I find this discussion interesting. I don't know the details about the way identity documents work in various countries around the world, but I've always assumed that everyone uses a system vaguely like the one used in the country where I currently live.
I'm a South African citizen, and like most South African citizens, I have an ID book. It's small, it's green and I hardly ever use it, so it spends most of its time in the back pocket of my moonbag, getting rather squashed.
It contains the following:
- My name, place of birth, date of birth and photograph
- Record of voting (currently blank)
- Driver's licence (currently blank; I think this is superfluous now that we have cards for that)
- Firearm licences (blank)
- A folded piece of paper in the back sleeve with my current address (need to update that)
Nothing particularly sinister, and, like I said, I hardly ever use it. Young people who may or may not be minors are (theoretically) asked to show their IDs before being allowed into a nightclub where alcohol is sold. I most recently showed my ID at a bank, while cancelling an old ATM card and getting a new one. You need to show your ID when you vote. That's about it. There is certainly no law which states that you must have your ID on you at all times (that I know of - if there is, I've never encountered it). It's unlikely that such a law will ever be implemented for historical reasons - during the apartheid era, every non-white person was required to carry a pass card. If they were caught without one they were arrested and imprisoned.
So I have nothing against ID documents in principle - it all depends on what your government does with them. If I had to show mine for arbitrary reasons all the time, I'd probably be pissed off.
22. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.
-- Evil Overlord List