» Monday, August 16, 2004

ID Cards

Asked for a reaction to doubts expressed by Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, regarding the purpose of ID cards and the information contained on them, the PMS said that Mr Thomas had made an important contribution to the debate on ID cards. A consultation was currently ongoing into the issue and we were therefore keen to hear people’s views. However, as we had underlined in the past, there would be guarantees against any ‘function creep’ regarding the transfer of information about people to different parts of Government. As we had made clear, that was not going to happen. There would be proper oversight of such a scheme, as you would expect.

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  1. "There would be proper oversight of such a scheme, as you would expect".

    I’m sure we heard the same thing about the Anti-Terrorism measures introduced in 2000. Looks like those particular oversight measures weren’t quite strong enough, hence Blind Himmler’s request for even more powers…

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 16 Aug 2004 on 4:41 pm | Link
  2. I view of Francis Irving’s comment on David Blunkett’s disability – I think it is insensitive of the PMOS to use the word ‘oversight’ in the context of DBs scheme for ID cards 😉

    Maybe the words ‘proper oversight’ should be replaced by ‘a proper cock up’ to avoid any discrimination whist more accurately approaching the truth.

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 17 Aug 2004 on 9:54 am | Link
  3. "A consultation was currently ongoing into the issue and we were therefore keen to hear people’s views."

    No there isn’t. The consultation closed on 20th July. See:
    <a href="http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/comrace/identitycards/index.html">http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/comrace/identitycards/index.html</a&gt;

    I am shocked — SHOCKED — to discover the Government lying about their ID cards scheme.


    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 22 Aug 2004 on 11:50 pm | Link
  4. Does it really matter the goverment have all the information about each one of us anyway.Anyone coming on to this site to voice an opinion will have a file made up on them even M.P`s. have secret! file`s made up on them.

    Comment by george dutton — 23 Aug 2004 on 12:21 am | Link
  5. "Does it really matter the goverment have all the information about each one of us anyway."

    You’re being paranoid. Even if you’re right, you’re being paranoid.

    "Anyone coming on to this site to voice an opinion will have a file made up on them"

    I’d bloody well hope so. Maybe Labor will come ’round and have me run in Kensington & Chelsea. The government is free to have whatever files it wishes to compile on my identity, whereabouts, and the like.

    It’s what they’re allowed to do with it that the laws are there to protect us on. That’s the point of privacy laws, of the requirements on evidence in court, and the like – to ensure that information gathered in salacious manner cannot be used against me.

    They can flag my record as "commie pinko bastard" for all I care – so long as I can’t be imprisoned for the flag on that record.

    That’s the society we live in. Corporations, not governments, are routinely the biggest abusers of the information you think only governments are compiling on you. To reduce the issue to one of "big brother" is to miss the dawn of Gibson’s Megacorps, which, quite frankly, is a far more dangerous, and far more likely future, at this point.

    Government isn’t savvy enough, isn’t technical enough, isn’t good enough at delivering the big integration projects to really be a true danger to privacy. What it CAN do is enable those corporations to do for themselves what the government is likely to be incapable of doing: link everything together into that massive record on your identity.

    After all, if a government does something bad, it can be changed. As we’ve all seen, when corporations do bad things, especially the internationals we most have reason to fear the abuse of, our recourse is limited, if not nonexistent.

    Don’t fear 1984. Fear 2020.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 23 Aug 2004 on 9:42 am | Link
  6. You do have a problem Gregory. "Your being paranoid. Even if your right,your being paranoid." Paranoid for stating a fact Gregory!!!.If I came on to this site and said flower`s come in different colour`s you would come on and somehow disagree with me Gregory. As you say you don`t know if I am right or wrong so how can you say I am paranoid without knowing the fact`s yourself!.You don`t like me Gregory try and get over it and learn that other people have a right to come on to this site and make comment`s without you trying to belittle them if there view`s differ from your`s.I know you believe most of the people on this planet think like you, you stated that on this web site, and you call me paranoid.What can I say!!!.

    Comment by george dutton — 23 Aug 2004 on 10:04 am | Link
  7. – You have a right to post whatever you feel like. Including anyone’s right to come here and tell you you’re being paranoid.

    – I don’t dislike you… As a matter of fact, I don’t even pretend to know you.

    – You are, quite obviously, being paranoid. Going on and on about how the "goverment have all the information about each one of us anyway" is a sign of just how little you know about how difficult it is for any one technically-oriented organisation, whether a commerical, non-commercial, or governmental body, to have lots of information about every single person in the UK. Due purely to technical limitations, you can pretty much guarantee that "all" of the information about "each one of us" is not in the hands of any one person. You can do lots of information on some; you can do a little information about all. You cannot, at this point in time, easily manage "all things about everyone" without expenditures the like of which we are unlikely to see in the next five years; not until the costs of doing so come a long, long way down.

    That isn’t to say that there’s a lot of databases out there with a lot of information on a lot of people. That IS to say that it is highly, highly, HIGHLY unlikely that your statement is completely true, purely on technical grounds.

