Monday, October 09, 2006

National ID Cards

There are two reasons I oppose a national system of ID cards in Britain.

1. The government has no right. Even if you are naive enough to think the government can be trusted with a database of your personal health, spending and movements, do you trust the next government? Once governments seize power in an area, they don't often give it back.

2. The government has no competence. They've just announced the scheme is to cost an eye-watering £5.4 billion. Show me one government project of this scale completed for less than double it's budget. And worse, show me one I.T. project even a tenth this size that the government has successfully implemented.

It will be years late, astronomically over-budget, mercilessly hacked and hopelessly inaccurate.

Could ID cards help fight fraud? Perhaps slightly, by centralising the critical system. But ID cards themselves will be counterfeited, and the central system will be hacked. Remember, most security breaches are on the inside. Your neighbour may have authorised access to your details.

Could ID cards help fight terrorism? No.

Could ID cards help fight illegal immigration? No. They won't have ID cards when they arrive, and whether they get a fake or go underground, there will be little difference from the current situation.

ID cards help very little with the alleged reasons the government uses to promote the idea. But the information will give the government much greater control over the law-abiding citizens. The greatest impact of a national ID card will be the surrender of liberty and privacy for citizens.

But if you still want one, you can make your own here.

1 comment:

Peter said...

The writing is on the wall...

In Australia, draconian guns laws were introduced in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre where almost 40 people were killed by a lone gunman. After that tragedy, all semi-automatic rifles were outlawed. Millions of them were handed into the police and destroyed. But… the very gun used by Martin Bryant was a military-style assault rifle that was already outlawed at the time.

A trace of the serial number revealed that the weapon had been used on a farm for culling feral animals and was surrendered to South Australian police three years before the massacre occurred. No investigation was ever carried out into how this then illegal weapon found its way into a killer’s hands in Tasmania.

As it turns out, parliamentary records later showed that the Port Arthur gun laws had been tabled in parliament a month BEFORE the massacre.

So… what can we learn from this? That the Australian government had already decided to curtail civil liberties before the tragedy occurred and simply seized the opportunity to ride in on a wave of public outcry with measures that would not have prevented the tragedy anyway. End result, freedoms are curtailed.

Like the UK, Australia has talked about issuing a national ID card but the public is weary. My concern is that some terrorist will blow up the Opera House and that will give the politicians the opportunity to bring in the card anyway. Again, like at Port Arthur, it will ride in on public emotion but will be completely ineffective in dealing with the actual problem.