Thursday, 10 February 2005

UK identity cards (ID cards)

Why not introduce identity cards in the UK?

  • They won't work - identity cards won't be enough to stop terrorists or organised crime - the determined and the criminal will always find a way to forge or fake
  • It's compulsory - they say it isn't, but if you don't get an ID card you can be refused public services (e.g. NHS)
  • Bye bye privacy - too much personal information can be required to be stored on the "National Identity Register" or the ID card, including all your addresses, fingerprints etc - whatever the government minister (not an elected Parliament) says, really
  • Too many people can get at that information for too many purposes - effectively, whoever and whatever the government minister says
  • Comparisons with other countries' ID cards schemes aren't valid - it depends on the setup and security of the infrastructure and who can have access to the associated information
  • Hello crackers (i.e. bad hackers...) - the info will be in electronic databases - so crackers can get at it too (see above on terrorists and organised crime), and don't forget leaky staff. Do you really trust government departments' IT security and confidentiality? (remember the various incidents involving police staff using police databases for their own purposes?)
  • Hello identity fraud - identity theft is much more prevalent in the USA because they have a single social security number associated with an individual; do they want to make life easier for identity thieves in the UK too?
  • Hello divisions in society - it's going to foster a climate of suspicion, fear, resentment, paranoia and dissent - racial, religious, you name it; spot checks, maybe depending on what you look like; having to carry the thing around even if you're just going about your lawful business
  • Bye bye hospitals, schools - like all UK government IT projects it's bound to be underscoped and undercosted, and will come in way over time and way over budget - transferring money from taxpayers' pockets to private IT contractors'. Money which most ordinary people would much rather was spent instead on sorting out the hospitals, education, the Tube and public transport. That's the best way to defeat terrorism - education, raising the average standard of living, and people talking to each other.
Even that bastion of economic conservatism the Financial Times is against identity cards, and has published many a good article or letter about it. If the Conservatives had promised to never ever introduce ID cards, that is the only thing that would make me vote for the Conservatives - and it would by itself be enough to make me vote for them too. That's how strongly I feel about this.

Bottom line: it'll be a waste of taxpayers' money and do more harm than good - it just won't be worth it.

Government Links on Identity Cards

Other Links on Identity Cards

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Anonymous said...

As co-ordinator of Bristol No2ID, I can tell you that the ID scheme is far worse than you say. Really, the cards are irrelevant except as a means to deny difficult people access to public services.

The main totalitarian threat, however, revolves around the NIR and what it will connect to. So far the Govt have admitted that it will connect to police databases (including the DNA database) and the Criminal Justice databases.

Since our national insurance/passport/driver numbers will be recorded on the NIR, it's a snip to connect our tax & income/international/local travels (recorded via Automatic Number Plate Recognition) to the NIR.

We are also being numbered for the express purpose of allowing any other data records to be connected to us eg ISP (surfing/emails), phone (who you've spoken to & when, location triangulation), banking (what you've bought, income again) etc etc.

Not only will this data be accessible by hundreds of civil servants and unaccountable intelligence agents, it will also be searchable by bots which can mark you as a threat to the Govt for using keywords such as 'Bliar'.

This page explains in more detail:

Improbulus said...

Thanks for your comment Dave. I think you're preaching to the choir here! But the extra info you give is helpful for those not aware of exactly what the government plans to do with ID cards - way more than is necessary for security purposes, and a huge threat to the privacy of all of us in the UK.

John Nash said...

I find all this stuff to be very scary. I have started to write a fictitious/humorous diary based in the year 2013 and looking back at the past eight years from that date. The point is to try and show what our lives are like after we have lost our personal freedoms. Anyone can contribute to it.

hgvlgv training said...

What about those who do cheat the system? If ID cards can help reduce the huge fraud that happens in our benifits system the better. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about having an ID card.

Fabio said...

Thanks for your blog, it´s interesting to see the point of view other people in England. In my case I´m have Italian/Spanish, I have lived in both countries and both of them have Identity Cards.

Personally I think that have an ID it helps in a lot aspects of the security, whilst you have big problems with identity thief in UK these problems doesn´t exist at all in Spain or Italy, basically, if you have your house, your bank account and your credit cards, you have the warranty that nobody is going to snatch them. Every time you make a payment with your credit card, the shopkeeper has the obligation of asking for your proof of identity, so if the details don´t match, no way they are going to let you pay, so solved one of the biggest problems. If you purchase a car, motorcycle, etc, you have to provide your identity card to prove that that vehicle belongs to you, so you can buy a vehicle without panicking to being victim of a scam... and so on, there are many examples.

You talk about privacy, UK is the country in the world with more CCTV per square meter, and all those CCTV exist because there is a general panic about security that you will avoid with an ID. The government wants to know my personal details? Well, I haven´t got anything to hide so I haven´t got any problem with it, they already have got those details through you official poll card, your council tax, etc.

Also that identity card you can use it on the internet to manage many things, adding an extra security layer to any attempt of fraud on your behalf.

I hope you will not take this as a criticism but just as a point of view of somebody who has already deal with identity cards for a while.