Should there be a national identity card system in the UK?
Tony Blair has promised to listen to concerns about plans to introduce a national ID card scheme after seeing his Commons majority slashed.
At prime minister's questions, Mr Blair urged critics to recognise that secure ID cards could help tackle crime, terrorism and illegal immigration in the UK.
However, former minister John Denham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he expects the government will have to make major changes to get the bill through.
Do you agree with the government's ID card proposals? What do you think about the cost?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
A stealth tax on the law abiding! ID cards will present no major threat to international terrorists or organised crime, as fakes and forgeries will appear within weeks of the first cards being issued. Sorry, the theory is good, but it won't work in the real world. And the only losers will be the law abiding public. Yet again!
Kevin, Tetbury, Glos
I give 100% support to ID cards as it would cut down on crime and illegal immigration. Also all the information will be on a single card which will be better for everyone.
Martin Williams, S Wales
If there're going to be compulsory, then it's paid through general taxation, not individual's pockets. And if we don't have to carry them - what's the point?
This will be labours poll tax. I will not be forced into paying for one of these cards.
Neil, Wrexham, Wales
It would be useful to have an ID card. I will use it to scrape the frost off my windscreen in the winter. When I think of any other useful purpose for an ID card, I will be back in contact!
Rod Watson, Winchester, Hants
Why will the cost so much they are just a bit of plastic with some data on and will be manufactured by the million. Three pounds would be too much.
Bill Carney, North Lincs
I grew up under apartheid in South Africa. In the mid-sixties, the apartheid regime instituted ID cards for whites, myself included. The British will realise, as we did, that within months, Big Brother has arrived and will stay! Anything the government can do, in this technological age, is easily replicated by many, many others with the will and the drive. Resist ID cards with everything you have - or kiss Freedom goodbye, as we did in South Africa.
Jack Bybee, Tucson, AZ. USA
I fully support the introduction of identity cards. I have nothing to hide. As for the cost, the government should subsidise it and offset the cost against a reduction in benefit fraud and crime.
I can't really see the benefits outweighing the cost to implement the scheme, so why don't we spend the significant sum of money on improving security and the quality of life for those living in the UK. If security is so high on the agenda, why have the government purged numbers from the armed services when we all admit they are required? There's a lot more happening than meets the eye and I would love to know what this agenda actually is.
Richard Mackay, Witney, UK
Why should the individual be made to pay for compulsory ID cards? Driving licences and passports are only necessary if you want to drive or travel abroad. Having an ID card will be compulsory for existence in this country - to pay for that would be just another poll-tax.
Dr Duncan Campbell, York, UK
Anyone want to bet on how long it will take between the first ID card being issued and a reporter from The Sun managing to get a low paid data entry clerk to assist them in producing a fake?
I think they are a good idea but I do not think we should have to pay for them. Do they pay for them in other countries?
Susan Head, Morcambe, England
I don't object to identity cards as such - I work in IT and have carried one for years. It's the amount of personal information to be held on the proposed card and database that worries me. If the card is purely for identification purposes a bio-metric photograph, thumbprint and unique PIN would be sufficient in the vast majority of cases. After 26 years in IT, I can guarantee one thing - the IT system behind this will be late, will be over budget and will not do everything required of it!
Karen, Warwick, UK
Objecting to something intrusive like ID cards does not mean that you have something to hide, I have nothing to hide, but will not carry one and certainly will not pay for one.
Martin, London, UK
Although I fully support ID cards, I think the charge for providing this is rather excessive. I cannot see why people are opposed to identity cards. I feel that something like this needs to be done in order to resolve the amount of fraud being committed.
Jennie Allsopp, Birmingham, UK
Extremely good idea, this will not only put us in line with our European and American counter parts but will significantly help in sifting the real terrorist. And as a result the Terrorism Act may not be needed or could be even abolished. But the only draw back is the cost. Security comes at a cost not a premium.
Mohammed Khan, London, UK
How will the authorities be able to tell the difference between a terrorist or criminal and a law-abiding citizen who has lost his card, if their data corrupted? To be any use at all, ID cards mean detaining innocent people, suspecting law abiding citizens, and criminalising the forgetful or mentally ill. Can you imagine having to explain a mistake to a policeman who has a computer telling him 'the truth'? You'd sound just like a terrorist, trying to get away, and the ID card won't help the Police to tell the difference: only evidence of a crime will do that. They need more policemen for instead of ID cards.
