back to article First it was hashtags – now Amber Rudd gives us Brits knowledge on national ID cards

The UK's former Home Secretary Amber Rudd has shrugged off years of concerns about ID cards and called for a state-backed system based on NHS numbers – on the grounds that people already hand over masses of info to private firms. Writing for The Times' Red Box, Rudd said the balance between the "sheer ubiquitousness" of …

  1. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

    Not all of us, you feckless moron !

    Some of us actually care about our privacy...

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

      I rather fear that the reality is that you have handed over more data than you think. I wouldn't be surprised if even the more privacy-conscious among us have had data taken by stealth. So many things we do - using a mobile phone, using a credit or debit card, etc. are practically unavoidable in this day and age, and all are opportunities for someone somewhere to scrape a bit of data about us....tans pis.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

        > I rather fear that the reality is that you have handed over more data than you think.

        The wise position for any privacy-conscious person to take is to assume that that is in fact true. They've already collected unknown data, so be aware that anything you let slip - however innocuous - could be used in combination with that unknown data.

        For me, it's basically the same mindset as when dealing with security systems. It's not IF there's a breach, it's WHEN.

      2. MRS1

        Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

        > I rather fear that the reality is that you have handed over more data than you think. I wouldn't be

        > surprised if even the more privacy-conscious among us have had data taken by stealth.

        > So many things we do - using a mobile phone, using a credit or debit card, etc. are

        > practically unavoidable in this day and age, and all are opportunities for someone

        > somewhere to scrape a bit of data about us

        Quite possibly but the key point to remember about this is that data taken in this way is taken by force. It was not voluntary.

        And so, even though what you say here may be true, it still doesn't justify the government taking yet more data by force.

        Rudd's claimed justification that we already choose to give data to businesses is still false, in that many people do not choose to do that, and still does not justify the government taking more by force.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

          > Quite possibly but the key point to remember about this is that data taken in this way is taken by force. It was not voluntary.

          If anything, her observations are arguments on why Governments should clamp down *more* on this data collection, rather than arguments for the Gov joining in.

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

      I opted in for Home Office porn when Rudd was Home Secretary, but I want to opt out now it is Javid. Not being racist or sexist, he just doesn't have the legs to pull off a short black skirt and white blouse.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

      Translation

      "You are already several major US corporations b**ch. It's no bother to make you the British Governments one as well."

      Now that Rudd's no longer Home Sec she's looking less like a sock puppet and more like one of the True Believers in data fetishism.

      In politics there are Democrats (who believe in the idea of democracy) and Authoritarians (for whom it is an inconvenience to stopping them getting there own way).

      I think it's clear which side Rudd is on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

        I think it's clear which side elected politicians are on.

        FTFY

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

        "Now that Rudd's no longer Home Sec she's looking less like a sock puppet and more like one of the True Believers in data fetishism."

        It doesn't quite work that way. HO brainwashing of Home Secs is such that they stay in the same mental state even when they've been fired. Being an independent true believer before they got the job is irrelevant.

      3. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

        Amber Rudd is an overgrown school prefect, and it doesn't help that the person she is trying to brown nose thinks that free will is a bad thing.

      4. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Re: "people already hand over masses of info to private firms"...

        I wonder if she has just picked up a consultancy or directorship at a tech company wanting to sell crap to the Home Office. A path well-trod by the likes of Blunkett, Clarke and co.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's best to get these things on the table early for when it's outsourced and sold. Funny analogy though I do find they fall over when you try because Y does something then X should be allowed to.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Headmaster

      I'm just waiting for all this to be taken to its logical conclusion and we outsource the government to the private sector.

      Although I guess some would say we already have, given the power of some companies in lobbying etc. and how much contempt they seem to treat national authorities...

      1. oldfartuk
        FAIL

        It already is, the outsourcing company is called the European Union. They pretty much much set our laws and decide what we can and cannot do. hence brexit.

        When they first came up with this nonsense about ID card about 10 years ago, didnt two swedish guys demonstrate they could scan and read the biometrics at a distance of 30m and clone the ID card withing 4 hours?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "It already is, the outsourcing company is called the European Union. They pretty much much set our laws and decide what we can and cannot do. hence brexit."

          If you look more closely I think you'll find that the EU has human rights, data protection requirements and a court to enforce them that are directly opposed to this snooping. Very many UK politicians are irked by this protection of their subjects, hence Brexit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            True enough as far as it goes (and relevant too) but I suggest you subscribe to Statewatch to get a sense of the EU's labrynthine system of committees, many of them secret and unattributed, setting up various pan-European surveillance and data-swapping systems. Like all icebergs, the bottom looks very different from the top.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          We sit on the board, have operations staff and is a major shareholder in that outsourcing company you call the EU. We are pretty much part of setting the agenda and decide what we can and cannot do.

        3. MeggsChasm

          Skimming

          Yes, they did. BUT, making this newly acquired data useful, it would have to be the same as the entrance criteria for another application/system. Also, it would need that the"thing I have" (the card) was allowed to be different from the "who I am"; that is that the connection is not tested at time of authentication. Better ways are biometrics (heartbeat,retina,fingerprint) that can be tested at the point of entry. Incidentally, the use of biometrics actually readers the carrying of cards unnessary.

  3. iron Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Ruddy Amber

    Not all of us "impatiently agree" to overreaching cookie policies. If a website does not allow me to opt out of tracking (btw referring me to Google does not count) and is not vital then I close the browser window. I can and will find that information from a site that is not breaking the law.

