back to article British pilots ramp up opposition to ID cards

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) is meeting this weekend to decide what action to take over the government's decision to force airside staff at two airports to carry ID cards. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced the downsized trial at City of London and Manchester airports earlier this year. The UK's major …

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Alert

not again please

while I understand the frustration and the mood about this whole crap, I don't like the fact that the pilots want to turn their rage against the public.

destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) is not a solution to a political problem.

the union should arrange for example a ban on flying politicians. that'll teach them shiny green peoples.

but leave the public out of it, please. we've got our lives to live.

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Particulary wacky today

"[ID cards help by] speeding up pre-employment checks"

How does adding an extra (pointless) check speed the process up ?

Lets speed up the process of getting these things scrapped - join your local No2ID branch at http://no2id.net !

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Pirate

Wish I had know that..................

ID Cards are going to make finding a new job easier. No more updating my CV thank you very much. Gimme the card and off I go

One government contract coming up please.

Thats it folks a life of sitting on my arse doing nothing and getting paid shed loads.

(on a serious note this is the way its gonna go. Wanna job you can work a chipshop without an ID or if you want a proper job que up her to receive the Kings Shilling)

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The Great and Wondrous Scheme

"...benefits from the Scheme can be realised...”

Note the capitalisation of "Scheme" - a minor but significant step to the Scheme becoming a good and a goal in itself, rather than a means to benefit humanity.

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Anonymous Coward

Remember folks

its the shiny hat that counts......although a shiny helmet is useful too

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Anonymous Coward

everyone but Jacqui...

The companies bidding for the work know its not happening and are asking for a higher proportion of cash upfront than their normal gravy train contracts.

The civil servants negotiating with them know its not happening and aren't trying too hard.

The conservatives and libdems won't need to worry about backtracking because it won't be an option, despite the irresistible urge most politicians feel to become right wing twats once in power.

Seems only Jacqui is blind to the obvious. Still, giving away so much public cash for work that won't even be started must guarantee a juicy directorship or 5 when she's kicked out.

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Tom
Silver badge

Well what else is the government meant to do?

It cant directly attack airline and airports to reduce greenhouse gasse or its backhanders from the industry will evaporate.

This way they get to blame it on the Unions.

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Thumb Up

hopefully we'll have a good government-humiliating strike

maybe some effigy burning, a small riot ... say poll-tax sized...

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Stop

The Worlds Shortest Trial?

I'd guess it would be if BALPA members refuse en-mass to take cards and hence no flights can land/take-off from either Manchest or City airports?

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No benefits, then

"Identity cards will directly benefit airside workers — not just by improving personnel security" - is that the same as personal security? Either way, you haven't said *how*. Just saying "it does" is not evidence, Mr. IPS spokesman.

"but also by speeding up pre-employment checks and increasing the efficiency of pass issuing arrangements, making it easier for these workers to take up their posts and move from one airside job to another"

...so that's NOT a benefit for the workers, because if they're already workers they don't need pre-employment checks, dumbass!

So, in summary, they are of no benefit whatsoever.

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A New Green Tax?

Maybe this was the plan all along.

If the pilots decide to strike, the government can claim that ID cards have reduced CO2 emissions.

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Black Helicopters

So they need...

...airline ID, often specific airport ID, plus this new mythical solve-everything-instantly Government ID card to go airside.

Yet I, the same as every other old CAA Private Pilot's License holder in the country, can get airside at many commercial airports in the UK (including a few that host suspicious black helicopters) with just a non-biometric, non-photographic, little brown book full of pieces of paper to identify us.

FAIL.

AC because I don't want the black helicopters swooping on my tatty little leased spam-can Cessna.

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Flame

Mendacity

"...Parliament originally passed this legislation on the basis that it would be voluntary but now it is compulsory for some groups..."

Mendacious. It's a word that isn't used enough. Especially about our current crop of governing LIARS. Oh no, it's not a lie: they "have no plans". But they had *plans* for plans, and they knew it when they bulldozed the slackwitted numpties into voting for it.

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Labour still intent of being voted out then?

Given the overwhelming opposition to this absurd scheme, is it sensible for Labour to show so publicly how susceptable they are self-harm? Apart from Labour MPs walking round with "we want to lose the next election", I cannot think of a better way of ensuring that goal.

