[Marxism] ID cards and Mass Surveillance in UK

Calvin Broadbent calvinbroadbent at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 19 03:57:02 MDT 2005


http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article306577.ece

ID cards could be used for mass surveillance system

By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent
Published: 18 August 2005

The Government is creating a system of "mass public surveillance" capable of 
tracking every adult in Britain without their consent, MPs say. They warn 
that people who have never committed a crime can be "electronically 
monitored" without their knowledge.

Biometric facial scans, which will be compulsory with ID cards, are to be 
put on a national database which can then be matched with images from CCTV. 
The database of faces will enable police and security services to track 
individuals regardless of whether they have broken the law.

CCTV surveillance footage from streets, shops and even shopping centres 
could be cross-referenced with photographs of every adult in the UK once the 
ID cards Bill becomes law. Biometric facial scans, iris scans and 
fingerprints of all adults in the UK will be stored on a national database. 
Civil liberties groups say the plans are a "dangerous" threat to people's 
privacy.

Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said the plans were 
being brought in by the Government without informing the public. "A new 
system capable of mass public surveillance is being created with no public 
debate. The arrival of CCTV cameras which can recognise you and track you 
without your knowledge means we are stepping into an unknown future," he 
said.

The monitoring will be possible using the country's four million CCTV 
cameras - more than any country in the world. Images could be swiftly 
cross-referenced with the database.

Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, has said that the "facial images 
national database should be operational by December 2006".

The technology is already used by the police to check for offenders, and for 
football hooligans. Casinos use it to spot VIPs and to check for gamblers 
they have barred.

The Home Office said the police would only check a person against the 
National Identity Register to investigate a specific crime. "The police may 
request information from the National Identity Register without an 
individual's consent [or knowledge] if it is necessary for the prevention of 
further offences or establishing who committed the crime they are 
investigating," said a spokeswoman. "An internal authorisation process would 
operate ... so that only officers of a specified rank could apply for 
information."

The Government is creating a system of "mass public surveillance" capable of 
tracking every adult in Britain without their consent, MPs say. They warn 
that people who have never committed a crime can be "electronically 
monitored" without their knowledge.

Biometric facial scans, which will be compulsory with ID cards, are to be 
put on a national database which can then be matched with images from CCTV. 
The database of faces will enable police and security services to track 
individuals regardless of whether they have broken the law.

CCTV surveillance footage from streets, shops and even shopping centres 
could be cross-referenced with photographs of every adult in the UK once the 
ID cards Bill becomes law. Biometric facial scans, iris scans and 
fingerprints of all adults in the UK will be stored on a national database. 
Civil liberties groups say the plans are a "dangerous" threat to people's 
privacy.

Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said the plans were 
being brought in by the Government without informing the public. "A new 
system capable of mass public surveillance is being created with no public 
debate. The arrival of CCTV cameras which can recognise you and track you 
without your knowledge means we are stepping into an unknown future," he 
said.

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