Wednesday February 6, 12:08 AM Blunkett opens debate on identity cards LONDON (Reuters) - The government, reacting to the September 11 attacks in the United States, has promised to open a debate on the controversial issue of identity cards, saying it will help fight terrorism and fraud.Britain is one of the few countries in Europe where citizens are not required to carry any form of identity when they leave their home.The announcement by Home Secretary (Interior Minister) David Blunkett prompted swift rejection from a leading civil rights group on Tuesday, which argued it would trample over personal freedom."The introduction of an entitlement card would mark a very serious step. It would pose a real threat to civil liberties," Mark Littlewood, campaign director of rights group Liberty, said in a statement.Announcing the move in a written parliamentary reply, Blunkett said the cards would help fight terrorism and fraud."We have made it clear that the introduction of an entitlement card would be a major step and that we will not proceed without consulting widely and considering all views expressed very carefully," he said."There are many arguments -- both philosophical and practical -- for and against the scheme. One of the options which the government has already ruled out is making the failure to carry an entitlement card an offence," he added.The announcement comes just days after the government introduced "smart" identity cards for the tens of thousands of people who seek asylum in Britain every year and ahead of the publication of a government document on immigration and citizenship
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