards work better than any other existing form of ID. I have a passport, I have a driver's licence, I have a national insurance number, I have a birth certificate. How many more documents do we have to carry before we're totally safe from everything?
Steve Bradley, Scotland

As a Brit currently living in continental Europe I find it frankly embarrassing to read the majority of your correspondents banging on about civil liberties with concern bordering on paranoia. Photo ID cards are certainly not infallible and non-forgeable, but if they contain the correct information they could simplify the process of tracking enormously. They could also be very useful in combating credit card fraud which, due to the ridiculous signature rather than pin code system generally used in the UK, is ludicrously easy. Brits have more to worry about in terms of civil liberties with demographic and consumer information circulated by ad-mail companies and Internet cookies.
Alexandra, France (ex UK)

How exactly will the proposed ID cards help fight terrorism ? Germany has an ID card system and a number of suspects of the NYC attack lived, work and were educated in that Germany, so it clearly didn't make any difference there. Of course there's the nothing to hide, nothing to fear argument but most of the info for the ID card can be found on my credit card, driver's licence etc.
James, Austria

ID cards could have prevented the attacks in the US by creating a trail for intelligence to pick up. Using advanced analysis techniques, authorities can uncover links between seemingly unrelated events and therefore seemingly unrelated people. Usage of an ID card to make phone calls, catch taxis, ride trains, enter buildings, will improve the data that authorities have to work with. If you own a credit card, authorities can already track you. If you are a member of a credit card legacy program then you already willingly provide that data to other companies. ID cards are nothing new, just an aggregation and standardization of data they already have access to.
A Boros, UK

The thought of having to carry an ID card makes me angry. However, if the Government are serious, then they should use some common sense: If they are planning to go to the effort of scanning irises or taking fingerprints, then why don't they opt for a cheek-swab DNA profile instead? It's a nifty way of obtaining a DNA database of the UK's general population. Imagine how many burglars, rapists, murderers, etc. we could catch into the bargain. Our crime figures would plummet. I'd carry an ID card ONLY if it was linked to a DNA database. I'd risk arrest and refuse to carry any other kind of ID, on the grounds that it would be pointless.
Teresa, Hampshire, UK

We have enough intrusion and monitoring of our lives

Mark, Scotland
If we were confident that the ID card would do the trick - i.e. stop terrorism, then fine. But many of the previous notes indicate this isn't the case (ETA in Spain is a good example). Further, if we believe it to be good at deterring the terrorist, then when they use the false ID, that they will undoubtedly have, they may get more protection from "the system" than at present. No, we have enough intrusion and monitoring of our lives - I don't want to live in a society similar to Singapore or Hong Kong - hardly paragons of free democracies!
Mark, Scotland

There are no "fool proof" ID cards, all can be copied/falisified/illicitly manufactured. Why add to the bureaucracy? Why waste more taxpayer's money? Why infringe on our liberties?
Mike Woods, Australia

As a British citizen living in Belgium the idea of an ID card seemed strange at first but after twenty years in the country I can frankly say that their advantages have outweighed any of the problems I foresaw in having to carry one. Citizens of Belgium can travel in the European Community without a passport and when it comes to financial transactions the card proves to be most useful. I don't think its introduction in Britain would reduce terrorism but it certainly would reduce fraud.
M Whiteley, Belgium

I am not a "lefty" nor do I belong to any Libertarian group but I would object to having to carry ID at all times to prove who I am. Some of the people contributing to this argument frighten me and to suggest that if I object I must therefore have something to hide is both insulting and sinister. Comparing ID cards with credit cards etc is facile - nobody walks up to you on the street and demands to see your Visa card with legal sanctions to follow if you do not produce it.
Bernard, UK

I would guess that the people who committed the atrocities in the USA recently had all their paperwork in order. If they didn't how did they manage to get so far, that'll be down to the poor security arrangements then. Eventually a British government will re-introduce ID cards as once the majority of drivers have the new style licences it will be much harder to resist the call for ID for all. I'm not sure what ID cards are supposed to achieve, is there really less crime in countries that have them?
Mike Parker, England

