» Wednesday, May 25, 2005

ID Cards

In response to the suggestion that when the scheme was originally announced in April 2004 terrorism was the first reason given for the plan and that today it was the last of the reasons the PMOS said that he did not think that you actually broke down reasons for supporting a proposal in quite as simplistic a way as was being suggested. Was identity fraud a real issue for individuals in terms of their concerns about protecting their identity? Yes. Was there real concern about using new technology to stop abuse of the NHS and other public services? Yes. Were there concerns and did benefit fraud cost this country £50 million a year? Yes. Was there real concern about they way in which organised crime cost this country and the way in which terrorism could cost this country? Answer: Yes. If you took all those factors together, each equally important, and you put them all together then that made the case about why we believed it was in the individual’s security interests and in the country’s security interests as a whole to take advantage of new technology that would help you counter each of those factors.

Asked why costs had risen 9% in six months, the PMOS said 70% of the cost was what would be necessary for biometric testing, which was already now necessary for passports. 80% of us used passports and we would need to have that biometric technology to be able to gain access to the EU and the United States. In terms of the costs, obviously they would be kept under review and we would pare them down as much as possible. However, we believed the extra cost would be marginal in those terms and we believed it was worth it in terms of the advantages that it would bring to people. The PMOS referred journalists to the Home Office for any further detail on cost. In response to the suggestion that you would not have to have a national database just for passports, the PMOS said that you would still need a national databank because you would have to have the capability with passports to check iris and fingerprints against that databank. 70% of the cost of ID would be what also went on passports and we should not forget that 80% of us had passports.

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  1. The line about passports is, of course, rubbish. The major part of the quoted cost of adding biometric features to passports is the cost of building a centralised database of those biometrics… just like the ID cards database, the "National Identity Register". But — and here’s the key point — the central database is not needed for biometric passports, either to make them work (they won’t do any good, database or no) or to meet our international obligations (which aren’t predicated on having a database, because it would be… too expensive!).

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 26 May 2005 on 3:18 pm | Link
  2. Do we really have such concerns? Nobody down at my local is raising these topics for discussion. This is motherhood and apple pie again.

    How many people actually do have their ‘identities stolen’? How many people actually defraud the NHS etc etc?

    Much of this is the usual wild allegation, entirely unsubstantiated by any facts. Where is the research to support the PMOS’s views that insisting that the whole population pays \xA385 per head towards an ID card this will provide an infallible cure for all of these evils?

    I don’t care if 80% of the population own passports. They are not required to produce them on demand. Passport ownership is not compulsory.

    All of this is standard Big Brother stuff, controlling the masses by incremental legislation, and the PMOS is iterating the usual ‘make it up as you go along’ nonsense.

    Those who say ‘if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about’ are complete buffoons. We are all entitled to our privacy and freedom from state interference, petty official busybodies and general snoopers. Much of my private life and all of my biometric data is nobody’s damn business except for me and my maker.

    And what makes the PMOS believe that such information will be secure, handled with discretion and used with integrity? Judging by the number of cases of illegal and unethical use of the NCIS and other government databases that’s never going to happen – of course ‘ethics’ and ‘integrity’ being words quite unknown to the PMOS.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 26 May 2005 on 4:25 pm | Link
  3. The daft thing is, if the government DO get this bill through (which I doubt), it is going to make them look as stupid as they in fact are, because too many people are just going to refuse to shell out. So then what are they going to do? Admit that this is just another tax?

    If you look at the BBC news website there is a poll (http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/4578223.stm?display=1)
    which so far indicates that out of around 13000 people, 80% are not in favour. If this is any way indicative (and how can it not be?) then the government are going to have a hard time selling this idea…

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 26 May 2005 on 4:45 pm | Link
  4. If 80% are against it that pretty much chimes with the ridiculously small 22% of the electorate that voted for these people.

    If the NHS has problems they can always ask to see my NHS card or any number of other ID’s I have which they will have to rely upon to prove my ID in the first place.

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 26 May 2005 on 6:04 pm | Link
  5. Why don’t they just tattoo a bar-code onto everyone’s forehead?

    Any collected information that allows present or future fascist governments to identify non-conformists, political dissidents, non-violent protestors, racial minorities, cannabis smokers, journalists etc, is bound to meet with the approval of the current Bush/Blair oily-military-industrial-complex administration. This administration is already kidnapping people around the world, that they don’t like the look of, or anyone who anyone else has turned in for financial reward, without trial, and, in some cases, sending them to third countries to be tortured – just as the nazis did in Poland in World War 2. They have already abolished the right to a fair trial for anyone accused of "anti-social behaviour" or "terrorism". They have executed many people in Afghanistan by cramming them into container trucks then driving them around the desert until they are all dead, just as the Nazis did to the Jews. They have already abolished the right to hold demonstrations in Central London. They have targetted journalists for execution, by the military, in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have engaged in massive election fraud. They have undermined the United Nations and they have illegally invaded Iraq to boost the profits of the CIA/Halliburton/Brown & Root company. Anyone who thinks that this lot are only going to use data collected about them for benign purposes, such as to protect us all from fraud or terrorism, is living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

    Comment by L.B. — 1 Jun 2005 on 12:56 am | Link
  6. >Why don’t they just tattoo a bar-code onto everyone’s forehead?

    They don’t need to — nature does it already with your iris.

    Comment by Julian Todd — 8 Jun 2005 on 7:32 am | Link
  7. >>Why don’t they just tattoo a bar-code onto everyone’s forehead?

    >They don’t need to — nature does it already with your iris.

    In the biometric tests they had a 1% failure rate. Although small, it means that a few hundred thousand people each year will not be identified at all and have to provide old fashion ID, or even worse be falsely identified as someone else.

    Plus a barcode on the forehead can be changed. I can’t really change my iris pattern very easily. If I have been afforded police protection or recently recruited as a spy, I’d like to be able to identify myself as someone else. By having it on the forehead all the time I wouldn’t have any ID card to lose or get stolen.

    I’m serious when I think the barcode on the forehead makes more sense than an ID card.

    Comment by Jeffrey — 8 Jun 2005 on 5:16 pm | Link
  8. The soft sell and the back door to fraud….


    Comment by Mr Pooter — 10 Jun 2005 on 4:50 am | Link
  9. People have to stand up to this fascist government, when ID cards come in, REJECT IT.

    There is no authority without conformity. If it comes to it, use physical force but do NOT bow down to fascists, if you conform then you’re weak minded scum and you’re just as bad as the fascists themselves.



    Comment by SHARP AFA — 20 Dec 2007 on 12:59 pm | Link

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