    By tying some kind of ID system to NHS numbers all you will achieve is to HARM the health of the nation. Some people will avoid doctors and hospitals even if very ill so that they are not tracked by this totalitarian scheme.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amber Rudd

    Can't we have stones placed in her pockets, and throw her into the Thames?

    1. mark 120

      Re: Amber Rudd

      I'm fairly sure she'd float, if youre referring to the ancient test.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Amber Rudd

        Maybe better to use the new super sewer, given it's supposed to help lower the turd count in the Thames?

    2. Mark 78

      Re: Amber Rudd

      Off the end of Hastings Pier would be more appropriate, and there wouldn't be a shortage of locals willing to help out.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usual suspects

    The only ones to benefit from this will be whichever of the usual incompetent suspects gets chosen to run it.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Usual suspects

      Ah, you mean Crapita, then...

  6. DavCrav Silver badge

    "She then makes a leap of logic – and faith in a civil service that earlier on she didn't even trust to set up a streamlined set of websites"

    Having been dealing with the Government Gateway this morning, I also don't trust the civil service to set up a streamlined set of websites.

    "Ah, the reason you cannot activate self-assessment with that User ID is because the Government Gateway single log in uses multiple log ins. I know that all services appear on the screen using both user IDs, which are both tied to the same Unique Taxpayer Reference, but you cannot use the one you use to do tax-free childcare to also do self-assessment. But don't worry, we will reset your password. Here are the first six characters of it displayed on a website, the other six are sent to you in an e-mail, you cannot change it, but don't write it down anywhere."

    1. Far out man
      Thumb Up

      I was also invited to give my details to be met with an illogical security scam that seemed to be more interested in slurping my details.

      I have it on good authority that Ms Rudd is in fact a test for Political AI, coming to a polling booth near you very soon

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Don't forget the sudden addition of a largely pointless security-theatre other factor auth scheme which requires a mobile device and an application that requires far, far too many privileges for the trivial job of smoke and mirrors. Apparently it makes the account more secure, however given that there is no way to guarantee the providence of the mobile device and the setup of it, it just makes it annoying instead.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "If the private sector can design websites that track our every move, that come up with suggestions for goods before we realise we want them"

    These suggestions generally fall into two groups:

    - stuff we just bought so don't need to buy again

    - stuff we don't and won't want which is not quite the same as saying they're suggesting them before we realise we want but the difference might not be clear to an easily confused person

    On the whole it doesn't put the private sector into that brilliant a light.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "mind-numbingly petty in their requirements and absurdly complex to navigate"

    Is this the explanation? Her mind has been numbed.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      What do you mean "has been"? It always been that way as far as I can tell!

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Her mind has been numbed.

      And then (presumably) put back into the jar to keep it nice and clean.

  9. SkippyBing Silver badge

    'This includes simplified access to .GOV websites that "cut through all the different layers now in place", some of which she said are currently "mind-numbingly petty in their requirements and absurdly complex to navigate".'

    Or you know, as she works for the Government she could just get them to remove the mind-numbingly petty requirements and have someone from outside the Civil Service design them so they're not impossible to navigate. Because I don't really see another form of ID solving either of those problems.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Because I don't really see another form of ID solving either of those problems."

      It's a case of when all you have is a hammer.

      1. DCFusor Silver badge

        When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like your thumb, is that it?

  10. Lee D Silver badge

    I have no problem with ID cards. I effectively have one in my wallet already.

    I have a objection to you JOINING THAT INFORMATION, exactly like the cookie problem you describe.

    Literally, just give people driving licences when they turn 18 that don't have entitlements on them - that's the ID card problem solved.

    What *you* want, though, is a central system to tie in everything I do to that number. I don't currently have to provide a driving licence number to, say, rent a house. Or file a complaint against my council. Or ring my bank. Or access an adult site. Or rent an 18 movie.

    What I'm concerned about is not another bit of plastic. That's just an expensive exercise in redundancy, we can knock those up today if you want to pony up the money for them.

    No, it's that once you get an "official" ID card, what are you going to join together, and what new things will suddenly be linked to / require my ID? The first that springs to mind is things like website access, ISP records, etc. Government are pushing for mandatory ID for such things, rather than just proof of age (entirely different thing). Currently, it would be suspicious and a deliberate act to join, say, my Internet credit card purchases to my running for local councillor. It would involve court orders to banks, police records, etc. etc. But once you join the databases it's "too easy" for someone to do that just playing about on the ID database - we know this because as NHS goes digital the number of people being done for "just looking" at celebrity details are far too common.

    And then you want to tie it in via NHS number? Bang, there's my medical records for you too. Benefits. Driving record. All kinds of things currently held at different places which are all formally recording requests for access and providing the minimum information required. Join them together and those guarantees won't survive. It'll be a free-for-all.

    We know, because everything from council bin collection agencies to food standards agencies are putting in requests that they never used to be able to before to track and trace people. Join them all into "one easy number" and you will end up with cops sneaking into your celeb profile, linking it to your purchases from your Amazon account for sex toys, your online browsing of legitimate and legal porn, and leaking it to media. Hell it happens WITHOUT those connections, with them just makes it worse. And no amount of log-keeping, warnings, etc. has yet proven effective at stopping people with access doing such things.

    Now, there are obviously advantages to linking things. If nothing else, spotting financial fraud, etc. But it has to be controlled and justified. Tying everything to an ID number is a dangerous and stupid thing to do.

    I don't care about the card. But it is another worthless piece of plastic. Like Manchester trial of ID cards where people effectively threw their own money in a bin on something that nobody ever really recognised.

