Tony Blair and William Hague join forces to call for digital IDs across the U.K.

The concept of introducing identity cards has long been the subject of contentious debate. During his tenure as prime minister, Sir Tony Blair attempted to introduce an ID card scheme, which was ultimately abandoned by the coalition government.

Tony Blair and William Hague join forces to call for digital IDs across the U.K.
AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
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In a joint proposal, Sir Tony Blair and Lord Hague have urged for the implementation of digital ID cards across the United Kingdom, citing the need for a "technological revolution". The former leaders of the Labour and Conservative parties highlight in a report that government records continue to be rooted in a bygone era.

The concept of introducing identity cards has long been the subject of contentious debate. During his tenure as prime minister, Sir Tony Blair attempted to introduce an ID card scheme, which was ultimately abandoned by the coalition government.

Opponents of the notion of identity cards have expressed their apprehensions over civil liberties and what they view as unnecessary data collection and government intrusion.

The duo of former adversaries in their roles as party leaders put forward the proposition that the adoption of digital ID cards could improve accessibility to services and heighten security for U.K. citizens. Their report maintains that such an initiative would assist the government in comprehending the requirements of the populace and thereby providing targeted support.

"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," the pair wrote.

According to their proposal, individuals would be able to utilize the proposed system to verify various aspects such as their identity, age, driving licence, right to reside and work in the U.K., and even their educational credentials.

Silkie Carlo, the director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said the "sprawling digital identity system" proposed by the pair "would be one of the biggest assaults on privacy ever seen in the U.K."

"Sir Tony and Lord Hague are absolutely right about the need for the U.K. 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," she said.

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