Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Blunkett concerned about loyalty cards

Interesting, Blunky's comparing ID cards to supermarket loyalty cards, the big fat BBC quote being: "It is a really good opportunity to start debating what is know [sic] about us, by whom, who supervises it and how we can get a grip on it"

Start debating? Maybe if he hadn't been so eager to chase down terrorists and immigrants, he would have noticed that these kind of discussions have been going on for years. Maybe if he hadn't simply swept the arguments aside in favour of promoting his own top-down, proud decision-making abilities, then we could have broached the subject of privacy, the state and liberty together with the government, from the start.

And for the record, the answers to the Spot the Difference competition, between Nectar cards and proposed ID cards were:

  1. I'm not forced to have a Nectar card (and, indeed, don't).

  2. I don't have to pay for a Nectar card

  3. I can stop using it whenever I like (if I had one)

  4. There's no inherent coupling between the card and a person (I believe - comment if wrong). I can give my card to someone else, who can "attach" their shopping behaviour to it.

  5. Sainsbury's, Vodafone, et al, aren't in a position to decide my fundamental freedoms based on the card. Admittedly they could attempt to spot "unusual" behaviour based on data associated with the card, and perhaps restrict my ability to shop at their shops based on it, but a). that's not good business for them, b). I can always shop elsewhere.

Yes, let's have this privacy debate, here and now. Open the doors, and hey - why not put the whole IDatabase on hold while we're at it, huh?

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