Julius Beltrame, London, UK
As a university lecturer in the field of human rights I have deep concerns over the principle of introducing ID cards. However, I suspect that the alleged public support for the measure will quickly erode when each of us will be legally obliged to put our hands in our pockets to pay for a piece of plastic which, even supporters accept, cannot ensure the level of protection from national and international crime we are entitled to expect from our government.
While I am generally not opposed to ID cards, I do very much object to having to pay for one. I have already paid for a driving licence and passport, both of which have my photograph and details on so I don't see why I should pay yet more for another card. What about people who refuse to pay, of which I expect there will be many. Will they be fined or sent to prison and where will the money come to fund the administration for this? Also, will the cards need to be renewed say every 10 years like passports? If so, this will be very costly to people.
Marion Brockway, Henley-on-Thames, England
I have nothing to hide but I also have no money to pay for it!
One of the great freedoms in this country is the freedom to leave the house in shorts and a t-shirt with no wallet, no ID card. The introduction of these ID cards is a huge waste of time, a huge waste of money and undoubtedly, like many of the other computerised 'schemes' instituted by the government there will be years and years of ridiculous system failures necessitating more funding and ruining people's lives in the meantime.
Russell Harris, London
Would it be possible to produce one card or portable document which could be used as photographic ID, passport and driving licence all in one? Having to pay extra for yet another photo card is ridiculous. I don't necessarily believe it's an infringement of civil liberties if one has nothing to hide....! After all, our grandparents carried ID cards during the war years.
Sonia House, Norwich, UK
This scheme will go ahead regardless of cost. It's worth a fortune to those involved, i.e. companies, civil servants, ministers, advisors and its low risk, i.e. there will be no comeback against the private companies that end up running the scheme when data turns out to be inaccurate (which experience tells us will be 10-20%).
RB, York, UK
Why is it that when the Conservatives put ID cards forward in the 80s (when the IRA were actually carrying out bombings in England), Labour were against it? Now when there are no terrorist incidents to speak of Labour suddenly think they are a good idea. I backed them in the 80s as a means to control crime, now I think they will be used to keep track of law abiding citizens.
Don, Carshalton, Surrey
I work in the computing industry and have interests in security and socio-political issues. ID cards are a disaster waiting to happen; they impinge on the liberties of the individual; they would not solve the problems they purport to; they would introduce whole new types of fraud; they would be costly to introduce and maintain. The government says that this is a manifesto commitment and they must proceed.
It didn't stop them introducing top-up tuition fess when the 2001 manifesto said they legislate to prevent it, did it? I will not submit information to the database and I will not pay for a card I do not want and have actively protested against having. Which part of no is proving to be a problem, Mr Blair?
Darren Stephens, Whitby, UK
If the future is going to be filled with biometric security devices, why do we need a card?
John Ryan, Manchester, England
As an IT worker, the prospect of ID cards scares me. To say that the system will be foolproof is an utter misconception. Users will be able to access the system; I'm sure that someone, somewhere along the line, will offer information for sale. And, what happens when there's an error in the data? Look at how annoying it can be when there's an error in your credit rating and you are refused a loan; imagine what it would be like if there is incorrect information held and you are stopped by the police or at passport control?
Who will they believe your insistence that the data is wrong, or the database? Do you get seven days to provide the correct information? A terrorist could raze London to the ground in that time. If they are not compulsory, and don't have to be carried, what is the point? Use the initial money (and the inevitable overspend) for a better cause. I certainly don't want to invest my own hard earned cash in this new-age, New Labour totalitarian state.
Andrew, Newport, Gwent
Yes I support the idea of ID cards but paying up to £300 for the card is another matter. However I suspect that having quoted £300 a government minister will come along and save the day doing us all a favour and charge us a mere £100 or so and we of course will be grateful.
Ron Milligan, Gosport, England
As a former rescue IT project manager - somebody who spent his time putting right large scale IT projects that had previously gone wrong, I am quite certain that the ID cards scheme will be the largest public sector IT disaster in history. The pomposity of the politicians in dismissing the considered opinions of the LSE team is disgraceful.
By the time we have wasted more than £18bn, the present collection of politicos will have long since moved on and we the taxpayers will be left with the bill. And, by the way, I have no intention of taking one up - something that Stalin or Hitler would have loved is not for me - thanks.
John Shelton, London, UK
I have no problem whatsoever carrying an ID card, and believe that the only people concerned about an 'intrusion' of their civil rights must have something to hide. However, I strongly resent having to pay for it. I pay for a passport, because I choose to travel overseas. I pay for a driving licence because I choose to drive. I pay for a TV licence because I choose to watch TV. Why should I be forced to give the government yet more of my hard earned money on something that's their idea? By all means introduce ID cards if they think they'll help against terrorism (which I doubt anyway), but don't insult your public by asking for money in return.
