Letter: An ID card offering fair protection

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Sir: I teach at a Spanish university and have a compulsory ID card. It bears no information beyond my name, address, date of birth, photograph and thumbprint. By itself, it entitles no one to health or pension benefits, for which separate documents must be presented. However, it may be requested for authentication of such documents, or of private ones such as credit cards or cheques payable to bearer. Privacy against bureaucratic or business snooping and computer hacking is ensured. Does not such a system offer fair protection to all, private individual and corporate interests alike?

Yours truly, MICHAEL J. WALKER Visiting Fellow St Cross College Oxford 14 October

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