Sunday, November 26, 2006

Key Benefits of ID Cards Part #1

Security, Combating of Terrorism
A few frequent soundbytes are often heard on this subject. So we all know that spanish ID cards didn't stop the Madrid bomings. We also know that if we had ID card in this country, the 7/7 bombers would have had them legitimately. However, from here it is implied that ID cards will not fight terror. I don't believe this to be correct.

Consider the following examples:
Terrorist A has been being watched by the security services for some time, it is suspected that he plans to perform an aircraft based terror attack. He has ordered his ticket using a credit card in a false name from a public terminal, therfore it is not known exactly which airport he intends to use, or which flight. When he gets to the airport he intends to use a false passport.

In this case, ID cards would have several benefits, firstly, the credit card in a false name would have been far harder to obtain. The false passport would have not have been accepted, so Terrorist A would have to use their genuine ID. In this case, the security services could have marked up Terrorist A's ID record to ensure that airport searched him before he was allowed through.

Terrorist A and Terrorist B travelled to Afganistan via Pakistan in order to receive terrorist training, several years later Terrorist A commits an act of terror. On investigating the matter, the security services look at the audit trail of his ID card usage, this reveals the original flight to Pakistan. By cross referencing the people on that flight against people of a similar age from the same area they uncover the identity of Terrorist B

What I hope I've show here is that there are hypothetical situations where the proposed ID card scheme will have it's uses in combating terrorism.

Prevention of Benefit Fraud
The majority of losses through the benefits system occur through benefits fraud and mistakes. The ID card could offer potential benefits since it provides goverment departments with a more robust form of identification. This would allow government departments to keep better track of individuals and reduce the amount of time spent by government employees checking up on identities.

Identity theft based fraud such as the Tax credit fiasco form a minor part of the overall benefit fraud at the moment, although this kind of crime is expected to become more common. ID cards would prevent this kind of occurence. By insisting that any bank account to be recieve benefits would have to have a known identity associated with it, any attempt to send the money to a fraudulent account would fail.

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