Monday, December 20, 2004

Charles Clarke is an arse

Arrgh! Charles Clarke is an arse! From his commentary in the Times today:

"ID cards will potentially make a difference to any area of everyday life where you already have to prove your identity — such as opening a bank account, going abroad on holiday, claiming a benefit, buying goods on credit and renting a video."

So once they have in place a system to record every transaction your ID card is used for, they're quite eager to push it out to every single aspect of life? How is that not an Orwellian state? Oh wait, I have to hide this blog entry while the Police Helicopter buzzes overhead (fortunately the CCTV cameras only scan the street outside). OK, continue...

"I claim that the ID Cards Bill that I am introducing today is a profoundly civil libertarian measure because it promotes the most fundamental civil liberty in our society, which is the right to live free from crime and fear."

OK, someone please explain to me how having an ID card will prevent the people down the road jumping on cars, spraypainting every wall in sight and smashing shop windows. I'm really confused.

Clarke is an arse!
Clarke is an arse!
Clarke is an arse!

5 comments:

Charlie Williams said...

You've missed the most obvious aspect of using an ID card to rent a video. Video shops at the moment want bills as proof of ID, so if their video fails to get itself returned then they know where to sent the bailiffs. So in order for the ID card to do the same job it must have your address on it.

So this is a card that people may carry, with their address on it, in a similar place to where they carry their house keys. So a bagsnatcher or other thief will be able to steal a set of keys and an ID card telling him exactly which house they fit in.

This will significantly reduce security for the vast majority of the general public.

And if it doesn't have your address on it, then video rental stores will not accept it and Clarke is talking out of his hat, or something else round and inappropriate.

CCW

Scribe said...

Ah, but the whole point about the card is that it's not needed, and is, in fact, a red herring. To begin with, the card merely acts as a validator - that you are who you say you are - which the (privately-owned) video-renting company can then use to look up your address from either a). their own database, just as they do at the moment (with voluntary store cards), or b). the government database. Note that, by the government's own logic your address is commonplace anyway, and that as you would have handed such information to the company anyway, they have the right to access your details straight from central government. The store is then sure that it has your "real" address, rather than an out-of-date one, so there's a plus for them to use the system there.

This "convenience" then happily gets logged at central government who, in their infinite wisdom, will suddenly realise (if they haven't done already) just how useful it would be to start some proper data-mining on all this info... All in the name of catching terror, of course.

The alternative is that everyone continues to provide their own cards (video rental, supermarket loyalty, banks, the NHS), but the mass-consuming, myopic public start questioning the private sector on just why they have to carry 15 of the things, when this one single government-mandated card means they are who they are. Hurrah! A big win for the public, the private and the political, all in one fell swoop.

Fine, so long as all you want to do is watch videos.

Charlie Williams said...

I've just been reading the Bill again. Something I'd forgotten. The list of occasions on when these database checks are allowed is very limited and they only apply to PUBLIC SERVICES, not private companies. So the Video Store will not be able to make a check and an ID card will be as accepted as a driving license currently is. In other words not at all.

Reassuring when the minister doesn't even know the limitations of the bill he's proposing.

CCW

Scribe said...

Hmm, certainly something to confirm either way. I get the impression that businesses will certainly be allowed (restricted) access to the database from past articles:

The Business' Point of ViewCBI Wants ID CardsThe blur between public and private "service" is growing increasingly blurry, and I suspect the government maintains enough sway over the private co's for the expected function creep to be planned out already.

Charlie Williams said...

'I suspect the government maintains enough sway over the private co's for the expected function creep to be planned out already.'

I think you meant that the other way round :->

CCW