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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Should we carry ID cards?
Mock up ID card

People who refuse to register for the government's planned ID card scheme could face a "civil financial penalty" of up to 2,500.

A pilot trial of the card technology is underway to find the most difficult type of biometric data to forge.

Home Secretary David Blunkett says the cards will stop people using multiple identities and boost the fight against terrorism and organised crime.

But opponents say they will be expensive to introduce and that the system will not reduce crime and the threat of terrorism.

Do you think a system of national ID cards will work? Would you be happy to carry an ID card? Do you live in a country that already has ID cards? Do they work?


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of the opinion we have received:

To the 'if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' brigade, I have nothing to hide. Unfortunately I don't trust any UK government to keep my details secret. Anyone seen the film 'The Net'? This biometric database will just make it easier for criminals to steal identities.
Sandy, UK

No intelligent person would support this scheme and submit to be branded as one of David Blunkett's cattle. He doesn't own me, and I have no need nor obligation to carry one of his little cards. Admittedly they'll probably be a dismal failure, but they're still intended as a device to yoke the electorate, and must be resisted.
Russ, London, UK

Why should Manx people carry a British ID when we do not vote in British elections, have an exclusion on our passports, pay for our defence, pay for our University students and are not members of the EU?
Mrs S. Stembridge, Isle of Man

I don't understand what all the fuss is about - yes, of course ID cards are a great idea. I'm from Hong Kong, where everyone over the age of 11 is required to carry their HK ID at all times - where first and foremost, it serves as a means of identification. It's interesting to see that the UK and the US so far don't have a national means of identification for citizens, other than a passport. Moreover, in HK, the government is now upgrading the information stored on an ID card in stages for all residents- it now functions as a drivers license and library card as well as providing identification. And there's absolutely no fuss about this at all in HK - come on UK, your ex-colony is showing you the way forward.
SJ, Hong Kong

I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!
Freddie, London

The main problem with ID cards is that they simply will be forgeable. The technology will just raise the bar so that only really well funded terrorist groups can copy them. Furthermore, the government will end up with a big database of biometric data that will probably be hacked into in short order by said well funded terrorist groups.
Jez Humble, London, UK

This ID card scheme is an "acceptable" way of creating a national biometric information database - the ID card itself is a smokescreen to hide a worrying infringement of civil liberties.
Piers Covill, Andover, UK

As an ex-serviceman I have no problem carrying any bone-fide document which personally identifies me. You'd be surprised how effective my reservist ID card is at quashing any questions about my identity. A civilian ID card system is a great idea and I'm all for it, but I have no wish to pay for it, we are taxed enough already thanks. So if it's free, great, bring it on.
Dave Chriscole, Wigan, Lancashire

It is a fantastic advancement in security
Mark Conlan, Manchester
I think the ID cards are a great IDea, (sorry!) - I work in Holland a lot, and at Schiphol airport they have a facility called Privium, which I use. Basically, your Privium card is your passport for getting into the Netherlands - it holds my passport details, picture, and retinal scan. It is a fantastic advancement in security, and a wonderful way to skip queues on a busy Monday morning!
Mark Conlan, Manchester

Multi million pound security operations are still failing to find and deal with terrorists... How is a piece of plastic going to catch them? Just another waste of time and money.
Grant, Teesside

I've carried an ID card, both in the UK and overseas, of one sort or another since 1970 and found it to have more advantages than I could list here. My view is that those who are "anti-ID cards" probably have something to hide or have some sinister reason for not having one.
Paul, Scunthorpe

It is a complete breach of my civil liberties
Cat, Cambridge
I have no problem with carrying an ID card with my name and date of birth on it like my passport or my driver licence. But what I do object to is my fingerprints, my DNA, my retinal scan and my biometric information also being on it. With the technological advancement in CCTV they can use your biometric scanning so you can be identified on every camera you walk past. That is basically tracking people as they go about their normal lives. It is a complete breach of my civil liberties and I will not partake in it.
Cat, Cambridge

