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back to article High Court quashes decision to release secret ID card reports

The High Court has quashed an Information Tribunal ruling ordering the release of independent reviews of the Government's controversial identity card scheme. The freedom of information case must now be re-assessed by a new Tribunal, the Court said. The massive project is subject to periodic independent reviews of progress, …

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Ash
Joke

Anyone got a thesaurus?

WE JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE REPORTS SAID.

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Anonymous Coward

One would have thought...

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear...

no?

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3x2

Yes Minister

<..>The Government had argued that it must be able to keep the reports on the progress of the system secret otherwise civil servants will not be honest in their assessment of the progress of the system.<...>

We can keep this tied up in bureaucracy until the Sun goes out minister.

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Surely an MP should be allowed to read the reports?

And the MP can decide what parts to raise whilst in Parliament? And in raising any items they then become information us plebs are allowed to know, and then the Govt can either release the reports or refuse to - whilst the application goes through the legal process...

Why are we always fighting our representatives to explain their bizarre decisions?

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Worthy of Sir Humphrey

"The Government had argued that it must be able to keep the reports on the progress of the system secret otherwise civil servants will not be honest in their assessment of the progress of the system."

TRANSLATION: If the reports are public knowledge then the civil service will not be able to be "honest" as we will know that they know that they are contradicting what's in the gateway reviews.

Currently they can claim they don't know about it's contents as it hasn't been released.

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Fudge

"may have led to speculation that they include undisclosed information that could be regarded as damaging "

They did and, thanks to this judgement, they still do! His Honour seems unclear whether he's dismissing this on the technicality (of parliamentary privilege) or because of the 'smoking gun' hypothesis - a sure sign he's been nobbled, IMHO.

Can we have Stalin and Mr Bean icons, please?

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Pat
Black Helicopters

@Billy Goat Gruff

"Why are we always fighting our representatives to explain their bizarre decisions?"

If the word 'bizarre' was replaced with 'self-interested' would that make it any clearer?

Does anyone else find it deeply cynical that the Gov't are playing the 'honesty' card to remain unaccountable?

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Dead Vulture

Oh really ?

"The Government had argued that it must be able to keep the reports on the progress of the system secret otherwise civil servants will not be honest in their assessment of the progress of the system"

Then sack them. In fact, better than that, drag the slimy little fuckweasels down to parliament square and horse whip them to within an inch of their sorry lives, then send them back to their posts to do the fucking job that British taxpayers pay them for. Only properly this time.

I mean seriously, what kind of argument is "We have to keep it secret, otherwise people will lie!" ? OK, so they do, then what ? Because we can now see the results, it will quickly become obvious that the tossgoblins in charge are lying sacks of shit, that's what. In which case, see para 2 above for obvious solution.

Imagine that the vulture in the icon is in fact a slimy, lying, fuckweasel in pinstripes, and you'll pretty much see where I'm coming from.

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Unhappy

You would think

"The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) argued that the documents should be disclosed. "

You would think that would be the end of it, really.

Have you joined http://no2id.net yet, so you can help stop the whole stupid enterprise ?

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Pirate

Uninteresting vs. Disinterest?

"Mr Justice Burnton said in his ruling that he believed that the reports did not contain the explosive revelations that he felt campaigners were looking for."

That unhelpful remark dares to presume that only campaigners are interested in these reports. It also suggests that anybody who is interested in these reports are only interested in revelations. If the reports are released, they will not merely be 'looked' at; they will be studied and analysed.

I understand that judges are supposed to be disinterested. This remark seems to attempt to make campaigners look silly and also to seek to dispel legitimate interest in the contents of the reports.

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RW
Coat

The Night of the Living Dead

ha ha ha

The fact that HM Govt resists pressure to release these reports is a sure sign that said reports do not toe the party line on ID cards.

I can imagine some of the remarks:

"Technologically infeasible"

"Can be expected to run significantly over budget and over schedule"

"Will not work"

"Will not help the anti-terrorism cause one iota"

"Will result in frequent mis-identifications leading to loss of life, property, and freedom"

"Does not include any mechanism for correcting mistakes"

"Can be expected to have error rates approaching 100%"

"Captures far too much irrelevant data"

"Won't work"

"Institutes a Stasi-like police state"

"Will cause further emigration of the intelligentsia"

"Won't work"

"Will never be finished"

"Can be expected to damage the political process irremediably"

"Looks like pork barrel to me"

"Why is it being programmed in the Labour strongholds of the north where there is a chronic, severe shortage of skilled IT workers?"

"A pie in the sky project, doomed to abject failure"

"Biting off more than the government can chew"

"Nothing but a cash cow for large IT consulting firms"

"Won't work"

"Will kill people"

etc etc etc

Who is going to drive an oak stake through the heart of The Project That Will Not Die?

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Change of plan

How does one go about getting all of one's personal details into a Gateway Review?

Actually, it's not civil servants in the old sense of the word whose view HM.gov want to keep out of the equation. It's consultants from the BAe school of contract winning. What the concern is is not that the mustela kathiah conubiae (that's yellow bellied fuckweasels ;) will lie in the Gateway Reviews. It is that they will _be shown_ to be lying. Although with regards government IT projects one can almost picture the scene

Consultant: Late, over budget or crap?

Minister: How much for all 3?

