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back to article Emirates wedges national ID cards inside NFC phones

The United Arab Emirates has signed up local operator Etisalat with a view to getting the national ID card embedded into mobile phones. The memorandum of understanding, signed by the Emirates Identity Authority and Etisalat, sets out a plan for both parties to examine the feasibility of implementing the existing ID Card as an …

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Big Brother

tracking

so presumably they'll know who you are, and where you are (thanks to GSM/GPS location) at all times? UK.gov must be wetting themselves in anticipation to see how this one pans out.

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Emirates ID = jobs for locals

I live in Dubai and have an Emirates ID card. To the best of my knowledge it is not illegal to go out without it. I have to take my driver's license when I drive, but that is true in many other countries.

The card itself is practically useless, the whole scheme is primarily oriented towards creating pointless government jobs for locals (who won't take private sector jobs because they've been spoiled with low effort, high paid government jobs that require little skill or effort).

One of my employees from asia lost his passport, ID and drivers license while back in his home country (or more likely was pickpocketed). Since he has an Emirates ID card, they have a retina scan, facial scan, fingerprint of every finger, palms and even side of hands of him on file. So one would think all that was necessary was for him to turn up at airport with new passport, they take him off to side, scan him, confirm ID, issue him temporary stamp and maybe replace his lost documents for nominal fee.

But no. They must cancel his visa, he then has to get police reports in his own country and jump through all kinds of hoops getting letters from the UAE embassy, etc. to allow him back in country (took one month). Once here, he needs to reapply for visa (that'll be another 300 quid thank you), and jump through more hoops of pointless paperwork (again, to keep locals in pointless government jobs) including getting arabic translations of police reports from his home country, new medical tests, etc. etc. Total time = four months.

Like in the UK, ID cards were claimed to offer convenience to people in ensuring they could prove their identity. But the governments really aren't interested in your convenience....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Emirates ID = jobs for locals

Jobs for locals; and how is that worse than, for example, jobs for smug xenophobic expatriates?

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Alert

hello, I'm on the train

Selling point: people using mobile phones inappropriately in public could be easily arrested.

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opportunities a-hoy

I'm sure many governments which we love to label "regimes" but love even more to trade with them, will watch this closely. And so will the companies who love to tell everybody how pro-democracy they are* but wouldn't mind a finger in the pie, nosir.

Did I miss anything? Ah, yes, the advance democracy govs we voted for, they wouldn't even bother to observe this unfolding with close interest, right? After all, snooping on your own citizens is so unlike them (snooping on others is ok).

* in full accordance with local laws and regulations, see p. 46433 of our simplified T&T, section "Privacy & democracy", sub-section "variants & exceptions", with an intro "we really hope you didn't get that far, but in case you did, we will make it as garbage-filled as possible, so read on you moron, sir and don't even think that the plain English translation of the following 15 pages of bullshit means: "we don't give a flying (...) about democracy, did you think otherwise?!"

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Pint

Right.

Reckon I can't be losing or misplacing my mobile while on tour in France and Germany then, and won't be adding any UAE Tour dates any time in the future. :-D

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Anonymous Coward

So apparently...

... the security theatre gone bezerk is what is making RFID/NFC-solutions-looking-for-a-problem-to-solve look reasonable, sensible, must-do things? Bill is getting desperate in his harping. Not enough industry kickbacks as of late then?

The basic problem with the concept is that having your legal identity being broadcast by your mobile handset isn't exactly privacy-friendly. In at least two different ways before considering that making it too easy naturally means an upgrade to ever more gratuitous identification requirements. When in fact that act wasn't, should not have been necessary, and thus a rather unprincipled leveraging of earlier privacy failings. But, well, if you want to see a status quo of failures as reasonable and desirable, then more failures must naturally be more better. Carry on Bill Ray.

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In a better world...

the NFC chip would be in a ring or wristwatch (turned on or off with a twist), and any phone/tablet I pick up becomes 'mine' for a while.

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Unhappy

Re: In a better world...

In a better world you wouldn't need to have a NFC chip if you didn't want one.

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Re: In a better world...

Agreed.

Hence the 'off' switch, and option to leave ring/wristwatch at home.

But this gives option to leave handset at home and use whatever handset I find.

Also 'medical only option', giving paramedics pertinent information such as known allergies to drugs, blood-type etc.

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I don't own a mobile. When did they become compulsory? And fuck whoever thought of that.

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Yep

like some parking ticket machines in London... mobile phone required!

(not the best example, I know, but true)

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M7S
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so how does this work in restricted environments?

Some premises (both government and commercial) make you surrender mobiles before entering some areas. I can foresee some issues in surrendering my "swipe only" official ID to someone else's custody for the duration of such a period.

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