Friday, September 30, 2005

The identity of ID cards

ID Cards are currently my hot issue. It bothers me greatly that such an invasion of individual privacy and individual rights is being pushed through largely on false information and by playing on public fear. These are all valid reasons and they're reasons which are being talked about elsewhere.

What interests me though, is the actual issue at hand here; identity. What is an 'identity' card anyway? Why identity on a piece of card? Something I find quite intriguing is that for all the arguments I've heard against ID cards, the best comes from a Conservative acquaintance of mine. He said a while back 'I am English, and as such I don't have to prove my identity to anyone.' That got me thinking, because it brings to bear a whole new issue of ownership of identity. Can identity really be controlled or managed by any organisation, state or otherwise, and even if it can, should it be?

The fundamental point for me is that no-ones identity is anyone's but their own. An identity cannot be encapsulated on a piece of plastic because it is a thing immanent to the person themselves, gained and granted by simple deign of being alive. The idea that one's identity can be included or even really expressed on a plastic card is, to me, quite ludicrous. No matter how much information is contained on the card it does not even scratch the surface of a person's identity. Any attempt to make a person reliant on such a device to confirm their identity is merely an attempt to reduce people to the facts and statistics of everyday life. We all deserve more than that, but instead of discussing the identity of identity cards, we're focussing on all the practical uses and not the reasons behind the cards themselves. Thing is, there's nothing wrong with being able to identify yourself via an ID card, but it should never be a necessity and it should certainly never subsume that which it is trying to represent.

Your identity is important and it's up for grabs. Don't let fear and misinformation take it away from you. I doubt you'll be allowed it back.

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