Clare Younger, Northfleet, England
I don't normally support Labour over anything, but in this case I can see nothing wrong with an ID card. We have passports and driving licenses, birth, marriage and death certificates. Most information about us is held somewhere by the government. If it can be used to make life easier, for example reducing the wasted time of needing to update both the passport and driving license when moving, then that would be great. As for cost, whether there is an overt fee, as per passports, or whether the government "pays" for them, either way, we, the tax payer, will still pay. Introduce it and get rid of both driving licence and passport - maybe then renewals might be a little easier as well.
JT, Bristol, England
I'm not overly worried about the cost, or even being asked to prove my identity to police, though I can understand those who are. Anyone who thinks the government's figures are likely to be more accurate than LSE's obviously has not looked at the history of government funded IT projects. The real issue is the creation of a national identity database, making us all accountable to the state rather than the other way around. The stigma of a criminal record disappears when the police have records on everyone. Individuals with access to it will easily be corrupted. Combined with proposed tracking devices in cars, CCTV, and 'hate crime' laws (Thought Police) it forms a strong argument for moving abroad. If this law gets passed the terrorists have won.
To be a truly effective 'One Stop' ID, the biometric information embedded in this card will need to be verifiable by those needing to check the identity of the holder. Other than government agencies, which organisations will be authorised to check the data and with what equipment? Unless the biometric data is accessible and verifiable, the card will be just another piece of plastic that would be all too easy to forge.
Richard Dash, Gloucester
I have no issues with having an ID card, and for the government to use it for its own identification/verification purposes. However, the thought of data being made available to financial (or other) institutions for ID verification scares the hell out of me. Particularly in the wake of what has been happening in Indian call centres?
Arun Gupta, UK
Will the IT project be completed within budget? No. Will ID cards prevent terrorism? No. Will the private data be abused? Yes. Is there anything that can be done to stop the scheme? No. Is there any point in discussing it? No, it is in the Labour Manifesto that you voted for.
Peter Barkas, Cambridge, England
The ID cards themselves seem to be a bit of a red herring. The real purpose of this bill is to get all the biometric data and put it on a central database. Perhaps the bill should be called the "Compulsory Fingerprinting Bill" - then we'd see how many people supported it. Especially given the apparent unreliability of the biometric data, it certainly scares me as to what uses this data might be put.
Steve, Newbury, UK
In a word no. They are to expensive, will not stop identity fraud and are likely to be used to be used to monitor people. Plus it equates government with technology and IT something that they constantly prove they have no control over. I expect the cards cost to spiral out of control and be scrapped after spending a few billion of the public's money.
Why don't we all just have a unique barcode tattooed on us at birth, complete with metal strip inserted. It'd cost less and is just as equally stupid and flawed as the proposed system.
Edd Almond, London, England
Wouldn't the cost pay for more police and wouldn't this protect us better?
Steven White, Manchester
In principle I have nothing against the introduction of identity cards. However, I want some clear information from the government on the proposed benefits of the cards, and a formal legal assurance what the information contained on these cards will be used for, and also a guarantee that our personal information will not be sold to other companies for purposes such as marketing.
Sara Utley, Liverpool, Merseyside
What a waste of our money. Give us more hospitals, better transport, cleaner air...... but don't throw away our hard earned money on ID cards.
Karen Milliken, Glasgow, Scotland
I work in the industry. Nothing on a computer system is 100% safe. Also, anything can be forged (chip + pin has not stopped fraud on cards). Biometric passports are coming in, which means we will all have to travel to an office to get one and how many offices will be set up? The bottom line is that it could take up to 10 years for everyone who wants a passport to get a new biometric one. How do you force people who don't get a passport to get an ID card? There are huge problems with this scheme even before you start on civil liberties, terrorism, etc. Forget the ID cards for now and just get the passports working.
Welcome to the world of 'Big Brother'. Who needs cards though, just electronically tag us like dogs.
From what I've heard the contract was tendered and won some months ago - well before the election. So if you think the government is going to give up on this - forget it.
Bryan, Scotland, UK
Yes I fully support ID Cards. I do think the cost is high but I see no reason for not having them. The people who say it's against our rights and freedom are crazy, we are on a data base somewhere and people can find out any thing about us already. A card would be a great way of proving our legal nationality.
