In the opening decade of the 21st century most people in the United Kingdom possess some sort of document that is used as a proof of identity. The most common examples are driving licences, passports and plastic bank cards. In general we perceive these documents to be beneficial, allowing us to assert our right to enter and exit the United Kingdom, assert our right to drive a car, and allowing us secure and reliable access to our hard-earned money. We do not generally perceive that our privacy is affected by possessing these documents and having to produce them on demand to police, immigration or bank staff. This is a fair assessment.
A biometric identification system is quite different and should it ever be implemented its consequences will be far reaching and very likely disasterous. However, it is not privacy that will be threatened, but the liberties that we in Britain have, enjoy and to expect to retain.
Many lessons can be learned from a study of past societies, among those
lessons are these:
A biometric identification system will shift the balance of power significantly towards the government and other organisations and thus, history teaches us, oppression will occur. However a biometric identification system will also severely limit the ability of the individual to hide.
The very system that the government of the United Kingdom proposes to introduce to supposedly safeguard British subjects will almost certainly become the tool that by which those same people will be persecuted and oppressed.
To date (just after the 2005 general election) the British government has shown no indication that it understands the hazards of its proposed system, has already exhibited totalitarian tendencies, has already practiced deceit in an attempt to persuade the country to accept biometric identity systems and has shown little willingness for discussion. In short, the warnings signs of impending of oppression are already present. In particular:
So, the warning signs of forthcoming oppression are already present. The government pushing for the introduction of a biometric identity system is the same government that dogmatically refuses to accept argument, refuses to discuss the hazards, refuses to acknowledge that our intelligence systems have been proven dangerously unreliable, and that has shown scant concern for justice and liberty. Only a fool would trust such a government with increased powers.