The Scottish parliament has voted on a motion rejecting UK government plans for a National Identity Scheme, saying that the £5bn could be better spent than on a measure which ‘would threaten privacy and civil liberties without making people safer or reducing the terrorist threat’.
The Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrat and Conservative members appear to have united behind the motion, which was passed by 69 votes to 0, with 38 abstentions. According to this BBC article, it was left to Labour MSP Richard Baker to defend the plans in these terms:”There’s nothing extreme or unusual in the introduction of ID cards and the kind of data which will be on them.”
If the plans themselves don’t worry people, this kind of nonsense should. It is not usual for UK citizens to have all their fingerprints taken. It is not usual for UK citizens’ fingerprints to be recorded in a government database. It is extreme for counter-terrorism to be used as the justification for a government credential.
And, as it seems impossible for some supporters of the Scheme to take on board, the Scheme is not just the cards and the data which will be on them. It is also the Register, the data which will be held in that, and the uses to which that Register will be put. Isn’t it time to be straight with the voters and their elected representatives?