It strikes me that lots (was http://radio.weblogs.com/0110120/2004/12/10.html#a1539 marked bad) of countries have ID cards (100 apparently including Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain) and I don’t hear massive outcry about their lack of or curtailing of freedoms. So it seems to me that there are two options a) there aren’t the doomsday scenario restrictions and detailed tracking of individuals causing innocent people to be affected or b) there are but no-one has noticed. It is difficult to separate these two in any meaningful manner. Knee-jerk reaction to a perceived change in freedom that has no noticeable impact on citizens isn’t helpful. Surely some sort of lobbying to establish what sensible restrictions should be put on the use of the information (just as with the ever-growing DNA databases) would be more sensible?
Part of the reason I’m interested in this is that joined-up government (e.g. I can change my address in one place and have it ripple through elsewhere) depends on a unique customer ID. To have a unique customer ID requires verification and authentication which kind of requires a physical method of presentation like an ID card (that can be used for e-transactions as well). If you want the former, you kind of need the latter.
I oscillate on this issue: joined-up goverment should be fantastic, and I believe most mobile phone and credit card users are pretty trackable anyway. However, forcing the symbol of many fascist states on the population and using known-false arguments (ID card = lower terrorist potential) to push the issue leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.