by Matt Wharton on November 18, 2005
Dame Stella Rimington the former head of MI5 has said that she believes that ID cards won’t make us safer
Asked at a further education conference whether she thought ID cards would make the country safer, Dame Stella Rimington replied: “No is the very simple answer, although ID cards have possibly some purpose.
“But I don’t think anybody in the intelligence services – not in my former service – will be pressing for ID cards.”
Her own opinion was that ID cards would be of use “but only if they can be made unforgeable”.
She added: “If we had ID cards at great expense and people can go into back rooms and forge them they will not make us any safer.”
Of course the Tories leapt on Rimington’s ID card rejection, what has the world come to when I find myself siding with the Conservative party against a Labour government.
The Conservatives said today that criticism of ID cards by former MI5 chief Dame Stella Rimington showed the government’s justifications for their introduction were “completely bogus”.
Dame Stella told a meeting of college heads yesterday that no one in the intelligence services favoured the government’s plans to introduce biometric identity cards.
She warned that they would be “absolutely useless” unless they could be made impossible to forge.
Dame Stella’s opinion will no doubt be dismissed as ‘out of touch with what the public wants’ by the government as they only seem to accept expert opinions of those experts whose opinions agree with their own.
The government has by and large given up on the prevention of terrorism aspect of the ID card proposal, which I find worrying as they now seem to focusing on the arguments about costs. This might indicate they think they have won the battle of ideas that ID cards are necessary and the only real question is whether the public will accept the high monetary costs of the scheme.