Monday, October 16, 2006

Prime Minister Brown seems a frightening prospect

"Take ID cards. Last year we gathered [Brown] was unconvinced about their value. No longer. What really seemed to excite him was the terrific efficiency and convenience that fingerprint-swiping and iris recognition could bring to us all. Not only could we now buy groceries and open safes just by swiping our fingerprints across readers, but we would soon be able to harness all these private-sector innovations in order to access public-sector services, by bringing the two sectors' systems closer together.

It is almost as if all the fierce arguments about the merits, costs and threats posed by national databases and greater surveillance by the state had never happened. Brown made a couple of references to the need to protect civil liberties, but they were phrased more as if this is a minor difficulty, easily overcome, rather than a key objection to the entire scheme." —Jenni Russell

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