How will such a scheme work for children? Will my 5 year old have to carry his ID card to school with his lunchbox? My eldest daughter's school can't provide secure lockers for property let alone ID cards. I have no problem with the broad principle just the typically cack handed approach of politicians to create problems first and solve them later or never.
Simon Lambert, Northampton

The sooner the better. Youngsters have to carry ID now if they want to be served by a responsible pub landlord - by the time they are all middle aged they will wonder what the fuss was about
Ruth Little, Southampton

If it's coming, at least make it useful
Martin, Ely
In principle I disagree with ID cards. But if it did come in, what would it replace? Would I still have to have my passport, NI number card, driving licence, etc etc. If it was developed as a single replacement for all these things rather than yet another piece of ID my view might change. If it's coming, at least make it useful. And like many others here - I'm getting tired of the terrorism argument that seems to justify everything at the moment. We're only a target because we've made ourselves one. Fix the cause, not the symptoms.
Martin, Ely

I'm sure I should be morally outraged or banging on about my rights living in a "free" country but the fact is, I just don't care and I think a lot of people are the same. I won't, however, be paying for this. If Blunkett wants me to carry a card with all my details on it, he can pay for me to take a day off work to give my details and then he can send me the card gratis.
Stuart, Edinburgh

The government introduced photo driving licences, but that doesn't stop people without a licence driving. Are ID cards going to work? I think not!
Chris Ashbey, Ashford, Middx

Information should be limited to just enough to identify the card holder
John, Oxford
I have no problem with having to carry a national identity card - I already use an ID card to gain access to my place of employment. What I do object to is the information that will be stored on the chip. Information should be limited to just enough to identify the card holder.
John, Oxford

I do not see how they will tackle terrorism - after all the USA and Spain both have ID cards and they hardly stopped the terror there. No, I feel it far more likely that like the USA it will become impossible to visit a hospital, write a cheque, buy a beer or rent a video without handing over your blasted ID card. Even if it is not legally compulsory, once the wretched things are in circulation it becomes impossible to live daily life without one.
Angus Gulliver, Luton, UK

To Angus in Luton: If the US has national ID cards, it's the first I've heard of it. Usually only government workers and military have the IDs. The reason for that is that there's no real purpose for them - they're by no means a magic wand against terrorism. However, in the wrong hands, a national ID is a one-way ticket to easy identity theft. It might be a valid idea, but it's not a very good one.
Robert, Reston, VA, USA

I see the "antis" are out in force. I assume none of these people drives a vehicle, travels abroad, uses the NHS, files a tax return, has a bank account etc. All of these activities require some form of ID. Having a specific ID card is not an invasion of privacy but a simple, practical step towards bringing together all of the necessary information that supports and verifies who you are! And to those who are concerned about paying, did you get a "free" passport or a "free" driving licence? Thought not!
Phil, Hutton, UK

It is naive to think this is anything to do with terrorism. Some parts of Police and Home Office have always wanted it because it they think it will makes things administratively convenient for them. If they were really worried about terrorism they'd spend the money on employing a few thousand more police and security people.
Ken, London

There is a very large majority who want these cards
Tracy Andrew, Yateley, Hants
Just who do the civil liberties people represent? It is not me, I pay taxes, I have nothing to hide, I would want a card. I am willing to show it to the police, for financial transactions and to receive NHS treatments, etc. As for multiple identities of fraudsters, you only have one set of biometric data. There is a very large majority who want these cards, and a very small but vocal, minority who do not represent us, who are opposing the introduction of these useful cards.
Tracy Andrew, Yateley, Hants

Shouldn't this serious threat to civil liberties be the subject of a referendum? The government ought to be able to demonstrate, unambiguously and definitively that the expense and assumed benefit are justified. There needs to be an independent evaluation and modelling to show, beyond doubt that terrorism and crime will be significantly reduced or prevented. Furthermore - there needs to be some form of legal precedent established to protect civil liberties. These activities must be undertaken well in advance of taking measures to implement the ID card scheme.
F, Loughborough, UK

