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Friday, October 21, 2005

 

8 days around the world

A quick post before I travel the other side of the planet and back.

Identity cards are going to become law very soon. Chris Lightfoot has a letter in the Guardian today(one of his fellow letter writers appears unable to understand that even if there were no fee for an identity card it would still have to be paid for*) pointing out that the Government are, at best, pushing a confusing mix of misinformation as their argument against objections to ID cards. His blog post deals with the Government’s plans to siphon funding from public services on the dubious basis of expected savings. In other words, identity cards will be used to deny people access to for example, health care. “Fine”, you might say, “I don’t want to some foreigners getting a free ride.” You might, if you suffered from delusions that this country has been overrun by foreigners taking advantage of us. Or if you read the Daily Mail, which is much the same thing. The point of these arguments is that the people who will bear the brunt of demands to produce their ID will be British people who are not white. They will be asked, over and over again, to demonstrate that they have a right to be here. This will be a procedure more about denying health care than saving money, as much of the saved money will have been spent on ensuring the most marginal people in Britain are kept on those dangerous margins. “Are you legal?”, will be the refrain.

Mind you, one of the most ludicrous justifications for identity cards came in the comments section of Tim Worstall’s blog. Soru argued that that it would be a benefit to the disadvantaged and to the minority communities of Britain as they would be less likely to find themselves the victims of human rights abuses as the legal ones would be able to prove their identity. Quite aside from Tim’s reply that the rate of false-positives would lead to greater numbers of these people being arrested (to which I would add that our technophilia would ensure that this technology was trusted beyond the degree that reason would suggest advisable), this is clearly not an attempt to deal with the institutions that dole out the human rights abuses that these people might face. Rather than change these institutions, it is the people who are the possible victims who are being asked to submit to surveillance technologies as a part of a continual demonstration of innocence.

I attempted to address the fact that identity cards would a retrogressive redistribution of wealth here, and that these kinds of technological fixes were attempts to make people fit the machine, a totalitarian solution, rather than a humanitarian re-egnieering of the machine.

While I am away, why not trawl the archives. Oh, and buy my comics.

Comments:
Your time and intelligence will be missed. Enjoy the Other Side of the World!
 
I ain't gettin' on no plane sucka!
 
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