Re: No ID cards in the UK? Tried to get a job recently, or rent property?
I agree, it's a similar setup up in the Republic of Ireland where there is also no official form of compulsory ID card and no requirement to carry ID. You will have various organisations demanding your driving licence, passport and at least one (if not several) utility bills in your name. Often its impossible to open a bank account without a utility bill and it's impossible to get a utility bill without a bank account.
That being said, it's not like the state doesn't attempt to track things. We have the infamous PPSN (Personalised Public Service Number) which originally started life as a tax and social welfare ID number. It has now managed, through function creep, to become the de facto ID number for pretty much all interactions with the state and public services. You need it for tax, social welfare, healthcare, university registration, primary / secondary school registration, even applying for a public body job on their recruitment system requires it!
Then in 2012 they introduced a Public Service Card (PSC) which replaced a bunch of other cards and transit cards. It contains facial scan biometrics, a photograph, electronic signature and an RFID chip. Registration has to be done in person using SAFE (Standard Authentication Framework Environment). Basically you have to bring evidence of address, passport or birth/adoption certs (if Irish or British), Passport or ID card (if EU non UK/IE) or passport if non-EU a long with verifiable proof of address (one of : utility bills, lease agreement, deeds, etc etc) and "any other documents or cards that might help to establish your identity" e.g. student ID, medical card, drugs payment card etc.
It's been rolled out to pensioners, social welfare recipients and gradually to everyone else on a kind of 'as needed' basis.
Literally it operates as ID for everything from collection your pension, dole payments etc etc pensioners with free-travel paying on the bus (by tapping it).
On top of that the Irish Passport Office introduced a Passport Card. This is an optional extra which you register for using their mobile phone app (take a selfie) and input your passport details. They then send you a secure card with passport style RFID and various other security features (holographic photo etc) which can be used within the EU / EEA in place of an Irish passport.
The logic of it was that so many Irish passports get lost/stolen on holidays due to other EU states' requirements to carry ID that we would just have to issue optional card-type ID anyway.
There's absolutely no question of ID being required for internet access, mobile phones or anything like that though. You can still buy a mobile phone / SIM without ID and you aren't required to provide anything to setup an ISP account and hopefully, long may it continue that way!
A few of the mobile providers will try and encourage you to give them ID, largely for their own marketing purposes though.
We also have one MVNO network reportedly cutting people off for 'unusual activity' (such as going on holidays to more than one country) and demanding copies of passports to reactivate service due to some bizarre internal policy.
So, all in all, I think we are just implementing sort of 'opt in' ID cards via the backdoor.
Same in Britain? I'm not sure as I haven't lived there.