Heads Out

I tend to keep my head below the trenches, but this has got to be hypocritical
when I’m asking other people to write to their MPs. So I’ve started writing to
mine. The first missive she’s received so far is to do with the ID card
consultation process, and went via the web to fax gateway.

The meat:

I remain unconvinced that the introduction even of
technically voluntary ID cards will lead to the benefits
claimed by the Government. 

I particularly fear that suspicion will fall on those
who do not carry the cards, rendering their voluntary
nature meaningless; it is to be expected that once
the generality of persons in the UK have such cards
the inconvenience cost of not having one will be sufficiently
great as to compel all but the most unreasonably diehard
privacy obsessives to adopt them as well.

The sense in which I hold such cards to "invade" privacy,
and I concede that "invade" is an unfortunately loaded
term, is that they will reduce the cost of ross-correlating
information about individuals and groups. It has always
been possible for the sufficiently determined and
well-funded to gather information about people; I believe 
that what is at stake here is the expense associated with 
such information gathering, and that this expense will be
substantially decreased by the increased standardisation
and centralisation of identity information about individual
people.

Currently, this economic barrier is an important protection
for the privacy of the individual and the availability of
a private sphere in which one may conduct aspects of
one's life without the judgmental eyes of strangers
bearing down upon one. The availability of such a private
sphere ought to be secured in any society which respects
the autonomy and dignity of individual human beings,
and should be privileged against unjustified intrusions;
such an idea is reflected in Article 8 of the European
Convention on Human Rights, and finds its source 
(ironically) in the common law traditions of our own
society here in the UK.

To the extent that the economic barrier protects the
private sphere in a manner justifiable in terms of the
respect society should accord to individual humans, it
should not be undermined by schemes such as the proposed
ID card scheme, which I therefore oppose.

If you could bear reading this far, you should follow me on Twitter:

Comments are closed.