In my opinion, Identity cards are a bad idea. They have identity cards in Israel for Palestinians, and that has no effect on terror, there were identity cards in South Africa and that had no effect on the ANC. There are no historical examples of identity cards preventing terrorism, of which I am aware.
Ken Stealey, England

It all comes back to the issue of whether people who have nothing to hide are comfortable carrying a card or whether they will allow a minority of paranoid liberals win the day. I have no qualms about carrying an ID card in fact I warmly welcome the idea. If it helps cut back on terrorism that is a bonus but in everyday terms it will help reduce crime such as benefit fraud and other situations such as breaches of bail
Paul Gahan, United Kingdom

The fact that the Government is using the appalling events of the 11th Sept to "justify" the introduction of compulsory ID cards proves the depths of deceit to which they have reached. Nobody has given even the most tenuous explanation of how an ID card would have helped prevent the attack. This is just another step on the road to a police state. Those who are using the nothing to hide nothing to fear argument are deceiving themselves the argument could as easily be turned on it head, we should be asking why it is that the government seems to fear the people so much.
Martin Jury, UK

Everyone is happy to carry a driving licence and it gets accepted as proof of who you are, along with the credit cards. With an ID card when you drop your wallet it is so much harder to use the ill-gotten gains. We have now lived abroad for many years and it is not a hassle. When we pop over the border to France the ID card is as acceptable as the passport - and much smaller. The countries I have lived in require me to register my address as well. This makes my life so much easier, and yet in the UK we fight against these simple controls on the basis of civil liberties. I am free to come and go, those who want to commit crimes find it difficult - hence almost no car thefts here! How do I get my UK ID card ?
Mike, Switzerland

Here in Sweden it is virtually impossible to do anything without your personal identity number. Hospital visits, tax declarations, credit card payments, virtually everything. Initially it takes some getting used to but an honest person has nothing to fear. To be asked to identify oneself is surely not unreasonable. I am convinced that countries such as the UK that currently have no such system, have absolutely no idea who is living there.
Andrew Greenwood, Sweden

I have lived in Europe for many years now and have often thought how lucky people are in the UK for the things which they are not forced to do by the government, e.g. carry ID cards and do military service. ID cards are useful for proving a persons identification but I strongly believe that people should not be forced to carry them against their will.
David, Greece

You'd be better off sticking a chip in the back of my neck

Robert Crosby

Even if ID cards are adopted, who is going to police them and how? More importantly, what are they supposed to achieve? I can see all sorts of practical problems with this. You'd be better off sticking a chip in the back of my neck.
Robert Crosby, Nottingham, UK

So a terrorist would now have to falsify an ID card. That ought to stop them!
James Scobbie, Stirling, Scotland.

ID documents were issued in the UK during the last war. Although they lasted into peacetime, they were withdrawn due to a landmark case. A policeman had asked a driver for his ID which he did not possess and the case went to court. The trial judge felt that ID documents were just an excuse for harassment by the authorities and they were scrapped. In today's world of computers, opportunities for harassment are greater than ever. Let's learn from history instead of making the same mistakes over and over again.
Kahlil Garbo, United Kingdom

The main worry I would have with ID cards is if someone stole or forged mine and pretended to be me. It could make impersonation easier for criminals, instead of harder.
Simon, Yorkshire, England

The "big brother" argument is overstated and would be regulated against in a democracy

David Reeves, Hong Kong, SAR
I have worked in Hong Kong for 14 years. We have ID cards here and they are an advantage. Positive confirmation of identity is useful in all sorts of situations like shopping, banking and immigration. All law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear. The "big brother" argument is overstated and would be regulated against in a democracy.
David Reeves, Hong Kong, SAR

If we bring in ID cards then the terrorists will have won an important battle against our freedom while simply increasing the number of forged documents they need by one.
T Worthington, UK