Barry, Hastings, England
We have survived all this time without ID cards, with no problems. Now, not only will they become obligatory, we are expected to pay for something we never even asked for? Is this democracy or dictatorship?
Mark, KL, Malaysia
This paranoia is totally out of proportion. Germany has had ID cards for years, where they are accepted as a sensible way to determine someone's identity. In the UK, we have the confusing state of affairs where individuals are required to produce anything from utility bills to driving licenses to prove their identity.
Mike, Basildon, England
With the issue of biometric passports, why is there a need to have such an expensive and high tech ID card? I doubt if the police officer stopping you for an ID check will carry appropriate gear to check your details against some database. Sounds dodgy to me. Also, I believe it will cost only a fraction to tighten border security and effective police to get better protection against crime and terror.
Having watched the escalation of the cost of the Scottish parliament building and the problems with other computerised government systems I have as much confidence in this as I have in winning the national lottery two weeks running. Also as a single earning parent of three children with a wife to support at present costs I am going to be made to pay £500 for these cards simply for the privilege of living in run down, congested rip off Britain. Also if the US can't top terrorists what are ID cards going to achieve they are nothing but another tax.
Martyn Howie, Aberdeenshire
If you're still arguing about ID cards then you've completely missed the point. The real danger here is the national identity register. This database, without reasonable safeguards, will track all your ID card usage (NHS, benefits, etc) and will grow as the ID card usage creeps to track your whole life.
Paul Bristow, Basingstoke, England
The money can be spent in a much more effective way. Even if we don't pay in the form of a direct charge, we're all paying through our taxes. The technology is not accurate enough, so the system will be overwhelmed with inaccuracies which need to be followed up. White elephant!
I have a number of objections to the ID card scheme. Firstly, it's another erosion of our civil liberties; secondly, if our personal information were to be sold on to private companies, we would be open to more junk mail (at least). My biggest concern, however, would be the security of our personal data. Government computer systems are notorious for being late in their implementation, over-budget and poorly constructed. I doubt anyone could convince me that my data was safe!
Sean Wheeler, Northampton, UK
I have no problem in having an ID card. I do have a problem in paying for it. There is no way I can afford the £300. If the government wants us to have one, then they can pay for it.
Why should we pay 100 pounds for a card that cost 33 euros (20 pounds) in Italy? For all the biometrics? Is it really worth it? That is the most important question to me. ID cards are fine and a great idea, but why do we have to be different and introduce untried and untested technology. Is the UK just a trial ground for the companies offering this technology?
Charles, Dresden, Germany
We should insist that the party that pushes this through guarantees the price and pays any overrun costs whatever the cause. Let's see if they are willing to put their necks on the line.
In principal I have no objection to carrying an ID card as I already carry other forms of identification. However, I strongly object to having to pay for it. If it does come into force, it should replace other forms of identification which have to be paid for such as driving license or passport. Before any further work is carried out on the ID cards, I think we should be informed EXACTLY what information is to be held and who will have access to it. There should also be a box on the application forms to indicate that we do not want our details passed or sold to anyone without our expressed consent.
Jeffrey White, Monkseaton
Although not a supporter of ID cards I'm more concerned about what the eventual cost will be and if the system will even work properly. Has a single Government IT project been completed on time, on budget and working as promised?
John M, Salisbury, Wiltshire
If this new card could replace the driving licence, passport and NI cards, people might be interested. If it is just an extra card, to use on top of the existing documents, then I do not think people will agree with having it.
Neil Mooney, Staffordshire
I am sick of the hostile and patronising attitudes that both sides of this argument display towards the other. There are no right and wrong views here, there are just opinions and preferences.
Martin, High Wycombe, UK
It seems to me that those who support ID cards should take the time to examine exactly what the government proposes and the implications. The Information Commissioner himself says that his "initial scepticism" has now turned to "alarm" at the proposals. Once this genie is out of the bottle it will be impossible to put it back. I do not support this proposed ID card scheme.
Richard Atkins, Wortham, UK
Why are so many people afraid to carry proof that they are UK citizens and have a right to be here. It would be a civil liberty to be ALLOWED to carry ID that says you are a citizen of the United Kingdom. The alternative is to make everyone obtain a passport and carry it at all times.
Bob Buckley, Coventry, UK
I assume that the people who whinge about the government knowing too much about them do not use credit cards. Credit card companies know huge amounts about their users - their financial situation, where they are, what they spend their money on and exactly when - so let's not get so paranoid about a simple ID card!
