a great british imposition

What a stupid thing to say.

The identity card scheme will become a “great British institution” on a par with the railways in the 19th Century, Home Office minister Liam Byrne says.

The only time there were ever ID cards in Britain was during World War 2, and everyone hated them. They were introduced reluctantly and withdrawn at the first sign of public discontent. And then, they weren’t linked to a national identity register which included every conceivable category of information about you.

They won’t stop terrorism, they won’t stop “identity theft,” they won’t stop illegal immigration. The cards themselves will be disgustingly expensive, the national register will be wide open to malfunction and abuse, and the scheme as a whole represents an obnoxious inversion of the relation between citizens and the state.

Railways, my foot.

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6 thoughts on “a great british imposition

  1. Yes exactly! that’s actually one of the big concerns highlighted by the No2ID campaigners –

    “Both Australia and the USA have far worse problems of identity theft than Britain, precisely because of general reliance on a single reference source. Costs usually cited for of identity-related crime here include much fraud not susceptible to an ID system. Nominally “secure”, trusted, ID is more useful to the fraudster. The Home Office has not explained how it will stop registration by identity thieves in the personae of innocent others. Coherent collection of all sensitive personal data by government, and its easy transmission between departments, will create vast new opportunities for data-theft.”

    See more here!

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  2. Yes, but see here for a system that means everyone could have their own information, and let the government see which bits they demanded to see, and no more, or not if they didn’t want to, and everyone would be happy bunnies.

    I’ve been living in Poland (hae citizenship) for three years and still haven’t got round to getting an ID card – driving licence does for everything so far, except occasionally, and then a passport suffices.

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  3. What was that Grisham book where they got hold of the prospective juror list ahead of time and went snooping around to find out everything about them? It’s *very* creepy.

    But i think the key point about the database you’ve linked to is, “everyone could *let* the government see …” There’s no element of choice in the National Identity Register which the govt is talking about now. It’s intended to store i think 51 categories of information about you, including historical information, and it’s up to you to pay to have it changed whenever your details change (address, car reg number, marital status …) Not pleasant. Not even convenient!

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  4. Yes, you have pretty much hit on what pleases the inventor of the system so very much – you hold your own data. No one else. It’s completleyt in your hands, but if you do want to share it with people – the system makes it easy easy peasy to share only the bits you want to with only the people you want to – anonymously, if you want to. Of course, the government can legislate on what they must be able to see – but you can’t have colossal cock-ups of the junior doctor database type. All kinds of things are prevented, while others are simultaneously enabled. It’s magic.

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