ID card retreat as new passport option offered
By Andrew Porter, Political Editor
Last Updated: 7:10am GMT 06/03/2008
British citizens will be able to choose between having an ID card or a new biometric passport, under new plans to be unveiled by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.
In what will be seen as a watering down of the scheme, Miss Smith will stress that there is still a case for compulsory ID cards but that the scheme needs to be implemented gradually.
The Home Secretary will insist that Gordon Brown has not decided against the introduction of ID cards – a move which both Opposition parties are against.
But a previous plan, stating that by 2010 anyone applying for a new passport would be given an ID card as well, has changed. Now passport applicants will be given a choice.
Ministers will then wait to see how this voluntary scheme progresses before any expansion.
Personal details from both passports and ID cards will still be entered on the National Identity Register, Miss Smith will say. New biometric passports contain fingerprints and iris scans.
In particular, ministers want to see whether the technology works. Opponents of ID cards have argued that Government has a very poor record with IT systems and complicated Whitehall projects.
Under the plans, foreign nationals who want to settle in Britain from later this year will have to have an ID card.
And by next year certain workers in “key sensitive areas” like airports and ports will have to carry the new document. That will be part of long-term anti-terrorist measures…
Jackqui Smith Washes down her filthy Kebab with some Kool Aid.
This is not a retreat or a voluntary scheme as this newspaper mistakenly claims. It is however, an extraordinary article, and it reveals the long term plans of the government. They are not ‘waiting to see if the technology works’ they are waiting for it to mature so that the error rates are acceptable.
One thing is abundantly clear: they are planning to allow foreign governments access to the NIR. That is the only way that foreign ports will be able to see if an ID card holder is carrying a genuine ID card, and it is the only way that they can sell the idea of people accepting an ID card instead of a passport. Who would take an ID card that is useless for travel over a passport? And by the way, where are they going to store the record of your border crossing? How will you be able to prove that you entered and left Germany? They will doubtless keep a record; how will they keep this record, what will it consist of, and how does this method of border crossing benefit you, the traveller? It seems to me that the only entities that benefit are everyone OTHER than you, the traveller and citizen!
With a passport you have a record of where you have been, accessible by you without any need to cooperate with a third party. With an ID card only system, in order to see where you have been, you will have to swipe your card in a government terminal, whereupon they will show you a list of where you have been, in the same way that Oyster does. Something to think about, isn’t it?
This is how using an ID cart at a German airport will work:
- Your card will be swiped at the German border.
- The card reader will access the NIR.
- Your record will be displayed to the passport officer.
That is the only way that this choice of getting an ID card OR a passport will work. And of course, once your data is displayed, it is capturable by the Germans or anyone else who has access to the NIR. In fact it needs to be capturable so that the Germans have a record of your crossing, otherwise, there will be no record at all; not kept by you (no place on the card to keep it) and not by them.
Now to the part about the NIR itself. It is clear that someone has sat down with that Kebab scoffing scumbag and explained to her that…
THE FINGERPRINT IS THE ID CARD.
She has finally understood that if the NIR is in place, it does not matter that people have the physical card, which is a vestigial artifact of the days before ubiquitous computing. Your fingerprints are the card, and swiping the card in a reader, like a chip and pin reader, is no different to putting your fingerprint on a reader. It is only a slight modification to be able to show the name and face of whoever has their finger on the reader to the person who is trying to prove that,”you are who you say you are”. The one watt light bulb has lit above her pea brain, “Why do we need the card at all? its just a huge expense, and a symbol of resistance around which they can rally! If we quietly put them all in the NIR, when that process is finished, we can roll out the fingerprint readers and have the same system in place without the card step!!”.
This is very much how the conversation would have gone I imagine.
The above example now turns into this:
- Your fingerprints will be swiped at the German border.
- The fingerprint reader will access the NIR.
- Your record will be displayed to the passport officer.
same result, only without the card.
They are now going to be able to claim that the cards are voluntary, and they will not be lying. The power and evil of this system in in the NIR, and that is still on the cards. Yes, I typed that!
What is so great about this plan is that no one will take an ID card over a passport. Passports are familiar, have a far greater utility and perceived value. You get to take away a record of where you have been. Everyone will be fooled into thinking that they have made a choice against ID cards as they blithely put their fingerprints into the NIR; the actual goal of this system. The government will be able to claim that ID cards have been rejected, and are being dropped because the public does not want them, not because the government was wrong in trying to introduce them. They will have the NIR in place, with everyone in it, and they will have had their cake and eaten it.
It is clear that the focus should now turn completely to the NIR, as the card is being abandoned. Without the recent missing DVDR scandal, I would have said that this is going to be a harder thing to sell; in the VietNam War era, draft dodgers burned their cards as a symbol of resistance. The public can understand the idea of ‘not wanting a card’. Making them understand what a database is is a different matter entirely.
I am surprised (not) that the Unions are not making a noise about their members being discriminated against; why should they be singled out for abuse and violation before anyone else?
To sum up, in order for the ID card to be interchangeable with a passport, you need to give access to the NIR to foreign governments. That means the entire NIR will eventually exist in other governments databases, and in the hands of criminals.
There is absolutely no reason to manage document security in this way; and there are methods of issuing documents that make them secure but which do not have any of the negative side effects of centralized databases and unique numbers assigned to individuals.
Eventually, the NIR too will be abandoned as the understanding of precisely what it means dawns upon the public. It will probably take some more missing laptops or DVDRs to make it happen. It would be interesting to see what the reaction would be to all the members of the lower house having their bank details published on the internets.
Then they would understand first hand what all of this really means.