Talk about two evils...
Whilst I never held Bill Gates in high regard whilst he was actually in power at Microsoft, it would seem that their leadership is fast approaching a Chinese way of doing things in that the outgoing man never really gives up the reins and the new guy has tread very carefully to make sure he doesn't up set the grand daddy.
But this is a moot point. What I really want to say is I find it disturbing that whilst Bill has taken to be a philanthropist in his later years he seems to be using his new found reputation do gooder love to push through some pretty heinous ideas.
A. Using ID cards at all, in any country.
B. Getting India to involve MS in the scheme.
I can see the conversation going somewhat (between privacy concerned but easily swayed PM, slick as oil spin doctor, also in MS's pocket and Bill Gates wearing a bunny costume feeding the hungry):
PM: "We've been considering ways to combat the threats of terrorism for sometime now. My instinct tells me that we really shouldn't go down this ID card route but my advisors, hundreds of them, tell me differently. So I'm obliged to listen. What can MS do for us?"
Bill: "Well, lets skip the tech specs and all the details, it's in the report in your hands. As you know, we have a reputation for everything being as tight as a clam at Microsoft. Software never leaks, when it's shipped it's secure as the Titanic's hull and if there's a competitor that's doing it cheaper, it's ok, we will have bought them before you noticed" bill as he cradles another starving child, sweating in the heat through his bunny costume, my isn't he just so dedicated!
PM: "Oh, umm, yes. That's right. So, this report. I have read it and a few things concern me. Your projected costs for this scheme run at 30% of the governments actual budget for anything next year, do you forget, sir, that we our GDP is somewhat dwarfed but that of your homeland?"
PM:" Also, you go on to suggest that we should store everything on Azure, Microsoft's cloud technology, our entire populations, 1/6 of the world's personal information on Microsoft's servers outside of it's home country?"
Bill: "I can explain that..."
PM: " Last but not least, you seem to be somewhat of evangelist for this ID scheme. Are you really interested in this from an ethical point of view from beneath your guise of a born again philathro?"
at this the spind doctor grabs the president aside, barely containing his embarrassment at the candour of the PM.
SD"Sir I cannot believe you have just rebuffed Mr Gates so. That report was factually accurate as were Mr Gates words. He can really help us move forward in the fight against terrorism. Yes, we will be bled dry, but he is a visionary. He didn't say that the internet would amount to nothing and there was no future in it, that was those bunch of polo neck wearing chumps over in Cupertino."
PM: "This is very bad, I think we need to look internally, to the talent we have at home, create jobs, learn and grow our own way. We have sooooo much computing talent here it is unreal. Let's really innovate with this one. Who knows we might create a system that doesn't invade privacy, doesn't require a central database and doesn't evoke vision of a future from 1984. I mean, I wouldn't want my future, run by a government, would you?"
SD: " Sir, he's wearing a bunny costume "
PM:" Awwww ". The PM is jolted out of his reverie; " No, I won't allow us to waste billions on something we could make history of doing ourselves"
SD" Siiiirrrr. he's donated millions, if not billions to charities to help feed some of the world's hungriest people. A large amount of those in desperate poverty which are here, in our own country!"
PM:" It tears me, but that is a seperate problem, something we have to try and sort out in a more efficient way, with reform and not handouts"
SD: "Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir, his company outsources every single one of his technical support staff to this country. If they decided to pull back their borders and relocate, we would be left with catastrophic unemployment and a huge part of the economy would be lost, god forbid, he might move them all to Bangladesh!"
PM: " It would seem then my hands are tired. Like me with my advisers," turns to Bill Gates
"Well Mr Gates, it would seem I am in a position to accept your proposal. We will of course need to go through a formal tender process with other companies but we'll provide you with the right information so the tender becomes yours for the highest possible funding. Here are the bank details to the government coffers, take what you need, we'll adjust our budget accordingly. There's some KY over there if you wanted to get the deed over and done with now."
The point is, it's in situations like this where ethics and morals can so easily be subverted. A man as economically evil and aggressive as Bill Gates can never be overlooked just because he has sudden turned a new leaf, been dunked in the pool of houlier than thou juice or potentially donate to you some of the coffers from his first national bank of "Richer than God".
But it will happen, people will be swayed and old ways forgotten. Even if he is still actively seeking business for his bastard child.