ID cards

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Like S Beck (Letters, 23 September), I too had an ID card during the war, and didn’t feel oppressed by it. Indeed, I am grateful for it, for it allowed my mother to obtain a ration book for me, enabling me to be properly fed.

Also, like Mr Beck, I have no problem with government agencies, such as the NHS and HMRC, holding my personal details. But I disagree with him about the desirability of “having one card which gives access to all the services to which one is 
entitled”.

This would undoubtedly be convenient, but it represents poor security, for it would be similar to someone possessing a single key to open their house, their car, their safe, etc.

Have this one card stolen, and you could lose everything. Likewise, banks sensibly provide different cards for your different accounts.

Nevertheless, my main concern about ID cards is not in fact with the card itself, but rather that it allows a government to create what is known as a “database state”.

So the Scottish Government’s National Entitlement Card carries a unique number, a Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN), which can in due course be used to automatically link all the records for any individual.

As a result, at the touch of a button a civil servant will be able to obtain access to a complete dossier of anyone’s life, from cradle to grave.

We all have a human right to privacy, and such a database state would obviously negate this.

Moreover, you would need to have considerable faith in the honesty of governments and politicians not to misuse the 
intrusive powers they would be given.

Finally, the desirability of having ID cards and a database state in Scotland should obviously be properly examined and debated by the Scottish Parliament.

To date there has been no such debate.

(Dr) John Welford

NO2ID Edinburgh 
co-ordinator

Boat Green

Edinburgh