The Spanish identity card: historical legacies and contemporary surveillance




Ouziel, Pablo

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Around the globe recent initiatives to implement new identity card schemes have proved contentious. In some countries governments have dropped these initiatives because of the fear of popular backlash, in others governments have gone ahead and implemented the new systems but have dealt with substantial popular opposition. Yet in Spain, in 2006 a new national identity card was introduced putting the country at the forefront of Europe in the implementation of new generation identity cards and there was barely any opposition. To date more than 12.5 million Spanish citizens have received this new document and the cost of the project already exceeds 314 million Euros. So what explains these developments? Why has a new national identity card been introduced? Why has there been comparatively little opposition? To address these questions this thesis presents a qualitative-historical case study of Spain’s national identity card. This study will permit analysis into how global forces promoting new forms of identification (administrative, technological and corporate) are interacting with distinctive Spanish institutions, attitudes and legacies. Because there is a shortage of secondary literature regarding the topic, the study reviews policy documentation, legislative debate, media sources and survey data, and analyses the findings from a set of key informant interviews with individuals from the government, private sector, academia, NGO’s and the Spanish Data Protection Agency.