I see this measure as yet another encroachment on liberty. When pay-as-you-drive pricing is upon us, the government (any government) will be able to track where you go and when. Add the secret information on the ID cards into the mix, and the Orwellian vision moves a significant step closer.
Alan Brown, Selby, UK
Yes I support ID cards. But the government's reasoning and approach are flawed. For a start, the ID card and driving licence should be combined (if you drive). We need joined up government in this electronic age.
D. Ball, Wokingham, UK
For those in the "ID cards are perfectly acceptable, I've got nothing to hide" camp, I invite you to install a webcam into your house for the Home Office to watch your every move. Whilst you're at it, read 1984 and compare it to the inevitable direction our government's leading us. The next step is the micro chipped population. It's important to recognise this and say no to ID cards now. Why should you be taxed on your existence?
Martin, Hampshire, UK
I already have one, it's called a passport. This is a blatant attempt to get even more cash out of an already robbed public.
If I hear anyone else say ID cards will infringe their "right to privacy" I will scream! The UK does not have a written constitution, consequently you have no "right" to anything. And what "privacy" do people imagine they have now that they will lose with an ID card? Your name, address, age, nationality, occupation, shopping habits, car registration, blood group, etc, etc are already on countless public and private databases, wake up it's 2005 !
Matt Munro, Bristol, UK
This will turn into a Labour "Poll Tax" if they think people will pay £93 for one. They will end up in a massive mess trying to enforce what will become an increasingly unpopular policy once the reality of these ID cards starts to hit home with the general public. They need to back off now before it ends in an expensive failure.
Mark, Liverpool, UK
ID cards are authoritarian and wrong. Furthermore, the Madrid bombings show that they do not even help against terrorism. When we take into consideration the digital rights management technology coming into PCs, RF chips in our shopping instead of barcodes, the tracking of cars for road pricing and ID card (not to mention CCTV), every aspect of our lives will be under constant scrutiny. Do those who say that the "innocent have nothing to hide" really understand the Orwellian and horrifying implications of this kind of future?
Gregg, Manchester, UK
The government has yet to present a clear reason for the introduction of these unwanted infringements upon civil liberties. It argues variously and seemingly as the mood suits that ID cards will assist in fighting terrorism (as it did so well in Spain), that they will assist in controlling immigration (although no immigrant will be required to have one until they have been in the country for 3 months) and that they will assist with identity theft (although the French government is unable to give any figures on the extent to which its own id cards do this job). In short, the proposal is ill thought-out, expensive, repressive and unwanted.
Stephen Richards, London
I really don't see what the fuss is all about, what is the big deal about having an ID card? The various cost estimates are a bit concerning but I would have no problem having a good solid form of ID for various purchases for instance that require one, but this 'protection against terrorism' is getting a bit tiresome.
Pete, Macclesfield, UK
I do not agree with the government's ID card proposals. This is not the same as thinking ID cards are a bad idea. There is no reputable proof that ID cards reduce terrorism, fraud or identity theft. The government's record on IT implementations is appalling, and I do not trust them to keep the information private. Having to pay (whether it is £100 or £300) is ridiculous, although whatever the cost, we will all end up paying through taxes anyway.
ID cards will eventually become the norm the world over so the only issue I see here is one of cost. Either make them compulsory and the government pay for them, at the cost of something else no doubt, or leave the whole issue alone for now. Big Brother is already watching you with the amount of CCTVs everywhere. Civil liberties are all well a good but a huge number of those bleating about "their rights" would soon change their minds once their identity had been stolen. Wake up, you already don't have the "freedom" you think you do!
Simon, Peterborough, UK
I cannot understand why people do not want ID cards other than the cost issue that I do not like either. In every other country in the world you cannot do anything without an ID card. Why in UK we always want to be different?
Theo, Uxbridge, UK
The problem with the ID card scheme is that the information held on all of us could be abused by future governments. Once the scheme is set up and we've all got our cards, more and more services will require your card to use, so we'll be stuck with them. Who knows what kind of government we'll have in 20 years time? The information held in the card scheme could be put to many uses - targeting people with relevant junk mail for example, companies would pay a fortune for mailing lists taken from the card scheme, who says the government of the future will be able to resist selling the information to big.
Jon Perrin, Lincoln, UK
No. They are likely to be hugely expensive, they won't work and they are an intrusion into our civil liberties
Bill Winlow, Newton, Preston, UK
Whether or not the government sells our personal details to generate revenue is fairly irrelevant, as the system will be the number one target for hackers from the moment it goes online. As we have seen in the US even the largest credit card organisations are not secure.