ID Cards are a fantastic idea, they should be implemented as soon as possible. The will assist in controlling benefit fraud, illegal movement of people etc. If you have nothing to hide this should not be a problem for you, unfortunately too many people have an anti-establishment view of everything without knowing all the facts.
Dan, St Albans

A unified robust system would achieve far more for genuine rights
Gordon Woolley, Didcot, England
Identity cards? Where do I apply? The main threats to me and my family come from the crooks, fraudsters, terrorists et al hiding behind anonymity, false, multiple, and stolen identities. We all routinely carry some form of identity already - I doubt you could get into the offices of Liberty without one. A unified robust system would achieve far more for genuine rights than the civil rights lobby's hysterical rantings ever will.
Gordon Woolley, Didcot, England

No. Every summer the Passport Office collapses into chaos. How does the government expect to run an efficient ID system? Some might ask what have I got to hide? Nothing but that does not mean I want my personal details stamped onto a little white card.
Matt Hawkins, Bristol, UK

Just how many forms of identification do we Brits need? If we used the current forms of ID properly there wouldn't be a need to introduce a new one. That is, unless someone high up has a commercial vested interest...
Rob Pollard, Plymouth

No doubt it will be just as easy to get multiple ID cards
Clive Page, Leicester, UK
The Government already has stringent checks on the issue of NI numbers (it took a colleague of mine about 3 months to get one) - but while there are 45 million people above the age of 18, there are 80 million NI numbers active. No doubt it will be just as easy to get multiple ID cards. Just more expensive.
Clive Page, Leicester, UK

I do find it odd that people who feel they can't trust the government on taxation, health, education etc. somehow believe the government when they say it will stop terrorism and crime. And since to me this is a trust issue, can we trust this government or more importantly any future government from adding more and more information to the card that could seriously damage our civil liberties? I do find it worrying that people wouldn't blink about giving up information on themselves, yet are complaining about the cost of having to have one of these cards.
Mark, London

It is a good idea to have ID cards as it would help cut fraud in some areas. I have dual nationality whereby I have a National ID card and it doesn't do any harm to me. However, what I am worried about is this biometric and data on the chip. The only information on the card should be what you can see. My ID card has my basic details, and my finger print. We also have to fix that too much technology can lead to big problems. What if this database is hacked into or crashes, then the cards would be useless.
David R, London

If you are not legally obliged to carry the card at all times, how will this work
Sandy, UK
Ignore all the arguments on either side and consider this one point - if you are not legally obliged to carry the card at all times, how will this work? Those without cards will not be easy to trace and will probably 'disappear'. So please tell me Mr Blunkett exactly how this scheme will help anyone except Mr Brown - and his massive debt?
Sandy, UK

ID Cards do not work, ask anyone in Europe, the US. They still have fraud rates comparable to ours as well as much, much higher rates of illegal immigration. Insurance companies and other firms with vested interests have asked the government to roll out a new cash cow for them and Blunkett has obliged. Along with the grossly abused anti terror laws we will soon truly live in a police state. So much for democracy!
Vish, UK

The introduction of ID cards is an excellent idea. Not only will it help us to combat terrorism, it will reduce crime levels. David Blunkett should have the ID cards implemented as soon as it is possible.
Nick Thomas, Birmingham, United Kingdom

No! Authentication is a tricky thing, it is quite obvious that the government do not fully understand it and most members of the public will not be able to objectively judge the pros and cons either. The initial application will be based on existing documents such as birth certificate or other similar types of documents. These are already highly abused by criminals today and will continue to abused under the proposed scheme. This is not the answer to stop terrorism and criminal activity and to present it as such is misleading the British public and robbing the tax payers in the UK of valuable funds that could be better spent elsewhere.
S W, Herts, UK

ID cards will not combat terrorism but will waste 3Bn, which would be better spent elsewhere. I also resent having to pay 50 for something I don't won't and giving up my time and freedom to be photographed and finger-printed.
Chris Welsby, Warrington

I noticed David Blunkett dodged the question on how we would deal with visitors to the UK earlier on an interview on Radio 4. EU citizens have the right to come to the UK- its not feasible for them to have a UK ID card. How would we cater for them? Doesn't make sense to have one rule for visitors and another for UK nationals.
A Syed, London, England

