I'm blogging it here as I think it sums up quite nicely the main reason why I hate the Bill. Namely, when people say that the ID Bill represents "a fundamental shift in the relationship between the citizen and the state", the horrendous thing is not (completely) that the government can see what each individual is doing. The horrendous, yet little-discussed threat is that the government is being handed a map of interpersonal communication and interaction on a total scale. Thus, even if I can see what information the government has "on" me, I am still lacking some information that they have the rights to - information about how I fit in with everyone else.
Why is this a drastic alteration in the state-citizen relationship? Because links are everything. We are social creatures - indeed, governments (along with firms, organisations, schools and unions) are born from our social nature. But these links are complex, and we generally have a difficult time understanding them simply because they are bigger than any single individual. But under a national database of "trusted" contact linkages, the people that "own" the data as a whole suddenly get a very fresh look at how things work.
Take a look at visual complexity to get an idea of how important such maps are - for example, check out the Internet traffic flow map or (more relevantly) the online community map. By tracing the points of contact - the links along which interaction and, by implication, information, trust and friendship are exchanged - you can form an image (whether as a 2D JPG or a notional database structure) to determine strong points and weak points, direction of informational flow, etc. This is the beauty of maps. Once you know what the major bridges are and what routes exist, it becomes extremely easy to start disrupting the network, either by taking out the nodes themselves, or (if that proves too "high publicity") just severing the links.
Thus, the ID Bill represents, effectively, a very feasible form of social chemistry - by which I do not mean a scientifically proven method for MPs to attract members from the opposite
In order to arrive at that comprehension, we need to trace the links and the flows that we see only from our own point of view every day. If ID cards - whether they have PINs, biometrics or nothing more than visual validation - are introduced on a large scale, not only will we have a system that gives us a completely false sense of security (as people without ID cards* won't be part of the system, plus there will always be alternative networks to route information** through), but we'll have one that hands this level of mapping to a government who have no political or legal need to share it with the rest of us.
Will it get abused? The future is uncertain. But democracies are all about uncertainty - hence the call for accountability, transparency and involvement. Why, then, are we taking the risk of losing out on this? Why are we prepared to trust
* i.e. The rest of the world. For now.
** Where information = money, loans, etc.
Addendum: Bah, last time I use that particular blog-posting tool. Apologies to anyone who tried to read it before linebreaks were re-introduced...