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Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:22 pm on 20th December 2004.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North 8:22 pm, 20th December 2004

I am pleased that we are at last debating this issue, because it seems that we are being asked to accept some kind of illusion of security. We are told that there are problems in society of high levels of crime, illegal immigration, illegal working, benefit fraud and terrorism, all of which may or may not be true. Nobody from the Home Office or anywhere else, however, has managed to explain how any of those problems will be solved by the introduction of compulsory identity cards, voluntary identity cards, or voluntary identity cards that later become compulsory. Let us start to examine the arguments and how the scheme would operate, and let us think it through.

If one wants to come into this country to create terrorist mayhem or commit major fraud, one does not come in through an airport or sea port with "Terrorist" written across one's forehead, or "Criminal" written across one's breast, and say, "I'm here to cause mayhem". What is the first thing that one does? One gets some form of credible identity—a stack of bank cards and all those bits of information that will get access to society—one dresses the part, and one gets away it. With all the technology available, and the enormous expense of computer programmes for this system, who is to say that the fraudsters will not already be ahead of the game? As my hon. Friend Mrs. Dunwoody has pointed out, the fraudulent use of bank cards is already rife. Those who wish to commit fraud on bank cards are well ahead of the game and are well capable of doing it. Who is to say that there is not a possibility in the future either of fiddling forms of iris recognition or hacking into the computer and issuing multiple cards that people can use fraudulently?