Having lived in various continental European countries for 16 years now, I have never had the feeling that my civil liberties were being infringed by carrying an ID card. It's small enough to carry in my wallet and showing it at airports and borders is no big deal. Would it help to catch criminals and terrorists? You bet!
Nigel Mould, Belgium

I fail to see how the compulsory carrying of identity cards could help in any way

Stephen Early, UK
I fail to see how the compulsory carrying of identity cards could help in any way. They will be an inconvenience for ordinary people and we can be sure that any terrorists will be carrying valid-looking cards too. If the introduction of identity cards also means the introduction of a 'national ID number' then we will be sure to see an increase in the incidence and severity of identity theft.
Stephen Early, UK

They are and always have been a great idea. Not just for anti-terrorism but for ID in general - for buying liquor and tobacco etc. It is not a "big brother" issue it is something that could, ideally, make our lives a lot easier.
Andrew, England

In Singapore we carry an identity card called the National Registration Identity Card (NRIC). This is the same as was used by the British after World War 2. I think it is a useful document, not just for the authorities but also for businesses that require proof of identity etc. It is also a very useful tool for combating illegal immigration.
John McNally, Singapore

I frequently hear comments in the media like "The cards could help police in the fight against terrorists" but with no explanation of "how" they help. It is possible to fake any ID system currently in place anywhere. How could ID cards, fake or real, have prevented what happened in the US?
James Swift, Austria

If an ID card increases the chance of detecting criminals and terrorists or in any way restricts their operations, then they are justified. Champions of people's privacy go too far when their arguments provide more freedom to criminals than noticeable constraints on the innocent.
Noel Shaw, UK

Bring on the ID cards

Nat, Ireland
Having lived in Hong Kong where ID Cards were seen as a rite of passage to adulthood to young people, I cannot see the problem with carrying a card of some kind. What personal freedom are you giving up by being able to confirm your identity? None. If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about. Bring on the ID cards, I'd much rather take it than my passport to prove my age on a night out.
Nat, Ireland

Identification cards would not have stopped the terrorist attacks of two weeks ago. While an identity card will be able to tell law enforcement who I am how on earth is it going to tell them what my intent is? How are they to know that this well-educated young person is about to perform some terrorist act? The people who caused the atrocities of two weeks ago would not have been stopped by an American identity card as they were not American. They entered America with passports from their own countries which acted as their identification.
Dan Durrans, UK

The obligation to carry identity cards in Spain has existed for some time now in an attempt to restrict terrorist activities. Terrorism still exists and I doubt the introduction of such cards in the UK would have any impact on anyone determined enough. Would ID cards have stopped the tragic events in the US? I can't see how.
Bobina, Spain

I will refuse to have one

Pauline Jepson, UK
I will refuse to have one. I consider them to be a total infringement of my civil liberties-due to the sophistication of present-day technology. It would be possible for all kinds of information to be encrypted on the magnetic strip of these cards which you would not be aware of. What's more, they will be of no use whatever in fighting terrorism and crime - witness the current problems with credit card fraud!
Pauline Jepson, UK

I am a libertarian at heart, and (for instance) do not support widespread CCTV coverage. I see nothing wrong, however with an ID Cards, which could be used as a driver's licence, proof of age, backup to a credit card signature etc. I can think of no legitimate situation where it is acceptable to pose as another person and do not see it as an invasion of privacy to prove that you are who you say you are.
Ian Lowe, Scotland, UK

I would have no problems with carrying an identity card. I would not see it as a reduction of my civil liberties at all. I am a law-abiding person and believe that the only people who have anything to worry about are the ones with some thing to hide.
Alison, UK

The introduction of electronic money in the near future will be as detrimental to our civil liberties as any identification card but I doubt anyone would make a fuss as the benefits of electronic money are just too great. ID cards would be great if they lead to the catching of more benefit fraudsters.
Richard N, UK

