Thursday, July 20, 2006

Frothing madness on the ID card frothing madness

Yes, it's quite possible that I am a little over-obsessed, somehow, with the ID card issue presently concerning almost no-one in the UK. But it's really serious, honest! Please read the following reasonably well-reasoned reasoned diatribe to persuade yourself of its Evilness(R), written by the Good Guys from no2id.


You may well have seen reports suggesting that the Home Office ID programme is in trouble. A series of e-mails leaked to the Sunday Times [1] from OGC (the Office of Government Commerce, part of the Treasury) and UKIPS (the new Identity & Passport Service) revealed that senior civil servants believe the project to be yet another fiasco in the making.

Government spin has been predictable, first claiming that the ID scheme was 'under review', then "broadly on track", and now proceeding "at the same pace" [2].

So what is fact and what is fantasy?

FACT: the ID scheme that the government has been selling for the last two years or more is a lie. With no clearly-expressed goal or justification, 'feature creep' almost every time ministers opened their mouths, and a complete unwillingness to listen to real experts in the field, the Home Office has lumbered itself with something impossibly complex, horrendously expensive, and utterly unworkable.

FACT: they passed the Act anyway, spending tens of millions in the process. The biggest threat to everyone's civil liberties is leaving a law on the statute books which permits compulsory registration, lifelong surveillance and population control by ID. But we also risk seeing billions of pounds of taxpayers' money (which could be far better spent elsewhere) being thrown away in pursuit of this authoritarian delusion. Even worse, a botched attempt could expose all our most personal information - leaving some with no control over their private lives or identities for the rest of their lives.

FACT: the government will proceed regardless. This programme has been politically driven from the outset and will remain so. Blair can't afford a U-turn, and the ID programme (or more accurately, the National Identity Register) is at the heart of government strategy [3]. The bureaucrats would love for us to all be neatly numbered, so our data can be shared ever more 'efficiently' - and the suppliers still stand to make billions, whether they deliver or fail.

The danger from the ID scheme is greater than ever.

Now the government is looking at issuing cut-down 'early variant' ID cards that would 'protect' your identity with nothing more than a four-digit PIN. A gift to fraudsters. The government will still fingerprint, iris scan, background check and interrogate you for a passport - but then simply store all your data in their database. No 'benefits' or services for the public. Just all the costs, risks and intrusion.

We have to redouble our efforts. It is more important than ever that we get the message out to a public that may think 'ID cards' are off the agenda. Street stalls, leafleting - even going door-to-door. Now is the time to wake people up to the real and present danger of the ID scheme.

If you can't spare the time to get involved with a local group, or even set one up (send a mail to for more info) then please help support those who are fighting hard on your behalf. Join the campaign at - it's just £15 per year - or send a donation.

The battle continues...





When it's that obvious, one has to wonder what the fuss is about.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Some useful information for once, that isn't really that useful

Surely the prospect of listening to what our respective world leaders chat about between gravely serious and puffy declarations wrinkles your forehead with its sheer brilliance, its sheer lunacy, its sheer honesty for Damn's sake? Then a transcript of what Current American President the Rightly Honourable George Bush Jr. was caught fumbulating on during the recent (at the time of writing, no warranty implied) G8 summit while the microphone was left on should leave you in paroxysmal delight, right? Then click on the bloody link and stop bothering me already. The best bit follows (no objectivity implied, but I'm always right so it shouldn't concern you):

The camera is focused elsewhere and it is not clear whom Bush is talking to, but possibly Chinese President Hu Jintao, a guest at the summit.

Bush : Gotta go home. Got something to do tonight. Go to the airport, get on the airplane and go home. How about you? Where are you going? Home?

Bush : This is your neighborhood. It doesn't take you long to get home. How long does it take you to get home?

Reply is inaudible.

Bush : "Eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country."

At this point, the president seems to bring someone else into the conversation.

Bush : It takes him eight hours to fly home.

He turns his attention to a server.

Bush : No, Diet Coke, Diet Coke.

He turns back to whomever he was talking with.

Bush : It takes him eight hours to fly home. Eight hours. Russia's big and so is China.

I'm so glad I voted for him. When can we stop kow-towing to these mere humans already, please? I'm starting to become really bored of taking them seriously. Can something be done about it within 28 days? [Source for some postal things: The Washington Post. How appropriate.]