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back to article Byrne explains the UK's wondrous, biometric, ID card future

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne this week unveiled - to a certain amount of derision - his vision of the ID Card scheme as some sort of 21st Century equivalent of the 19th Century railway network or the 20th Century national electricity grid. It will be pervasive, and in 20 years time it will be a great British institution, " …

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Anonymous Coward

Project/Programme Success Criteria

So they think that they can make this all pervasive ID system work do they?

It would be a joke if it were not the taxpayers' money they are wasting.

They could not sort out IDs of taxpayers and benefit claimants for the New Tax Credits, why is this going to be any different. There are/were major problems with NI numbers (excess numbers being inexplicably issued due to staff incompetence or laziness). There will be huge data cleansing problems, trying to uniquely identify "ID cardholders" - particularly when it comes to mismatches on names/addresses, etc.

And of course all this is before you start to implement real world features, e.g. the ability to change someones ID for national security, witness protection or other legal reasons.

Another UK Government IT disaster in the making!

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'Great British institution'

Perhaps Byrne would have been more accurate if he'd ignored railways and electricity grids, and instead compared ID cards to other British institutions - such as income tax and John Reid.

Things well past their sell-by date, imposed on the population by government without consultation and that only exist to annoy.

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Anonymous Coward

Is he joking?

The 19th Century railway network which is now an expensive shambles split into several companies competing with many cancelled trains or the 20th Century national electricity grid which is now largely foreign owned. Not really a good comparison.

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Anonymous Coward

Bryne wants to own you.

Bryne must think us all fools to trust that the government will keep out ID safe.

As the article’s reference to previous events have shown, the Government is not capable of understanding the technology and it limits.

They have made serious errors in implementing ID databases in the past. I doubt very much that a project of such size and complexity will be completely problem free.

There is the crux of the issue, if you have only one ID provider and that gets it wrong, how are you going to convince them? I shudder to think of the capability to disrupt the victim’s life.

Having IDs spread over different areas helps the ID owner have fall back, when things do go wrong with an ID source.

"Byrne argues that the costs of these unregulated and incompatible private sector systems would be such that the poor would be unable to afford to protect their identities - it will be "those that can't afford their own defences" who suffer."

The comment above can be address with regulations and standards instead of creating a mother of ID systems. The Data Protection Act can be updated and improved to require the correct procedures and protections for ID data as well as regulating who can store them.

Many of Byrne arguments can be dealt with by careful thought and consideration to existing ID systems. For instance, buying by your credit card shows you are over 18 years old.

Of course the government need an ID scheme, but making us all subject to requests to show "your papers", only leads to abuses of the system, not only by those who are allow to use it, but those who will use it to control you. How about, if you want to work for me, you have to hand over your ID card. I keep it, while you do what I tell you. Annoy me and you'll find that you are having a hard time with no ID. Somehow this example sounds exactly like what one of the aims for the ID card scheme are.

Other such fears I have of abuses are control of movement; your ID does not let you out of your local area.

Revenue generation; a "congestion charge" for commuters travelling by any means, anyone? Swipe your ID here that’s £8 to enter London, now pay your tube fair.

Are things like the above possible? Yes, and more so with such a system in place.

For what it’s worth, I will never support an all encompassing ID card scheme and never anyone that forces me to carry around “My Papers”, while a suspect government is in place.

Yes a bright future. Where’s the best place to move to?

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Bronze badge

ok but...

I'll accept that I must have an ID card. fair enough, proof of age wouldn't be a bad idea, and a national standard would be fine (Driving licence does this just fine, and everyone can get one without passing a driving test).

If we are to add any other functionality, I would like a SPECIFIC example of how it will help. my finger prints on record will not stop a bomb, nor will they magically lock up the "terrorists". My DNA may well prove that it was me that exploded next to a terrorist during an attack, so my family would know I was a victim. Of course, some of my squidgy exploded mass might stick to the bomb, making me a suspect.

ID Cards will not speed up airports, the computer will crash and no-one will remember how to use the old paper stuff. We pay the airport to check us in, so they should bloody well hire enough staff to do so.

We will be handing out ID Cards to immigrants as they cross the border. again this will not help as the ones we see cross the border now are usually legitimately here, so again the problem will not be in the database.

If I need a plumber, builder, baker, candlestick maker I will not ask for ID I'll just pay the man, so there will be plenty of jobs.

PLEASE can the reg interview someone in government and push them into specifics. If they don't know the answer they probably have a mobile phone and know who does, so don't let the buggers out of your sight until you get real specific answers. thanks guys :o)

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Anonymous Coward

Who regulates this?

Given that any grossly over expensive project will use "function creep" to justify the money spent, it seems as though Herr Byrne of HMG (Her Majesty's Gestapo) is doing just that.

What has not been explained is who regulates this system. Already the Government is considering dismantling, or at least watering down, the Data Protection Act to allow more cross departmental "data matching". When this system finally arrives, who will be protecting the individual from abuse. Surely not the Government, it's not in their interest to do so.

