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ID cards have not stopped terrorism.
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DEMOCRATS MEDIA WEDNESDAY 5 OCTOBER 2005
SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS ATTORNEY-GENERALS AND PRIVACY SPOKESPERSON
ID CARDS HAVE NOT STOPPED TERRORISM Privacy-intrusive measures, such as a national identity card, have not prevented terrorism, according to the Australian Democrats.
“Of the 25 countries most adversely affected by terrorism since 1986, 20 have national identity cards,"(1) Democrats' Attorney-Generals and Privacy Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.
“This is about much more then simply another card in your wallet. An identity card involves a complex, expensive and universal identification system with a huge central database, elaborate communications networks, card readers and millions of cards.
“The cost, both financially and socially, would be enormous.
"Given the recent COAG rights and liberties sell-off, Australia looks set to have some of the Commonwealth’s most draconian terror laws. Adding an identity card into the mix could prove disastrous.
“It is highly likely that stop and search powers will be extended to include the compulsion for Australians to produce their cards on demand.
“In the European Union, individuals of “ethnic” appearance are more than twice as likely to be detained and compelled to show their identification cards (2).
“In reality there is no legislative measure that could stop this type of discrimination and it represents a major concern in a country like Australia with its diverse population.
"While I recognise that privacy must be balanced with security, at the moment the scales are seriously weighted against the protection of rights and liberties.
"There needs to be a parallel strengthening of protections for Australians. There has never been a more important time to update the Privacy Act and implement an Australian Bill of Rights,” Senator Stott Despoja said.
Media contact: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260
(1) Privacy International, ‘Interim Report: Mistaken Identity’, April 2004 (2) Privacy International, ‘Interim Report: Mistaken Identity’, April 2004