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ID Cards - Ed's journal
ID Cards
So. ID cards then.

As you may be aware, the ID card bill is due for a vote in the House of Commons today.
Where do you stand?

Personally, I think ID cards are one of the worst ideas ever. They're similar to letting someone point a gun at your head, because they assure you that they'll never pull the trigger.

Their benefits? Well, proving your identity easily, and making it harder to clone, would make some forms of fraud harder. But in all honesty, the _only_ way that's going to work is if they become compulsory, and issued at birth. And mandatory to carry at all times.

Otherwise, well, the fraudsters'll just not have one, or not have it on them. Let's not be forgetting how you go about _getting_ one in the first place. Fake up a birth certificate, and a couple of other supporting bits of paper, and you too could be Tony Blair. And they'll trust that, because your biometric ID says so too.

It'll make proving your ID easier. This means that going and opening a bank account will be a more straightforward process, where you walk in, wave your card, get approved, and walk out.

But make no mistake, it'll have no impact on people seriously involved in terrorism or organised crime. I mean seriously, you're not going to have too much difficulty fobbing off a police officer asking for your ID card whilst you go plant your bomb.

Look at it this way. You hand over a level of information about you, that's your whole life. This is in the hands of some faceless organisation, which will be set up by the government. People with a 'need to know' will be able to find out everything there is to know about you. A need to know, which might change in scope, or might be released to credit reference agencies, or to corporations, or just corrupt individuals who are looking to exploit you.

Once you've given up this right to privacy, there's no way to take it back again. You're owned. You've got your identity license, and government suits will be able to easily and trivially control your life. And you'll still suffer from terrorism, organised crime and fraud.

That is, of course, leaving aside the cost of ID cards. Around £100-300 per person. Ok, so it might not be up front, but it will, sooner or later, have to be paid for.

These ID cards will cost and control the lawful citizen. Which by definition is hardly a problem area anyway.

Do you really see a need to trust the government with everything you've ever done or owned?


16 comments or Leave a comment
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: June 28th, 2005 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup, I agree entirely - which is why you should go to writetothem.com and tell your MP exactly how unimpressed you are with the plans. Hmm... I seem to have turned into a political activist, how did that happen?

Only thing I can see ID cards help with is benefit fraud - pity it'll cost more than it'll save.

sobrique From: sobrique Date: June 28th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Already done :)
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: June 28th, 2005 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good man.
jorune From: jorune Date: June 28th, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is another change in the relationship of government and governed. During the Vietnam conflict, there was a joke "There are two types of Vietnamese, VC's and Potential VC'".

Has the Home Office moved to a state of mind where it sees the general public as Criminals or Potential Criminals?

A congressional investigation into WMD determined that the US intelligence community was mentally unstable. Everyone inside the community suffered from 'groupthink' mentality, they had lost any objectivity, everyone thought the same, acted the same. Anyone thinking differently was viewed with suspicion.

What is the state of mind in the Home Office?

crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: June 28th, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
hmm, "groupthink" is that a new name for PARANOIA?...

which clearance are you
mcnazgul From: mcnazgul Date: June 28th, 2005 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Groupthink is when everyone is so caught up in their wonderful idea that they cannot see it crashing down around their ears - kind of like the emperor's new clothes...

Repeat after me: You don't need to see my clearance...
darkgodfred From: darkgodfred Date: June 28th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
With reference to accessing the information.

According to latest plans on how they intend to fund this program it's no longer going to be need to know, it's going to be whichever company forks out the £750 per person they're thinking about charging. Doesn't that sound like fun.
albumlady From: albumlady Date: June 28th, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
wow. I didn't realize that was going on over there. If they tried that here in America, I'm sure they'd have riots in the streets. Your points about identity theft are also so very valid. I crook is a crook and will have fake ID no matter what.

Let us know how it turns out - Hoping for you that it is voted down.

From: (Anonymous) Date: June 28th, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
If they tried that here in America, I'm sure they'd have riots in the streets.

They are and there aren't.

mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: June 29th, 2005 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)
That's OK, they already using the Terrorism Act to stop peaceful demonstrations, I'm sure they can pull something out to stop 'riots in the street'.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: June 28th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think on the face of the idea ID cards are a good idea. Because in principle it would mean you wouldn't have to carry a million peices of plastic aorund with you. This is in an ideal world which i like to mentally live in.

What I don't agree with, with this idea by our wonderful and magnanamous government is.

1. Having to fork up MY money to pay for their ideas
2. It has already been proved in the places where ID cards are compulsory that they don't work in stopping the "terrorists".
3. all my biometric data held in a nice single place to be stolen and used at will by some nefarious person. Given that Indian call centre workers are selling payment details of powergen customers then how safe do you think our bio-data will be.
4. I don't particularly like all my movements to be logged by our magnanamous govenrment because, I am not a criminal and I have not done anyhing to forfeit my freedom of movement within this country and my right to be able to go where I please and do what I want within the law. Its non of there damned business what I do and where I do it thankyou.
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sobrique From: sobrique Date: June 28th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's another nail for the coffin. Not one I'd choose to use as a counter argument though, since they might try to prove that it _wouldn't_ be that way.
darkgodfred From: darkgodfred Date: June 28th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
And it's gone through. By a 31 person majority.


It means it's a close run thing, but that's 16 people voting in favour to many.
mcnazgul From: mcnazgul Date: June 28th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
What makes me go 'Brrrr....' is the fact that UK plc can cock up a perfectly simple transaction-based website but think they can cross-linking biometric data between large numbers of databases held cross-Department with no kind of mismatching. All without error. Mind you, if you are concerned about accuracy of data in government, you could always benchmark with say... DVLA?

Are we looking at that level of integrity? 40% doesn't seem justification for a Bill to get through Parliament. Mind you we still didn't find those WMD so what do I know eh? No comment on IT suppliers to UK plc. Something about excrement and back yards springs to mind. However, the Home Office were originally responsible for the Data Protection Act 1998. Bless. Something about 'practice what you preach' also springs to mind... If they ever outsource operations to India, it could get even more complex...

Call centre data selling is nothing new and certainly not exclusive to India, this scam was running in Glasgow a few years ago and nobody batted an eyelid at the Scots.

However, those desirous of a routemap for the road to ID Hell can check this out...

Start writing folks...
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