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A special Belgian e-ID for foreigners? Bad Idea!

January 10, 2006

This last week-end, a Dutch-written Belgian newspaper wrote that the Minister of the Interior, Patrick Dewael, is planning a special electronic ID card for foreigners in Belgium. If this become reality, every foreigner in Belgium will have an e-ID with his/her biometric data inside, even if he/she is officially living in Belgium, with a regular permit to live, work, etc. Of course, this project is aimed at illegal foreigners (btw, have a look at his other “brilliant” idea: heavily punish those who are helping illegal foreigners to obtain asylum, regular papers, etc.). Thus it seems there will be two versions of this card. Their official reason is “better control”.

I first think it’s a very bad idea because no one will be equal in front of the law, police forces, etc. You can keep you “special foreigner e-ID” in your pocket but once you show it to someone (to identify yourself in a bank, in a car rental office, …), it will be humiliating. And there is a risk that some people will refuse to interact with you because of this card.

This e-ID is only a tool, I agree. But it will be created with a bad intention in mind. In a previous post, I didn’t dare to say that the “regular” e-ID was created in order to control Belgians. This “foreigner e-ID” is created expressly to control foreigners in Belgium. The technical questions about who will be able to read information on the regular e-ID and how it will be done, within which legal frame ; these questions are not yet solved. Now that it’s technically possible, nauseous ideas are appearing …

If you know French, you can read some reactions in La Libre Belgique (there is a video but I cannot see it (obscure MS format unreadable with free software)).

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