Former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and William Hague have called for every citizen in the country to be issued with a “digital ID” as part of a major technological overhaul of the state.
In a joint article for The Times, Blair and Hague argued that the UK was experiencing a technological revolution as significant as the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.
The digital ID would combine key personal details, including a passport, driving licence, tax records, qualifications, and right to work status, and could be stored on a mobile phone.
The plan also includes suggestions for a “national health infrastructure” that uses data to improve care and reduce costs, as well as AI to support teachers in schools and provide personalized learning.
Other recommendations include appointing “executive ministers” from outside Parliament to reshape the government’s approach to science and technology and offering tax breaks to encourage pension fund investment in UK start-ups.
Blair, who attempted to introduce ID cards as Prime Minister, said that technological advances in biometrics could help address concerns about online safety.
The former political rivals argued that urgent action was needed to adapt to the “21st-century technology revolution,” with a new sense of national purpose required to navigate the challenges ahead.
However, the proposal may face opposition from privacy campaigners concerned about potential data breaches and government surveillance.