07 March 2006

Identity Cards

In Singapore, NRICs are a routine part of everyday life, but look what happened in the UK.

ST March 7, 2006
UK Lords reject govt ID card Bill

LONDON - Tony Blair's government was defeated by the House of Lords on Monday over the controversial issue of national identity cards.

The peers voted by a majority of 61 to overturn the government's plan and make the cards voluntary. The Bill will now return to the House of Commons for further debate.

Both houses must reach agreement for the measure to become law.

Under government proposals, the cards would not be compulsory initially. But anyone applying for or renewing a passport would have to pay for an identity card as well from 2008.

The opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers said this would introduce the cards by stealth and go back on Labour's original plan which was to have voluntary ID cards.

'The Government should now look for compromise and go forward with the voluntary scheme they promised,' Conservative Leader in the Lords, Lord Strathclyde, said in a statement.

'The issues of personal freedom involved are too important to be foisted on the public by half truths and deception.'

I was instantly reminded of a short little poem by blogger-poet Gilbert Koh, about the lack of privacy and data protection in Singapore. Click here to see.


Anonymous said...

I dont understand why a replacement of IC have to pay a S$100 fee. It doesnt make sense.

Anonymous said...

The irony, of course, is that identity cards in Singapore and Malaysia were introduced by the British during the Emergency against the MCP armed campaign.

However as alluded to in your post, even if ID cards are introduced in the UK, there will still be significant safeguards here under the Data Protection Act and the European Human Rights Convention.

Anonymous said...

We are nothing but numbers I suppose?

Bernard Leong said...

Actually, it's a cultural issue. All my European colleagues view that the ID card is an intrusion to their privacy and also think that Big Brother is watching you. To us, it's like a normal thing since we start to hold a IC at the age of 12. While following the ID card issue at the moment, I think that the ID cards bill will fail to survive in the House of Lords, because they have more liberals in that house that will reject the deal.

Anonymous said...

dear bl,
perhaps its because that your European colleagues have had more experience with Big Brother and what destruction it can wrought.
I believe that if you look at their voting history, both conservatives and liberals value individual freedoms.