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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

ID cards test fuels fears over privacy

The Scotsman reports:

They have been carrying these cards for more than a month now, unaware they are the guinea pigs for a national scheme which has raised the spectre of the introduction of Orwellian-style identity checks.

But there are fears among teenagers in Aberdeen that their personal details could fall into the wrong hands, and that the trial is designed to soften them up to the idea of carrying one of the cards for life.

Andy Ronnie, one of the coordinators of the scheme at Aberdeen City Council, has sought to reassure teenagers, denying claims that the scheme is part of an ID card plan.

While these cards could be used as an identifier, they are not ID cards. Whatever an ID card will be like, it will not be these cards. They have not been designed as ID cards, but as cards to access services.

Also, they are not compulsory. People who do not want to use them are still able to access services in other ways – we have made sure of that.

The scheme has split the local council amid worries over civil liberties. Liberal Democrat councillor Millicent McLeod, said:

There is the concern that we could be verging on invading people’s privacy by putting too much information on display.

However, Labour councillor George Urquhart said:

The Accord scheme seems to be going OK. To be honest, there has been surprisingly little reaction in the local community. Personally, I have nothing against identification cards – I think they are a good thing, especially in the current climate of terrorist threats. Ordinary people young or old have nothing to fear from ID cards.

And what if you are not ‘ordinary’?

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