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The politics of personal identity

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The Government’s much vilified identity card scheme overreaches its aim of protecting us from identity fraud and could leave us more – not less – vulnerable, according to Dr Edgar Whitley from LSE’s Information Systems and Innovation Group.


In this short film Dr Whitley warns that in their proposed form, ID cards fail to distinguish the separate tasks of authentication and identification – forcing us to disclose more personal information than necessary in situations where we may need, for example, simply to establish that we are over 18. This would not be necessary, he argues, if the government had taken the opportunity to utilise new technologies, such as our own mobile phones.


Could some of the controversy around the scheme have been avoided if it was more citizen-centric? As the date approaches when the proposed scheme will be rolled out nationwide, Dr Whitley discusses how ID cards threaten to change the relationship between the individual and the state in the UK.

Length: 6 minutes 35 seconds.
Released: 20 August 2009.

Experts link

For full details of Dr Edgar Whitley's research and publications, see their profiles in the LSE Experts Directory: Dr Edgar Whitley.

Department link

For more details on the LSE Information Systems and Innovation Group and the The Identity Project Resource, see their website.