According to the Daily Mail, (via No2ID), the latest line from the UK government is that although you won’t be forced to have an ID card, if you opt out you’ll not be able to have a passport.
If this is indeed likely to be true, it’s yet another reason why people should renew their UK passports early, even if they don’t need to, and if at all possible, find a way to get a second passport. There’s probably quite a large percentage of the UK population who would qualify for an Irish passport, for example, but I haven’t noticed the press suggesting yet that people start investigating that.
Here in Estonia, I’m not sure what the status of ID cards actually is. I was originally told that they’re compulsory, but that there’s no penalty for not having one (as an aside, I really like the concept of laws with no penalty – it seems like a wonderful government hack). But recently I read an interview with an Estonian politician who said (IIRC) that they were originally compulsory, but that there was a lack of public support, so now you don’t need have one, but you’ll find lots of things simpler if you do.
One thing that they have gotten right in Estonia, however, is the privacy side. There is no centralised government database of information. Each department has its own, and there is full transparency back to the citizen. Not only can you see all your own data, you can also see who else has been looking at it.
So if the police had been examining your medical records, for example, you would both know about it, and have the right to find out why.
I wouldn’t recommend any hold their breath waiting for the UK government to do likewise…
What’s the fuss about getting an ID card, we ex-colonials in Hong Kong have had them for decades and no one is complaining. The ID cards we get have fingerprints embedded into them so we can use it for immigration purposes fast and easy through automatic turnstiles while others are fidgeting with their passports.
ID cards detect illegal immigrants, easy as that.