@benito & Marvin etc...
"Only wanted to share some good points from id with photo and fingerprint" - Benito
"Get an ID card system instead of the present combination of TV-licences, gas bills..." - Marvin
"An ID card *would* be more convenient for European travel than a passport, especially as certain countries (Belgium I believe) require you to have your ID card or passport on your person at almost all times. I'd quite happily have one if the rules and requirements were identical to the current passport." - Cambeltonian
Have you only just joined this ancient debate? The problem is not in having a photo ID card, most of us have one of them, it's called a drving license.
The main problem is the backend central database (National Identity Register) with your biometrics on it, the amount of people who will be able to access that data, the intention to store the time and location of every check made against that ID.
Originally they suggested 250 government departments would be able to access data on the NIR, they then increased that to somewhere around 4000 private & government organisations. Note that's 'organisations' not individuals. There have been several low profile instances recently of police officers and backroom police staff accessing the Police National Computer, also of Health staff innappropriately accessing health records on the NHS systems for their own nefarious purposes.
How secure is your identity going to be when unvetted low paid data clerks from some random organisation have access to everything stored?
In addition I am assuming you all work in IT in some form or other? Unless you are very new to the profession you should know by now that ideals are rarely achieved.
Of course all of the above is kind of moot because they have predictably already strayed far from the ideal. They have no readers, only 30 ID registration centres for the entire country. Now they want to farm out biometrics collection to high street stores (oh how very secure!)
If they ever were to actually get the readers implemented, how will you feel when you are turned away from blockbusters, or your bank, the border, or worse the hospital because the reader is faulty or the network is down?
How are you going to reclaim your identity when your biometrics get inexplicably confused with someone else who registered at WHSmiths on a busy Saturday afternoon?
Then of course we have the invevitable function creep which, many of the government proposals on cards from the last 10 years clearly imply they will be looking for further uses of the card (including commercial considerations to recoup costs). I have already had the joy of having my DVLA data sold to a private firm who are attempting to reclaim a debt that I do not owe.
Finally as No2ID stated, once you are on their you are signed up for life. It is your responsiblity to ensure your data is upto date and current no doubt at your own expense. I live in rented property and there are times when your landlords wish to move back to their property or sell it etc... sometimes we have moved every 6 months for 2 years. What a joy it will be to have to be legally obliged to pay the government whatever fee they decide is appropriate at any given time to have them update my records.
This government (and unfortunately the opposition, regardless of what they say) are obsessed with control. On every level they are determined to create an all encompassing record of every citizens movements on a daily basis. ANPR records, DNA data, ID card check tracking, National Communications Database. They have also repeatedly proposed llinking standard CCTV to the ANPR system, face tracking on public CCTV, Audio surveillance on public CCTV. I'm sure they would happily consider RFID readers on lamposts to track any passing NID cards.
Surely you can see that if they actually managed to get NID cards accepted as the de-facto method of ID, they would then insist they were presented not just for every public service accessed but for voting, job interviews, every financial transaction made etc... It is the data miners dream, when any crime is commited they just check who was in the area, coupled with some pre-crime profiling from all that crap they are holding. Of course the cost of the card & updating your data will have to go up considerably to pay for all the joined up infrastructure but by then it will be your legal responsibility to pay for it.
So yes a photo ID card MIGHT be handy if you are into that kind of thing, unfortunately that bears no relation whatsoever to the government proposals.