Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Identity Cards - Again.

In a speech in Manchester, former IT Consultant Liam Byrne MP told a fringe meeting that Identity Cards could be made to work for less than the current budget. Byrne said that current systems could be used, rather than the "big bang" approach of installing a completely new dedicated system.

I'm particularly pleased by an un-named Salford councillor who told Byrne he would rather go to prison than get an ID Card. The councillor pointed out that Labour would not always be in charge of the country and, brilliantly, "I just don't trust government."

Mr Byrne said the scope of the ID card register was clearly set out in the legislation and the scheme would be policed by an independent commissioner. That would presumably be the same commissioner who has no problem with the fingerprinting of school children without parental permission. Or possibly some other unelected person given a cushy job, large salary (see page 48, £95k-£100k) and potential of life peerage by the Government...

Parliament could in theory change the legislation at a later date but the close margins of previous votes on the issue showed MPs would not be "pushed", Byrne argued. Yeah, really?

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Blogger silas said...

From The Register's story on the same subject:

"I wonder how much experience Liam Byrne's consultancy work gave him in reconciling records from wholly different database systems. For example, I work in Local Government and we are undergoing a lengthy project to reconcile our disparate property records into one database. This means figuring out that the house referred to as "The White House, Main Street" on the planning system is the same place as "1 Main Street" on the council tax system. And that it's the same place as "The White Cottage, 1 Main Street" on the electoral registration system. This is by no means a simple task, but at least you can go out to Main Street and have a look around. The buildings are pretty fixed after all.

But how do you establish that "J. Smith" on one database, is the same person as "Mr Smith" on another database, and the same person as "James Smith" on a third system, but not the same as "Jim Smith" on a fourth system, etc, etc. It sounds to me like a bloody nightmare. regards,


"Presumably these "other government databases" would be the same ones that are full of errors which the fresh new ID register is intended to avoid.

Still, it's nice to see that even Home Office ministers lack confidence in the proposals.


"Surely if they use existing databases then all the errors, fakes and other nasties that are in there will be set in stone. Time to go develop a few spare identities just in case, methinks! How about a competition to see who can get the most 'official' ID cards based on existing information when the new database is compiled?


">One Salford councillor told him he was prepared to go to jail rather than have a card.

Yeah, me too. Maybe we'll have adjacent cells. If I'm really lucky they might stick me next to Tony Benn. I don't think this current crop of authoritarian fear-mongers with their not-so-well-hidden total-surveillance project quite understand how many people are prepared to turn round and tell them where they can stick their ID cards. The problem will only get worse once the sleeping masses start to realise that any public official in a bad mood can on a whim demand "Ihre papieren, bitte!".


"Unfortunately the government seem to have missed the point with their ID cards could cost less statement.

They could cost even less (around 0p per person) if they scrap the idea and stop intruding into all the freedoms from intrusive government that our ancestors fought and died to protect.



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