Wednesday, May 25, 2005

National Database of Stupidity

Borderline rantage - approach with caution

The government appears determined to force through its proposals for a national ID card scheme. This is a very stupid idea. For rational, well supported arguments, I refer you to the NO2ID Campaign. For rantage on the idiocy of the ID card scheme, read on.

The BBC reports that the ID card bill is to be reintroduced.
ID cards are needed to stop the soaring costs of identity theft, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said as proposals for a national scheme were reintroduced.
The Tories have come out against the proposals but it looks as if the government if confident of getting the legislation through. They are probably right; there aren't enough Labour rebels to piss on this particular parade. And public opinion is in favour of ID cards. I wonder if that could be due to the government manipulation of the "war" on terror?

Anyway, I've spoken to quite a few people about ID cards and the most common argument I hear in favour goes something like this:
If you have nothing to hide then it shouldn't be an issue. It is only going to be a problem for criminals and terorists.

This is bullshit people, and here's one reason why. The starting point is true. Honest decent people, (possibly hard working, possibly with families, or possibly single and lazy) with nothing to hide will happily register for their flashy new ID cards. They'll show their friends their cool new bit of plastic. The government will store all of their information in a national computer register with their personal ID number. All well and good.

But what happens when a criminal or a terrorist needs to get themself a false identity?
"I wonder where I can gain access to the information I need to steal the identity of an honest and decent citizen? Is there anywhere storing all of the information I need all in one easy to access place?"asks the terrorist.
"Why yes", says the government, "we've just spent billions of pound of taxpayers money creating one".
"Oh, that's very decent of you" replies the terrorist.

OK, that's a flippant version (and I don't think the government is being deliberately helpful to terrorists) but the central point remains true. If there is a single national database which contains all the personal information of honest citizens, it will be hacked into so badly it'll look like the aftermath of a bloody medieval battle. Every terrorist group, every people smuggling gang, every drug dealing network, every criminal organisation worth its salt, will attack the security of the national register constantly. It will be unremitting.

This wouldn't be a problem if we were confident the government would install suitable security measures to deal with this constant attack. Ask yourself when you last heard news of a succesful government introduction of a new I.T. system though? Has it ever happened? Left or Right wing, I think we can agree that the government record when it comes to I.T. is, well, shit.

And the ID cards will be forged. Ask any security consultant (not in the pay of the government) how likely it is. It will happen. And the terrorists, drug dealers, people smugglers, and organised criminals will be using your details on their flashy new fake ID cards.

And yet, we appear to be quite happy to allow them to set up a national identity theft database.
Well, they can fuck off if they think they're putting my details in their super ID card register database bollocks. The shit is going to hit the fan when this bill becomes law; we'll be pleading for a return to the Golden Age of Thatcher and the Poll Tax in no time.

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