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Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:03 pm on 20th December 2004.

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Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow Anniesland 7:03 pm, 20th December 2004

The right hon. and learned Gentleman cites the Madrid bombings. Would he be interested to hear that the Spanish police have said that nearly all the terrorists involved in that horrible event have now been arrested thanks to the ID cards in that country?

Annotations

chris pounder
Posted on 1 Jan 2005 9:35 pm (Report this annotation)

Has anyone the source for this assertion?

Chris Lightfoot
Posted on 6 Jan 2005 4:41 pm (Report this annotation)

I've heard it in various forms, but never properly substantiated; frankly, I suspect it's rubbish.

That said, it's worth remembering that the Spanish bombers were stopped by the police before the bombings too, on suspicion of a traffic offence, but there was no problem with their papers, their car had not yet been reported stolen, and the police did not notice that the driver was not the registered owner of the car, so they were allowed to go on their way:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/03...

It's also worth pointing out that it's not a lot of use catching terrorists after they've committed a bombing especially if, as in Madrid, most of them were happy to blow themselves up rather than be caught. ID cards are apparently supposed to protect us from suicide bombers, too; exactly how this will work if they're only of use for catching terrorists after the act, I don't know.

James Berry
Posted on 17 Feb 2005 8:52 pm (Report this annotation)

Ah ha, but once the government has built its database, if it can identify terrorists after the fact, it can use the information held about them on the database to build a 'propensity to terrorise' model. They can then trawl the rest of the population looking for similar attributes, and then anyone matching the propensity model can be placed under house arrest (and won't even be told why). Once there's enough data this is a distinct possibility, if (hopefully) unlikely to be allowed. On second thoughts, and thinking hard about this government's commitment to civil liberties, scrap the second clause in the last sentence.