Applications for ID cards will be based on the same Home Office documentation that illegal immigrants are currently able to obtain fraudulently with considerable ease. ID Cards assume the horse has already bolted. The Government should do more to close the stable door by investing more in tightening existing boarder controls and enforcing existing legislation such as the Immigration & Asylum Act which
Mark, London

I personally don't have a problem with ID Cards. Lets face it a lot of us now carry Driving Licences with photographs on them, and surely Passports amount to the same thing. The only draw back is, is if the public have to up date their cards every 10 years like the Driving Licences/Passports and pay further fees. Anyone who opposes ID Cards must have something to hide!
Jeanette Taylor , Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

It is only natural for people to be afraid of change
John, London
Only the people with nothing to 'hide' would be supporters of such an initiative. My wife's family live in Portugal where ID cards have been in operation for many years... do they work? Well, yes - Understandably, it is only natural for people to be afraid of change however in this case it's the government's job to convince the general public otherwise - for me I am bought-in already.
John, London

It's a terrifying thought. It changes our society from "assumed innocent until proven guilty" to "guilty until you can prove your not", this is the very core of our philosophy in dealing with criminal activity.
David W, London

I am against the introduction of ID Cards - how long before you must show your card before you can catch a train or a bus!. The government record on IT and confidentiality is appalling, the have a land and property gazetteer that records all property in the UK, these items don't move around and the accuracy of that data alone is rubbish. Also, will there be a cost involved each time you change your home address, since Gordon Brown says the treasury won't pay then I think it will be the responsibility of the card holder. A definite no to ID cards!
Allan, UK

No, this is just another stepping stone to a police state. We need to roll back policies which are already curtailing our freedom - not producing more.
Derek Sinclair, UK

Yes, I want ID cards. The whole point is that the current way of identifying a person is flawed. Biometric scans will be unique so will help eliminate multiple/false identities, credit card fraud, underage drinking, criminals taking driving tests for others, illegal immigrants, benefit fraud etc. Even if the card is lost/stolen, it would be useless without your eyes and fingers!!
Paul B, Preston, UK

How will ID cards supposedly stop terrorism? Those who carried out 9/11 had the right to be living and working in America as did those who carried out the Madrid bombing in Spain. The terrorist are from within communities not illegals.
Emily, London, England

Many free and democratic countries have ID cards. Why should we be so different?
I. Noble, Stafford, GB

The implementation plan has not been thought through
Brian Beesley, UK

Absolutely not. No-one can explain how these cards would reduce crime, but there are several categories of crime which would be facilitated by these cards. Theft of the card itself for a start. There needs to be some way for someone who has genuinely lost a card to be identified in order to be issued with a new one; this loophole will be exploited to enable criminals to have multiple identities. If not carrying a card becomes an offence, that will create a whole new category of "those with something to fear". The technology does not exist, the implementation plan has not been thought through, yet there is endless spin on how wonderful the scheme will be. In fact it will be expensive, will not solve any of the problems it is claimed to solve, will create a whole lot of new ones and will reduce privacy. Don't need, won't have.
Brian Beesley, UK

I'm against - because ID cards will not have any marked effect on crime or terrorism. What they will do however, is to 'legitimize' the thousands of illegals who have already assumed a false identity and make them legal. I will not be applying.
A. Howlett, Cheshire, England.

ID cards are a great idea. They will reduce benefit fraud which costs taxpayers. I don't see any civil liberty issues. If you are a law abiding citizen then what would you have to hide?
Geoff, London, UK

Many other countries, such as Spain, currently have ID card schemes that have proven entirely ineffectual at combating illegal immigration or terrorism - why on earth do people believe that this ridiculous scheme will be any different? If anything it's likely to lull people into a false sense of security and thereby increase risks.
Matt Williams, London, UK

I thought the government was supposed to be responsible to me, not the other way around? And anyone who brings up the "if you're innocent, you have nothing to fear" argument has obviously led a very sheltered existence.
Alex Swanson, Milton Keynes, UK

