Big Brother

India Gets Carded

Big Brother is turning an eye to India. The Times of London reports that the world's second-most-populous country will issue cyberage biometric identity cards to all 1.2 billion of its citizens, millions of whom do not currently have any identity documents. At a total predicted cost of $4.9 billion, the ID cards will contain a chip imprinted with personal data, proof of identity such as fingerprint or iris scans, and possibly criminal records and credit histories. India's bureaucrats currently issue at least 20 proofs of identity, from driver's licenses to ration cards, but none are universally accepted, which makes moving from one state to another difficult, and possibly disastrous for the millions of poor relying on government handouts for survival. It will be hard to track everyone down, as only 7 percent of India's population is registered to pay income tax, and at least 60 government departments will need to cooperate.