Tuesday, 22 March 2005

ID cards: more views against

You'll know if you read my previous post about identity cards in the UK that I think they'll be a waste of time and money, won't effectively fight terrorism and on the contrary will represent a huge threat to personal privacy and security.

"The Identity Project: an assessment of the UK Identity Cards Bill and its implications", a report published yesterday by the well-respected London School of Economics and Political Science, just confirms my views: "The consequences of the current proposals might include 'failure of systems, unforeseen financial costs, increased security threats and unacceptable imposition on citizens'", according to the LSE press release summarising the findings.

Coincidentally, but not surprisingly, on the same day the BBC reported that an MP had called for government guidelines to be issued about how individuals and businesses could protect themselves against identity theft, following a poll finding that "almost 80%" of Londoners fear identity theft. Now there might have been a degree of self-interest there as the poll was carried out by shredder manufacturer Fellowes (and I couldn't find info on their site about the poll, unless it was this one from way back in September 2004: warning, the link opens a Word document!). All the same, if identity fraud is a worry, then how much worse will the risk be if our important personal information is compulsorily kept in a government database (which no doubt organised crime will be able to access more easily than some government departments)?

(By the way - I had a Fellowes shredder - cross cut, of course! - and it gave up the ghost pretty quickly. I now have a much better, yet cheaper (on sale), one from Maplin. And it's all nice and light and silver meshy too, unlike the photo, which doesn't do it justice, awwwww.)

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