Friday, 31 July 2009

Fingerprint Fiveways and the database school

Fingerprint Fiveways has set up the facebook site -No Biometric Fingerprints Please. He/she and some schoolfriends at King Edward VIth grammar school, Fiveways, Birmingham are protesting about being made to use scan their thumbprints in order to get into school buildings and pay for meals.

Fingerprint Fiveways quotes Brian Drury an IT security consultant: "if a child has never touched a fingerprint scanner, there is zero probability of being incorrectly investigated for a crime. Once a child has touched a scanner they will be at the mercy of the matching algorithm for the rest of their lives."

Compare this to Andy Park, headmaster of Chorlton High school, Manchester, who has set up such a fingerprint scanning scheme. He says, with breathtaking technical ignorance: "The fingerprint itself is not stored. The information is turned into an electronic code, which is stored against information we already have, such as name, form, year group and a picture.” See here.

Hello! Is this not a database and how else are fingerprint templates stored? I hope he doesn't teach IT or logic! In addition there are also international standards to ensure that such systems are compatible; most of this data will be connected to the internet; the police have the right to get into any database, private or public and already police are collecting DNA from young people they suspect may become criminals, see here.

This is happening in thousands of schools, in addition to: CCTV in classrooms and even toilets, facial recognition technology and of course the ContactPoint database. Anyone looking at the ContactPoint database of 11 million English children will know immediately whether a child has been in contact with the police.(How easy just to check those prints against the police database.)

Our children are being softened up to accept as totally normal the use of fingerprints and other biometrics to identify themselves; the idea of cameras to 'keep them safe' and the right of the state and its officials to gather, keep and use every tiny detail of private information about them and use it to help, monitor, advise, keep secure and inform other state agencies if ever they stray from the 'true path.' It's just that no-one ever asked them.

Fingerprinting our children is dangerous and unnecessary yet evidently this is totally legal, conforms to data protection legislation and there is nothing explicit in the DPA to require schools to seek consent from parents before implementing a fingerprinting application.

If this is such a good idea then surely such a system should be used in the Houses of Parliament to keep the politicians who have created the database and surveillance state totally secure?

I think however the honourable ladies, gentlemen and Peers would be insulted. Well so are Fingerprint Fiveways and friends.

ID card for British citizens

1. Symbol meaning a chip is embedded in the card
2. ID card number
3. Citizenship. Foreign nationals in the UK are being given different cards.
4. Place of birth
5. Signature - digitally embedded in the card
6. Date of card issue and date it becomes invalid
7. Photo taken to biometric standards
8. Biometric chip holds fingerprint record
9. Swipe zone. Information which can be automatically read by computer

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Information Commissioner slams IMP

The new Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham has slammed the Intercept Modernisation Programme IMP in his reply to the Home Office's ironically named consultation: "Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment," " saying this proposal represented: "a step change in the relationship between the citizen and the state". He says that the Home office has presented a scenario between doing nothing and building a massive state-run central warehouse of internet communications data - which would see ISPs and mobile operators store data on all customers. Mr Graham suggested collection of extra communications data on a targeted basis, acting on suspicion or intelligence gathered through other means.

The government spin has been that no content would be intercepted without a warrant under RIPA. However, it is argued that the current distinction in law between communications data (who contacts whom, etc) and content (what they say) is meaningless when applied to the internet via deep packet inspection, as all communications over the internet involve packets of data.

IMP will monitor website visits, instant messenger and social networking contacts, along with email and VoIP use. Once probes are deployed, sources say they will be remotely configured by GCHQ.

Mr Graham said there were serious privacy issues involved and that 'function creep' would inevitably result.

But then the reason for consultation documents is to give he impression of 'public involvement' and then to totally ignore the responses.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Phil Booth says the game is up

A YouGov poll commissioned by the Sunday People has revealed that almost 80% of people think the estimated £5billion cost of ID cards could be better spent. In addition 71% agree with the statement: 'it is inevitable that the data stored on peoples identity cards will sometimes be leaked, sold, hacked into or in other ways used improperly.'

Polls vary widely but the trend does appear to be against ID cards.

Nonetheless, the policy rolls on; statutory instruments regarding the regulations on fees, fingerprinting, lifelong compulsory notification, data sharing and penalties relating to ID cards were passed last week. One of these was the sinister sounding 'Provision of Information without Consent' regulation which allows the Identity and Passport Service to share lots of your personal data such as: official document numbers, addresses, signature, fingerprints, details of every time you had your ID checked and - so it goes......