And this story alone highlights how easily things change from "voluntary" to "mandatory".

Trust Labour - No thanks!

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Coat

Cry babies

Big deal, they will crack eventually. Just like Auto Industry Union of Amerika.

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Mirror mirror on the wall

> Wacky Jacqui meanwhile continues to claim that she can hardly leave the house without being pestered by people desperate to get their hands on an ID card all of their own.

We know Whacky Jacqui doesn't like to leave the house at night, and we see from her policies that she seems to believe things are out of (her) control. She is correct of course - she's Gordo's bitch, to use the vernacular - but this fact seems to have taken over her thinking completely and made her delusional and vain far beyond the norm for politicians. With only Harriet for competetion, she would think she is entitled to be considered the Madonna of nu labour:

"Wacky Jacqui meanwhile continues to believe that she can hardly leave the house without being pestered by people desperate to get their hands on her."

Once upon a time this would have caused identification with the Universal Mother figure in one way or another, e.g. a mother, the Mother of Jesus, Mother of God, etc, depending on hubris. But religion is deprecated in Whacky Jacqui's circle of materialists, and the Universal Mother figure has been transferred into another object, namely the material planet Earth (Gaia, etc) So our Jacqui is logically obliged to be the teleological object of her own praxis.

Narcissism. Total. Pathetic (in the original sense). A subject for a tragic modern opera. Which only goes to show how completely and utterly out of date and out of touch the nu labour claque is (viz, Alban Berg's Lulu, ca 1929-1935). Will 2012 be the nu 1939?

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Flame

strike action

Good. Might be just what's needed to dump this stupid scheme in the dustbin. As Billy Bragg once noted, "there's power in a union".

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Anonymous Coward

They already have ID cards & Passports

They are complaining because they are going to be added to the BIOMETRIC DATABASE that comes with the national id cards.

So it's not really a complaint about the ID cards, more a complaint about that stupid surveillance database Jacqui's building on the back of it.

They got 'volunteered', it's a wonder Brown didn't snatch one of their kidneys for his organ stealing program.

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Black Helicopters

Flight crews are sick to the back teeth

I know a few commercial pilots, and reading the appropriate forums it's easy to see that *now* is not the time to p1ss pilots off with additional "security".

They already have to put up with British airport security banning them from taking contact lens cleaner on board, having their pen refills binned for being "offensive weapons" - when there's a fire axe in the cockpit, not allowed to take on their own food and drink etc.

Which is ironic when all your typical pilot needs to crash a plane is his two hands, Newton, and his co-pilot to go to the toilet.

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Stop

I've said it before

and I'll say it again. Jacqui Smith can suck on it.

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Sack-Ms-Smith/

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re: not again please

Why not? The government work for us, and we will vote for or against them next time.

When you complain to the shop assistant, that isn't because they can do anything, but

a) they don't let you see someone who CAN, so who *are* you to complain to?

b)you complain to them, they complain to the boss, they complain... and it gets eventually to the right person

and it's the same here. The pilots can't throw the government out, the public are the only ones who can. So they should act against the public so that the public make the government change its tune.

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Hmmm

Note how they are compulsory for air-side workers, but will also speed up pre-employment checks for air-side workers.

So anyone wanting to work at an airport is being compelled to "volunteer" for one, as it will speed up their checks with their potential new employer.

Can we vote these fuckers out with a Howitzer ?

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Thumb Down

Good News

Of all the unions in the country, the airline pilots union is one of the strongest. It costs so much to train a new pilot that you can't just bring in a few ringers to break a strike. If they go on strike, flights don't happen. BA bends over backwards to keep the union happy. The only worry here is if the other airside unions don't agree to strike as well, then we might get one of the crazy situations that happens airside these days where all the workers have to follow some particular rules, except for the pilots. If that happens, Wacky Jacqui has still won.

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Flame

Here's a Cunning Plan

"They already have to put up with British airport security banning them from taking contact lens cleaner on board, having their pen refills binned for being "offensive weapons" - when there's a fire axe in the cockpit, not allowed to take on their own food and drink etc.

Which is ironic when all your typical pilot needs to crash a plane is his two hands, Newton, and his co-pilot to go to the toilet."