Phil, Newcastle, UK
To those who dismiss concerns as paranoia, I say this: Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean you're wrong.
Rich, Sheffield, UK
The technology is not sorted, the price keeps going up, there are fears in terms of privacy and Big Brother state, there is no proof that ID cards will stop illegal migrants from entering the UK, there is no proof that they will combat terrorism, the government justification continues to change. I am against ID cards. Nothing more than a big white elephant!
Nicos Souleles, Carlisle
I will continue to oppose identity cards no matter what the cost. I should not have to prove myself to the state - they answer to me, not the other way around. Yes, ID cards are used in other countries, and has that protected them from crime and terrorism? Of course not. This flies in the face of hundreds of years of British political and constitutional history and tradition and there is no real reason to change, only spurious stories designed to heighten our fear.
Katherine, London, UK
I was initially fairly ambivalent, but now it's becoming increasingly clear that this issue has been botched big time. At £300 a time, the cost of providing a card for each of member of my family equals the cost of a month's wages, so how on Earth those less well off than me could afford them I can't imagine.
Dave Godfrey, Swindon, UK
I don't object to the principle of ID cards - in my area of employment (Safety Critical) they are compulsory anyway - but I do object to the cost. That's both to the individual and the taxpayer because I guess the government will reduce the actual cost of the cards to get them accepted but the taxpayer will pick up the bill for the IT system. Given the history of government backed IT systems the actual cost will be at least twice the estimated cost! Would it not be possible to start populating this new database with information already held by DVLCC, National Insurance and the Passport Office? Maybe more information could be added over a number of years rather than a "big bang" all at once approach?
Terry, Epsom, Surrey, England
I've thought about this a lot and while I am still more or less undecided, I am veering towards "no". I am concerned about the amount of information the government will be able to share with other bodies, although I already have my fingerprints on file in the US following a visit to that shining example of a nation championing human rights earlier this year, so I guess that information is widely available anyway. Whilst the majority has nothing to hide, I do think that people are entitled to a certain amount of privacy in terms of the dissemination of personal data. The ID card signals a worrying stage in the surrender of our personal liberties.
I think ID cards would be a really good idea. After visiting the USA last year obviously everyone over there has ID cards and they are very useful wherever you go. They had to produce them all the time and I felt a little stupid having no ID card properly and I had to produce my driving licence!
Heather Minton, Kidsgrove, Staffordshire
The edifice is crumbling, the farce is beginning. This would be the most complex IT project ever, and the Government has a shocking track record in far less complex areas (CSA, MoD procurement being examples). Fact is, this is an over-ambitious unnecessary attempt at nannying us even further, and at our own considerable expense. This will do zero to combat terrorism, and it might cost me £300 to confirm who I am, when I already have a passport, National Insurance number and driving licence!
Craig, Stirling, UK
The unit cost of these cards is put at between £93-300. As half the population is too young, too old, too poor, this will double the effective cost to £200-600, I presume?
I'm not scared of having an ID card, but perhaps that's because I've got nothing to hide. Wouldn't particularly want to have to pay for it though.
In principle ID cards could prove to be a benefit to us all. But it should be up to the government to supply them and they should be totally foolproof and at no time should any of the information be allowed to pass to anyone outside the proper powers. If they are to be used for security then the information should be kept safe so that no one could copy and use it. As for the costs involved, if we can spend billions on an, in my view, illegal war then we can spend the same money on the cards.
Dave Morris, Flitwick, Bedfordshire
Will someone admit the real reasons for ID cards? Nothing they claim holds water. The very idea of a 'licence' just to walk outside your front door is abhorrent.
Mark, Royston, UK
It is widely accepted that the card will do nothing to prevent terrorism and little to prevent crime. Therefore it is just a tax on your identity.
The proposals are tragically flawed! The government are hiding the fact that the real cost of a card will be £300. Experience shows the computer system will be over budget and unable to cope. To those that argue "if you have nothing to hide..", we all need to keep our personal details from being wrongly entered, sold privately, mismanaged, hacked, and stolen!
Alex, London UK
Just one question: What documentation will be required to prove our identity when we apply for one of these super-hi-tech ID cards? Or are the authorities just going to take our word for it? So in effect, these new ID cards will be just as easy to forge as the birth certificate or driving licence used to prove who we are when applying for them in the first place?
Anne, Haslemere, Surrey
Absolutely no problems to having an ID card, but I do have major issues about having to pay for them. If the government wants us to have these cards, then the government should pay for them.
