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back to article UK ID card service mounts birth, marriage, death landgrab

The UK Identity & Passport Service (IPS) has staged an identity landgrab on birth, marriage and death records. From April 2008 the General Register Office, which is responsible for recording these matters and is currently a directorate of the Office of National Statistics, is to become part of IPS, meaning that IPS will be …

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Those with nothing to hide

Maybe they would like a camera put in their bathroom and the contents broadcasted live on the internet. That way anyone who is remotely interested can see. The previous sentence is their defence, though. They assume that *no-one* is actually interested; sites such as You Tube prove otherwise.

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I forget who it was who said this:

'Because enabling legislation never gets a decent airing in parliament (not that it would make any difference, since the six back bench MPs bold enough to risk the wrath of the whips just aren't enough to make a difference)'

..but did you take a look at 'The Ministry of Truth' this evening on BBC2? ISTM to be an excellent expose of how 'this sort of thing' works..

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Dead Vulture

The Australia Card - we did it first.

The Australia Card (our home grown version of the ID card) was propsed in 1988, and was rapidly shouted down by the usual suspects. Unfortunately, the goody-two-shoes peanut gallery didn't grasp the underlying reason - T-A-X.

So we didn't get a little bit of plastic, but we DID get a TFN (Tax File Number), sideways, up the clacka.

To do ANYTHING you have to hand over your TFN - bank account? TFN. Job? TFN. Medical insurance? TFN. Injury of any kind needing doctor / hospital? TFN. No TFN: no bank, job, hospital. It all links to the Great Big Tax Database held in Gareth's Gazebo (DFAT - Canberra. It's bigger than Parliament, and armoured to all buggery). Exceptions granted for media magnates, and all round good blokes (read - rich white men).

Needless to say, Australia now has the most complex taxation system in the world, complete with special loopholes (the more you earn the less you pay, special rebates for landed gentry, tax free bonus for 'Packer' surname!).

Looks like the UK is trying to catch up, and they're copying Little Johnie!

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Tories

Yes, the Tories are a bunch of incompetent no-hopers. Yes, they will completely fuck up the country if they get into power.

But they will scrap ID cards, so they get my vote. The threat these cards pose to our freedoms and rights is so extreme that all other considerations are secondary.

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A question of choice

I think the most annoying part of all this is that we're not being given a choice. I'm on the DVLA database, MOD Personnell database and a pile of others. I chose to be entered on each and every one, partly on the understanding that they were indeed seperate databases unable to be accessed by the same people.

Rather than repeating what everyone else has said I'll lower the tone. They can fuck off. The lot of them. Bastards.

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Anonymous Coward

Sort sighted paranoia by Am I Blind ?

Do you know what, it seems there is as much paranoia being shown here as what is used in America to keep Bush in power.

It seems having an ID card is something to fight against and hold off from as somehow we are going to lose some freedom.

So here's an alternative, I really hope they join up all the seperate databases I'm registered on into one enourmous database thats got my Driving licence, Insurance and MOT, my Passport, Healthcare entitlement+records, criminal records, social security payment records and finally details of who I am, sod it, give them my fingerprints as well.

Maybe thats imaginary and there are really several databases all using my unique ID, a great big fat number in the range of 1 to 60'000'000.

I personally like the ID of it being compulsory, that way if I'm uncounscious after a car accident they know my blood type and medical records. If the Police stop me I don't get a 14 day producer, they can see immediatley if I'm legal. It means we stop "Holiday Healthcare" where people who have never paid an NI contribution in their life come to the UK and get free treatment.

Forgive me on the last one but while I'm chucking £20 a month @ Oxfam I'm also against paying for the world to get free healthcare out of my tax payments. I pay too bloody much as it is.

So I'll duck as the flames come my way but I have to say I don't give a damm if ID cards are compulsory. I don't see our European neighbors being repressed the 'State' by having to carry ID around with Italy, Czech, Switzerland, Germany etc.

Am I blind ?

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Coat

EMP at regular intervals or jump ship ?

Or both ?

Residency applications in progress as EMP project is woefully behind schedule.

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Re: The Cossack

I'm all for the Cossack who believes that the state is subject to the will of its people (Popular Sovereignty) as oppose to how it is now; the people at the mercy of the state.

So the question is, how do we bring about such a Direct Democracy in Britain???

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What can we do...

...except sign up to http://www.no2id.net perhaps. Although they also seem to be running out of ideas of what to *actually do*.

My MP is already vocal against ID cards - apart from that what else is there?

On an individual basis perhaps read "'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy" by Daniel Solove so you're fully armed for the pub conversation :-)

And the obvious idea of a "National Cross-Reference" isn't new either http://throgmorton.blogspot.com/2006/05/identity-crisis.html

Ps. Can the El Reg webmaster add a Stasi Boot icon for comments :-)

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Dead Vulture

@Cameron Colley

"anyone know a country not run by power-mad, self-serving, egotistical, morons that allows immigration?"

My Dear Cameron,

It appears that being a power-mad, self-serving, egotistical, moron is a veritable prerequisite for holding political office in virtually ANY country.

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Anonymous Coward

Some misconceptions:

http://www.ratifiersfordemocracy.org/ukrfd.htm

These fellows live in a bit of a rosy haze I think:

"We are now an educated thinking society fully capable of sharing in deciding these 'weighty issues'..."

they say, when in fact we are an educated unthinking society manipulated by pigopolists to "think" what they want us to, if at all, about these 'weighty issues'. The proportion of people in this country who even know what a critical faculty is, let alone have the ability to exercise one is, frankly, pitiful.

A fellow Anonymous Coward said:

"I personally like the ID of it being compulsory, that way if I'm uncounscious after a car accident they know my blood type and medical records. If the Police stop me I don't get a 14 day producer, they can see immediatley if I'm legal."

All lovely, and mostly, you're right, that's what will happen. I, personally, do not want to run the risk of the idiot computer spitting out the wrong blood type and informing the police that I am a wanted mass murderer because of either system or human failings. I don't even want to run the very real risk of that happening to other people. There's such a thing as relying too much on automation.

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Black Helicopters

annonimity = cowardice ?

So voting is only for the terminally terrified eh ?

Please can I have a tin-foil hat icon, and while your at it 2 pints of Old P and some pork scratchings.

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Coat

With the cost of passports too

My passport is up for renewal shortly, and if gordon thinks I am handing over £110+ to his barmy army he has another thing coming. I shant renew the British one, but shall renew the Irish one, save a few quid and avoid being an early contributor to the NIR.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't really see a problem with such a system.

In central europe, after world war two the hungarian government made a system, called the 'Office of National Population Registry'. This database assigns a number, the so called 'Personal Identification Code' to everyone upon birth. This code is guaranteed to be globally unique and can be used to match various databases together. The registry contains the birth and death certificates, the identity card info, passport info, health insurance info, residential and voters list info. This way, the government knows all important data about everyone. It works, because they rarely loose someone from the system and everyone stopped on the street can be identified if (s)he is hungarian or not. The same registry handles drivers licenses and other official documents. First it was paper based, then they switched to mainframes in the 70ies and now it runs on standard servers. (mixed unix/windows environment)

The system works. There are no real data leaks, because they officially sell information, but only those that are public, like name, sex, birthdate and address. The data protection law is actually part of the current constitution, so this is legal.

The system works so well, that they had to officially turn off the automated voters list checking to cheat during the last elections. (but at least the current prime minister and leader of the currently ruling national socialist party publicly admitted it later along with various other crimes, for more info on the people's reactions see 2006 oktober 23. in the news archives)

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Black Helicopters

In a way, yes

The various posters who have said unified ID is good have some valid points, but sadly, I don't hear the scheme being sold using these.

While uk.gov continues to tell me that ID cards will prevent crime and protect me from terrorists, their motives must remain suspect.

This is a bit like the whole Iraq Invasion problem. Knocking off Saddam might well have been an acceptable reason to go to war, but hostilities were initiated on the basis of some big porkies about non existent WMD. Curiously enough, this really pissed people off, and lost the gov the trust of the populace (what little remained, anyway)

So given the WMD lies, the entirely suspect and pretty much discredited reasons given for having ID cards, and adding in all the other totalitarian state bolt ons we keep seeing lately such as the removal of a right to trial, the removal of Habeas Corpus, the ability of the state to place you under house arrest even if a court finds you innocent of any charges, the removal of the right to legal representation, the ability of the police to detain you for long periods of time without even charging you, and so on, there remains a huge question of trust, or the reasonable lack thereof.

Additionally, the "wouldn't it be nice if..." crowd are missing the perhaps more central point that there is precisely zero possibility of uk.gov being able to manage a project of this size. without fucking it up really, really badly.

And as for this :

"The system works. There are no real data leaks, because they officially sell information, but only those that are public, like name, sex, birthdate and address. The data protection law is actually part of the current constitution, so this is legal."

I don't regard most of that information as being 'public', or being suitable for sale by the government to any interested third party.

(Although I am aware that it's to late to prevent it, see Experian et al.)

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Anonymous Coward

If you have nothing to hide.....

I think the biggest concern about this ID database is that it will be hacked in 1 day. The result will be all the personal info about the pollies who voted for it reliesed to every man and his dog.

They don't need to worry though. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

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@Anonymous Coward

"The system works. There are no real data leaks, because they officially sell information, but only those that are public, like name, sex, birthdate and address. The data protection law is actually part of the current constitution, so this is legal."

Ummm, in the enterprise that employs me, name, sex, birthdate and address are specifically called-out as protected information for customers - not to be released or removed from a protected environment (i.e., not to be used for testing).

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Silver badge

Hah.

"It means we stop "Holiday Healthcare" where people who have never paid an NI contribution in their life come to the UK and get free treatment."

Haha. Hahahaha. No.

What will happen is the NHS will continue to be free at the point of delivery to ALL people, like it always has been. Even if some poncy bloody pointyhead up in the clouds decides it's not, I don't see many doctors breaking the hippocratic oath and just sitting there watching someone bleed to death in A&E because they aren't on the NIR.

As for them damned evil dark-skinned people coming here and stealing our jobs, I imagine that will happen as well. The difference is, you or I will have to pay through the nose for this anal reaming that poses as a convenience, whereas Johnny Foreigner will get his stretching for free after six months, with the state providing a nice amount of lube to help. IE: immigrants will get ID cards given to them.

So, the ID card will help precisely bugger all apart from making some Home Office prats feel better about themselves.

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