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Letter: Card-carrying citizenship

I WAS unconvinced by Nick Cohen's argument against identity cards ("Pushing us past the limit", 23 April). He emphasised the practical problems faced in trying to enforce the poll tax, but the same argument could justify the abandonment of driving licences and road tax, given that a sizeable minority of the population evades those controls.

The problem is not one of creating identification out of a sea of anonymity, but rather a degree of national standardisation out of a situation of overlapping formal identifications - driving licences, social security numbers, credit cards - where misappropriation and invention of identity for criminal fraud is widespread. The majority of law-abiding people would not be in the least inconvenienced by having to have a standard card.

Most people would, I suspect, like to see information and related technologies used to their utmost in order to create a safer society. Hopefully, at some point in the future, all males would have their DNA details centrally held on computer, as a standard NHS record which would also be available to the police.

Mark Keville

Gosforth, Newcastle