"The only people who would be against this would be those who have something to hide." Absolutely not true! Many people are against it in principle, not because they are shady characters. The question surely is what right those who do want id cards have to impose them on those who don't want them. If 80% want an id card, that's fine by me, but why should I have one too?
[name with-held], London UK

There is no realistic comparison between carrying a simple proof of ID and 24/7 surveillance
Carolyne, Manchester, England
To Keith Millar, I am very familiar with 1984 - perhaps you are not as there is no realistic comparison between carrying a simple proof of ID and 24/7 surveillance, thought crime and torture, having an ID card does not stop your freedom of speech, I have to carry an ID card to get into work along with the other few thousand people here, our students all have to have ID cards to enter the building it doesn't change anything, it does not impinge on our civil liberties it just ensures that the people who are in the building are supposed to be there and those that aren't , well, aren't. Concerning the implications of a surveillance state why not accept the positive side like the guy who got caught trying to abduct a girl on CCTV?
Carolyne, Manchester, England

NO. It only confirms an unspoken belief that we "belong" to the state.
Rob, England

100% NO. How on earth do we think this will stop terrorism or illegal immigrants? You can get false passport, money and driving licences. So why do we think this will be any different. Also to say that I have something to hide because I don't want one, is wrong. I believe in innocent until proven guilty what this argument is saying that I am guilty (of what I have no idea). This has major implications of my civil liberties. The question is what will be next! We are heading for 1984 and it worries. To know that from the moment I leave home to the time I go to bed I can be watched worries me.
Stuart Holden, Reading

Be interesting to see the questions MORI asked if the main reason for people saying yes was to prevent illegal immigration.
David McNeill, London

What extra information would an identity card carry that we can't already see on a driver's licence/passport/national insurance card? Surely there is no real use in them. It just seems to be another thing that the black market can make use of - finding a way of issuing fake cards. So what will the card really achieve other than cost us all money? And for the benefit of Mike, UK - I am against it but I have nothing to hide!!
Lindsay, Edinburgh, Scotland

ID cards will help to cut down on the plague of under-age drinking which causes untold grief all over the country.
Andrew M, Walsall, UK

Let's go further - implant everyone with a tracking chip & install CCTV cameras in every home - after all the only people who would object are those who have something to hide...
Jez, Sheffield UK

What actual use would the card be? The police have not complained the search for 'terrorists' has been hampered by the lack of ID cards. Those arrested recently were UK citizens and therefore would have access to an ID card. Foreign terrorists wouldn't have one anyway and under the proposed legislation would not be asked to produce their card! The only ones to benefit from this will be the card and terminal manufacturers who stand to make billions at our expense!
Chris Starr, Hitchin UK

Just how did ID cards stop the Madrid bombings? Is it economical to spend 3bn to prevent 2bn worth of benefit fraud? How gullible are the people in this country?
Arron Clements, Coventry, UK

I say read 1984 and imagine something 100 times worse. Does no one remember the ID papers that Germans were made to carry under the Nazi regime? Do the sheeple not see any correlation between the two? This just makes us guilty until proven innocent. Does no-one care about their basic human rights anymore? This is just one step closer to the subdermal ID chip. But we'll all love that too won't we, why we have nothing to hide, the only people against this are terrorists. Read history people, because those who ignore it are doomed to repeat it. Ask the survivors of Nazi Germany. I'd like to know who these 1,000 people are as well.
Kris Smith, Cleveland

I do object to my details being passed around each department for the distribution of paraphernalia
MCJ, Loughborough, UK

I have no objections to having a centralised public set of records that is linked to my driving license, passport, TV license, car tax, hospital records etc. What I do object to is my details being passed around each department for leafleting campaigns and the distribution of paraphernalia.
MCJ, Loughborough, UK

ID cards are fine with adequate safe guards built into the system. I was though alarmed to hear that we may have to purchase them. That would not be good as the implications are that one must then purchase citizenship.
York Earwaker, London, UK

I'd be happy to carry an ID card. Surely the only people who would have an objection to carry a card would be those who have something to hide.
Kirsty Smith, West Yorkshire

