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Friday, May 12, 2006

Broken Covenant

I am grateful to Jonathan Calder on Liberal England for drawing my attention to this BBC news item on ID cards and CCTV:

Sharper CCTV images are needed so shots of suspected criminals can be matched to the proposed identity card database, a Home Office minister has said.

Baroness Scotland told the Lords poor quality CCTV currently runs the risk of innocent people being wrongly arrested.

"Digital pictures... will enable us, particularly when ID cards come in, to identify those who are responsible for very serious crime," she added.

The Home Office stress safeguards will cover police use of the ID database.

I doubt very much if I could find many people who would have any confidence at all in 'Home Office safeguards'.

This latest development underlines the dangers that anti-ID card campaigners have been talking about for some time - that combined with extensive, linked databases and improved CCTV, these ID cards could be used to manage the population for political purposes.

The expressed purpose of ID cards are to enable people to verify their own identity. We have been assured that they will not infringe our civil liberties. However, already government and the police are finding uses for them that will do just that.

CCTV can be a useful tool to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour if it is used in conjunction with intelligent, responsible and properly resourced policing. Those who object to it are often told that they should not fear if they have nothing to hide. Once CCTV is connected with other technologies the debate moves beyond this mundane justification. Everybody's privacy and freedom of movement and action comes under threat.


"poor quality CCTV currently runs the risk of innocent people being wrongly arrested."

Looks to me like a severe case of a bad workman blaming his tools. Delete 'CCTV', insert 'policing'. Moving to digital won't make a blind bit of difference.
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