As part of the initial proposals for the National Identity Scheme NIS, applicants for the new generation of biometric passports – due to be available by 2011 – would have their personal data placed on the National Identity Register NIR. Applicants could also then choose to have an ID card, but their refusal would not mean the removal of their data from the NIR.

Phil Booth, national coordinator of NO2ID said: "The game is up. The ID scheme is exposed as a bureaucrat's luxury that can now only be imposed by bullying and subterfuge."

Monday, 27 July 2009

A single source of truth

Shadow Home Secretary Damian Green gave a speech to the Centre for Policy Research on the 15th July 2009 where he laid out Conservative opposition to the:

"three streams of state control ..... toxic to our basic freedoms. These are:

# A national security approach which puts policing needs above all others
# The transformational government agenda
# The "Identity Management" programme."

He then lists the 28 databases set up by government in response to these 'frameworks'.

Mr Green criticises innocent people's DNA being held on the DNA database and the overarching powers included in RIPA. He dislikes proposed data sharing using national databases and criticises the enormous costs involved.

He reminds us that the Conservatives have floated the proposal to use open source databases hence doing away with a central server. He also dislikes the creation of the term, which is evidently used in official records without sarcasm, 'Single Sources of Truth' which equates to a single identity hub. Mr Green states that the citizen should be able to hold his own identity information and be responsible for giving access to any audit trail. He repeats the Tory promise to scrap ContactPoint, the NIR and ID cards.

The rhetoric is impeccable but there are no new concrete proposals. Also there are problems with the ability of every citizen to control their own information, such as the very elderly. Some of the 28 databases he mentions are useful such as PAYE! What are the Tory proposals for ANPR, the Intercept Modernisation Programme, fingerprints in passports and so on?

Damian Green's speech proclaimed liberty and was full of genuinely admirable sentiment but hopefully we shall be given a few more concrete policies fairly soon.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Scientific spin?

It is worth noting the website Reclaim Your DNA, just in case you need to.

Dr Ben Goldacre's blog Bad Science reports on the Home Office DNA database consultation. He states:

An appendix to the consultation paper from the Jill Dando Institute is possibly the most unclear and badly presented piece of research I have ever seen in a professional environment. Using this 'research' the Home Office defends the database by arguing that: innocent people who have been arrested are as likely to commit crimes in the future as guilty people. “This”, they say, “is obviously a controversial assertion”.

Dr Goldacre says that logically this is not true: it’s a simple matter of fact, and you could easily assemble some good quality evidence to see if it’s true or not. He continues:

This research was incomprehensible and unreadable. Anybody who claims to have been persuaded by the data quoted here is telling you, loudly and clearly in the subtitles, that they don’t need to understand a piece of research in order to find it compelling. Such people are not to be trusted, and if research of this calibre is what guides our policy on huge intrusions into the personal privacy of millions of innocent people, then they might as well be channeling spirits.

It's just a pity that this happens so often these days and that, at over 100 pages, only the most dedicated would trawl through the document. There's still time to tell the Home Office your views. See here.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The chips are down?

The new machine readable e-passports contain Radio Frequency IDentification chips. RFID are great for their original application: tracking goods in a warehouse. But they are horribly insecure for financial and identity applications. This has been discussed for some time but it is only now that these chips are appearing in more and more documents and the hackers are becoming more ingenious.

Boing Boing TV illustrates how much easier it is to obtain the details of a credit card with RFID than the normal type because all the details are stored in one place. A student at Cambridge University intercepted e-passport transmissions from 50 metres. Already US passports are 'shielded' by metal sleeves to prevent electronic eavesdropping.

The Economist discusses the problems associated with e-passports.

It is claimed that the two main justifications for adding chips to passports are that they improve security at border crossings and speed up immigration procedures. However, they are certainly no quicker to process and all the chip does is confirm what is printed in the passport.

What it does not do is prove the holder is the person he or she claims to be—no more so than a traditional passport did. If the person has a reasonable likeness to the photograph—and therefore similar biometric details—a stolen e-passport or e-ID card could readily be accepted.

ZDNet explains how Elvis could still live on an e-passport scanner.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Child protection or dis-integrating muddle (DIM)?

The ContactPoint database was planned following the Laming report into the murder of Victoria ClimbiƩ. 11 million children in England are to be placed on the database, each with his or her 'unique identifying number' as well as quite a lot of personal information. The Department of Children Schools & Families (DCSF) estimates that 390,000 people will ultimately have access to the database (others estimate this could be up to a million.) The records will be updated until children turn 18 then kept in an archive for 6 years before being destroyed. Those in care or with learning difficulties will remain on the live system until they turn 25. It will be obvious which children have criminal records.

