Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Chip and Pinning Your ID Away

Chip and Pin likely to be inbound for ID cards we are told today.

For eight years of my life I carried an ID card. It was a forces ID card and incredibly useful. I could instantly prove my identity, long before photo ID driving licences existed which now do that job admirably.

So I joined the debate about ID cards pretty much in favour, absolutely seeing the arguments that (a) it would help crack down on benefit fraud which costs the taxpayer billions each year and (b) that law abiding people have nothing to fear and much to gain. Frankly, I needed to be convinced that it would have any positive impact on terrorism.

I am now adamantly opposed to ID cards. Why? Principally for three reasons.

Mission Creep

First, any Government scheme or law change ends up ‘mission creeping’ itself to an illiberal end, proving what used to be called the ‘thin end of the wedge’ argument. A case in point:

Then - In 2000, NuLab told us the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act was needed to tackle terrorism in the UK.

Now - In 2009, local councils have used this piece of anti-terrorism legislation an average of 25,000 in the last five years to in fact chase dog foulers, parents manipulating school catchment boundaries, people putting out rubbish incorrectly etc...

Now - NuLab tell us we need ID cards to combat terrorism.

Future - What do you think will happen once NuLab mission creep sets in? Minor transgressors of local bylaws will be targeted by overzealous officialdom for totally pathetic offences?

Government incompetence

Second, the constant stream of stories that tumble out of Government about data security, or lack of it: flash sticks lost on trains, laptops stolen, external consultants losing discs, info going astray in the post. It just goes on and on. These highlight Government’s arrogant and lazy attitude to personal data. With all the hoo-ha that each story brings, we see no real attempt by Government to stop this chaos.

I just no longer think Government can be trusted to hold personal data and the idea of giving them my total identity in the future (photo, finger print, retina scan etc) as well as potentially making ID cards ‘smart cards’ that can store health records, cash, chip and pin et al fills me with dread.


It seems that no serious anti-crime organisation, apart from Jacqui Smith’s Home Office, has produced a single weighty argument that ID cards will actually have any measurable affect on terrorism. Thus, the main justification used by the Government simply holds no water.

Join the campaign: http://www.no2id.net/

1 comment:

It Will Come to Me said...

Fantastic. The Tories sticking to principle and leading the way. If they follow this up with a similar clear policy on Europe they can have my vote back.