Have to say I love the way they're worried about breaching ancient rights. *cough* habeas corpus *cough*. TBH though, I actually agree with the judgement - the ICO should be perfectly capable of making their own decisions; they were uneasy with making a blanket exemption so why couldn't they have a quick ask around as't'were and come up with some parameters against which they could make a determination? I suspect that that's what they were trying to do, but managed to ask the secret policeman - despite him wearing a big hat marked "Secret Police". FFS all they needed to do was match the govt tactic: claim that you've checked around, go with gut instinct and hang the consequences.

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Paris Hilton

Phoney Baloney Whitewash

If you government is working on something as simple and as finite as an ID Card what makes it so confidential?

Either people are for or agin it.

My guess is this will involve a large and obtrusive Database of Names and information that they can lose or misplace through incompetence.

We have this daffy Idea in the USA that if Public Servants are working on something as simple as an ID Card that it is impossible for it to not be public information, and what the hell is so secret about it, to require it to be classified?

This is UK speak for we dont want any of you common peasants from making troube at our meetings because we are superior to you slugs.

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Bronze badge
Unhappy

I Tangle

I can remember the days when computer magazines and sites like the Register concerned themselves with comparisons of computer hardware.

Long articles were about bench tests. Short ones were announcements of forthcoming hardware.

Any mention of security was a slight to Microsoft or the mention of new concerns from software scanners.

Now it's all about the nefarious deeds of politicians and undermenchen like Phorm. What happened to all the crackers? Did they all grow up and get jobs at BT?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I Aprove

Yes is the short answer. The long answer is that perhaps two trends over the past decade - expansion of government power and advancement in IT - are combining to unleash an unprecedented invasion of the individual and his identity by the group, mainly in the form of government or megalithic corporations. Biometric ID cards, Phorm, and increasingly elaborate and intrusive 'security' procedures are all examples. Insert "Orwell never imagined" rant here. Someone has to cover it and provide the voice of reason and rationality in a sea of Daily Mail ignorant hiveminded dogma, and it might as well be El Reg.

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Coat

Accountability

If you apply for a contract for a public project, funded by public money then you should expect to be accountable before the public. If you don't like that then don't apply. Simple. If public knowledge of how this system will work would open up severe security risks then there is something so wrong with the design (From crypto 101 - Knowledge of the system should not weaken it.) Failure to disclose could indicate the Government believes this is the case.

If the Government thought public knowledge of these reports advanced their cause and that none of the future reports are going to say something they would want to withhold then they would be waving them from the rooftops to show us they were right. They aren't. Nuff said...

Why should we respect the law when the Government so clearly don't? They expect us to do what the law says but use every trick, loophole and appeal when it's their turn.

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Silver badge
Alien

Tricky Dickies

"It is a long established principle that the courts will not pass judgment on proceedings or decisions of the Houses of Parliament in order to maintain the separation of powers considered essential for good government."

Hmmm. A long established principle which essentially FAILs Good Governance as it creates Division and Independent Closed Shop rather than Concerted Transparent Action which also allows for Abuse, ...which is all too Evident?!.

Or does something else allow for the Abuse which is so Evident? Joining up all the Dots is starting to paint a very unpleasant, rotten Picture of a system which justs make it up as they go along, on a day to day basis, reacting to third party crises rather than instigating first party paths that can be happily followed.

Brewery up P*** a in springs to mind.

And Parliamentary privilege is surely not to act like Lord and Master/Right Royal Prat Sprat with Zero Accountability and Sense of Responsibility, although that appears to be its Use. High Time that such shenanigans were history, for they are easily cynically/criminally abused and apparently well supported by that Ass and its Banana, the Law and the Justice System.

Where are all the true Professionals/Judge John Deed types whenever they are needed? Cowed and Cowering, Compromised and Cuckolded in Mayfair Dungeons and Madames' Chambers perhaps, although probably there is a lot worse/better that that which excites/perverts/subverts?

In that view, there are always smoking guns.

"The Government had argued that it must be able to keep the reports on the progress of the system secret otherwise civil servants will not be honest in their assessment of the progress of the system." ... It is probably a widely held view that civil servants will do whatever they are told, to keep their jobs in the Government of the day [always a temporary quite arbitrary position, which can in an instant, upon a general election announcement, be radically changed to support a completely contrary view] and to protect their perks and their index linked pensions. Independent Creative Thought is not in their remit which is why so much is spent on Think Tank Quangos and Private Sector Reviews and unaccountable Consultants and the like.

"Ideas, Ideas, My Kingdom for Ideas" .... Labour, the T***Herd

Or would you Care to Disagree?

And Paris because she likes a smoke and very enjoyable it would be too to return the favour.

And what is Needed is a 21st Century Network InterNetworking Intelligence Service which works, for quite obviously the Present Heads in Charge of Supply are AWOL/Rubbish/All at Sea in C++++Ode and its Systems broken/bust/bereft of ideas/not fit for Future Purpose. ...... and that is QuITe Simply a Matter of Creating a CyberIntelAIgent Wing/a Fleet AIR&dD Arm for MetaDataMining of Beautiful Minds for Public Feeding with Media Presentation........ KISS is always Best and always Better in AI Betas.

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Joke

Surely the report is somewhere?

Folks, just look around your nearest pub, seats in the park or back of taxi cab and the report is bound to be there!

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no secrets

i completely agree with what amanfrommars said.

seems that no matter what anyone says, thinks, or does the Gvt will go ahead and do whatever they want.. one way or another. government don't care what we want, only what they want, which it to remove our rights, criminalise us, and completely control us.

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