The data will come from a variety of sources such as: the schools census, NHS Personal demographics service, the General register Office and, where possible will be automatically updated. (Surely not the data sharing that you thought was banned when clause 152 was deleted from the Justice and Coroners Bill?)

A Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is made for children with additional needs. It is, according to the DCSF, a simple process for a holistic assessment of children's needs and strengths. If you look here, you will see that it has involved many years of training, workshops and reports and is an extremely detailed record. Up to 50% of children evidently need some extra support at some point, that's 5,500,000 CAF reports! In addition there are the children who are 'at risk'. They have further specialist assessments and are placed on the Integrated Children's System (ICS). Hence an authorised user can go to ContactPoint and indirectly link to the CAF and ICS.

If you have followed me so far we now come to the latest news and this is the result of the Baby P inquiry. See here.

Local Authorities had to comply with the ICS system in order to avoid funding cuts but have now been told in a letter from Baroness Morgan,the children's minister, that she was:

"making it clear that local authorities will not be required to comply with the published specifications for ICS in order to receive capital funding ......and that.....ICT systems which support children's care should be locally owned and implemented within a simplified national framework".
But despite telling officials they could abandon the Government model, the children's minister denied that ICS was effectively being scrapped!

The ICS system has been described by staff as "an unworkable monster", generated stacks of paperwork 6ins thick for every child, had no way of tracking the siblings of abused children, and absorbed up to 80 per cent of social workers' time.

Staff at Kensington and Chelsea council, which had its funding cut for refusing to implement ICS in 2005, said they were being "inundated" with requests from other councils wanting to buy the alternative system they have built. (This is the same council that urged parents to request 'shielding' from ContactPoint.)

So, is the 'simplified national database' ContactPoint? If the idea was for a national system defining a 'continuum of need' then will ContactPoint still be required? And what of the CAF?

It is very confusing. In addition the Lib Dems and the Conservatives say they would scrap ContactPoint.

All this has echoes of the Dangerous Dogs' legislation.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Authors' revolt

Databases can be a thing of beauty and are good for you. OR, databases can lower the quality of children's education and invite ridicule. Which statement is true?

At 'progressive' schools this might be a topic for a creative writing competition; with the winner presented with the prize at a special occasion during which a well known author visits the school. Perhaps not any more.

A wide cross selection of newspapers and media: Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail, BBC and Independent are reporting on a protest by authors. As the Independent says – 'Authors boycott schools over sex-offender register'

As might might be expected the authors put their case both eloquently and elegantly. The logic behind their comments is irrefutable too. So far those to complain are: Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Philip Pullman and Michael Morpurgo. It is easy to imagine that the list could grow as the tradition among the various arts' communities is one of solidarity and mutual support.

Quote from Pullman - "This reinforces the culture of suspicion, fear and mistrust that underlies a great deal of present-day society. It teaches children that they should regard every adult as a potential murderer or rapist."

While Fine said the scheme was "governmental idiocy" which would drive a wedge between children and adults.

Ed Balls is the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, you might like to write to him (there is no prize) and tell him what you think!

Footnote -
The ISA database will hold details of over 11 million people who have contact with children or vulnerable adults. Each person or author will be subject to continuous monitoring. The database will check all entries against any new information from police or other sources.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The letter of the law

An average of 40,000 profiles per month have been added to the National DNA Database since the European Court of Human Rights ruling that the retention of samples from innocent people was illegal under human rights laws.

More than 300,000 profiles have been added since the judgment last December. The figures take the total number of profiles stored on the database to about 5.6 million. See here.

The Home Office agreed to remove DNA profiles taken from innocent people after six or 12 years on the database, stating that the ruling merely obliges it to place a time limit on retention of innocent profiles, not to stop storing them.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

King Edward VI - identity register protest

Students at King Edward VI Fiveways have set up a facebook page called No Biometric Thumbprints Please. They are objecting to being asked to have their thumbprints scanned as part of an internal electronic identity system.The school said the secure measure is simply aimed at replacing pupil data cards, which occasionally get lost.

The system is be used in the canteen, library, registration and access control to school buildings.

Pupils say that as all of the information would be collected in a central database, the school would be able to build up a profile of students by monitoring their food habits, reading habits and movements around school, a practice they claim has been widely criticised by both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and also in the House of Lords as intrusive.

