The surface story on these things is that they are a measure to prevent terrorism and benefit fraud, and other such wrongdoings. And maybe they will help in these situations. But the craftiness and manipulation being used to ram the laws through is disturbing in itself, let alone the wider implications of what a country with this system imposed upon it would be like to live in. To quote the Observer article linked above:
You will need the card when you receive prescription drugs, when you withdraw a relatively small amount of money from a bank, check into hospital, get your car unclamped, apply for a fishing licence, buy a round of drinks (if you need to prove you’re over 18), set up an internet account, fix a residents’ parking permit or take out insurance.
Every time that card is swiped, the central database logs the transaction so that an accurate plot of your life is drawn. The state will know everything that it needs to know; so will big corporations, the police, the Inland Revenue, HM Customs, MI5 and any damned official or commercial busybody that wants access to your life. The government and Home Office have presented this as an incidental benefit, but it is at the heart of their purpose.
It has now been revealed by persons within the government that the technology used on these cards will be the same as the chip-and-pin technology on bank cards at the present moment; the high-tech solutions originally suggested are apparently too expensive to run. These cards are supposed to stop terrorism and fraud. So why are they using a technology that has already been widely compromised by terrorists and fraudsters?
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to email my MP about this. Again. And probably as many times as I can get away with.