Letter: Principled objections to identity cards

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The Independent Online
Sir: I regret that you are no friend to individual self-determination ('A question of identification', 13 August). There are, in fact, two principled objections to any form of identity card.

First, I can object 'in principle' to having myself openly catalogued by the state simply for existing. Second, I can object 'in principle' to anything that makes it easier for the state and its agencies to manage me for its benefit rather than mine.

You may object in turn that all you have done is support a voluntary scheme to enable the free movement of peoples within Europe; that what we are considering is a card to enable a limited benefit - cross-border travel without hindrance. But surely our current passport is sufficient for that. What starts as a voluntary scheme for one purpose may soon become de facto compulsory for many others when different agencies use a 'voluntary' ID as a convenient (for them) entry ticket to other benefits - including private sector benefits such as credit.

This creeping and creepy ordering of the citizenry to ensure a common European home may be a price we are not all willing to pay. But then the failure to ask the people's opinion on Maastricht is about to break the bond of legitimacy between our Government and its subjects in any case.

Yours sincerely,


London, N5

14 August