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The British Identity Crisis

Maggio 2006
Finora se la sono cavata benissimo senza carta d’identità, ma per gli inglesi la musica sta per cambiare. Contraddicendo se stesso, Tony Blair progetta di introdurre la ID obbligatoria  a partire dal 2008.  E il Paese è  contro di lui
File audio:

A British citizen with ID
A British citizen with ID

Speaker: Rachel Roberts and Mark Worden (Standard British accent) 

Most Europeans carry identity cards, but what is the situation in Britain? The country is often described as the home of democracy and liberty, but its government has some controversial proposals for combating terrorism.

Q: Must citizens of the United Kingdom carry identity cards?

A: No, there is no legal obligation to carry any identification papers, but the British government now wants to introduce identity cards.

Q: Can the police ask you for identification?

A: : No, they can ask for your name and address, if you behave suspiciously. A police officer can only stop and arrest you if you have committed a crime. Drivers have no obligation to carry a driving licence; if the police stop you for an offence, they will ask you to report to a police station with your licence and car documents within 24 hours.

Q: Why introduce identity cards?

A: The government says the cards will reduce identity fraud and identity theft, stop illegal immigrants from working, stop false social security claims, and fight organised crime and terrorism.
 
Q: What information will the proposed identity cards record?

A: They’ll record your National Insurance number, your National Health number and details (such as blood group), your present and past addresses, and any criminal record. Biometric data, such as digital fingerprints, will make forgery of the cards more difficult. A single National Identity Register will collect all the nformation to form the biggest public sector database in Europe. Hospitals, police stations and social security offices around England will have electronic readers to check the cards.

Q: Are people in favour of the cards?

A: Experts suggest the cards will be an expensive disaster: ex-Secret Service chief, Stella Rimington, says they won’t help in the fight against terror. The national database will be an irresistible target for criminals, and may increase identity theft. Organised crime will have a new high-profit industry: the fabrication of identities.

Q: Finally, who made this statement?
“Instead of wasting millions of pounds on compulsory ID cards, let’s use that money on more police officers.”

A: Curiously enough, it was Tony Blair in 1995! Now the Prime Minister intends not only to introduce identity cards, but also to scan, fingerprint and register the entire nation at an even higher cost.


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Glossary

if you behave suspiciously - se vi comportate in modo sospetto.

offence - reato.

identity fraud and identity theft - contraffazione e furto di identità.

false social security claims - domande di assistenza sociale false.

record - registrare.

National Insurance number - codice fiscale.

National Health number - codice sanitario.

blood group - gruppo sanguigno.

fingerprints - impronte digitali.

forgery - contraffazione.

fabrication - falsificazione.

wasting - sprecare.

compulsory ID cards - carte d’identità obbligatorie.

to scan - passare (l’immagine) allo scanner.