Since the atrocity occurred we have seen massive job losses, stock market crashes, panic in the streets, fighting amongst ourselves and now we have the call for ID cards (again!). If we allow these things to happen to us haven't the terrorists won? Isn't that what they wanted to happen, to take away our freedoms? They must be laughing at how easily we scare, how easily we cower against them. Perhaps they did win on Sept 11th!
Mike Cooke, UK

The idea of ID cards is not a very palatable one to people in this country, and it is hard to see what use they would be, as a determined criminal would very easily be able to procure false papers if they were needed. It's a very dodgy subject, and one that is likely to cause the government a great deal of harm.
Jeff Sutton, United Kingdom

If it helps to curb terrorism it cannot be introduced quickly enough

Hutchinson, UK
I see no problem with the introduction of photo ID cards. I certainly do not consider it an infringement of my human rights or personal privacy. I have to have a passport to travel the world, so what's the difference? If it helps to curb terrorism it cannot be introduced quickly enough. It could also help to reduce credit card fraud as I would be quite happy to produce my ID card whenever I used my credit card. Perhaps the Government could get together with the banks and this would help with funding the project.
Hutchinson, UK

No, no and thrice no! I suspect this is something the government have always wanted to do but knew they'd never get away with, and they're using the current situation as an excuse to push through some loathsome legislation! I hate the idea that I should be forced to carry around a card to show that I am who I say I am. It's just not right!
Antony, UK

As with many of the predictable knee-jerk reactions to the terrorist attacks (the proposed encryption laws come to mind...), ID cards would not prevent further atrocities from taking place.
Tristan Greaves, United Kingdom

They have ID cards in the USA - it didn't stop the terrorists did it?
Jason Thomas Williams, UK

Let's ignore the whining lefties for once and do something to make this country safer for ordinary folk like me

Chris, England
Like many others in this country I feel that the only people with something to fear from the introduction of compulsory ID cards are those who are of criminal intent; either terrorists, illegal immigrants or other undesirables. Let's ignore the whining lefties for once and do something to make this country safer for ordinary folk like me.
Chris, England

Having been brought up in Hong Kong where the carrying of ID Cards was compulsory I believe that it would make life easier in a lot of respects. I am thrilled with the new Driving licences and hope that ID Cards will follow shortly!
Jay, UK

An ID devise would be ideal to deal with terrorism menace. Ideally, it should be worn like a watch on each and every person in USA. This capsule will constantly transmit things like personal details and GPS information to a powerful central computer, via a satellite, that would keep a tab on the movement of each and every person. Even visitors to USA should be required to wear these on temporary basis. Anyone without this capsule should be unable to make any transaction in USA.
Kurian Mathew, India

Only those who have something to hide will object to their usage. The UK system was subject to huge benefit fraud due to the lack of ID cards and now we have a critical safety issue it is time we identified and recorded who are true threats to our state. Many civil liberties groups will scream violation of human rights, but it is the right to life is the ultimate freedom and if protection of this right means we need to have ID cards to prevent 'suspect' citizens entering areas of critical security then so be it only criminals and terrorists need be afraid.
Mark, Belgium

Surely the only people who would have anything to lose are criminals, terrorists and people living illegally in the United Kingdom

Gary Carter
If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear from the introduction of ID cards. The vast majority of people already hold many forms of ID such as driving licenses, passports, work passes, etc, so I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Surely the only people who would have anything to lose are criminals, terrorists and people living illegally in the United Kingdom. Even in the very liberal United States photo-id is required for many transactions such as booking internal flights, cashing cheques and even buying alcohol. It is a great idea.
Gary Carter, UK

Compulsory ID-cards are a bad idea - I should not need to prove to the Government that I am who I am - this is just another example of the creeping "Big Brother" state as typified by CCTV, speed-cameras, number plate-surveillance etc.. It's obvious that the government has been trying to introduce them for years, and is using recent events as an excuse. Perhaps someone could explain to me how carrying an ID-card would have prevented the events of September-11th?
Pete Morgan-Lucas, Wiltshire, UK

Would you welcome ID cards in Britain?



4156 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

24 Sep 01 | UK Politics
ID cards 'high priority' for government
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