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National Identity Card

National Identity Card


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Published by LouCypher
Proposal for a National Identity Card
Proposal for a National Identity Card

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Published by: LouCypher on Dec 16, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A number of countries are moving towards including biometrics in identity cards,
passports, and government databases.


Singapore and Thailand are establishing similar card systems. China45

moving rapidly in this direction with the development of a compulsory ID database and
card system but abandoned the biometric element after it concluded that the technology
was unworkable with large populations.46

The U.S. military in Iraq is developing a

similar card and biometric system to control47

access to Fallujah, while the UNHCR48
has deployed an iris biometric system to control refugee traffic across the Pakistan-
Afghan border. The UAE49

also uses an iris system for border control. No European
country has such a comprehensive card system as that proposed for the UK.

The Home Affairs Committee observed:

“Most members of the European Union have voluntary or compulsory
identity cards. Apart from the United Kingdom the only members
without any form of identity card scheme are Ireland, Denmark,
Latvia and Lithuania. Most EU countries have a national register, or
issue citizens at birth a personal number for use in a wide range of
circumstances, such as paying tax, opening a bank account or claiming
benefits. Many cards have a biometric, in the sense that they
incorporate a fingerprint, and some are compulsory to carry and
produce on request. No country yet has a biometric system of the sort
proposed for the United Kingdom, but a number are introducing
smart-cards and considering options for more sophisticated

However, with the exception of Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Cyprus, no
Common law country in the world has ever accepted the idea of a peacetime ID card.
The Australian51

and New Zealand52

public have rejected similar proposals outright.

Following widespread criticism,53

Canada abandoned its proposed biometric ID card


Vericardsys Website information, http://www.vericardsys.com/MyKad.htm.


‘China starts to launch second-generation ID cards’, People’s Daily, March 30, 2004,


‘Fingerprints Missing From Chinese National ID Card’, Card Technology, September 11, 2003,


‘Marine Corps deploys Fallujah biometric ID scheme’, John Lettice, The Register, December 9, 2004


‘UNHCR passes 200,000 mark in returnee iris testing’, UNHCR press release, October 10, 2003,


‘Iridian Launches Expellees Tracking and Border Control System in UAE’, Biometric Tech News, March 19,
2003, http://www.biometritech.com/enews/031903d.htm.


Home Affairs Committee, Fourth Report,


Roger Clarke, Just Another Piece of Plastic for your Wallet: The 'Australia Card' Scheme, 1987,


Smart Cards as National Identification Cards, School of Computing & IT, University of Wolverhampton, 1998,


‘ID card plan to top $7 billion’, Louise Elliott, Canadian Press, October 6, 2003,


The LSE Identity Project Interim Report: March 2005

system in early 2004, opting to focus its efforts on enhanced border security. National
ID card proposals have consistently been rejected by the United States Congress.

The situation regarding biometric passports is becoming more complicated. Denmark
has implemented biometric passports, but the biometric information is kept on the chip
in the passport and not in a central register. The biometric is limited to a digital
photograph. The Swiss have acted similarly. The Greek Data Protection Authority
prevented the Government from implementing biometric checks at the borders, forcing
the Government to abandon its plans for a biometric border system for the Olympics.54

On the other hand, a number of countries are mimicking the UK. Recently the French
Government announced its intentions to include further biometrics on its ID card, due to
“international obligations” from the ICAO to include fingerprints, and in reference to
the new acceptance of ID cards in the UK since the ‘law’ of December 2004.55

Philippines and Thai Governments are modelling their proposed ID cards on the UK
scheme, with centralised databases of multiple biometrics tracking a wide range of uses.
Germany, on the other hand, is considering a similar approach, but was recently warned
against it on technological grounds. The German Government had considered the
inclusion of additional digital biometrics, but the Federal Parliament’s Office of
Technology Assessment advised against complex systems involving centralised
databases, warning of “a gigantic laboratory test”, and varying costs depending on the
scheme selected. Depending on different scenarios and document features, the report
says, the cost could range from EUR 22 million to EUR 700 million for implementation
and from EUR 4.5 million to EUR 600 million for annual maintenance for passports and
ID cards.56

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