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ID Cards

    This subject has caused much controversy already. It seems the Civil Liberties groups are the most vociferous on the subject. How can they be? The greatest civil liberty is to be able to come home and find you have not been burgled. An ID card system can only contribute to crime prevention! Lets just set the rules first.

    If the Government tells us all we have to carry an ID card, then they should pay for it, not us! Secondly, the card should carry an embedded photo of the holder (like the Royal Bank of Scotland's highline card), which will make unauthorised use of a lost or stolen card much harder. If the banks required the swipe of your ID card before you pay for anything by switch or credit card, then this will help to cut down on card fraud. Under these rules, where the ID card details must match the personal details on the Switch/Credit card, and the point of sale contact can see your photo on the ID card, it makes card usage much more secure.

    If you had to be "swiped in" when you went to a pub, club or restaurant, then the staff knows who is in and how many are in. This stops under age drinking in pubs and clubs and helps to maintain the safe occupancy limits set by the fire department. Given the development of the right working system of swiping in with the ID card, in the event of a fire or some problem requiring evacuation of the premises, people can be accounted for more easily. CB has talked to quite a few pub managers and owners who would love to see this adopted! They also point out that any troublemakers could be identified much more easily. Anyone convicted of drink related violence offences could, by court order, have their ID cards implanted with a barring message that would effectively stop them getting into pubs and clubs.

    The Home Office freely admits that they do not know how many illegal immigrants are in the UK, further, they know that many are wanted for crimes and they have no idea where they are. If it was not possible to work, draw state benefits or use a credit or debit card without an ID card, surely it would help track these people down. Just having to come forward to try and get an ID would flush many of them out.

    What of crime prevention? Well, going back to our burglar, he works on a cash only basis. When he has got away with your TV, video and golf clubs, they usually are sold in a pub for cash. Given that we were all required to "swipe in" to the pub, we may eventually migrate to paying the pub bill by debit card (something else the pub managers like the idea of). The ID card system could be the forerunner of the "cashless society". In the cashless society, how do you dispose of stolen goods without there being a record of the deal?

    OK, that is tomorrows world but surely we are moving toward the cashless society. Just think how many times you go out now and only use your plastic to pay. CB does it quite regularly. We know credit card fraud is growing but this is because of the system not being tight enough. With an ID card system in place, where the card has your photo on it, and a swipe transaction requires a match between your ID card details and the debit or credit card you are using, this will make it doubly difficult to commit card fraud. Now, please tell CB why ID cards are bad news! Yes, CB hears you talking of the massive data losses and your fears of such a large data base but SURELY the benefits outweigh the possible problems AND, tighter and better management may fix the problems.

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© The JSC Group March 2006