ID cards by coercion

The fact that the Home Office is urging large employers to consider integrating ID cards into their employment practices is most revealing (your report, 24 September). It represents an admission that the government has failed to convince ordinary citizens that ID cards will be good for them and that coercion is going to be necessary.

It is no surprise that large firms will see a benefit of "buying in" to ID cards if it will simplify their employment practices and cut costs. But who is looking at the larger picture, and seeing how the introduction of ID cards and the vast database behind it could have a detrimental effect on everyone?

The government's claim that the first ID cards issued in 2008 will be voluntary is bogus. Anyone applying for a new passport or driving licence will be compelled to register for an ID card.

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There is still time for the government to come to its senses, begin to take proper account of people's growing concerns, and abandon its controversial ID card proposals.


Boat Green


Widespread use of social security numbers (SSNs) by public and private organisations in the United States has contributed significantly to higher levels of identity fraud. In response, the House committee on ways and means approved measures to restrict the sale, purchase and display of SSNs in the public and private sectors and to provide additional means of protecting SSN privacy.

Meanwhile, our government seems to be intent on repeating the mistakes the US Congress is now trying to rectify.

Instead of encouraging the private sector to make use of the National Identity Register, it should follow the American lead and introduce legislation to prevent private companies from making use of identification numbers assigned to citizens by the state.


Grovepark Gardens


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