Shoshana Zuboff on surveillance capitalism | VPRO Documentary. Digital dystopia: how algorithms……

took him some time to persuade his cabinet colleagues.

What are the cards supposed to achieve?
Home secretaries such as Howard and Blunkett have been attracted to identity cards as a weapon in the fight against crime, and some police organisations support them on these grounds. It has been argued that identity cards could help the authorities target terrorists, serious criminals using false identities, welfare fraudsters and illegal immigrants.

But the government now puts far less emphasis on this argument, partly because the terrorists involved in 9/11 and 7/7 were not using false identities and partly because cards would only work as anti-crime devices if they were compulsory, which raises another problem altogether (see below).

Increasingly ministers now argue that identity cards will serve as a consumer facility for people who need to prove their identity when opening bank accounts, etc.

What powers does the government have?
The main enabling legislation, the Identity Cards Act, went through parliament in 2006 and is now law. But it gave ministers considerable discretion as to how they implement the scheme. Gordon Brown has also said that parliament will vote before the introduction of a compulsory scheme.

What does the scheme involve?
More than just having a bit of plastic. The identity card itself would be linked to a national identity database which would contain dozens of pieces of information, such as photographs, national insurance numbers, dates of birth and addresses. It would also include biometric information such as fingerprints.

When are they coming in?
ID cards have already been introduced for certain categories of foreign nationals. From November 2008, foreigners from outside the European Economic Area who enter the UK, or who are living here and need to renew their visas, have been issued with ID Cards. Originally the government proposed making ID cards compulsory for people working in certain high-risk jobs, such as pilots, airside workers and critical workers at Rail Stations, but today home secretary Alan Johnson dropped this plan. Instead the government will press ahead with a voluntary Manchester rollout – from Autumn 2009 Mancunians will be invited to apply for an ID card. From 2010 the cards will be offered to residents in other locations in the North West. And from 2011 they will be offered to people renewing their passports.

Will the cards be compulsory?
They will be for non-EU migrants. For British citizens they will not exactly be compulsory, but it will be impossible to get a passport without putting your details on the database, so, in practice, for anyone wanting to travel abroad, they will be.

Who will have access to the database?
The national identity register, as the database is officially called, will only be accessible to accredited organisations. But the government estimates that more than 200 government departments and more than 40,000 private-sector organisations could come into this category, leading to fears that sensitive information could easily get into the wrong hands.

Will the database be safe?
That depends who you believe. The government says that the information will only be accessible to “highly security-cleared individuals”. But the recent security lapses with data have highlighted how easy it is for things to go wrong.

that the danger was not the card, but the database.

David Cameron.

Sat 31 Jul 2010
Coalition three months on: civil libertiesThis article is more than 11 years oldRolling back Labour’s big brother state… for now

Scrapping ID cards is a momentous step
Damian GreenThis article is more than 11 years old
ID cards represented the worst of government. Abolishing them is a statement of our intent to create a fairer and freer society
Tue 21 Dec 2010 08.00 GMT

Ex-home secretary standing down in 2015 says Labour leader should find room for ‘oldies’ and admits regret over ID cards

He also revealed his two biggest political regrets. First, he said he should not have tried to introduce “an all singing and dancing identity card”, but instead introduced a requirement to own a passport, something more than 80% of the population already had. He said the change would have not generated the same fears, but allowed a government to control migration.

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by Ed Pilkington in New York


Author: rogerglewis Looking for a Job either in Sweden or UK. Freelance, startups, will turń my hand to anything.

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