Richard’s point is exactly the one I am trying to tease out. Whether we trust these agencies and their technologies is one thing and whether the wrappings aid their ostensible purpose is another. If David Blunkett or his successors ever actually believed that ID cards identified their holders then of necessity the security situation would deteriorate. All the diverse ways that society and its institutions remain vigilant about impersonation and identity theft would wither on the vine leaving a single hurdle for terrorists to surmount before being allowed complete freedom to travel and operate. Those whose identity had been stolen would be completely defenceless before the law – the ultimate human rights violation. The ramifications of trust or mistrust extend way beyond the immediate implications of the act.
Of course our identity itself is socio-political and socio-technical. I cannot define my identity unilaterally in the context of existing political, social and technical systems. Those in power are tempted to think that they can, to the detriment of everyone involved.