Magazine
Latest Issue

A better class of ID card

Like it or not, Britain will have an ID card scheme within a few years. But the government may be missing a trick: modern technologies mean that a national identity scheme can do much more than simply prevent people doing things they shouldn't

By David Birch   March 2005

Britain is going to have a national identity card scheme. The government’s bill won its second reading before Christmas by 385 votes to 93. So it is time to stop debating whether it is a waste of money and whether it will do anything about terrorism, illegal immigration and so on. Instead, we should focus on how to make the scheme work. For that we need to know what the technology can and cannot do.

In a society where huge databases—private and public—store information about most aspects of our lives, the card itself is largely irrelevant when it comes to…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect