Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the government must not introduce ID cards

reposted from:
Chris Street comments are in bright green;
highlights in yellow blockquotes.
Nick Clegg

AC Grayling opposes ID Cards - so does Nick Clegg - what do you think?

Their cards marked

Lost data crisis: This farcical breach of security illustrates exactly why the government must not be allowed to go ahead with its ID card scheme

November 20, 2007 7:00 PM

Today's revelations about the loss of millions of people's personal, private, details by HM Revenue and Customs will, I hope, kill off the government's plan for national identity cards once and for all.

We have rehearsed many times the

civil liberties arguments against the government's national identity register. I myself have said that it is a step too far in terms of the relationship between the citizen and the state,
and I will never register for one, even if that means going to court.

But the civil liberties arguments are not the only reasons I, and so many of us, oppose ID cards - far from it.

The government claims ID cards will protect us from identity fraud. They are living in a dream world. The ID card database will, in effect, put massive amounts of our personal, private details into a giant box marked "steal me". It will be a honeypot for fraudsters.

The loss of the child benefit recipients' data shows just how easy it is for a foolish "junior official" - or a malicious fraudster - to compromise data when it's so poorly protected.

This scandal may be brushed off by the government as a once-only event, but that simply isn't true. How many stories have you read about secret data being compromised because someone left their laptop on the train, or their briefcase was stolen from the car?

It happens around the world. Personal information belonging to 26.5 million US veterans was seized following the theft of the data from the home of a government employee. Australia's citizens database was routinely searched for personal reasons by government agency employees.

And it happens here - all the time. An internal investigation at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found that some civil servants colluded with organised criminals to steal personal identities on "an industrial scale". And, as they admitted to me in parliamentary questions, the government has identified
16 separate security breaches of departmental databases in recent years.

No wonder Microsoft has warned that the ID card plans pose a security risk that could increase the likelihood of confidential data falling into the hands of criminals. The Discovery Channel show Mythbusters has even successfully faked fingerprints to fool biometric security devices, so the argument that biometrics can protect our privacy is weak too.

It's time to stop wasting money on ID cards, and instead start protecting properly the massive amounts of our personal data the government has already.

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