Friday, 27 June 2008

ID cards face fingerprint error, say experts

Nick Heath writes on the ZDnet web site:

Experts have warned that the ID-card scheme risks being derailed by mistakes in fingerprint matches.

The £4.4bn National Identity Scheme’s (NIS’s) reliance on fingerprint and facial-recognition biometrics exposes the system to error, according to the independent Biometrics Assurance Group (BAG).

BAG urged the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) to adopt iris scans as a ‘fallback’, for when there are problems taking or matching a fingerprint.

However, it seems the experts’ advice will be ignored:

An IPS spokesman said: “It is unlikely that iris scans will be used in the scheme. Suppliers can use whichever biometric they choose in their solution but they will have to show it meets minimum standards and provides cost benefits.”

The BAG report can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

NO2ID Birmingham June Meeting

The next NO2ID Birmingham meeting will be on Tuesday 24 June at 7:30pm.

We'll be meeting in the Boardroom at Bennett's Bar.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

David Davis acknowledges threat to our freedoms

NO2ID National Co-ordinator Phil Booth commented on David Davis' decision:

"This principled move by such a serious and respected politician clearly acknowledges the database state as one of the principal threats to our freedoms."

While Baroness Helena Kennedy QC wrote in The Independent:

The Government has justified its abandonment of civil liberties on the basis that this is what is required for security reasons and it is what the public wants. Yet when people are given the real facts, they are usually aghast at the catalogue of inroads into our liberties, often unaware of just how extensive the salami slicing has been. The steady flow of power away from the citizen to the state has been extraordinary.

One of the great values of being a British citizen has been the strong sense that we are not here at the behest of the state; the state is here at our behest. That was why policemen could not just stop us and demand to know who we were or where we were going. It was why we did not have to have an internal passport, as is now being put in train with ID cards. It was also why, if we were arrested, we would have to be charged promptly. We knew that to give police the power to lock people up for weeks on end while they went looking for evidence was a recipe for serious abuse.

It is the existence of these quiet but enduring entitlements that are at the core of our national being. When people hear the evidence they often take a different view of what government should be doing. David Davis knows that and wants to win the argument so that his own party sees it is not an electoral handicap but a bonus to espouse liberty.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

ID cards could be used to spy on people

"Britain is in danger of becoming a 'surveillance society' and new safeguards are needed to protect people's privacy, an influential committee of MPs has warned. Fears are growing that the compulsory ID card scheme may be used to carry out surveillance on people and that a new children's database may be used to identify likely future criminals," reports The Telegraph.

"Last week it emerged that councils are now using covert surveillance hundreds of times every month to investigate petty offences - such as putting out domestic waste incorrectly and dog fouling - and to check applications for popular schools."

To listen to Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, talk about the extent of the surveillance society click here.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Government plans to hold every citizen's phone and internet record

"A government database holding details of every phone call made, email sent and minute spent on the internet by the public could be created as part of a centralised fight against crime and terrorism," reports The Guardian.

"The information would be stored for at least 12 months and police, security services and other agencies across Europe would be able to access the database with court permission.

"There are also concerns about the ability of the government to manage a system containing billions of records. About 3bn emails are sent in Britain every day and last year 57bn text messages were sent.

To comment on the Bill click here (the link will take you to the government's Draft Legislative Programme consultation website).

To see the response from the Information Commissioner's Office click here.

This BBC story shows that it was the British government pushing through the legislation they now say they are required to enforce.

Finally, here's what industry insiders think of the idea.