In a few months from now, passengers travelling on the ferry between Shetland, Orkney and Aberdeen will have to produce photo ID before embarking – as part of anti-terrorist security measures.
Islanders are justifiably concerned, and the local MP is quoted as saying, “I do not find the argument that the boat is a terrorist target a credible one.” Well said, Tavish Scott. The company spokesman says it’s increasingly important in today’s world to be sure that people “are who they say they are,” but alas, he misses the point that actual terrorists are who they say they are and the process of demonstrating it doesn’t stop them from committing atrocities. (More discussion from the islanders’ perspective here, google reveals.)
Meanwhile, in case you missed it a couple of days ago, a leaked memo of the government’s own has specifically singled out the issuing of passports and driving licences as opportunities to “coerce” people into having their details entered into the National Identity Register. As I already briefly mentioned, pensioners in Scotland who apply for their free bus passes (“Scottish National Entitlement Cards”) are being asked to waive their data protection rights in the process of applying – so the idea of sneaking people’s personal data onto unnecessary and intrusive databases is hardly new – but with talk of coercion on the government’s own lips it seems that the ‘dense but benevolent’ spin on their policy might no longer be excusable.