ID cards 'contrary to British values'
'Unworkable, expensive, dangerous', says Tory group
Iain Thomson, vnunet.com 04 Feb 2005
The chairman of a group of Tory MPs issued a report yesterday slamming the government's plans for national identity cards.
In a paper published on the Bow Group's website, Peter Lilley MP, former Secretary of State for Trade And Industry, was highly critical of Labour's plans to introduce identity cards, branding them unworkable, expensive and potentially dangerous.
The proposed IT infrastructure for the project came in for particular criticism. The scheme would be expensive, difficult to administer and would leave four million people a year being accused of using a false identity, the paper claimed.
"The public sector's record in successful implementation is woeful, and this would be the biggest yet," wrote Lilly.
"It's not just the IT system that will be liable to failure: the biometric systems on which they intend to rely simply have not been tried on any scale. A Cabinet Office study said that biometric tests would wrongly conclude that between 10 and 15 per cent of those tested were not who they actually were."
Lilly pointed out that no country based on common law has successfully introduced ID cards in peacetime. While Australian and New Zealand governments had tried such schemes, public opinion had turned against the plans.
He said that the Madrid bombings happened in one of the European countries that had compulsory ID cards, and that studies had shown that where they were introduced searches were predominantly carried out against members of ethnic minorities.
The Bow Group is not the only political group to question the need for ID cards. The Information Commissioner and the Home Affairs Select Committee have both raised serious concerns.
A PDF of the report can be downloaded here.