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Leaked Government Doc Reveals UK ID "Coercion" Plans 187

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the sanity-is-not-statistical dept.
BoingBoing is relating a hair-raising tale from the UK anti-ID-register group 'NO2ID' that claims to have a leaked government document [PDF] detailing how the UK government plans to "coerce" citizens into a national ID register. "UK campaigners NO2ID this morning enlisted the help of bloggers across the world to spread a leaked government document describing how the British government intends to go about "coercing" its citizens onto a National Identity Register. The 'ID card' is revealed as little more than a cover to create a official dossier and trackable ID for every UK resident - creating what NO2ID calls 'the database state'."
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Leaked Government Doc Reveals UK ID "Coercion" Plans

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  • Big Brother was British, wasn't he?
    • by magarity (164372)
      The author was British but Big Brother was in the fictional country of Oceania.
      • by cybereal (621599) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:09PM (#22265886) Homepage
        Winston, the main character, lived within view of the headquarters of The Party of Oceania which would presumably house Big Brother if he actually existed. The location was called Airstrip One, which according to Winston, used to be known as London.

        Big Brother was British.
        • by owlnation (858981)

          Big Brother was British.
          No evidence for that in the book. Oceania encompassed North America too, Airstrip one may have been its capital, it may not. However, Big Brother -- if he actually existed -- could just as easily have been Canadian or American.

          Comrade Brown, however, most surely is British. (sadly)
        • by drxenos (573895)
          No, he wasn't. Oceania was created when the U.S. took over Britain. He was most likely an American.
          • And yet, the Party is IngSoc, short for English Socialism, which is almost certainly not American.
            • by drxenos (573895)
              I've sure "The Party" was whatever it needed to be to fit into the local culture, similar to the advice given in Machiavelli's "The Prince."
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Winston lived within sight of the Ministry of Truth, where he worked, not the Party headquarters. In fact it wasn't clear whether there even was a headquarters, but most of the Inner Party members lived in West London and the headquarters could easily have been in America for that matter. Airstrip One used to be known as Great Britain (i.e., the whole island), not London. London was still called London in Winston's time, and he speculated that it had probably been called that for a long time.

          The novel

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fishbowl (7759)

          >Big Brother was British.

          As was Orwell, who was satirizing his contemporary view of British society and government by framing it into a dystopian futuristic novel. But the situation that provoked him to write 1984 was his Labour party job that required him to participate in blacklisting people suspected of being communists. It turns out the real "Big Brother" actually *was* watching his every move and keeping detailed records, and that he really did have to write blatant fabrications on behalf of the g
        • Actually, that might not be true as there were equivalent regimes across the planet. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that THAT Big Brother was British. It COULD have originated in the US (or Canada, or somewhere in Asia, or...).
    • by xtracto (837672)
      What do you expect from a country that spies on its citizens just to know if they watch TV...
  • Ironically.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2008 @03:37PM (#22265416)
    In shades of 1984 [amazon.com] , the report came from a new UK government agency called the Ministry of Privacy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cayenne8 (626475)
      "The 'ID card' is revealed as little more than a cover to create a official dossier and trackable ID for every UK resident - creating what NO2ID calls 'the database state'."

      Hmm...sounds quite reminiscent of the US's upcoming version...the RealID act. In our case, they're just calling them drivers licenses....but, if you don't drive, you still need an ID that fits in with the RealID act. So, it really is a national ID, hooked to a national, govt. database.

    • by jez9999 (618189)
      In case anyone's wondering, I'm pretty sure the parent poster's joking. I've never heard of a Ministry of Privacy. It was, however, published by the IPS [wikipedia.org].
  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Friday February 01, 2008 @03:41PM (#22265464) Homepage Journal
    Perfect opportunity to set up a few convenient aliases--with all the work that they'll be getting, the folks registering will likely not pay quite as much attention as they ought to new registrants. Voila, government-approved IDs, guaranteed to pass any test for fakes.

