Guardian argues that the key question about ID cards is not whether we have to carry them but what will be on the national database:
Now it is about how much information the government has on each of us, what the authorities want to do with it, and what rights are lost by those who don’t have what is, after all, officially being called an “entitlement” card. The real dangers now are over “function creep” and what will happen to a new cardless underclass who could be called the sans plastiques – a new British cousin for the French sans papiers.
Already function creep is beginning to surface, even though the cabinet is only now getting down to discussing the fine detail of the legislation to be introduced this autumn. In fact, as Blunkett’s white paper last July made clear, the proposal is really about setting up the first national central database of all people over 16, including foreign nationals, who are legally resident in Britain. It is this register, and not the bit of plastic in our wallet, that causes the real anxiety.
The white paper makes clear that one of the aims of the scheme is to “establish for official purposes a person’s identity so that there is one definitive record which all government departments can use if they wish”.
Some commenters have already complained about the bovine and passive nature of the British public, so this should just confirm their views:
The real problem is that we are only too willing to sell our privacy cheap. We will happily give a supermarket our entire personal lifestyle profile simply to get a plastic loyalty card. We are going to help the government create an immensely powerful personal database on each of us, not because of some damnable Whitehall conspiracy but because we couldn’t wait to get our hands on a new piece of plastic.
Also, an earlier Observer article calls for outright abandonment of the whole idea of identity cards:
The arguments against are clear and unchanging. Identity cards create new crimes and criminals while being blunt and ineffectual weapons against fraud and identity theft. They are expensive (Mr Blunkett bypasses Treasury objections only by suggesting we pay £25 for the privilege of holding records of our own fingerprints). Above all, a regime of ID cards, whether kept in a drawer or carried on our person, will create new tensions between police and ethnic minority communities, undoing much positive progress. The divisive ‘sus’ laws will be back with a vengeance.
The Home Secretary hopes to bring forward legislation after a general election. We hope the Cabinet will change his mind.