Some proposals have been made that children under 16 shouldn't have to carry ID cards. Why not? Making children carry ID cards may help to reduce the growing problem of antisocial behaviour. ID cards should be free for all.
Mike Rose, Cambridge

I am in favour - I don't see a civil liberties issue. I have nothing to hide.
Brian Kneller, Haxey, UK

If ID cards will increase the safety of the public, and help combat fraud, then I'm all for it.
Richard, UK

Worries over a '1984' style surveillance state are unfounded
Tim Grey, Leeds, UK
Worries over a '1984' style surveillance state are unfounded. Identity cards will be of great benefit for the financial services industry, allowing all money laundering activity/verification to be done much more easily.
Tim Grey, Leeds, UK

The sooner ID card legislation is passed the better. As far as representations made by so called civil rights supporters, let's take into account the rights of the population paying taxes into the benefit system, the NHS and education. I would hope that ID cards would legitimise the rights of individuals to claim state assistance and treatment in hospitals. If there is no doubt about eligibility there should be no question of provision to those who deserve it.
Tim, West Yorkshire, UK

Experience has shown that criminals and people traffickers have found very easy methods of circumventing previous checks on identity so what good will another ID document do, only pour millions more into Mr Brown's coffers.
Russell Fitzpatrick, UK

I am totally against the idea of carrying an ID card. To use this limited poll as justification for planned government policy is absurd.
Nigel Collins, Brighton, UK

ID cards are not the problem. It's what comes after them that causes me concern, checkpoints, roadblocks and police stopping you on every corner and asking for 'papers'. After all, what's the point in people having a card and then it not being checked?
Geoff Hirst, Scotland

Can't see a problem with it. I lived in France for 2 years and carried an identity card and it had no impact on my freedom or civil liberties. The only time I had to show it was when a conductor caught me on the metro without a ticket so I wasn't able to give a false name and address! If that's the least an identity card will achieve over here, it sounds like a good idea to me.
Nik, Henley, UK.

What is important is the implementation of ID card system. In many European countries ID cards haven't proven to reduce any of the problems they were designed to combat. However, in Hong Kong where I visit regularly it has proven to be an effective tool, especially against illegal immigration. It is not the ID themselves but implementation and enforcement.
Ricky Chan, London

I've got a photocard driving licence, my next passport will be full of biometric data, I have a national insurance card, an NHS card, a birth certificate and a whole host of other things that I had to prove my identity to get. Why exactly do I need yet another one?
David Howe, Chelmsford UK

We should not have to justify our existence as law abiding citizens
Lynn, Bucks

Lies, damned lies and statistics! Who did they interview? I don't know anyone who thinks this acceptable. We should not have to justify our existence as law abiding citizens, nor should anyone think they can charge us for the privilege of doing so. This government has gone control mad and must be removed.
Lynn, Bucks

Many people have suggested amalgamating passports and driving licences with the new ID card but what about people like myself who have none of the above in the first place?
Nichola Feeney, Dundee, Scotland

Bring it on, cannot wait to have one.
Barry Lowry, London

Yes, and the sooner the better. A single card for ID, driver's license, Nat. Insurance No. Your liberties would be no more affected than they are now only with a dozen different forms of ID.
Ian, UK

A single, unequivocal method of proof would enormously simplify things
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

ID cards would solve all kinds of problems, not least the widely varying items accepted as "proof of identity" by various organisations in this country. A single, unequivocal method of proof would enormously simplify things like opening bank accounts and obtaining other official documents like passports. Of course, they would have to be un-forgeable, and I'm not convinced that the authorities in this country are capable of implementing that rather key requirement (not without an awful waste of public money, at any rate).
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

It's just another tax.
Chris, UK

Believe me, the criminal element (and I include illegal immigration scams) will have access to identity cards before the British public. Pointless exercise.
Richard Philips, UK

Yes and no. Yes because immigration problems might be solved. No because it will affect the minorities and police might misuse the system.
Abdihakim, Leeds

