Socialist Worker

Blunkett’s sinister plan to create a database state

by Guy Taylor
Issue No. 1929

HOME SECRETARY David Blunkett will be attacking our civil liberties even more ferociously over the coming months. And his proposed identity card scheme lies at the centre of these attacks.

The £3 billion ID card programme will be backed up by police checks and a complex computer system. It is a recipe for racism and chaos.

Asian men have experienced a 300 percent increase in stop and search in the last two years.

Muslims—or those the police perceive to be Muslim—will experience industrial strength police racism under this scheme.

Behind the frontline policing of ID lies another, more sinister development—the database state.

The whole apparatus of ID cards requires a central government database that will hold a huge amount of information on us.

The government will be capable of expanding this information, if they so desire, or granting wider access to those records.

There are no guarantees that insurance companies won’t be able to find out our medical histories, or that employers won’t be able to discover criminal records. Welcome to the Big Brother state.

Blunkett simply dismisses those who are concerned by all this.

Last week he compared ID cards to supermarket loyalty schemes, arguing that Sainsbury’s and Tesco know more about us that the government ever would.

But there is no compulsion to use supermarket loyalty cards at the checkout.

ID cards, in contrast, will be demanded should you want to drive, leave the country, hire anything, access any public service or get a job. They will be effectively compulsory, no matter how much Blunkett tries to claim otherwise.

Technology companies are one of the main lobbying groups pushing for ID cards.

Computer giant Siemens sponsored a Labour Party conference fringe meeting on the issue in September.

Whoever wins this contract can depend on the biggest computer system running in Britain going through their accounts.

The idea of a British government planning a huge database and committing vast sums of money to it should only appear in a political satire, given recent IT debacles at the Child Support Agency, the Passport Office and numerous other examples. But they mean this one.

The NO2ID campaigning organisation has been set up to oppose the government’s planned ID card and National Identity Register.

To find out more or to organise a public meeting visit our website at

Guy Taylor is an activist with Globalise Resistance and is membership secretary of the NO2ID anti-ID card campaign. NO2ID is holding a public meeting on Tuesday 30 November at 7pm at the Brix, St Matthew’s Church, Brixton, London.

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Sat 27 Nov 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1929
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