The story has been reported in the Birmingham Post.

All this would appear to have been decided without adequate consultation with pupils or parents. (But then parents were not consulted regarding ContactPoint either). The students' open letter states:

There is the alternative of using only a PIN number, but this wasn't made clear on the letter sent to parents, and lots of students were unaware of it. Many students have expressed no knowledge of the plans whatsoever.

We'd like the system to be scrapped with no biometric thumbprint scans or PIN numbers being used.
... This is a clear breach of personal privacy.

Some students are now calling for plans to be immediately halted until parents are properly consulted, and have called on pupils and parents to contact their MP.

After all on the school's website it is proudly proclaimed that:
there are a wide variety of clubs at lunchtime or after school, including Chess, Politics, Debating,... What more apposite topic to debate than The database school?

NO2ID would be more than willing to participate.

See also Pupil Power Davenant Foundation School students protest at CCTV.

See also LTKA Leave Them Kids Alone

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Scorched earth policy? Or a very expensive legacy?

It used to be said that: no government can bind its successor. This is no longer true. By signing contracts for expensive schemes, many years into the future, Labour is ensuring that the costs of unpopular schemes will continue to haunt future governments.

ZDNet reports that IBM's contract to administer the National Biometric Identity Service (NBIS) database, which will hold identifying information such as facial images and fingerprints, is to run for seven years. The NBIS is used for biometric passports and for the National Identity Register (NIR), which will be used in issuing ID cards under the government scheme.

We are not sure whether the Conservatives will want the biometric passports that contain fingerprints. Mr Grayling says he is not sure about this. These type of passports, despite Labour's spin, are NOT mandatory under (ICAO) international aviation regulations. The ones we have at present containing a machine-readable chip are totally legal.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems have pledged to scrap the NIR and ID cards but it seems that Labour are determined to use a 'scorched earth' policy and make cancelling the scheme extremely expensive.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Biometric confusion.

Both the Lib Dems and Tories have been making promising noises regarding the National Identity Register (NIR).The Register has an interesting discussion on some aspects of the NIR/ID/passport debate relating to the three main parties and also how confusing the subject is and that's not just for the politicians!

The passports we have containing a chip are called 'biometric' passports even though they do not contain any biometric data other than a photo. Under ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) rules, the passports we have at present are satisfactory. Also, as we have an opt out from EU asylum and immigration rules, we can manage as we are. Hence we need to have clear information from both the Lib Dems and the Conservatives as to their intentions regarding the passport database.

According to Labour, most of the cost of the ID scheme is accounted for by the switchover to biometric passports, and a National Identity Register-type database will need to be retained in order to store the personal data necessary to operate biometric passports. The addition of fingerprints, says Labour, is necessary in order to fulfil our international obligations. But this would appear not to be true.

Chris Grayling has expressed the intention to collect the minimum of data necessary for a passport application, andwould appear to be retaining the option to back out of collecting fingerprints.Mr Grayling said: "Clearly, data collection will be necessary for biometric passports" and The Register interprets for us that when Grayling says "the biometric passport option" he actually means the revision 2 biometric passport with the addition of fingerprint biometrics. He hasn't got properly on top of what a biometric passport is, but that's the case with most MPs (and me!)

In March, a LibDem position paper said "The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) only requires that passports are machine readable and contain a facial image. Liberal Democrats would... adhere to the ICAO standards." Now Chris Huhne seems to be talking about fingerprints in passports but not on a database.

Nonetheless, at least both the Tories and Lib Dems are talking about scrapping the NIR and appear to be strongly against data sharing. So it's hurrah for the time being.

Meanwhile our increasingly irrelevant Parliament approved fines of up to £1,000 for those who fail to tell the passport and identity service of changes in their personal details including address, name, nationality and gender.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

National Programme for IT (NPfIT)

ZDNet reports that doctors have voted in favour of an independent review of the £12.7 billion NHS National Programme for IT. Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) have supported a motion calling for a review of the entire programme led by Connecting for Health.

The proposer of the motion condemned the continuing waste of money on the national programme and said that most of its applications were not working successfully and were delayed.

Doctors also supported a motion that GPs should retain their role as holders of patient medical records. They feel this is fundamental to maintaining confidentiality, and that the opt-in approach to the Care Record Service will help patients to understand the implications of any transfer of their data. As a result the BMA hopes to campaign for local IT solutions for the NHS.

Have you opted out yet? Let your GP know your views and ensure your records are not uploaded to a national database without your permission.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Full steam ahead!

