Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair believes it is “common sense to move in the direction of digital IDs” as part of an effort to fight coronavirus.
Blair, who has called for the ID’s to prove ‘disease status’ during a crisis says that the government should keep a record of all those who’ve been vaccinated against the virus.
BBC reports: The government recently set out plans to change laws to enable the use of digital identity across the UK. As prime minister, Mr Blair launched a compulsory ID card scheme, but it was scrapped by the coalition government.
- We need to learn to live with virus, says Blair
- Drug firms GSK and Sanofi in Covid vaccine trial
- NHS app paves the way for ‘immunity passports’
Speaking to the BBC’s Newscast podcast, he said that once a coronavirus vaccine is in use “you’re going to want a record of the fact you’ve been vaccinated”.
“You’ll want a record kept by the government of who’s been vaccinated – this will be essential, again, to restoring confidence,” he added. The former PM argued that improvements in technology meant privacy issues “can be dealt with”.
“You don’t need a large amount of information,” he said adding: “People give a lot more information to their supermarkets than they do to the government.”
Responding to Mr Blair’s comments, Silkie Carlo, Director of Big Brother Watch – a civil liberties campaign group – said: “The idea of digital ID and vaccination checks could easily lead to a health apartheid that few would expect of a democratic country.
“Digital IDs would lead to sensitive records spanning medical, work, travel, and biometric data about each and every one of us being held at the fingertips of authorities and state bureaucrats.
“This dangerous plan would normalise identity checks, increase state control over law abiding citizens and create a honey pot for cybercriminals.”
Mr Blair’s comments come after the government announced plans to update existing laws on identity checking to allow digital identity “to be used as widely as possible”.