No, no, no! There is no way that I will even consider paying £300 (or even £93 that the government originally suggested) for the right to exist! I am concerned about ending up on yet another government database that people might have access to. This plan will do nothing to stop terrorism - remember the Madrid train bomb in March 2004? They had ID cards in Spain and the terrorists still got through. With Labour's reduced majority, I hope that the back bench rebellion is enough to stop the plans.
It's a sad fact but the increase in global terrorism (or rather the threat of) has given the government the excuse that it has always wanted to introduce ID cards. For years our government, of whatever party, has wanted us all the carry ID cards but were afraid it would be political suicide. Now they have the perfect excuse by simply playing the increased crime/treat of terrorism card.
However, what this government blindly refuses to accept is that criminals and terrorisms don't abide by our laws, it's only the law abiding citizens of this country who will be affected. A few years ago hand guns were banned because we were told it would reduce gun crime. And what has happened? Law abiding people who had guns to shoot at targets could no longer indulge in their sport whilst at the same time gun crime has increased dramatically.
Adrian Mugridge, Chester, UK
Biometric ID cards, transponders in cars that transit your every move is this 2005 or 1984? More moves to a totalitarian state. Also, am I alone in noticing that, like the photo driving licence, this proposed ID card will not have any identifying mark this it is British? It like the driving licence will just have a UK logo and the EU flag! Just another step on the backdoor integration of these islands into a European super-state?
Rodger, Towcester, GB
I am so tired of hearing from the paranoid and from the conspiracy theorists who warn of a future based on a fiction created by Orwell. As if having all your details collated on a single ID is an infringement of civil liberties! It sounds like a convenience to me. There is no suggestion whatever that it will be compulsory to actually carry these cards, only that it will be necessary to produce them should you need to prove your identity; when receiving benefits or applying for passport for example. Do any of those who cry 'Never!' at these proposals really believe that, were they so inclined, the government, MI5 or whoever couldn't find out everything there is to know about them?
I have no problem with ID Cards per se provided the data held is secure and confidential BUT to have to pay for the privilege when they are deemed obligatory and I have perfectly good alternatives (Drivers Licence, NHS Medical Card, NI Card, Passport), forget it! I think this issue will cause as much discontent as the poll tax.
Andy D, Oxford UK
This is a good time to invest in the IT company that will get the contract for these cards as the project is sure to go massively over budget and be scrapped with great loss to the taxpayer - but great profits to the IT folk involved. If you think I'm being too cynical, then please name ONE high profile governmental IT project which was successfully completed on schedule and within budget.
I was a supporter of ID cards and couldn't understand the paranoia about them. However, now we hear that our personal information may be sold on to private companies, I cannot support introduction of ID cards if there is any chance that this can happen. I do NOT want private companies using my data to target me for marketing thank you very much. Wouldn't this be in breach of the Data Protection Act?
The Government continually tells us that a majority of people support ID cards: I'd like to know what question they're asking. If it is simply, do you support ID cards, then what they're telling us might be factually correct. But if you asked people: Do you support ID cards for which you will have to pay a substantial fee, I suspect the answer would be very different. My point is, it is dishonest to claim support of the majority without giving respondents the full picture.
I do support ID cards. The reasons people give for not having them seem to be nothing more than paranoia at best and outright lies at worst. I would like to know how this study came up with their figures though considering that the discussion on how ID cards would work, what they would be used for and what information they would include hasn't even been held yet. Currently there is only a list of 'possible' uses. Did they just decide that every 'possible' piece of information that could be integrated would be and add up the cost? If so does their study come with a disclaimer stating that it represents the cost in a situation that is never going to happen?
ID cards scare me. Why should I, a free citizen of the UK, have to prove my identity to the government in this way? And how easy it will be, once everyone has a card, to add new functions: a future government could use the ID cards to precisely track our movements, for example. What's more, the scheme will cost an absolute fortune and it still won't stop fraud. Determined criminals can forge or fudge anything. I am utterly opposed to these cards and I am horrified that the government is ploughing on with this in an undemocratic fashion. A final thought: ID cards in Spain did not stop the appalling Madrid terrorist attacks.
Cath, London, UK
I have a passport. I have a driving licence. Why should I pay out another £300 for a card which will have the same information plus biometric data that is worthless because the computers can't process it properly? Not to mention the fuss when the issue gets taken to Strasbourg and I have to put my shiny new card in the bin.