I would very much doubt an "independent" regulator would have the ability to regulate the Government, pretty much the Government can do as it pleases. If it falls foul of any laws, they can be changed at will.

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Anonymous Coward

Micromanagement

We had ID cards across Europe. What happened was that each little town hall hitler would refuse to comply with EU law and issue the damn permit to people entitled to it.

It became so hard to travel from one EU country to another due to these petty bureaucrats that a new directive was created.

At one point, town hall staff in Liege issued an expulsion order, demanding a Dutch citizen leave Europe, after he complained about their slowness! Since he needed the permit, the simple act of refusing to do their job could deny him the rights he was entitled to.

That resulted in 2004 in a change of EU law, making the issuing of permits to EU citizens UNNECESSARY. Spain for example stopped issuing permits to EU citizens, saying it was not longer necessary to have a Spanish ID card to reside in Spain.

http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32004L0038R(01):EN:HTML

This stemmed from an EU appeal court decision that decided the rights of an EU Citizen stem from them being an EU citizen and not from any permit or card issued to them. So an EU citizen in the UK has the right to work even if they can't find their card, this is true whatever the FCO might wish was true.

You are proposing to go the other way, and make that card a requirement for every tiny aspect of your life. You will have the same problems Europe had before 2004. Every little town hall person will micromanage your lives and the ID card will let them.

Did you vote for this?

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Just wait until....

The data for half a million people's gets ether deleted, assigned to the wrong person or corrupted.

Suddenly these people will ether; cease to exist, become de-facto terrorists or iligal immigrants.

I just cant wait.

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Silver badge

Re: Did you vote for this?

Of course we didn't vote for this - but corruption, bribery, blatant lies and gerrymandering have managed to keep this stasi-regime in power. All that's going to happen is that they'll pass law after law to keep themselves in power and keep "the boys" in jobs.

It's telling that even out of the people who voted, less people voted for the Blair regime than the others.

Take into account the fact that many people did not vote and you find that a very low percentage of the populace approve of the government.

From this mandate, they ignore their election pledges, pass laws entitling themselves to everything we used to own (or just to take it if they feel like it) and then pass laws exempting themselves from the previously established procedires to prevent corruption. Free quad bike anyone?

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Positve ID works?

This weekend I was in Indy. Flying back Monday morning I noticed that they had the Trusted Traveler system. I asked the TSA agent how popular it was and he said that he saw probably less than 100 people use it on a busy day, maybe less. Now Indy is on the end of a spoke, but somebody must be flying in from the hubs, so there should be some sort of demand for it. The terminal in question serves American and Continental.

I agree, and ID card won't make check in any easier at the airport. Or anywhere else, for that matter. And who bears the cost of the reader? Not the service provider. And not the government.

I suspect we will see some sort of national ID here in the States in a few years. Once the UK has "sorted out the bugs". Of course, if they really wait for that to happen, we'll never have one. I really and truly feel sorry for you Brits.

Those who sacrifice freedom for security will get neither.

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Anonymous Coward

ACI

http://www.citizencard.co.uk/iAC/index.htm

"It's well known that the toughest job online is to know who is using a website. How old are they ? Are they who they claim to be ?"

First uses for the ID card in partnership with Experian and Worldpay

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Anonymous Coward

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish

Probably the last time I'll be able to do this then.

Regards, Anonymous.

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Silver badge

But people . .

Instant lock-down on stolen MP3 players ! Isn't that worth giving up your freedom, sanity and next hundred years of income tax ?

Come on ! How about a bit of patriotism here ? Get with the program already ! Won't it be a wonderful world when you can swipe your ID in your MP3 player, knowing that it is entirely secure from theft and that you've just been credited £1.24 for the BPI to help a needy pigopolist snort his next line of white ?

Really, all these counter-arguments do not hold water. Bunch of communists !

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Anonymous Coward

Communism revisited.

Is the man ( party) a blatant, deluded liar, or just someone with delusions of a communist utopia ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Communism Revisited

"Is the man ( party) a blatant, deluded liar, or just someone with delusions of a communist utopia ?"

This is facism, not communism.

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Anonymous Coward

Right to privacy

Which level of civil disobedience will this insidious and fascistic ID scheme finally ignite?

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Who?

Ministers don't write this sort of twaddle, which invites the question Who? If it was a civil servant then standards have clearly collapsed, more likely it was one of the 'ministerial adviser' jerks probably the daughter of a party hack after too much nose candy.

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Anonymous Coward

Free gifts

How about a free ski balaclava and a empty milkbottle + rag combo on the ID card launch date, Reg?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Right to Privacy & Re: Free Gifts

The solution is already out there, Watch the film V for Vendetta before they ban it.

I already have my copy

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Anonymous Coward

Lets face it...

The mandatory subcutaneous RFID chip is next.

12ft reptile/human hybrid overlord, anyone?

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