[Politech] U.K identity cards: an overview, from the Economist [priv]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Mon Jul 04 2005 - 11:08:22 PDT


Magic plastic
Jun 30th 2005
 From The Economist print edition

TO BOOSTERS, they promise to ease everything from race relations to 
opening a bank account. To critics, they are a costly affront to 
free-born Englishmen, a looming technological disaster and a political 
millstone—plastic equivalents of the poll tax, which tipped Margaret 
Thatcher out of power 15 years ago. This week's preliminary vote in the 
House of Commons on a bill to establish a national identity card means 
it is only a matter of time before Britons find out who is right.

If the government's plans stay on track, Britons will, within three 
years, begin to receive cards containing personal details, together with 
a digital photograph, fingerprints and an iris scan. A nation that has 
not possessed identity cards since 1952 will, in a step, acquire the 
world's most complex system.

At the heart of the scheme is a national identity register, which will 
record basic personal details: name, sex, date and place of birth, 
address, nationality, immigration status and the numbers of documents 
such as driver's licences and passports.

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