29 April 2009

The Retreat from ID Cards Has Begun

This is significant:

Senior cabinet ministers are privately discussing a plan to scrap the Government's £5bn identity cards programme as part of cuts to public spending, The Independent has learnt.

Once such people start talking about it, even the most timorous will soon pluck up the courage to express their views; quickly we'll reach a classic tipping point when the majority hold the view that ID cards make no sense from any point of view.

But there are always some who remain prisoners of their delusions:

Your article of 28 April on ID cards is simply wrong on two fundamental points. The Government is committed to introducing ID cards.

Er, why would that be Jacqui?

ID cards will provide the public with a single, simple and secure way for individuals to prove their identity and safeguard their personal details – protecting the community against crime, illegal immigration, and terrorism.

Oh, I see. Why don't we just look at those, eh?

a single, simple and secure way for individuals to prove their identity

Well, no, it won't do that unless ID cards become compulsory for *every* occasion when I have to prove who I am. Now, that may be coming, but until then I'm still going to need to prove who I am by logging in to online services, or showing my library card. Is she really suggesting that the ID card replace *all* of those? If not, it will simply *add* to all of the other proofs that I need. ID cards only make sense if they satisfy a vital new need to prove who we are - for example, when stopped by the police in the street....

safeguard their personal details

How on earth does a centralised database "safeguard my details"? The ID card certainly doesn't - it's just a bit of plastic with a chip in; and as anyone who's been in computing for more than a couple of months knows, bringing data together in any way makes it less secure, not more. So what on earth is she rabbiting on about?

And as for

protecting the community against crime, illegal immigration, and terrorism

these were all debunked ages ago as the UK government desperately shopped around for some kind of justification for ID cards. It won't stop illegal immigration and it certainly won't stop "terrorism".

It hard sometimes to work out whether Ms Smith actually believes the nonsense she spouts, or just believes we're stupid enough to believe her. Either way, news that her colleagues are rapidly placing clear water between themselves and her deranged ideas on this one is welcome indeed. (Via OurKingdom.)


Janie said...

Well, there will be a large amount of money saved if they scrap it now and avoid yet another public sector IT fiasco.

Glyn Moody said...

Indeed; and a few bob could come in useful at the moment...