Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just say no to ID cards

I can scarcely believe the latest headline on the BBC website.

The country is going bust - whoever wins the General Election next year is going to be facing the worst crisis in public finances since, well since the last time there was a Labour government, thanks to Gordon Browns reckless borrow and spend policies of the last decade. Yet despite all this, they are still going ahead with plans for ID cards that will cost us all an estimated £5 billion pounds. From the BBC article:

At a series of meetings on Wednesday, Ms Smith will say post offices and pharmacies can play an important role in the success of the ID scheme, allowing people to give their fingerprints and a face scan while "out doing the shopping"

Each card will cost £30 with a further £30 charge for collecting the data.

"ID cards will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists," the home secretary will say.

So lets get this straight, we will be expected to hand over £60, and our vital biometric information to the government, who will put it all in one place, a one stop shop for identity thieves.

From there it can be accessed by thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of government officials, from the same government that has a track record of catastrophic losses of personal data.

Having done this, the Government will then setup systems to protect national security that assumes the data on this database is always correct, and so foolproof that it will never be lost and cloned by anyone, such that when checking your identity, a simple match between your biometric information and that on the database record will be enough to confirm it is you. Even though your identity is actually only really defined by a vast and complex array of information starting with your genetic makeup, moulded by your experiences in life to date, and corroborated only by your whole current life circumstances and network of personal relationships.

As if this wasn't bad enough, by telling everyone the system is a foolproof way of determining someone's identity, either every organisation imaginable will have a live link to the database, or many people will accept a little bit of plastic saying 'ID card' as a foolproof way of assessing your identity. And this assessment may determine your right to access Government services that you have already paid for (several times over in the case of most full time employees not on means tested benefits).

And then the Government tells you that this system in some way protects or even benefits you.

You couldn't make up - the fact is the ID database will never be completely secure, it will always lose data, and it will always be possible to create fake records. And when that happens, innocent people will be denied access to services that are rightfully theirs, and the mad, bad or dangerous will be able to prove they are anyone they want to be, and use that information to convince the gullible (or even the sceptical) and allow them to do very damaging things.

So I say to the Labour Government, no, you will never have my biometric information - it is none of you business, and I will be a lot less safe if you take it and misuse it as you plan to do with the ID cards scheme.

There is a local politics angle - Labour's candidate in Coleridge on June 4th is also their parliamentary candidate in South Cambridgeshire, and he has a track record of defending the Government's record to the hilt - he recently spoke at a public meeting in support of Labour's lamentable record on civil liberties. When it comes to who will be co-operating locally with Labours planned ID cards scheme, as our local authorities will doubtless be called on to do in the near future, the Coleridge Labour candidate and Conservative candidate in are likely to be poles apart.

1 comment:

Andrew Bower said...

I think the apt comment there was "You couldn't make it up!"

I should add that I'm glad to say the county council passed a motion opposing ID cards last year.