Maybe the ID wielding pilots will be allowed to take contact lens cleaner on board? Or, perhaps, even something to drink (but not both, naturally, you cant be too careful with binary liquids).

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Gold badge
Stop

Game over.

I wouldn't worry too much. In the current economic climate any government introducing an umpty-something-quid ID card tax^H^H^Hfee for everyone would be committing suicide.

Definately politically and quite probably literally.

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Black Helicopters

Huh ?

"Identity cards will directly benefit airside workers — not just by improving personnel security, but also by speeding up pre-employment checks"

How will that work then ? Here's a clue, it won't. You'll still want to do an enhanced CRB check on anyone applying to be an airside worker, and it's no good if they've had one before, CRB certificates are valid only once, you can't re-use them, the checks must carried out per application.

Perhaps in the ghastly NuLab utopia of the future all criminal records will be directly stored in the ID database, but until that happens (which it won't), there isn't any way that carrying another piece of ID, no matter how chock full of biometric pixie dust can possibly speed up the process of ECRB checks and whatever else is done for airside types. In fact, it can only make things worse, as each person who is already an airside worker will have to be re-checked when they are issued with an ID card, otherwise there really isn't much point is there ?

Well, unless that stupid witch has started to believe her own hype and honestly believes that once someone has been issued with an ID card they will be magically unable to commit any crime or think any unapproved thoughts, thus removing the necessity for any future CRB or background checks. If so, she either knows something very frightening that we don't, or she's drooling batshit crazy.

I wonder which one it is ?

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@Luther Blissett

>>"But religion is deprecated in Whacky Jacqui's circle of materialists"

That'll be this Jacqui Smith?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2001690.ece

"Miss Smith has congratulated the Church of England on the increasing number of Church Schools"

Of course, maybe she's just sucking-up, but she doesn't exactly seem like secularism's dream girl.

And WTF does materialism or religion have to do with ID cards anyway (except, that is, for the people whacked -out enough to take Revelation seriously)?

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Them and us

"Her faith in biometrics does not appear to have been shaken by lobby group No2ID which claimed to have borrowed a set of her fingerprints earlier this month."

This does not surprise me. I have three problems with biometrics in general, fingerprinting in particular.

First, I'm not convinced that every single person in the world does have unique fingerprints, and (if I"m wrong on that point), I'm certainly not convinced that the various biometric capture devices capture fingerprints in a way that will guarantee no false-positives. Claiming that fingerprints are unique is one thing; taking 32 points of a fingerprint and claiming that those 32 points are unique is something else entirely, especially when you consider 32 points is 2^32 which is 4,294,967,296. Unfortunately, we have more than that number of people on the planet. So if a fingerprint reader only uses a 32-bit hash, it is guaranteed to have at least one false-positive.

My second problem is the abuse of this. When you have a database of everyone's biometric data, it becomes trivial to make replicas of that data and plant it at the scene of a crime, thereby implicating someone who's innocent (but their fingerprints are all over the place, so they're obviously lying). And given our governments' (US and UK) attention to security and their ability to secure their computer systems against attackers...

And the third problem, which we always come back to, is that YOU CANNOT REPLACE YOUR BIOMETRIC DATA!! Once your data is compromised (not if, but when), there is literally no way to change it. That's it, game over. Sure, you can use acid to burn off your fingerprints and possibly etch a new design into your iris, but you're never going to change your DNA.

Jacqui doesn't see a problem with this. Why would she? She's a person in a position of power. If her biometric data was compromised and placed at the scene of the crime, the police would ignore it, claiming that someone planted her data there. But if the same thing was done to a regular person, the police would be knocking down their door and arresting them.

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re: not again please

"while I understand the frustration and the mood about this whole crap, I don't like the fact that the pilots want to turn their rage against the public... destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) is not a solution to a political problem."

So then you support the government in FORCING pilots to carry "voluntary" ID cards? The pilots are not "turn[ing] their rage against the public", as you so eloquently put it. They are standing up for their rights. YOU do not have the right to dictate the pilots' rights. What's next? Would you support the government if they made all pilots dye their hair orange, or if they forced all of them to be naked while piloting the aircraft (for security reasons, obviously)?

But hey, don't worry about other people's rights if their rights may inconvenience you in any way. Many of us wonder where the government gets its ideas. I think we just found our answer.