Whose civil liberties are we concerned with here? The law abiding citizen who has every right to be here and will automatically receive their card because they are traceable; or the illegal immigrants who are able to exist here undetected whilst abusing the system? Would the Civil Liberties groups please clarify their position.
John, UK

What would be wrong with similar to Spanish Driving Licence/Passport ?
Jim Davies, Bolton, England

Yes ID cards should be introduced - what would be wrong with similar to Spanish Driving Licence/Passport ?
Jim Davies, Bolton, England

I think it will just add to the administrative burden. It's bad enough moving house when you have to update your driving licence, bank details, etc.
Stephen Holland, Sheffield, UK

Let's stop whining about Human Rights and civil liberties. At the end of the day if this stops would be terrorists getting into our country then it must be a good thing. The only people who should feel threatened are the people with something to hide.
Peter, UK Nottingham

I thought 50 years ago we fought fascism and killed it, guess instead we took it home and let it loose.
Tom, England

Will I have to take it everywhere I go? What about kids? Imagine the replacement costs every time they are lost. I suggest we get tagged instead.
Kath, Manchester

The Home Secretary has repeatedly made several claims that ID cards would, for example, reduce terrorism and illegal immigration. Could he please detail precisely how these goals would be achieved or are they just another example of the war-on-terror being the catch-all justification for anything that might impinge on civil liberties.
Michael Peel, Amsterdam, Netherlands

I have nothing to fear and will be more than happy to carry an ID card, as I now carry my driving licence, credit cards and so on. If it can prevent terrorism so much the better. But I think that the charge is just prohibitive - imagine an average family with say - 2 adults and 2 children at the University - the total cost will be 140 - it is just too much.
Nina, Woking, Surrey

I've still got the ID card that was issued to my mother when I was born just after the war. So the Home Office wants to give me a new one - big deal, I already have a passport, a photo driving licence, credit cards, hospital card, BUPA card, AA card, the list goes on and on and on. Just don't ask me to pay for it out of my retirement income, what little there is of that, and don't expect me to remember to carry it around always.
Brian, UK

80% of 1000 people does not equal 80% of the population. The poll was run for the benefit of an IT consultancy which does work for the Government. This is the same as the recent announcement that speed cameras are in the right place (according to the company that installs speed cameras). Big Blunkett should not be basing government policy on opinion polls.
Andrew, England

Of course we should!
MULLAH Hafeezud Din, Birmingham / UK
Of course we should! As a matter of fact, we should have carried ID Cards long ago. Being born and bred in UK, even when I go to my country of origin I need to show my Pakistani ID card. Its the governments duty to do everything to protect its citizens from any form of danger!
MULLAH Hafeezud Din, Birmingham / UK

David Blunkett certainly likes to 'spin' - he says that most people would be happy to carry one - at one stage it was said that there was 'overwhelming support'. For goodness sake - this was a telephone poll of only 1000 people. How on Earth can you make Government policy on such a 'spin' of the truth? I have just done a 'straw poll' of the students in my College and out of 250 that have replied there is not one who would wish for ID cards!
JCL, London

If the current system of passport control can't prevent illegal immigration, how on earth do people think ID cards will do the trick? This is another example of the government bringing in a measure that will infringe our liberty on the back of a hysterical fear they themselves helped to whip up.
CK Yoe, London UK

Identity cards will be too expensive - I guarantee that such a large, complex and high profile IT project will suffer serious problems, miss its deadline and run way over budget (remember the Passport Office? remember Air Traffic Control? National Insurance? Tax Credits? etc. etc). They will not stop illegal immigration but will lead to a false sense of security.