    I care about the data connections. The government does not, and has no need, to know my Amazon account, emails I use, domains I own, movies I watch, etc. Even if they could legitimately obtain that information if a court so ordered, they don't need to. And I have to trust that the courts wouldn't allow it unless it was necessary for law enforcement. That's my safety barrier.

    Linking systems and centralising an ID bypasses that, if all those systems have to query the central database for authentication, they are basically advertising the records that join together. While they are separate, they don't advertise the connections to a single, central authority.

    Now, I have "nothing to fear". I trust law enforcement and the courts. You can see my posts on that everything. I really don't care about someone potentially finding out that I earned £X but claimed £Y in income for tax purposes because for me X=Y at all times. That's not the issue. The issue is that the potential for misuse is too great and tempting for a nation state. By not having it, they can't do it, certainly not without expense and a paper trail which is our primary safety barrier. But the second there's a central authority that everyone has to authenticate against and which links into every bank, every contract, every shop, every thing you do in everyday life... that potential can and will be misused.

    Even if it's to tax people who buy too many plastic items, or chase why they bought 100g of plastic this week but only put 80g in their recycling bin. Whatever it is, however petty, that potential is damaging.

    And I object to *that*.

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Joined-up databases

      @ Lee D

      I wish I could give you more than one upvote.

      1. Chz

        Re: Joined-up databases

        I wish that, once a month/quarter, we could do an Upvote x 25 for posts like that.

        Exactly my own concerns (*most* countries have ID cards, their simple existence is not an issue), but put much more eloquently than I could manage on my own.

    2. DCFusor Silver badge
      Pint

      Same here. Seems the politicians are real good at not mentioning the obvious places this stuff goes, but it's obvious that's why they are salivating to get it. Have one on me too.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      "What *you* want, though, is a central system to tie in everything I do to that number. "

      Correct.

      This is Tony Blairs "National Identity Register" back end re-born (some might think it never died, and in the minds of the senior civil servants who think it's a great idea it never did).

      IOW a cradle-to-grave surveillance system.

      The wet dream of every Authoritarian politician who demands to know what people are doing 24/7/365 forever.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      "By not having it, they can't do it,"

      The true fear of a data fetishist

      "OMFG there's somebody I don't know absolutely everything about doing something I don't know about, somewhere*"

      *When I put it that way it does sound quite irrational, does it not?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "By not having it, they can't do it,"

        "When I put it that way it does sound quite irrational, does it not?"

        It does indeed. It's also reminiscent of Menken's thought on Puritanism: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/34745-puritanism-the-haunting-fear-that-someone-somewhere-may-be-happy

  11. Steve Button

    But we DO need protecting.

    Unfortunately we need to be protected FROM the Government, not by the Government as it should be.

  12. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
    Flame

    FUCK

    OFF

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: FUCK

      I came here to post that we really need a "Fuck Right Off" icon. But I'll settle for plain old "Fuck Off" at a pinch.

      Please, El-Reg?

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: FUCK

        "But I'll settle for plain old "Fuck Off" at a pinch."

        Happy to oblige:

        Martin Creed repeatedly saying fuck off.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disenfranchisement

    Sounds a lot like the last mission creep effort at ID cards. One thing overlooked back then, and probably any future attempt, was British citizens who live abroad (though Brexit may decimate them). Typically they will not get any ID cards based on NHS entitlement, but official ID cards would quickly become the natural form of ID for a whole range of items, as would suspicion of anyone who does not possess one.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Disenfranchisement

      Brexit may well decimate British citizens living abroad. Quite a few I know have already taken citizenship of the countries they live in or, if they haven't lived abroad long enough, looked into their Irish roots to get an Irish passport...

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Why is everyone sneering again?

  15. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Our first duty is to keep people safe

    I'm very tired of that old chestnut - the best way to achieve that would be to lock us all up for our own protection.

    And given that successive British governments have covered up renditions, torture, extra-judicial killings, undercover police malpractice whilst simultaneously crying "nanny state" whenever there is an attempt to deal with alcohol abuse, smoking or obesity, politicians clearly don't believe it either.

    Maybe they should lock themselves up for our own protection.

  16. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Her argument is that since people are all too willing to "impatiently agree" to cookie policies that allow big biz to track their every movement, they should also get on board with state ID cards.

    As regards 'People' she means herself, having found 'impatiently' clicking through the often overcomplex opt-outs (and probably ending up with exactly the same cookie settings she had originally as the website intended).

    So that's the kind of underhand strategy she thinks is acceptable is it?

    Some greedy unscrupulous big businesses have so far gotten away with it so it must be a good strategy for the UK Government?

    Perhaps she'd like to see some of the practices of some U.S. big pharma duplicated by the UK tax office...Hey, lets raise various taxes 400%, think of all the investments (or squandering on failed IT projects) that could be done...

  17. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    We have seamlessly moved into an era where we still baulk at the government having a single system for identifying us but we allow total strangers access to all sorts of personal preferences, which rest assured, they will use,

    Its based on trust. We trust to give our data to those who provide something of sufficient value to us, we do not trust the gov. And with damn good reason.

  18. Mr Dogshit

    Ihre Papiere, bitte.

  19. Justicesays

    Perhaps instead

    She could spend her time usefully getting the GDPR enforced against all those websites with the cookies and their ridiculous/impossible/non-existent or frankly laughable opt-out systems (like, to opt out of us collecting information, please go to some other website and opt out from there by putting a cookie on your browser for each ad-system, assuming you have cookies stored, java script enabled, and that all the ad providers systems are working at that time...), when in fact they have to be offering opt-in and opt-out is the default and should require you to do nothing.

