Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Home Secretary 3:31 pm, 28th June 2005

Not at this stage. I will do so later.

I argue that the ID card system is in fact a bulwark against the surveillance or Big Brother society, and not a further contribution to it. [Interruption.] This is a serious point. People must understand the nature of the society in which we now live. Today, large quantities of information exist for all of us, throughout our society. The question is how we best regulate that and deal with identity fraud.

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Rupert George
Posted on 29 Jun 2005 3:06 pm (Report this annotation)

Charles Clarke does make a serious point here about the Big Brother society. However I think he has it wrong.

Firstly I think that ID cards will not necessarily stop identity fraud they are more likely to just be a battle in an ongoing war.

Secondly new technology increases the amount of personnel information held by the state and the ease of access to it. This would create a Big Brother society if the State as a matter of policy or corrupt elements within it use the power this information gives to control citizens.

However if used in a manner that respects the rights of citizens it could reinforce them. This would happen as the digital trail that you laid down would establish an albi or the necessary documentation to establish that say you had paid the correction of income tax. The evidence of mobile phone records used in the Damiola Taylor case is a good example of this kind of digital record.

The information held could free us of the need for us to try or sue the innocent. However the threat of the Big Brother society remains if the power is abused.