Tony Blair and William Hague call for everyone in UK to be issued digital IDs
Former Labour prime minister and Conservative leaders Tony Blair and William Hague have come together to argue everyone in the UK should be issued digital IDs.
Former prime minister Tony Blair and former Conservative leader William Hague have called for everyone in the UK to be issued a digital ID. The former political rivals have come together to argue that government records on the population are still “based in a different era”, and need an update.
Digital IDs is a controversial subject, with opponents arguing that it infringes on civil liberties and is an unnecessary and intrusive collection of data and personal information by the government. A plan to introduce the IDs was tried and later scrapped by the coalition government while Blair was PM.
Blair and Hague argue that digital IDs with access to identity, age, right to live and work and drivers licence would make it easier and more secure for the British population to access public services.
In their report, the former leaders write: "In a world in which everything from vaccine status to aeroplane tickets and banking details are available on our personal devices, it is illogical that the same is not true of our individual public records."
Criticising the proposal, Silkie Carlo from the Big Brother Watch said digital IDs would be “one of the biggest assaults on privacy ever seen in the UK". She added: "Sir Tony and Lord Hague are absolutely right about the need for the UK to take leadership in technological innovation, but this means protecting people’s rights and privacy, not reviving failed proposals for an intrusive mass digital identity system and a database state."
Digital IDs are already available in all Scandinavian countries, with apps granting access to anything from bank accounts to tax information. Writing in The Times, the pair argue: “Trying to achieve any political dream of left or right, whether that be a growing economy, a more equal society, flourishing trade, more profitable firms, an efficient public sector, world-class education, a healthier population, stronger defence, a way forward after Brexit, or an optimistic future for young people — you name it — will come to little unless we lead in science, technology and innovation.
“Many people in Britain are fully alive to this. We are among the world leaders in the quality of our universities and the vigour of technology start-ups. The creation by the prime minister of a department focused on science and the emphasis by the leader of the opposition on green technology are important steps.”