    Never mind the ones tracking everyone everywhere across the internet with their pixels etc. and no sign of any opt in or out options at all.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps instead

      "She could spend her time usefully getting the GDPR enforced against all those websites with the cookies and their ridiculous/impossible"

      Rudd spending her time usefully. The mind boggles.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps instead

        Rudd spending her time usefully. The mind boggles.

        I could think of lots of ways. And they all start with "leave Parliament immediately"..

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps instead

        Rudd spending her time usefully. The mind boggles.

        Holding her breath so she doesn't steal oxygen?

  20. Keith Oborn

    Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

    The UK is the only advanced country (apart from the US, I think) that does NOT have an ID card system.

    Yesterday, a Belgian minister made the point that one reason illegal immigrants are so desperate to get to the UK from Belgium/France/wherever is that, without an ID card system the UK cannot track them, whereas other countries can.

    Good grief, the Germans have one, and if there is any nation that is wary of over-reaching government powers it is surely them.

    Within the UK, an ID card would dramatically simplify control of access to health, social security and other benefits.

    Most of us already have a card - it's called a passport. It is simply not required to be presented for these purposes.

    PLEASE let's have a central system and stop moaning.

    I care much more about commercial entities tracking me. The government can be voted out, Google is harder.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

      Most national ID cards are exactly that - an identity card. Not an 'entitlement' card that links to a database. No RFID chip or magnetic stripe that gets scanned when you go to pick up a parcel from the post office, or open a bank account. No big database collecting tracking information in real time from those scans and swipes.

      The card isn't the problem, it is the Home Office's avowed desire to use it to collect data on your movements and activities, eroding your right to privacy. That's the reason May hates the ECHR, because it gives us those rights to privacy, enshrined in an international treaty.

      1. Keith Oborn

        Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

        Exactly.

        Pressure your MP for the introduction of a simple ID card, make it clear that this should NOT be linked to any backend systems other than a record of who you are.

        Instead, the Great British Public allows itself to be whipped up into opposing frenzies by those who withhold key information - on all sides. I guess we just Like Shouting, to channel Python.

        Why does the UK find it so hard to apply solutions that other countries simply do at the drop of a hat?

        "Parents must not take kids out of school during term time to go on holiday when prices are lower"

        "Let's have staggered school holidays"

        "Impossible"

        "How come pretty much every other country does it then?"

        " "

        Repeat ad nauseam for subjects of your choice.

        BTW, the ECHR, like all legislation, is open to abuse. For instance, we have a Traveller problem - illegal occupation. They got an ECHR ruling that says "Their way of life must be protected" - even when that way of life involves long-term trespass, environmental crime, petty theft and vandalism, and routine intimidation. And no, we cannot apply for a ruling to protect OUR "way of life" because it is not recognised that "ordinary citizens" have any such thing to protect.

        </rant> ;-)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

          "Pressure your MP for the introduction of a simple ID card, make it clear that this should NOT be linked to any backend systems other than a record of who you are."

          Bad idea. It will simply be taken as an endorsement of what they actually want and the proviso will be ignored. Far better to make it clear that you do strongly disapprove of their attempts at universal surveillance and that includes ID cards.

          Only if and when HMG has shown it can be trusted should you push for ID cards if you consider them to be a good thing - which, frankly, I don't as a matter of principle.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

      My rule of thumb is to never ever EVER give the government any powers a rabbi wouldn't be happy giving to Hitler.

    3. navidier

      Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

      "Most of us already have a card - it's called a passport. It is simply not required to be presented for these purposes."

      Hmm, no, doesn't fly... At this point of time the UK Gov't shouldn't have _any_ idea of my passport. It wasn't issued by them, and I've not yet used it to leave or re-enter the country. They do know about my confusingly-named "indefinite leave to remain", but that's housed in my next-to-last passport -- they want something over £500 to have it transferred into a newer one.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

      "The UK is the only advanced country (apart from the US, I think) that does NOT have an ID card system."

      Not true. Canada does not have a national identity card.

      There is a unique identifier for tax purposes - the SSN - for which a card was optionally available, but it is illegal for anyone to demand the SSN for any purpose not linked to implementing necessary taxation related administration.

      Even the federal government does not use it as a 'universal identifier' and any government at any level or corporation or other body that tried to do so would be in deep trouble.

      A while ago, it was determined that a card with the SSN was an unacceptable security/privacy risk, and such cards are no longer available.

      There is no requirement for carrying any form of identification unless engaged in specific activities requiring relevant documentation, such as a driver's licence when operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, or a relevant radio licence when operating a radio transmitter.

      1. Kernel

        Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

        "Not true. Canada does not have a national identity card."

        Neither does NZ nor, as far as I'm aware, Australia - I suspect many countries with a history of overwhelmingly English settlement over the past two or three centuries don't have a national ID card.

        I wonder why that might be?

        Of course, the good thing from a poliltician's point of view is that basing an ID system on an NHS number means it only has to apply to the insignificant people who can't afford private healthcare - win (plus gin & tonics) all 'round.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

      "The government can be voted out"

      No they can't. You just vote one or other government in but The government is there regardless. What's worse, most of this junk really stems from the HO who are extremely efficient at brainwashing new Home Secs* and they're still there whoever wins the election.