Hansard reports yesterday's debate on ID cards.

Alan Johnson spoke in positively messianic mode regarding the benefits of ID cards saying that he was:
"more convinced than ever that the national identity service is a sane and rational policy that needs to be implemented rather than scrapped, and accelerated rather than delayed".
Part of his amendment to the Conservative motion to scrap ID cards follows:

...accepts that a universally accepted biometric passport or identity card linked to a national identity register will help secure the identity of an individual and reduce the incidence of multiple identity fraud; further recognises that for certain groups, including young people, an identity card will enable them to provide proof of age and more broadly enable people to travel throughout Europe..... there will be a choice between identity cards and biometric passports; and notes the fact that any decision on whether membership of the scheme should be compulsory would require further legislation.”

The shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling was definite about the National Identity Register:

The truth is that the national identity register establishes a level of data collection that goes far beyond anything that has ever been required for passports or that even needs to be required for a system of biometric passports. It remains our intention... not to proceed with the national identity register. One of the first acts of an incoming Conservative Government will be to cancel the ID scheme. The scheme and the register are an affront to British liberty.

He did not rule out biometric passports and the data collection necessary for these whereas Chris Huhne said:

I am not sure that I would accept that it is necessary to store biometric data. After all, the document would have the biometric data and it is an additional guarantee of veracity. Why is it necessary to go one step further and store it centrally?

Meanwhile Alan Johnson has asked the UK Border Agency to look at speeding up the issuing of identity cards to foreign nationals here and it would appear that this has the approval of the other main parties.

This government has previously stated that: Designation is not the same as ‘compulsion’ as there is no penalty if someone chooses not to apply for a designated document.

However, once one has applied one cannot 'deregister' and failure to update your details could result in swingeing fines; there's a certain Catch 22 element to all this. Perhaps this is why statutory instruments relating to the scheme,which were due to be debated this week, have now been postponed?

The last words go to Alan Johnson stating that our lack of ID cards:

.. puts us in stark contrast to other European countries, most of which have a central and secure way of registering and tracking people’s identity. Identity cards do not create or extend the Big Brother society; they are an attempt to control it. (Laughter.)

Monday, 6 July 2009

Intercept Modernisation Programme

Please take a moment to give your views to the government regarding the Intercept Modernisation Programme. The consultation link is here. You only have until 20th July 2009
Here are a few criticisms of the programme:

# The plans are thought to involve spending £2bn on paying ISPs to install deep packet inspection equipment within their own networks, and obliging them to perform the cross-correlation and profiling of their users' behaviour.

# About 40 per cent of ISPs at say they do not currently have the capability to store the data. Hence costs will rise.

# "It is a hallmark of free societies that whilst the police target criminal suspects, government does not monitor the entire population."
Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti.

# "Officials from dozens of departments and quangos could know what you read online, and who all your friends are, who you emailed, when, and where you were when you did so - all without a warrant. ...Tracking your your every move is more efficiently creepy than reading your letters."
Guy Herbert, general secretary of NO2ID.

# Both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have voiced their opposition to the idea so it would be best not to proceed in the current financial climate until the next election.

# "deep packet inspection is the electronic equivalent of opening people's mail. This is very important to me, as what is at stake is the integrity of the internet as a communications medium, clearly we must not interfere with the internet, and we must not snoop on the internet."
Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Inventor of the internet.)

# The collection and searching of information on all telephone calls, texts, emails and web-browsing will be accessible to dozens of organisations without a warrant.

To respond to the consultation, you can email
or send your response by post to:

Nigel Burrowes
Communications Data Consultation
Room P.5.37
Home Office
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

Remember, this consultation ends on 20 July 2009.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

DNA consultation

Please take a few moments to reply to the government's DNA database consultation before 7th August 2009.

This consultation intends to promote public debate on how long we should retain fingerprints and DNA.

Here are a few ideas that you could use:

# Figures show that for the past six years the number of crimes solved using DNA evidence has remained static at about one in 300 of all recorded crimes. Over the same period the number of people on the national DNA database more than doubled in size from 1.9million people to 4.1million. A smaller database would be much cheaper and also more effective.

# The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against retention of the DNA of innocent people.

# It is disrespectful to Parliament that plans for the police to keep innocent people's DNA profiles for up to 12 years may become law without a Commons vote. The use of a 'statutory instrument' to get this through Parliament is undemocratic.

# The UK has the largest national DNA database of any country in the world. Over 7% of the British population has a profile on the national database, compared to 1% of Austrians and 0.5% of Americans.