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@ AC PPL

Shh, don't tell them that we only have these little bits of non-biometric paper for a licence - that'll only give them ideas for ways to 'improve' things.

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@Luther Blissett

I was starting to get worried that you were becoming almost coherent in your comments, and then...

"So our Jacqui is logically obliged to be the teleological object of her own praxis."

...you swung brilliantly back on form again. Splendid.

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Silver badge

Re: not again please

The pilots don't need to strike, they just need to all refuse to have an ID card. That way, they turn up for work, get refused entry and the flight doesn't take off. that way it's not a strike, it's the government preventing them from working.

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Go

Do as we say not as we do

I submitted the following, I'll post an update if it is accepted.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Trial ID

Cards on Members of Parliament and the House Of Lords before

the general public

I would like the government to demonstrate the practical

implementation and benefits of the National ID card scheme by

being the first compulsory group to have ID cards. Members of

Parliament, the house of lords and all those that work in

Parliament should be the first to demonstrate their commitment

to this technology. The current parliamentary security systems

could be greatly improved if access was authenticated using the

ID card scheme and biometrics. We cannot risk the most

important figures in the country due to terrorism or identity

theft. This action would also demonstrate the faith the

government has in the technology and provide them with concrete

examples of the benefits to silence the sceptics.

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@Chris C

>>"First, I'm not convinced that every single person in the world does have unique fingerprints, and (if I"m wrong on that point), I'm certainly not convinced that the various biometric capture devices capture fingerprints in a way that will guarantee no false-positives. Claiming that fingerprints are unique is one thing; taking 32 points of a fingerprint and claiming that those 32 points are unique is something else entirely, especially when you consider 32 points is 2^32 which is 4,294,967,296. Unfortunately, we have more than that number of people on the planet. So if a fingerprint reader only uses a 32-bit hash, it is guaranteed to have at least one false-positive."

is it *really* only a case of a single 32-bit hash value?

I thought with fingerprints (at least done manually) it was a case of marking the location of significant features (junctions, etc), and then using those locations to compare prints - seeing if the same features appeared in basically the same relative positions. That seems like a fair amount of data if distances are stored with accuracy.

Indeed, it seems like smart cards storage for fingerprints is typically in the range of hundreds to thousands of bytes.

http://www.biometrie-online.net/dossiers/generalites/Smart_Cards_Biometric_FAQ.pdf

reckons 300-1200bytes

http://www.smartcard.co.uk/articles/finger_on_the_pulse_of_identity.htm

"typical template rates are currently 4-20Kb for face recognition, 2-4 Kb for fingerprint..."

etc.

Possibly there's some way to use a small hash for speeding up *searches*, but not for the actual *comparison*.

>>"My second problem is the abuse of this. When you have a database of everyone's biometric data, it becomes trivial to make replicas of that data and plant it at the scene of a crime, thereby implicating someone who's innocent (but their fingerprints are all over the place, so they're obviously lying). And given our governments' (US and UK) attention to security and their ability to secure their computer systems against attackers..."

Of course, it's not like it's possible to frame anyone *now*, by planting an item with fingerprints or DNA on at a crime scene, or tampering with evidence before forensic analysis.

If someone wanted to frame me, even *if* they could recreate a passable fingerprint from the stored data, they'd still need to put me under human surveillance to make sure I wasn't establishing a fantastic alibi for myself with my ID card at the time of the crime.

Someone who was prepared to do that could probably get enough evidence to frame me now if they really wanted, unless I'm going to burn all the tissues I blow my nose on, rather than having them end up in the garbage, and wipe clean all the glasses I drink from in the pub, to avoid the possibility of someone picking one up and taking it away to plant somewhere with my prints/saliva on.

Basically, if someone *really* wanted to frame someone, they already could.

However, most criminals who want to hurt someone just do it directly, or pay someone else to do it. They don't sit in a swivel chair stroking a cat and plotting overly elaborate revenges.

>>"And the third problem, which we always come back to, is that YOU CANNOT REPLACE YOUR BIOMETRIC DATA!! Once your data is compromised (not if, but when), there is literally no way to change it. That's it, game over. Sure, you can use acid to burn off your fingerprints and possibly etch a new design into your iris, but you're never going to change your DNA."

