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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 17:02 GMT
ID cards: The student perspective
As the government revises its ID card timetable, students look likely to be one of the first groups in the roll-out.

But will they really be willing participants, as is the perceived wisdom? Here are the views of three students at Leeds University.

Leeds University students union
Some students in Leeds are campaigning against ID cards

Katie Armitage, 20, is in her second year of a degree in History and History of Art and describes it as a good idea.

"I agree that students are a more willing group. I've got a student card, a passport and a driver's licence, why shouldn't I have an ID card?"

For Ms Armitage, another card would not be too much of a change and she believes, in using students, the government will actually be covering a wide cross section of society.

"The government can target different backgrounds - young, mature, different cultures and religions - they're not just targeting the middle classes," she said.


One argument used for introducing ID cards is to improve security and Ms Armitage says this is why she is in favour.

"If it means we're safer, then that's a good thing."

Critics say the scheme would mean more opportunities for data losses but Ms Armitage is "putting her faith in the government to get it right".

"I'd like to think that they're going to handle the data in the right way," she said.

But, Ms Armitage adds that health and education details should not be held on the cards.

Some of her peers are firmly against ID cards.

Karlia Lykourgou, 20, and Sam Dufton, 21, regard it as unnecessary and do not want to see it rolled out on students.

"It's completely unfair to be used on students as lots of them don't realise the effects," said Ms Lykourgou.

'Hacker's Mecca'

The second year law student has been active in trying to ensure that Leeds University students union (LUU) adopts an anti-identity card stance. That does not mean that the union as a whole would refuse ID cards, Ms Lykourgou says it would be a choice for the individual student.

"We're being held to ransom with this, if you refuse to have ID cards then you may not be able to have passports or benefits.

Karlia Lykourgou
It's a hacker's Mecca - at least 28 million pieces of information have been lost in the last year
Karlia Lykourgou

"It's unfair to pick on students because we're preoccupied with our exams and we won't have time to mount a proper response," said Ms Lykourgou.

Sam Dufton agrees. He says he fears the measures would be introduced when students were feeling most vulnerable and least able to fight.

The 21-year-old postgraduate student works 35 hours a week to cover his cost of living and his student fees.

"It's something else for students to worry about and who's going to foot the bill?" He asks.

"I have two jobs and have dipped well into my overdraft to try to stay afloat, this should be tested [ID cards] on people who need watching." said Mr Dufton.

"How will it make us feel secure? It's just another database for things to go wrong - we've already seen those data problems," he said.

'Active and vocal'

Ms Lykourgou, of Burley, Leeds, echoes these views: "It's a hacker's Mecca - at least 28 million pieces of information have been lost in the last year. I don't feel comfortable especially as the system's going to be run by private companies."

Ms Lykourgou rejects arguments that say other countries in Europe have ID cards.

It's bad enough as it is that there's a greater mistrust of one another
Sam Dufton

"Not everyone realises that our ID cards will carry more information than other countries like Spain or Greece," she said.

"I think that once people know the true extent they'll be much more reluctant," she said.

Mr Dufton fears along with ID cards will come a more suspicious society.

"It's bad enough as it is that there's a greater mistrust of one another," he said.

But Mr Dufton is optimistic that anti-ID card campaigns will gain momentum.

He says students can make a difference and he expects them to be some of the most "active and vocal" against the scheme.

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