In effect, your identity won’t reside in the living flesh and blood of you, but in the database. You will be separated from your identity; you will no longer own it. All your property and money will de facto belong to the database entry. You only have access to your property with the permission of the database. Paradoxically, you only agreed to register to protect yourself from “identity theft”, and instead you find yourself victim of the ultimate identity theft – the total loss of control over your identity.
ID card proposals offer a golden opportunity for the government to show real leadership (Smith targets public sector in ID card hard sell, March 7). A serious trial programme for ID cards should first be applied to ministers, then all MPs, requiring them to have their irises and fingerprints scanned before each entry to parliament. This would be an important practical first test.
The scheme should then be given a few years of extended trials involving all civil servants. If access to all this data were made available to the many appropriate possible users, government departments, local councils, police etc, then by about five years from now it would be more clear whether it is practical, economic, safe and useful enough to be extended to the rest of us.
The first testers should be the kind of people mentioned, who have the experience and maturity to be able to cope well if things go wrong. It would be wrong to test first on young people and students.
Bob Pearson, Bourne, Lincolnshire
As you probably know there is an Article 3 in the European Convention of Human Rights that says,
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
And this has been interpreted by European and UK courts to mean that people, even if suspected of terrorism, may not be deported to countries where they face a real risk of torture.
(Remember that these are suspects who we haven’t attempted to convict of crimes relating to terrorism.)
I have an older article on Blair’s dishonest whinging about this interpretation with regard to the Convention, which may provide some useful context (also this one).
The UK Government decided to intervene in two cases, Ramzy v Netherlands, and Saadi v Italy, to alter this interpretation of Article 3.
The headoflegal blog reports that, in the case of Saadi, our Government failed to undermine article 3, and provides a link to the judgement.
I expect the outcome of Ramzy will be the same.