      *The current specimen even gave an interview to the Times describing how it was done but, of course, he didn't describe it in those terms because he didn't realise that that was what it was.

      1. DCFusor Silver badge

        Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

        The doctor is right. Look at the US for example - we did our best to vote out business as usual...

        and now we have intense media-driven discord, and a soft coup going on by those we never get a chance to vote for or against. I'm pretty sure that since the orange clown managed to skip the usual pre-election selection processes that really do the choosing - they don't care which preselected jerk we vote for after that; those status quo corrupt types are feeling uncomfortable and are dissing hell out of a guy (who is, in fact a clown, don't get me wrong here) who started out wanting to end the constant wars, eliminate tarriffs, and generally do actual change for the better - the previous guy didn't do one thing he promised (all those shovel ready infra structure jobs would have been nice...and so on). The joke here was "do you want change from that hope you bought that never worked?".

        But establishment-slave O guy got a pass - and a Nobel prize for starting and running more war-days than anyone in history .... Two of them, one after he'd done all that murder - using our money.

        Go along with the unelected, and you get a smooth ride. Don't and well, look around and see for yourself.

        People don't seem to - or want to- realize that the Hitchhiker's guide had it right - those morons are there only to distract from the real power.n When they don't docilely read their teleprompter lines, there's issues from those we have no choice about. Can we vote the media or the bureaucracy out?

        How did the government brainwash us into agreeing with the idea that populism was bad? Doesn't that derive from being popular with the populace and doing what they want? Yes, popular leaders have done bad things in the past, But that's just how they got in, it isn't what made them bad - it's when their popularity was based on lies that there's a problem.

        Enjoy the migrants the MIC caused to think "anything would be better than staying at home being bombed by the west". /rant

        1. tfb Silver badge

          Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

          You can indeed vote the media out: you stop consuming their products and they go bankrupt.

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

            You can indeed vote the media out: you stop consuming their products and they go bankrupt.

            Unfortunately the Daily Mail group (owners, etc) are not yet bankrupt however the Stop Funding Hate campaign group has made enough of a difference that the DM group have started smear and disinformation campaigns. Which the Stop Funding Hate have published of course...

    7. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Not wishing to trust Big Gov, but--

      "The UK is the only advanced country (apart from the US, I think)"

      The US doesn't officially have a national ID card, but effectively it has exactly that with the combination of Social Security Numbers (being a defacto national ID number) and the new standardized driver's licenses.

  21. cd

    The Reg should hire her as an online security columnist. We'll all know the invisible hashtags and perhaps she'd learn something by osmosis and pass it on to the other wealthy gormless so that positive change is made. Even they would be upset if they understood what they're doing.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "perhaps she'd learn something by osmosis"

      Sir, I admire your optimism.

  22. steviebuk Silver badge

    She's...

    ...a fucking idiot. Sorry to be so blunt... actually, no, I'm not sorry. She is a fucking idiot.

  23. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Ministerial penance

    Rudd is obviously just waiting before she's allowed back into the cabinet as one of the, ahem, less incompetent members. Yes, she's come up with a load crap but now that Javid has managed to piss off every police officer in the country, May is desperate for new blood. Barring that, any kind of blood.

  24. Threlkeld

    Get ID ... under your skin

    Think yourselves lucky that she hasn't confused hashtags with RFID tags ...

    ... yet.

  25. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Breakin the Law?

    Isn't instructing someone to commit a crime a crime?

    Clearing browser history is evidence tampering.... Don't ask me to find the El Reg article ;-/

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    state-backed system based on NHS numbers..

    Except NHS number isn't unique or validated by an identity provider really, the PDS probably still has bad data quality and we live in the UK so unless we also want to bring in the Scottish CHI number as well..

    What a stupid idea.

    1. Geekpride

      Yep - I came here to say that. NHS numbers are supposedly unique. That doesn't mean they're actually unique.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ex-home sec suggests we get a tutorial on clearing cookies

    Oh please,

    If I was going to take any ex-Sec advice on cleaning cookies it would be from the ex-seceratary of state: HRC.

    Bleachbit (or a hammer) does wonders for clearing cookies.

  28. JohnFen Silver badge

    Naturally!

    Because voluntarily allowing yourself to be tracked is not at all different than having it forced on you by law!

  29. Velv Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Excuse me, do you have any Government ID about your person?"

    "Yes, I have my Passport and my Drivers License"

    I'm sorry, we don't accept either of those, you'll need to get another piece of Government issued ID"

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @Velv

      I don't carry a copy of my retina scan or my colonic map, sorry officer.

  30. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Use my NHS number?

    Well as a regular customer of the NHS..... I haven't a f'ing clue WHAT my number is.

    The way they identify me down at the GP office/Cardiac consultants/ A&E is to ask my name, my address , then my date of birth

    And lo.... as if by magic my medical record appears, and a doc pokes me to see if I'm not dead yet(and calls my next of kin if I dont thump him/her one for poking me).

    NHS number...... no chance mate

  31. tfb Silver badge

    The private sector

    If the private sector can design websites that track our every move, that come up with suggestions for goods before we realise we want them ... and, every once in a while, puke all our private data all over the internet.

    Somehow she missed that last bit: perhaps she doesn't read very well.

  32. davenewman

    In Estonia you can find out who has looked at your data

    Every Estonian citizen can check their ID card data and find out who in the government looked up their data on a particular occasion for a declared purpose. It is 2-way transparent.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: In Estonia you can find out who has looked at your data

      Well, that's Estonia. They've had a Police State in recent memory, and they're sensibly wary of state overreach and abuse.

