Lots more reasons not to bring in ID cards
I haven’t blogged since the 25th - that’s probably the longest I’ve been for a while without a single entry. The reason is, quite simply, long working hours. I just have not had the time, due to going out early in the morning and coming back in the late evening after driving frozen Indian food in a not very manoeverable (if I’ve spelt it right) Japanese truck.
Anyway, now that the ID card bill is coming up for discussion, a lot of commentators have come out in fierce opposition. Personally, I find the scheme a nightmare - it’s highly likely to be used to harrass ethnic minorities and Muslim women. Matthew Parris in the Times yesterday (Saturday) gives voice to a lot of people’s suspicions about the whole scheme:
Fear of control, suspicion towards the State, and a jealous guarding of privacy and the right to hide, runs very deep in human nature. It is, however, extremely difficult to express in a manner which sounds rational. People will therefore grasp at other planks for their argument. Ã¢ÂÂID cards will cost too muchÃ¢ÂÂ, Ã¢ÂÂthe technology will failÃ¢ÂÂ, Ã¢ÂÂvillains will always be able to cheatÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂthe time is not ripeÃ¢ÂÂ will become the banners that we who oppose the measure will bear aloft, but is that really what has drawn us to the march? Answering for myself I must say no, and I doubt I am so very different from my countrymen. I want the project not to work. Part of me hopes the machinery for implementing it proves beyond the Home OfficeÃ¢ÂÂs wit. I just donÃ¢ÂÂt want to give government Ã¢ÂÂ any government Ã¢ÂÂ that much control.
In the New Statesman this week, Christina Zaba has a wholly different reason to oppose it: the fact that it offers enormous potential for security breaches - quite apart from the unpleasant fact of leaving an “audit trail” the state (and whoever else it chooses) can access, but that the person who left it can’t - as a number of computer experts have been saying. It seems that you can’t design an identity system which is fool-proof and which makes it impossible to generate fake IDs. She interviews a professional cracker she identifies only as Jamie, who describes a way of generating a false ID from scratch involving using the birth certificate of someone who died young, and laundering it through a temp agency. He also alleges that “the off-the-shelf systems they’re using are easy to break”, and that people are likely to try and break the system for its own sake.
Bear in mind, Government computer systems have a history of not working very well (the Child Support Agency is a notorious example). Quite apart from the civil liberties objections, the project is likely to be yet another costly disaster.
Possibly Related Posts:
- Not our brothers’ keepers
- Bread with few roses, as the government push us back to work
- Putting the NHS on a pedestal
- Boris Johnson’s vision: tabloid mob rule
- Lib Dems blame everyone but themselves