But if the biometric data is only used to identify a *person*, it's rather harder to duplicate, at least when checking the biometrics is done anywhere that's staffed. Someone actually has to wear fake fingerprints, or fake-iris contact lenses or suchlike (could a fake iris even work, since it wouldn't change shape properly as the pupil altered size in response to light?)

In fact, for all the serious downsides, in a highly connected techno-Big Brother state, one problem for an identity fraudster is the risk of them trying to be you in one place while you're busy being you somewhere else. The more often you use an ID card, the riskier it is for someone to try and use a copy of it.

Even a rather dumb system should be able to spot impossible multiple uses and trigger an alert.

If someone has my fingerprints, they'd have to be rather dumb to, for example, use them to make fake prints and board a flight, since even if they weren't caught out trying to fake their way past a scanner, what would happen if I decided to use my ID here when I'm already logged in The System as being on my way to the States?

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Thumb Up

Repeat after me...

Security is not about safety

Security is about the Government knowing what you are up to.

The government is security

Security is unity.

Relax citizen, drink your victory gin.

Doubleplusgood

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re: Them and us

You nailed the real issue we have with this with your last paragraph.

If someone famous and connected were to be implicated, it would be passed over. If it's someone nameless or connected to the wrong people, it wouldn't.

Just like congestion charges don't affect MPs who claim it on expenses. Petrol tax, which a chauffered MP doesn't pay. Or mortgage increases/cost of living increases/dual home taxes which an MP gets as an expense or perk.

So none of them affect the MPs and so they don't see a problem.

Remember John Presscott got done for missing out on his council tax payments but because he wasn't a pensioner, he remained unarrested.

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Stop

Strike

The pilots may have to go on strike if their *employers* (try and) make carrying a NatID compulsory, then any flyboy who turns up to work having "forgotten" their card (or one who refuses to sit still and be tagged) will be in breach of contract, and the fault will be back on the pilots.

I'm a bit puzzled how they'll deal with foreign pilots, though. Surely they're just visiting and can enter the country on their passport-plus-visa and airside on their airline ID? Or are they all going to be issued with ID cards too?

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Paris Hilton

Winter of discontent II - The Revenge of the Aviators

A rerun of the 'winter of discontent' with pilots playing the part of, well, just about the entire public sector, would be really entertaining. Since pilots tend to be fairly eloquent, it might just get the point about ID cards across to the twatdangles of the Daily Mail Tendency better than unwashed northern union bosses (with dodgy haircuts and overly handlebar moustaches) made their point about... well, whatever it was, 30 years ago.

Paris, cos some pilots won't be flying there this winter.

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@Mark

>>"Remember John Presscott got done for missing out on his council tax payments but because he wasn't a pensioner, he remained unarrested."

I rather thought that the handful of pensioners who do get arrested generally *could* pay, but persistently choose to refuse to pay to make a (possibly quite valid) point.

A point which rather requires that they are arrested.

Indeed, some seem quite cheesed-off when someone pays their bill and they get released.

I thought with Prescott, the situation was rather different. The tax was paid by the Government when it should have been paid by him, and [supposedly], when he found out, he paid the government back even though technically he didn't have to.

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Anonymous Coward

re: not again please

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the communists

and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the airside workers

and I did not speak out - because I was not an airside worker.

Then they came for me -

and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.

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@re: not again please / AC

FFS, they're not talking about euthanising the pilots, just giving them an ID card

Many European countries seem to have ID (either voluntary or compulsory to carry), and seem to somehow manage to avoid the urge to go round stuffing their citizens into the nearest oven.

What's so special about the UK?

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@david wilson

"If someone has my fingerprints, they'd have to be rather dumb to, for example, use them to make fake prints and board a flight, since even if they weren't caught out trying to fake their way past a scanner, what would happen if I decided to use my ID here when I'm already logged in The System as being on my way to the States?"

Don't you see the problem here? "The System" says you're logged in in the States and in the UK. Which is the real you, and how do you prove it? YOU know you're you. But how do you PROVE that you're you?