# The numbers of profiles stored are now so large that 'false positives' have become a statistical probability.

# Over 800,000 children have their profiles stored.

You can email your response to

Or write to:

Alan Brown
DNA Consultations
Police Powers and Protection Unit,
4th Floor, Peel Building,
2 Marsham Street,
London SW1P 4DF

This consultation closes on 7 August 2009

Friday, 3 July 2009

Lobby your MP now

The Conservatives have called for a debate on ID cards this Monday 6th July. Key statutory instruments required before the scheme can proceed have still to be laid before Parliament. See the Public register.

As part of the initial proposals for the NIS, applicants for the new generation of biometric passports – due to be available by 2011 – would have their personal data placed on the NIR. Applicants could also then choose to have an ID card, but their refusal would not mean the removal of their data from the NIR.

Parliament is expected, this week and next, to approve this retention proposal in two batches of draft legislation. They would provide the Home Office with the powers to make the passport a "designated document" under the NIS. This would make its data eligible for entry onto the NIR.

The regulations may also include powers to levy a fine of up to £1,000 on those who fail to tell the authorities of a change of address or amend other key personal details such as a change of name within three months.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy at Liberty, complained that the NIS is still compulsory in practice:

"However you spin it, big ears, four legs and a long trunk still make an elephant. And this white elephant would be as costly to privacy and race equality as to our purses."

It would be well worth telling your MP your views regarding the National Identity Register and the ID card scheme before this debate. Please contact your MP now.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Congratulations Sheffield City Council

Yorkshire NO2ID tells us that Sheffield City Council has passed a strongly worded motion opposing ID cards and the Database State. The motion highlights the Manchester trials confirming that Sheffield will not take part in any trials of the scheme:

The Council notes with deep concern that Manchester has agreed to pilot ID Cards as part of the process to impose compulsory ID Cards on the rest of the UK”

Henry Porter writing on his Guardian Blog has highlighted the Motion using it as an example of a “Little Green Shoot of Liberty”. NO2ID were present at the Council meeting and the Sheffield group is celebrating this victory in the fight against the Database State.

The motion was highly critical of Schemes such as Club Scan that has been introduced as a Licensing condition in some London Boroughs....

ensure that systems such as ‘ClubScan’ are not made a requirement for licensing of city venues;”

...and also the use of biometric fingerprinting in School, which is something one of our sister campaigns ‘Leave Them Kids Alone’ have been vocal in opposing:

reject the use of biometric fingerprinting in schools;”

Wouldn't it be good if Birmingham City Council followed this example?

ps Ironically the MP for Sheffield, Brightside is David Blunkett, nicknamed Big Blunkett in reference to Orwell's Big Brother for his sterling work in support of ID cards, RIPA etc. He has also worked for Entrust, a security company involved in this sphere of work.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Pigs might fly

The Home Secretary has decided not to antagonise the unions so neither pilots nor airside workers are going to be obliged to carry government ID and be on the National Identity Register(NIR).

Mr Johnson has also announced that ID cards will never be compulsory (except for foreign nationals) and this has been the main emphasis by of the media. He is either using weasel words to mislead the public or he genuinely doesn't know that the main objection to ID cards is the fact that about 50 pieces of personal information will be put on a giant national database in order for you to obtain a passport when mandatory biometric passports are rolled out.

Make sure you renew yours before this happens else you won't be able to retain your civil liberties and travel at the same time.

But really nothing has changed. We have already been told:

From 2012 anyone applying for or renewing a passport in the UK will also enrol their fingerprint biometrics on the NIR and will be able to choose whether they want a biometric passport,an identity card or both.

The ID card idea remains very much alive. Free ID cards are to be given to the over 75s and students are to be encouraged to have them as a convenient way of proving their age. If you are in any doubt have a look at Safeguarding Identity published by the government last week. This tells you that the NIR is the foundation stone of future government services.

p 26 tells us that:
A common definition of identity will be accepted across government- the new NIR will be commonly used across Government as a single, convenient and secure system for establishing and using identity.

You will have a 'unique identifier' or number and there will be a single 'gateway' to all public sector services so you will probably find it convenient to have a plastic ID card as you will already have an e-IDentity.

So, the fight goes on. The NIR is the basis of a labyrinth of proposals which will make your life easy - your information will be totally secure - no details will be shared without your permission and pigs might fly.

Take a look at 'safeguarding identity' and then I think we should ask the Conservatives and Lib Dems whether they will do away with the NIR and if so how do they intend to patrol the labyrinth?