teller machines enhances data security and enables citizens to have control of the data they wish to reveal. In addition, they claim that identity fraud and disclosure can be prevented by investing in technology that will ensure the integrity of the system and minimize the potential for misuse. They also argue that laws can be enacted that can establish the rules on access, data storage and disclosure pertaining to the national database.
Aside from the issue of misuse, ID system opponents believe that the idea of a government tracking the activities of its citizens violates a citizen’s intrinsic right to privacy. They say that a government intruding in the affairs of citizens is dangerous and has dire consequences for social order. Moreover, the extent of personal information that will be collected by the government and whether it really serves a legitimate aim is a cause of alarm to rights activists. Supporters of an ID system, on the other hand, contend that people who do not violate laws have nothing to hide and should therefor have no reason to fear a government monitoring their activities.
ID system advocates hail its benefits in combating terrorism, illegal immigration, crime and tax fraud. Because of the technology and data-driven nature of today’s society, a national ID system could easily track offenders. ID supporters claim that the notion that citizens are being observed will enhance public order and as such decrease opportunities for crime (LSE, 2005). However, opponents belie this claim. The London School of Economics study on the viability of the proposed ID system in the United Kingdom points out that the police in developed countries believe that the lack of identification procedures does not pose a problem in investigation. It is evidence gathering and prosecution that remain as big obstacles for the resolution of crimes. Nonetheless, using crime trends across Europe
In the Philippines as in other countries, the use of Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) as de facto national ID cards has been proposed to curb tax evasion and fraud (Baviera and Mendoza). According to the proponents, this could be used as a base for an integrated ID system. However, it has been argued that causes of tax evasion are often deeply rooted in human and organizational issues that technology may not be entirely capable of solving (Privacy International,1996) such as non-declaration of true assets. Hence, although it may expand the tax base in such a way that it will cover the “underground economy,” the presence of an ID system will not entirely solve the many persistent ills of the country’s tax system.
from 1995-1999(see Table 3), the LSE observed that there are fewer crimes in countries without ID cards (LSE, 2005:36). However, it argues that it is hard to conclude from the data if ID systems do affect crime trends.
London School of Economics and Political Science Project. An Assessment of the UK Identity Cards Bill a tions. Interim Report. London, March 2005, p.36
. The Identity nd Its Implica-
Table 3. Crime Recorded by Police in EU Countries, 1995 – 1999