As for people being able to frame you for a crime nowadays, yes, it can happen now. But do we really need to make it easier? If somebody wants my fingerprints, they need to be physically close to me at some point. Once my fingerprints go into a government computer system, they're accessible everywhere in the world. And then I get picked up for a crime in Seattle when I've never even ventured further than New York (or, for the UK readers, you'd get picked up for a crime in Scotland when you've never ventured outside Ireland). Someone like me, who's self-employed and lives alone, doesn't have the pleasure of an alibi 24/7, so I have no way to prove that I wasn't in Seattle. Paranoid? Maybe. But in this day and age of "guilty unless proven innocent, and even then, still considered guilty", I have every right to be paranoid about this.

Remember, "identity" is nothing more than bits in a computer. So far we've only looked at it from the perspective of the database getting cracked and people's data being exposed. What about the far more serious problem of the database getting cracked and data being changed? Suddenly your ID card doesn't match the database. In fact, your data can't be found anywhere in the database. Therefore, you must be a terrorist. Or a terrorist will crack into the database and change the data of a "safe" person to their own data. If it's not a well-known person, nobody would know the data was changed, and the terrorist would then be able to go about unimpeded. In short, the system is useless. If this goes forward, the system WILL be cracked. It's not a question of if, but when.

And don't you dare say it wouldn't happen. We've used that phrase too much throughout history, and look where we are.

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@Chris C

>>"Don't you see the problem here? "The System" says you're logged in in the States and in the UK. Which is the real you, and how do you prove it? YOU know you're you. But how do you PROVE that you're you?"

Well, unless someone has *changed* my picture in the system, I look like me, I know much more personal information about me, I know hundreds of normal trustworthy people who can testify as to who I am. I have the keys to my residence and registered vehicle, the codes to my bank accounts, etc.

On the other hand, the person pretending to be me is stuffed, if the system identifies the duplication quickly enough for them to be caught, and it's unlikely to be worth their while trying to bluff their way out of the situation

It doesn't seem like a setup where there's actually much mileage in impersonating someone.

>>"As for people being able to frame you for a crime nowadays, yes, it can happen now. But do we really need to make it easier? If somebody wants my fingerprints, they need to be physically close to me at some point. Once my fingerprints go into a government computer system, they're accessible everywhere in the world. And then I get picked up for a crime in Seattle when I've never even ventured further than New York (or, for the UK readers, you'd get picked up for a crime in Scotland when you've never ventured outside Ireland). Someone like me, who's self-employed and lives alone, doesn't have the pleasure of an alibi 24/7, so I have no way to prove that I wasn't in Seattle."

First, you're assuming that fake fingerprints can be recreated from the stored data which would pass the most stringent examination (which is by no means certain).

Secondly, if someone's trying to frame you for a crime, they need to be fairly confident that you won't have an alibi (ie you won't use your ID card, you won't phone anyone, meet anyone, etc)

Doing that without keeping you under surveillance would be hard, and someone who was bothered enough to put you under surveillance could likely already collect sufficient evidence to frame you.

A *distant* framing seems even harder to pull off, since someone would need to know that you were lacking any kind of alibi for a substantial period of time, and hope that a complete lack of record of you travelling to the crime scene wouldn't be seen as a problem.

If anything, the quicker a fingerprint match can be done after a crime, the easier it should be for someone to provide an alibi, since even people they met briefly are likely to be more confident about times, etc. If someone was going to frame me, I'd rather the police were knocking on my door the next day than 6 months later when the people framing me give them a tip-off.

And as I said, if someone hates me enough to go to that trouble, they can already frame me or have me harmed or killed. Biometric ID cards don''t seem likely to make a significant difference in how easy it is to frame someone.

So yes, I think you are being paranoid about that aspect of ID cards.

>>"Remember, "identity" is nothing more than bits in a computer. So far we've only looked at it from the perspective of the database getting cracked and people's data being exposed. What about the far more serious problem of the database getting cracked and data being changed? Suddenly your ID card doesn't match the database. In fact, your data can't be found anywhere in the database. Therefore, you must be a terrorist."

So you're assuming that someone can make changes to the database (which is likely stored in multiple locations) without the dates of those changes being recorded.

Even if that's possible, the very first time that it's noticed (as when someone with a whole host of people who can vouch for their identity gets stopped for using has a non-forged card that matches them but doesn't match the database), various alarm bells would start ringing, and a 'stop!' would be issued for the person matching the changed data, who won't be able to prove they are who they say they are when they're detained.

