Thursday, October 16, 2003

CBC News: "No case made for ID cards: privacy commissioner"

A seemingly obscure story, maybe, but this news story about how the Canadian privacy commissioner Robert Marleau has ruled national ID cards out because "A strong case for the benefits of a national identification system has simply not been made," and "To the extent that benefits would exist, it would be marginal at best." Further, and perhaps most damagingly, a Liberal MP [ie. a politician] says that "We might be creating a situation where people could actually be killed, eliminated, made to vanish in order to acquire an ID card that could be used to get a passport, to get all kinds of services." Well, duh! So what?, you might ask, justifiably. All these arguments are self-evident, you continue thinking to yourself in an anti-social manner.

But as you well know (or should know, unless you're an astronaut or a visiting alien), after 9/11 all Governments have gone security-mad [emphasis on "mad"], because they're idiots and don't actually usually know how to make the country more secure, and because they see it as an excellent way of increasing their powers. ID cards are a good combination of these two traits. Kudos to Canada for having enough checks and balances to make sure they don't become national policy for such controversial reasons as a bad Cost-Benefit Ratio and possible failures such as increasing the amount of murders and other crimes.

Moreover though, this case shows how politics has become so febrile and absurd in many Western states, so that debates about such important matters as ID cards are not even carried out with the public by the ruling Government, let alone amongst the public in the knowledge that whatever they decide will actually become policy. A disgrace, but also a dangerous state of affairs.

God I'm in a good mood today.


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