Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I tend not to get excited about issues of freedom and privacy, partly because I prefer not to rock the boat and partly because I feel privacy as baby-boomers understand it will soon be rendered impossible by surveillance technology.

However state-sponsored coercion? If the state wants to coerce me by targeting "young people who may be applying for their first Driving Licence" then the least they could do is stop documents like this leaking out.

Attempts to be paternalistic and authoritarian are not welcome, but incompetence is just embarrassing.


I'm now about on page 2 of 7 of the "NIS Options Analysis Document" and came across this:

This is fairly creepy. Also -- my tax money is spent producing this soulless, poorly written, overly long, wasteful document?

The audacity!

[of course as an unemployed dropout I don't pay taxes, but that is completely irrelevant]

There are two basic objections to the whole principle of any kind of compulsory national identity register - the pragmatic and the principle.

1. Pragmatic: The system will leak. Biometric technologies are only as secure as the media on which they are stored. Biometric data like iris scans and fingerprints and DNA profiles are all reduced to ones and zeroes on the databases and CDs on which they're stored.

As recent news reports have shown these CDs can be lost in the post, stolen, or otherwise mislaid.

So the argument that biometrics is a fundamentally more secure way of securing data is a canard.

A quick search shows plenty of examples of how RFID-based biometric passports have been subverted in various ways and how fingerprint scanners can be duped.

So the result of all this will be that millions of pounds of taxpayer's money will be wasted, law-abiding citizens will still be the victim of identity theft and criminals and terrorists will continue with business as usual.

2. The presumption that the state will control the identity of citizens is wrong. The state is the servant of the people.

The state is a transient and convenient way of ordering our affairs and has no place demanding anything that doesn't make us safer or that doesn't prevent harm to the people.


What a godawfully boring document. I prefer megalomaniacal police-state power-trips to have some style. Maybe an evil logo as a letterhead or clinical euphemisms like "liquidate" would have been more appropriate.

Still, I think it would be a good idea to sign the NO2ID pledge.

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