And don't forget, the authorities don't need to be *convinced* the real person is who they and their witnesses say they are, they only need to think there's a possibility that some change may have happened to the database to justify flagging the database identity as suspicious while they wait for the backups of the database to be checked to see if/when changes were made.

It's basically the same situation as if someone's using duplicate ID - unless they know the person they're impersonating isn't going to screw things up by using their own ID, they're likely to get detected sooner rather than later. The best defence against successful impersonation is to use ID frequently.

In any case, if a suspected terrorist has their fingerprints, etc on a watch-list, unless they can wipe their own data from the system, if their prints are scanned, they could still get matched to their real identity. If they had the ability to wipe their own data from the system, maybe they'd have the ability to remove the 'suspected terrorist' label and just use their own ID without problems, and not need to bother impersonating anyone.

For a terrorist, it's going to be much easier to recruit and use people who don't have a record, and who can use their own, valid ID, so that's what they'll probably do.

In other words, having ID cards doesn't seem likely to make their job easier, since their way round ID cards is the same as their current way round having people stopped via normal passport checks - use people without a record.

The main difference would seem to be that once a suspect's details were flagged on the system, it would be harder for them to pretend to be someone else by just getting a new passport, since their biometrics would keep matching their old identity as well.

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@Chris C

Really, the more paranoid worries do seem to risk diverting attention away from more realistic concerns - who's going to have access to information about where an individual has been and what they've done, what protections would there be for vulnerable people, how much is the system going to cost, how late/overbudget is it going to be, etc

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@david wilson

"First, you're assuming that fake fingerprints can be recreated from the stored data which would pass the most stringent examination (which is by no means certain)."

No, you don't need to re-create the fingerprints. All you need are fingerprints that have the same hash value.

Very simplified example: the value stored is the addition of all the digits recursively so that you end up with a digit in the range 0-9.

You have a number 932847412

I have a number 4305275

All I need to do is add a 5 to the end of my number and I get the same security check number as you. Or if I can make up my own (fake) number, say 71393216, I get the same security check number.

I don't have to know what your real number is, just what it computes to. Then either modify the number I have or create a new one until I get the same result.

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@david wilson

!I rather thought that the handful of pensioners who do get arrested generally *could* pay, but persistently choose to refuse to pay to make a (possibly quite valid) point."

John Prescott had much more liquidity than the pensioners. He was supposed to be one of the people making these laws and so should be held to them even more stringently. And being in a position of power, failure should have been more severe.

Not less severe.

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@Mark

>>"No, you don't need to re-create the fingerprints. All you need are fingerprints that have the same hash value."

If you re-read the relevant post, you'll see that the context of what I was talking about was Chris C's concerns about being framed by someone recreating his fingerprints from stored information and planting them at a crime scene.

For that, you'd need more than prints which generate comparable numbers in a scanner, unless the crime scene was one where the perp happened to stop to scan their fingerprints in a convenient scanner.

>>"John Prescott had much more liquidity than the pensioners. He was supposed to be one of the people making these laws and so should be held to them even more stringently. And being in a position of power, failure should have been more severe."

Again you seem to be entirely missing the point, and trying to compare chalk and cheese.

On the one hand, you have people who are making a stand, with the intention of ultimately going to prison to make their point and gain publicity.

On the other hand, you have a situation where it is claimed there was a misunderstanding, and there was at least legitimate *room* for misunderstanding - payments were handled by officials, council tax payments carried on as they had with the previous (Conservative) resident when in fact they shouldn't have done, etc.

I suppose Prescott may just be one of those deeply unusual people who would assume, if they were paying a slice of their salary to the government in order to live in a government residence, that if there were Council Tax for them to pay, at some point, a bill would arrive with their name on it.

It would be hard to make a convincing case that Prescott was actually trying to get out of paying anything, so it seems to make no sense to compare his case to one where people are, even with possibly the best intentions, openly and repeatedly refusing to pay a tax in full knowledge of the consequences.

Whether Prescott had more money than someone else might be relevant as an exaggerating factor if the situations were effectively the same, but they're evidently nothing like the same, except to someone who's determined to ignore the numerous obvious differences in order to persist with a dumb comparison they really want to make.

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