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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…

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