If someone has made a convincing forgery (and they will) they will automatically be assumed to be above suspicion. It is an unjustified invasion of privacy and the thin end of a large wedge - all this or *any* future government will need to do to expand the scheme will be to play on fears of terrorism or immigration despite the card preventing neither of them. Note also that this survey was commissioned by an IT company that would be likely to benefit from any contracts to develop the system.
Neil, UK

As long as
a) I don't have to carry it at all time
b) I don't have to pay for it and,
c) There are clear laws determining what information can be carried and read, I don't have a problem with it.
Richard, England

Brilliant! The identity thieves will only need to steal ONE item
Clint, Swanscombe, UK

I don't need yet another piece of plastic to carry, the country doesn't need another army of jobsworths to examine them
John B, UK
I don't need yet another piece of plastic to carry, the country doesn't need another army of jobsworths to examine them, and I certainly don't want to be charged for the privilege of having something else to fit in my wallet. They will be targeted by forgers and will do nothing to prevent immigration. When the government can get unlicensed drivers off the roads then I'll believe that another piece of plastic will get illegal immigrants out of the country. It's interesting to note that they aren't claimed to help combat terrorism any more though, as the attack in Spain proved that having ID cards does nothing to prevent atrocities.
John B, UK

What concerns me especially are the civil liberty issues - despite not having any more than the 'usual' criminal tendencies, I don't like the idea of the government having everybody's fingerprint or retina scan on file. The potential for misuse is huge. Also, once this type of testing becomes accepted in society then it can increase for all the wrong reasons (DNA testing for insurance screening for example). The use of this technology is unnecessary, and shows more pandering to America's requests. Free low-tech cards if the government really think it would help manage immigration issues, but no compulsory scans or fingerprints please.
Rick Thomas, Edinburgh

Bring it on! I currently have no less than three photo IDs issued in this country and when I lived in France I had to have a temporary resident card with my photo, name, address and signature. I have nothing to hide and one accepted form of ID will make life easier for citizens and businesses. And it would allow us to travel in Schengen countries without a passport. Why the difficulties? And don't start with Big Brother conspiracy theories, I'm more intelligent than that.
Darren McCormac, London

As one of the majority in the UK who would be pleased to see the introduction of I.D. cards. The only ones who should be worried are the crooks, terrorists and state benefit fraudsters. It is about time these people were put under pressure, they have been getting away with it for too long. I hope the government brings in soon as possible but fear the 'pie in the sky' lot may try to block as much as possible to delay.
JohnK, Liverpool, UK

Yes, we should carry ID cards so long as they are used to effectively control illegal immigration. Plenty of other European countries have ID cards without the civil liberties of citizens being threatened.
Sean Mills, UK

Nice idea, but no
Geoff Taylor, Bury, UK
In principle I think ID cards are a good idea, but I doubt they can be made to work. Even if the system was 99% accurate that's still 650,000 people in the UK falling foul. Given that many failures there would have to be some kind of second tier of checks that illegal immigrants could possibly exploit. I just don't see this working. Nice idea, but no.
Geoff Taylor, Bury UK

The one question that no-one has yet been able to answer satisfactorily is how the introduction of ID cards will reduce crime or the threat of terrorism without the implementation being draconian. In addition, much of the data we already have is known to be inaccurate which means that an ID card no more proves identity than any other system. I am horrified by the sheep-like attitudes of the general public who cannot see the enormous civil liberties implications of this.
Sally Marshall, Exeter

I say bring it on now, and look forward to the day when it replaces the driver's license and passport. Sod the expense.
Derek, England

Absolutely. The only people who would be against this would be those who have something to hide.
Mike, UK

I don't mind carrying a card, I just don't want to pay something like 80 to carry a card around that benefits the government and not me.
Ray, Soton, UK

My conception of freedom is that the assumption should be that I am free to privately do whatever I want - unless the State has a legitimate reason to stop me or to know about it for the public good. ID cards basically reverse this assumption - to a situation where the State knows everything I do and is in a position to attempt to micro-manage my life, supposedly for the same "good" but more likely to suit it's own ideological ends.

Read 1984 if you want to understand the social implications of a total surveillance State - remember "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". And how does a poll of 1000 people give the government a clear indication of the nations feelings towards ID cards?
Keith Millar, Falkirk, Scotland

Rather than just having an extra card to add to my growing collection, wouldn't it be easier to amalgamate an identity card with some of the others? How about a combined ID, National Insurance and driving licence card? It works in other countries why not here?
Morag, Bangor, Wales




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