National ID cards are gone. But the infrastructure survives as the biometric permits for foreign residents. Mass-surveillance has not disappeared. The coalition’s promises to “roll back the database state” are ineffectual. Indeed official demands for personal information are multiplying
- Travel by car or motorbike and your number plate is read by a network of cameras and that record of movements passed to a central store.
- Leave or enter the country and all travel details you give will be put on a database that is available to dozens of UK and foreign agencies. The UK is lobbying for this to be written into EU law.
- Visit the doctor and the details may be captured. A new agency is planned to continue centralising and sharing of medical records, expanding the role of the existing Health and Social Care Information Centre.
- Monitoring of telephone and internet use continues to increase; all ‘traffic data’ is now kept for inspection, by law.
- Ever more public bodies are getting powers to share the information they have about you, on fine-sounding pretexts.
- To tie it all together, perhaps, a more subtle government scheme for “identity assurance” is on the agenda. Depending on how that is implemented it could be harmless; or it could be very bad news indeed for privacy and personal liberty.