    Your comment is not based on "fact’s". It’s based on a feeling – the feeling that too many people know too many things about people who haven’t done anything other than shop at the supermarket, buy some books, and go to a few movies. The feeling has truth in it – but to extrapolate the feeling that corporations know too much about your activities into an omniscient, omnipresent government is to create a godhead of a government that has problems making the trains run on time and can’t build an ID card system without spending billions in taxpayer money.

    In other words, you’re being paranoid. As always, with paranoia, there’s often some perfectly good reason for being paranoid – that does not, however, lessen the simple, obvious observation that you’re being paranoid.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 23 Aug 2004 on 11:37 am | Link
  8. Well once again Gregory invites us all to Gregory`s world.Gregory they now monitor EVERY telephone call made in the WORLD that is a FACT.They have computer program`s that pick up key word`s in any language and then someone listen`s in.How do I know this it`s been talked about by the press,the television,documentaries program`s.The U.K.is a world leader in doing this.We give the U.S.A. information.There was also talk in our parliament about the number of file`s on people, every trade union official,every member of a political party,I could could on and on.They were even joking about it all in parliament when it came to light about a labour minister who had a file on him just a few month`s ago.

    Comment by george dutton — 23 Aug 2004 on 1:10 pm | Link
  9. "Even if your right,you are being paranoid."I can`t at time`s even begin to fathom your mind Gregory!.

    Comment by george dutton — 23 Aug 2004 on 1:19 pm | Link
  10. Well I’ll freely admit – I am paranoid!

    On the question of a national personal information database in the hands of the government, at this moment in time I’m not particularly concerned. I know the government is incompetent enough to ensure that this will probably never work in the way it is currently intended, if it ever does. We’ve all seen how long it takes for government information systems to work as they should, if at all.

    I’m confident any ID card system will be a complete fiasco right from the off, purely because it is in the hands of the government.

    However, what concerns me is that regardless of how bad the system is seen to be, this will not stop the government from demanding access to the data that has been collected at that point in time. Nor will it stop them from demanding even more information in order to do this and that.

    The problem in my mind is one of precedent. We all know by now that rules, laws, things, are never relaxed or dropped altogether. People just get used to them, adapt and go about their lives as best they can. But once the government has a certain procedure in place whereby they can demand access to every aspect of our lives, what then? In 20 years time people will not be having this same discussion; by then they will have gotten used to having no privacy. Instead, when the government says something like "ok, now we need to put surveillance on certain people because their shopping bills are higher than we think they should be", people will complain about the idea of surveillance but will have soundly forgot that they allowed the government access to their shopping receipts in the first place. And of course the government is counting on this. "Function creep" happens everywhere, all the time, and is almost impossible to stop without very rigid oversight right from the start. We KNOW that will not happen; there will be things they "forget" – and these loopholes again are what the government are counting on in order to increase function creep in the future.

    I wouldn’t mind SO much if we were all confident that our government had our best interests at heart. But they don’t. They have their own best interests at heart, followed by the party, and then their circle of friends and cronies. This is evident in hundreds of ways, or course I am not going to list hundreds. Take speed cameras; the government went so far recently as to almost admit they are just another way of generating revenue. Take the dumbing down of our education system over the past 15 or 20 years purely to make the numbers look better for the history books and to make them look better across the EU. Take the fact that many MPs also sit on the boards of major corporations.

    I say the people of this country CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. As Gregory rightly says, do we really want corporations to get their hands on our personal data? Imagine trying to get life insurance and they have access to your medical records. That’s just one of a multitude of things that could – and will – be abused.

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 23 Aug 2004 on 6:46 pm | Link
  11. Life Insurance companies do get access to your medical record`s they just ask you for it!refuse them and you don`t get insured,lie to them they won`t pay out.What you are saying is RIGHT but what I`m pointing out is we are to far down that road it`s too late NOW.

    Comment by george dutton — 23 Aug 2004 on 7:46 pm | Link
  12. Oh, I quite agree. It’s far too late – the idea has been dreamt up and Blind Himmler is running with it, regardless of opposition. It’ll be his legacy to us all – quite apt really, given what Himmler did for the Germans.

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 23 Aug 2004 on 8:00 pm | Link
  13. In amongst all the comment so far there is the theme of the government screwing the whole thing up.
    That is a given and is one of the reasons why I oppose the scheme. It will be too easy to defraud the system using current technology.
    We know that they keep files – 20 years ago I would talk on the phone to folk in the US and deliberately use the words bomb and airplane in the same sentence – just for the ‘crack’.
    My BIG concern is that I might be one of the unfortunates who gets screwed in the big screw-up. When an overworked employee trashes part of the database – but fail to notice – I could be arrested because the data on my card doesn’t match the data on the database. Will the error get sorted – maybe – maybe not – in the meantime I’m the one who suffers for Shagger Blunkett’s religious belief in technology.

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 25 Aug 2004 on 10:29 am | Link
  14. It follow`s that if they can kill people by race by using a virus to attack there D.N.A. how long before they can kill a single individually by using a designer virus to attack the part of there D.N.A. that is individually to that person. There D.N.A. could be got from the D.N.A.register that the goverment want us all in!.Of course it could be said that anyone`s D.N.A. could be got anyway,which is true.

    Comment by george dutton — 25 Aug 2004 on 11:58 am | Link

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