National ID card plan slammed

"It'll be a disaster," says Tory MP...
Written by Heather McLean, Contributor

"It'll be a disaster," says Tory MP...

Home Secretary David Blunkett is calling for the technology industry to support his idea for an electronic national identity card for all UK citizens - but is already facing opposition from Tory MPs.

The government will be looking for feedback on the idea following the publication of a consultation paper this summer.

The ID card plan is a follow-on from the entitlement cards that asylum seekers must carry at all times to prove their identity.

A spokeswoman from the Home Office told silicon.com: "If the national entitlement card project was to go ahead it would follow the same format as asylum entitlement cards."

Asylum seekers have to carry smartcards which include their photographs and fingerprints.

However, Nick Gibb, the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, strongly opposes Blunkett's proposals.

He claimed hackers would be able to access private details on the cards and forge new ones - something which has already happened in other countries.

Gibb said: "In Sweden, smartcards became a person's key to everything, from getting into work in the morning to accessing medical help. Criminals found they were able to hack into details on stolen cards and then they had access to entire lives."

But state control worries Gibb more than hacking issues.

He said: "I am massively opposed to a national ID card. It will be a major extension of the state into the private lives of individuals.

"It'll be a disaster," Gibb continued. "The government says smartcard technology means people like the police won't have access to certain information held on the card, like tax and medical records, but laws can be changed at the stroke of a pen in this government."

The UK's last national ID card was abolished after World War II for ruining public relations with the police.

It is not yet known whether the proposal for an electronic national ID card will be put to a referendum.

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