Mike, London, UK
I have never had a problem with the principle of ID cards and wouldn't object to carrying one, but it's outrageous to expect people to pay a large sum for a card which is required by law. I foresee huge public protest over this.
Maggie, London, UK
ID cards are used very successfully in many countries without complaint - what have people to fear? All the arguments about invasions of privacy are pure hogwash as all that needs to be known about residents of the UK is already available to those who would like to know on data bases all over the UK. I, for one, think they are a great idea. Those who don't need to awaken to the realities of the modern world.
Alan Glenister, Bushey, Herts
This is a fundamental reversal of the relationship of accountability between the State and the individual. I do not need a license from a Big Brother government to exist as a free man in my own country.
Michael, York, UK
As carrying ID Cards will not be compulsory and since almost all UK adults have either a driving licence or passport as checkable photo ID, I don't believe we need such an over-priced and unnecessary scheme. If the police wanted you to confirm your ID, they can ask you to produce your licence or passport at a police station within a week. Perhaps these documents should be enhanced at what would probably be a much lower cost.
Bhupinder Kahlon, London, UK
I used to support them, but now I am totally against them. I believed that those with nothing to hide would have nothing to fear, but the potential for Big Brother style monitoring and abuse of minorities is far too great. This coupled with the fact that the government's record on IT projects is worse than Beagle2's record for landing on Mars, I can only see this being an extremely costly failure that will let the Tories in at the next election. If this comes in along with road pricing, then I'm off to Canada.
Richard Harris, Bracknell, UK
I think it's all rather scary. What's next? Are they going to do your shopping for you so they determine what food you eat?? It's all too controlling for my liking and an invasion of privacy.
Good idea, but no way would I pay for one on its own. However if it replaced my driving licence and passport then I would be prepared to pay something towards it.
Toby Coulson, Cobham, Surrey
It's another large government IT project. They never run to budget or deliver on schedule. And because a government project can never "fail", they become an endless cash-cow for the contractors lucky enough to land the bid. So my objection is not based around a philosophical question of civil liberties, but simply this: it has yet to be demonstrated by the proponents of this scheme that any real benefit will be derived. What is certain, however, it that it will be a huge cost to the taxpayer - money that could be otherwise better spent - and will line the pockets of yet another bunch of PFI fat-cats.
J. Dobbs, UK
Regardless whether we get card or not we'll still need to introduce most aspects of the scheme. Within a few years time biometric passports will be required to visit many countries (not just the US), so unless you plan on never leaving the UK you'll need to have your fingerprints on a government database anyway. If you don't pay for an ID card the passport fee will just triple to cover the cost of the computer system and admin by the back door.
I was in favour of ID cards at first because they seemed like a very sensible idea. However, it has become clear that it would be a costly and expensive mistake to implement the scheme as planned. Much better I think to turn away/deport anyone who seems a potential threat to the UK.
LB, Sheffield, UK
The temptation for politicians to use the information on ID cards for other purposes will be irresistible whilst I do not believe that the cards will have any significant bearing on the fight against terrorism. Scrap the project.
W.S. Becket, Bangor, North Wales
We produce different forms of ID every day when we go to banks or present credit cards. We live in a dangerous world and any form of protection should be welcome.
Paul Collier, London, UK
I oppose these cards on the basis of cost alone. I do not trust the government's figures and even the LSE's ones don't allow for the scale of unforeseen costs that always come into government projects. A compulsory £300+ charge, no thanks.
Jonathan Kelk, Dalry, Scotland
"Papers, please." The chilling sound of the UK becoming the kind of totalitarian state that our forebears fought against in the Second World War. By supporting the ID card scheme in its current implementation, you spit on the sacrifices made for us by a generation of heroes.
Matt Nailon, Bath, UK
Matt Nailon, Bath, UK- our forebears during WWII all carried an ID card and were used to being asked to show it by policemen or when collecting rations. ID cards protected us, they are not an instrument of oppression.
No, because it will be another way that the police will be able to target black and Muslim men. France has already proved this to be the case and the terrorist attacks in Spain counter the claim that the cards will help fight terrorism.
Paul, Northampton, UK
I will not pay £300 for an ID card. I suppose one of Tony's cronies will get the contract and then be made a peer of the realm for their 'contribution to the country'!!!!
B. Clarkson, Halifax
Yes, I support ID cards. Its premise is sound and workable. The LSE is off the mark - there is no way that the government is going to allow full access to the data base. As well, the cost is based on so many assumptions that it is likely that the scheme will evolve to the point where the LSE report is useless. So much for trumpeting its so-called findings.