Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Stealing our identities

Those beneficent MEPs, it seems, are getting all concerned about our identities, it seems.

This is on the back of a "cross-party group" which yesterday published a report by Professor Martin Gill of the University of Leicester, which declares that "European governments" are not doing enough to fight rising levels of identity theft.

Chief amongst the criticisms, we are told, is a need to enhance co-ordination between police forces, internally, within different "EU states", and between member states and those outside the EU.

The report also suggests that greater public awareness of the issues would help prevent further growth of the "identity theft epidemic" sweeping across Europe.

"Unequal recording of the extent of identity theft across Europe highlights the importance of encouraging united action among Europe agencies," Gill notes, warning that there is "no room for complacency" even among those countries who prioritise fighting identity theft lower than others.

Tory "renta-quote", MEP Christopher Heaton-Harris, then piles in, declaring: "I strongly urge the UK government to raise awareness amongst consumers and businesses of the steps that they can take to protect themselves."

Of all people, Heaton-Harris will know about this subject. He will have queued at immigration like the rest of us, to see the signs segregating "EU citizens" from the others. He too will have a "health card" with its ring of stars, and a driving license that once sported the Royal crown and is now similarly adorned with the that ghastly symbol.

On his desk, no doubt, will be piles of documents referring to us all as "Europeans" and he cannot have failed to note that treasured symbols of our national identity, like the Imperial system of weights and measures, are gradually being eroded.

The report, however, says that one in four people in the UK are affected by identity theft. That is wrong. Actually, it is all of us, and the thieves our out there in Brussels. Perhaps we should "enhance co-ordination between police forces" and run the rogues out of town.


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