      Meanwhile over here in blighty, having avoided being the 'at fault' party in two world wars (rather narrowly on the first one, what with a tendency to shoot their own mentally ill) and avoided any dictatorships since that nasty Cromwell business (OK, plus maybe an out of control King or two since then), the arrogant prevailing notion is nothing of the sort could possibly happen here, which is why the government is in serious danger of blundering toward it blithely.

      1. Kernel

        Re: In Estonia you can find out who has looked at your data

        "avoided any dictatorships since that nasty Cromwell business "

        I believe Cromwell was actually asked to accept the crown and become king (as a replacement for Charlie 1) , but he refused.

        Let's also not forget that a bit further down the track you also over-threw your anointed king (James ?) and invited a young Dutch couple over to fill the vacancy left thereby.

        I've always thought more should be made of the annual GuyFawkes celebrations - it should serve as a timely annual reminder to politicians of exactly who they work for and whose interests they should hold paramount.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: In Estonia you can find out who has looked at your data

          "Let's also not forget that a bit further down the track you also over-threw your anointed king (James ?)"

          James II - or do they count him as VII in Scotland? Yes. I had a little ponder about the "out of control King or two" and decided he qualified. I couldn't think of another actually.

      2. Kernel

        Re: In Estonia you can find out who has looked at your data

        "avoided any dictatorships since that nasty Cromwell business "

        I believe Cromwell was actually asked to accept the crown and become king (as a replacement for Charlie 1) , but he refused.

        Let's also not forget that a bit further down the track you also over-threw your anointed king (James ?) and invited a young Dutch couple over to fill the vacancy left thereby.

        I've always thought more should be made of the annual GuyFawkes celebrations - they should serve as a timely annual reminder to politicians of exactly who they work for and whose interests they should hold paramount.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do we not already have something similar ?

    Its called your NI number

    Its on your payslips usually and is unique to everyone.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Its called your NI number

      Its on your payslips usually and is unique to everyone."

      It's also supposed to be used for nothing else although that hasn't stopped the HO trying to lay its hands on it now and again.

      1. Julz

        NINos are not unique (at one time there were three authorities issuing them) and one person can have more that one of them, not a good candidate for a national id number.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Govt bearing gifts.... We all know where this is going:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit_System

    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2018/06/18/chinas-social-credit-system-spreads-to-more-daily-transactions/

    https://www.cnet.com/news/black-mirror-too-real-in-china-as-schools-shun-parents-with-bad-social-credit/

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2018/jul/12/algorithm-privacy-data-surveillance

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43428266

    https://neweconomics.org/2018/07/whats-your-score

    https://global.handelsblatt.com/politics/germany-mass-surveillance-social-credit-china-big-data-886786

  35. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    FAIL

    more ranting!

    I suppose that my passport which has another few years to run will have to be replaced next year at a cost of ~£100.

    My paper driving license will have to be replaced next year, more cost.

    My shiny new ID card will probably expire every leap year if Crapita do the programming, more cost.

    Has May told the farmers that after Brexit we will be flooded with cheap, sub-standard, USAsian meat products?

    For all those that voted for Brexit, have you never heard the expression "United we stand, divided we fall"?

    FFS, for a paltry sum Putin has managed to get his puppet in the White House and also destabilised the whole of Europe. ID Databases may just about be OK if your government is in control of it but not if your country is taken over by a hostile power. The future does not look good :(

    P.S. Will we end up with QR codes pinned to our doors?

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-uyghur-muslims-xinjiang-province-qr-codes-security-crackdown-hrw-a8532156.html

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    .GOV ?

    So this new I'd system based on NHS numbers will give me access to US government sites?

    I knew they shared data but they might not approve of that.

  37. onemark03

    For security purposes, any kind of social security-style numbers such as National Insurance or NHS numbers should not be printed on the cards. While administratively convenient, this would only make the cards attractive to thieves and forgers. The German model might be a good solution: German ID cards are issued for ten years only and have a card number (much like passports). The card number would expire when the ID card expired.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usual techno-ignoramous politician

    She's obviously had a consultation to learn a few technical terms that she can throw in the mix to give the (mistaken) illusion that she knows what she's talking about. I (amongst many, I imagine), do NOT fling my private data about, as the highly knowledgeable Rudd seems to assume, using (where possible) disposable e-mail addresses, false names, etc; where "registration" is required on a website. I try and remain as anonymous as possible these days and I find Ms. Rudd's reasoning behind yet another excuse to keep tabs on UK citizens to be implausible.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Usual techno-ignoramous politician

      indeed, false data all the way down.

      I'm always amused when I log onto a site and see a happy birthday message - the day is obviously not my birthday, but a pseudo random day, month and year based on the web site name because the sign up would not continue without a DOB.

      .. Always fun to be 21 again!

  39. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    "This includes simplified access to .GOV websites"

    Why should the UK government introduce ID cards just so we can use US government websites?

  40. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge

    Sigh, what is it...

    … about politicians called Rudd and utter fuckwittery.

    Listen you gormless shitbag, if google fucks up with the data collection about me, the worst thing that can happen is I get advertising for something I have no interest in (Asian brides, crotch fungus cures, solar powered back scratchers, etc.).

    When the fuckwits in government fuck up and put me in category AAAA414AB4 (dangerously radicalised) instead of AAA414ABA (time-wasting tedious nobody), the worst that can happen is a Hellfire from a drone, or 18 rounds of 9mm in the head because I looked suspiciously dark skinned and was wearing a jacket against the cold.

