A Consuming Experience

Thoughts on my experiences as a consumer of products, services, people (well maybe not that last one...), from reviews to raves, rants and random thoughts - concentrating on technology, gadgets, software, product usability, consumer issues, customer service. Including some introductory guides and tips on various subjects (like blogging!) which stumped me until I figured them out. And the occasional ever so slightly naughty observation.

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UK identity cards (ID cards)

Thursday, February 10, 2005
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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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3 Comment(s):

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:

(By Dave Gould, at Sunday, June 25, 2006 4:09:00 AM)  Edit Comment

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.

(By Improbulus, at Saturday, July 08, 2006 7:54:00 PM)  Edit Comment

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.

(By John Nash, at Sunday, September 03, 2006 11:59:00 AM)  Edit Comment

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