As terrorists around the globe continue to exploit weaknesses in physical and Internet security, governments are caught between a rock and a hard place. To protect a company’s or individual’s identity, we need to gather and store personal information, but at what point does that gathering and storing become distribution—and what are the attendant privacy risks?

Illustrative of this dilemma, numerous Internet news sources report that the U.K.'s new coalition government plans to cancel the national ID card program, in part because some feel it is a “substantial erosion of civil liberties.” The parties have also agreed to scrap the National Identity Register, a database of information from biometric passports and ID cards under development by the U.K.'s Identity and Passport Service and Border Agency.

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