    One is not the same as the other. Stop trying to pretend that they're the same.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This Government is truly up Shit Creek

    with or without a Rudder.

  42. Cynical Pie

    Hmmm

    I wonder which tech company is lobbying for this work and if they have Crudd on their books as a NED?

    A fiver says Crapita has an involvement somewhere along the line!!

  43. Jonathon Green
    Trollface

    Clearing my cookies.

    I find myself inclined to involuntarily clear my cookies every time I see or hear anything concerning Ms Rudd...

  44. Milton Silver badge

    "If even that question stumps you ..."

    "The one-time Tory leadership contender, who fell from grace amid the Windrush scandal, begun by asking how often people clear their cookies. 'If even that question stumps you I suggest you get a tutorial,' she said adversarially – which seems a bit rich from the person who didn't know the difference between hashing and hashtags."

    The problem, Ms Rudd, is that you have already repeatedly demonstrated that you are (a) not awfully bright, (b) not very knowledgeable about technology—or indeed anything else, based on the evidence of your career and remarks thus far, (c) display authoritarian instincts through breezy and often ignorant dismissals of what are, in fact, issues at the very core of a free society, and (d) cannot articulate an evidence-based case for the benefits or cost-effectiveness of what you are asking for.

    Your relentless vague blather may suit Mme Tussaud's Dumpster Collection propped up on the Tory back benches, but it cuts no ice whatever with people who actually understand the technical issues and care about the true consequences of your proposals.

    For one thing, those who have observed governments over the past 35 years—the period since the mid-80s when Career Politicians began to parasitise everything, and governments forgot that they did not exist solely to provide corporate welfare—know that any extra powers are always abused. It has become a fact of life. When even local councils are exploiting anti-terror laws to spy on folks' wheelie bins you know that the cat is entirely out of the bag.

    You cannot keep repeating "Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear" with a scrap of credibility. Successive governments' actions clearly prove otherwise. A tool of criminal investigation becomes a tool of repression in the blink of an eye. In short, no one but a naïve fool would trust you.

    I doubt that as many as 25% of El Reg readers¹ could be less intelligent and knowledgeable than you, Ms Rudd—it's one of the depressing aspects of modern life that, whereas once we could respect politicians, even those we disagreed with, now we regard them with the contempt they earn daily through stupidity, ignorance and dishonesty. Bluntly, we see right through you and your claptrap.

    So please, stop mouthing. Just go away. Find some socially productive employment suited to your abilities. I daresay you and Mr Johnson might, for example, make a formidable team cleaning Euston's public toilets? He can quote Classics while scrubbing diligently. You could learn to conjugate.

    ¹ And probably no more than 75% of Mail or Express readers, even, which allows us to position you informatively on the Mouthbreather Index, too.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: "If even that question stumps you ..."

      @Milton

      "25% of El Reg readers"

      surely something like 0.000000000025% of El Reg readers would be nearer the mark ;-)

  45. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Can you imagine what would happen if a massive national biometric ID scheme was compromised?

    No need - India's is completely broken - quoting from the article...

    The patch lets a user bypass critical security features such as biometric authentication of enrolment operators to generate unauthorised Aadhaar numbers.

    The patch disables the enrolment software's in-built GPS security feature (used to identify the physical location of every enrolment centre), which means anyone anywhere in the world — say, Beijing, Karachi or Kabul — can use the software to enrol users.

    The patch reduces the sensitivity of the enrolment software's iris-recognition system, making it easier to spoof the software with a photograph of a registered operator, rather than requiring the operator to be present in person.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2018/09/11/uidai-s-aadhaar-software-hacked-id-database-compromised-experts-confirm_a_23522472/

  46. Mike Richards Silver badge

    "nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

    One word: Windrush.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

      "One word: Windrush"

      With no driving license (I'm a Londoner) and no passport (too many Brits out there), I'm sort of liable for the Windrush effect... only saving grace is that I'm SC cleared for my job

      You can't deport me back to... erm... King's Cross... I'm British!!

  47. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    I already have a UK state-issued ID card. Mind you, I live in Scotland.

  48. Radio Wales
    Flame

    ID Cards have only one purpose.

    We went through all this with Uncle Tony and so dyed-in-the-wool Labour supporters voted Tory to kill it. Remember? Maybe the pendulum can swing back again.

    Admittedly we regretted it later, we should have settled for going to jail for refusing - it would have been a lot less painful in the long run.

    ID cards = Identity cards. And they are something we would use to confirm that we are who we say we are. End of argument.

    OK we give up our info to people every day of the week. But most of that information is disposable, we can jettison it if we have to and start again, whereas biometrics are not something that can be swapped out like spark-plugs every time the Government data store is hacked.

    All that juicy information in one easy-to-reach place? Government record of IT security being what it is, it would be hacked daily by everyone on the planet with a computer.

    I for one, don't like the idea of my medical records being available to everyone who cares to ask - especially if they only want to know where I live.

    I don't have a problem with an ID card IF all it does is confirm that I am really me.

    But they'll never settle for that will they?

    Looks like it's time to dust off my No2ID certificate and reserve my cell again.

  49. Cuddles Silver badge

    Everyone is doing it!

    It wasn't a good argument in primary school, and being in government doesn't make it any better. Just because all the cool corporations are smoking and drinking and stealing everyone's personal data, that doesn't mean you should do it too.

  50. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    A Large Govt IT Project....

    ... tell me MS Rudd,... how successful are the Govt at getting large IT projects delivered?

