The UK isn’t the only place where identity cards are on the national agenda.

Although the United States has resisted introducing a true national identity card — a point often made by British opponents of the National Identity CardCongress is discussing Federal guidelines for identity documents issued by the states. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives today.

If the bill becomes law, only those state ID cards that meet the Federal criteria will be valid for various functions, like accessing certain Federal facilities or travel on domestic flights. In other words, all the states will comply.

Critics there believe it’s tantamount to introducing a national identity document in America. The critics are right to be worried. The United States has less of a tradition of data protection laws countervailing increasing bureaucratic surviellance than we do here in Europe, so the risk of mission creep is even greater across the Atlantic than it is here.