    How accurate is the data in the current databases? If these are merged, how can I be sure I'm not getting a different Grunty McPugh's history attached to mine? Do I get to see all of, and object to any records I think are inaccurate? Who else gets to see the data,.... I mean, the agencies listed under RIPA is hardly exclusive, it's pretty much the world + dog. How much does the card cost me, and do I need to get someone trustworthy to countersign my application, like a Dr, Justice of the Peace, or Lord of the Manor, like it is for passports, and are the self-employed, sole traders or those working from home/residential address disbarred from acting as referees, as per the 'CitizenCard' ?

    I'm glad to hear it might not be a physical card, because, you know, we kind of had that before, when NI numbers were sent out on spiffy little cards, but that was abandoned, as it was deemed to too expensive,..

    NHS ID,... right you are, I know mine by heart,... except the one I know is the old format five alpha three numeric,...I was never sent my 10 digit, 3-3-4 new NHS number,.. but then, I didn't care, because: "You don't need to know your NHS Number to receive care, and you shouldn't be denied care on the basis you do not know, or do not have, an NHS Number.",... so I'm guessing most people don't know theirs, nor care what it is.

    Driving licenses and passports,.. well, both of these cost me money to obtain. What if someone cannot afford a National Identity Card? Will they be free therefore? If so, can you add tickboxes for 'is allowed out of the country' and is 'allowed to drive a car' (and possibly a road roller?) and refund me some moolah, cheers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A Large Govt IT Project....

      "You don't need to know your NHS Number to receive care, and you shouldn't be denied care on the basis you do not know, or do not have, an NHS Number.",...

      Except in East London where, according to yesterday's Standard, Barts Health Trust are asking for proof of residence for everything except emergencies... too many 'health tourists' in the traditional melting pot of poor immigrants for hundreds of year

  51. Rodderstoo

    Even if I did trust the Government..

    Let us assume for a moment that I do trust the government’s motives and intentions. Let us similarly set aside the fact that a future government may be less trustworthy. The past (indeed, current) performance in the creation of large IT projects at a government departmental level (e.g. universal credit) suggests that they could never complete a central government project which would be the largest ever attempted in this country.

    So, the best that they would achieve would be a cobbled-together system, that would aggregate multiple databases and datasets – all containing inaccuracies. Would you trust a system, which could decide your entitlement to a pension or to healthcare or even citizenship when the data has been input by a (many?) badly paid, poorly trained and un-motivated civil servant?

  52. JaitcH
    Happy

    Canada Has It Right

    Canada has a government identifier and has made it illegal for anyone to demand, collect, or use, for other than authorised purposes. These are essentially things involving money - taxes, pensions, etc.

    There are other numbers such as Health, Law (Criminal Records), etc. None are linked.

    All data is held in separate 'databanks' and each has a 'gatekeeper' who governs access. So if some government department wanted information it was not permitted access to, the gatekeeper of the desired information has a very high bar to meet.

    Britain's system works the opposite way, the government deliberately cross-links data. Nevertheless, privacy can be achieved by feeding bad data. My UK drivers licence is at my daughter's address; my passport at a business accommodation address and my National Insurance Card / Tax elsewhere.

    I learned that the Passport Agency tales great interest in where a used passport - returned for renewal - has been used. I remove all my visas as I consider it none of their business.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We don't need ID cards. A water bill is a far, far better piece of ID.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "A water bill is a far, far better piece of ID."

      I'm not sure if this was sarcasm or not but in case it's not -

      First off, utilities are trying to move us to paperless bills these days so neither a water nor other utility bill might be available.

      Secondly, I occasionally visited the outsourcing site where my water bill and mobile bills were printed. Unused stationery was disposed of on a recycling bin outside. It would be very easy for someone to take a few sheets and knock up a false bill.

      Thirdly, I worked in security printing for a while. No utility bill I've seen would count as secure base stationery. It would be straightforward for any jobbing printer to produce adequate fakes. In fact, I assume that photoshopped copies of most utility and bank stationery are in regular use by anyone wanting to establish a false identity.

  54. Staycator

    Rudd is true to type here; after all, she has form. Almost immediately on becoming Home Secretary her first action was to block calls for a Hillsborough-style official enquiry into the policing of Orgreave during the miners' strike. The statement-rewriting abuses and other information massaging techniques at Hillsborough were learned and honed during the strike. It took the BBC six years to issue a well-buried apology for its 'accidental' reversal of news footage, so that the outrage of riot-unequipped lads in T-shirts and trainers after an unprovoked horseback charge was made to look like a yobbish attack followed by a defensive response by the well-kitted brave bobbies. Most people in Britain aren't even aware that the apology was issued, but they remember that initial dramatic footage all right.

    Way too much dirty linen there by half, and Rudd knows it.

    For all her many faults, I don't believe Theresa May would have been so bad over Orgreave. On balance I reckon she might have been party to the same cover-up, but not before a lot of hand-wringing, certainly not with the same indecent haste, and she might even have surprised me. She was brave enough to stand up to the USA over the Gary McKinnon extradition demands, and suffered a few planted stories in the media in the few weeks before her decision was announced of supposed rumblings in government circles questioning her competence.

    Rudd's bizarre ID card arguments reek of contracts already largely in place, and maybe future directorships too.

    She is (dishonestly) right about one thing though. Most people in Britain don't read the small print and salivatingly click the button to get the latest app in use by their peer group. I find it depressing. But since when was life condemned to be a race to the bottom with the standards of conduct set by the stupid?

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