    Of course, getting past the initial screening may not be trivial--but investigation into that avenue may be worthwhile.
    • by khasim (1285)
      Since these ID's will be "official" for just about anything ...

      Find someone involved in issuing them who has a gambling / drug / sex / whatever problem who can be bought / blackmailed.

      The whole system breaks down when it depends upon the honesty of people.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yaa 101 (664725)
        This system shows that the ruling class is paranoid to the bone, I think it stems from the amount of poor people they see as potential threat to their pitiful life.

        They outright want to go back to the middle age serfdoms where people are owned, they see the 20th century as a nasty period when almost all would have went wrong for them.

        Being bribe able is a work prescription you need to have to be able to do certain jobs like being a politician, no honest person is able to do that job, being non bribe able ma
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dutch Gun (899105)
          I'm not sure I agree that the ruling class is entirely at fault here. I'd lay the blame squarely on the large middle class who are often all too willing to trade away their freedom for additional security. It seems to be a tendency of human nature to value something less when no effort was expended in obtaining it. Many of us are fortunate enough to live in a time and place where our freedom has been paid for by the blood of others, but the unfortunate result of this may be that we can never truly unders
          • I'd lay the blame squarely on the large middle class who are often all too willing to trade away their freedom for additional security.

            I always find it funny reading things like that. I would call myself middle class by any definition I know, as are most of my friends and work colleagues. Among that group, there is substantial opposition to ID cards and the like, particularly since high profile data losses of the kind highlighted in my current sig. I recall no conversation with any of my friends or colleagues where someone actually spoke in support of ID cards. So I don't know where the government find all these people in favour of them,

            • by Dutch Gun (899105)
              I guess I phrased it "middle class" because I was rebutting the notion that it's the power-movers and shakers that are solely to blame for this. It was just supposed to be a synonym for an average person, nothing more.

              Those on Slashdot (and your colleagues) tend to be of a specific demographic, which tends to vehemently oppose any such encroachment. Perhaps it's because we better understand the power of information, and how susceptible such information is to abuse? Who knows... But regardless, I'd be ca
        • by jez9999 (618189)
          Thanks for cheering me up there. I'd just come home and had a hard day's work, and your post was just what I needed!
        • This system shows that the ruling class is paranoid to the bone, I think it stems from the amount of poor people they see as potential threat to their pitiful life.

          No it doesn't ... It just shows that the Labour party is dangerously enamoured with technology promises sold to it by IT consultants, and at the same time are ignorant and incompetent about technology (and science and, apparently, civil rights and the rule of law). In fact they're proud of their incompetence - our previous prime minister ac

  • Broken link (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday February 01, 2008 @03:44PM (#22265498)
    Boingboing appears to be down; I get "connection reset." Here's the NO2ID group's homepage [no2id.net]. Relevant searches on Google/Google News will probably turn up more information of interest than Boing Boing's shoot-from-the-hip sensationalism, anyway.
  • There's a noticeable lack of authorship details. It notes that various government departments have "contributed to" the options analysis, but I read that as simply saying that people from those departments have been interviewed in the course of performing this analysis.

    Does anybody know who actually produced this report? I'd hardly call the government a bunch of liars for opinions expressed in a report produced by outside contractors, but without any reason to believe otherwise, that's what this sound

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2008 @03:48PM (#22265544)
    One of the problems when we have ID cards is that some people are going to break solidarity with the rest of us by getting one and it will be arranged that they get benefits from it. I wonder if we could have a campaign where we ask people for ID and refuse to serve or help them if they show national ID cards. It would have to start with a gentle campaign where they are just given some information and told not to show their ID card again, but after that it could be quite effective. Can this be done without alienating people? It would definitely be worth it. Something to change the equation so that the kind of people who refuse to think beyond their next fish supper can see a benefit from refusing ID.
    • by rtb61 (674572)
      Rather than attempting to block a government id system, real effort should be put into ensuring that legislation is in place to ensure it's safe use.

      The showing of your id should never be compulsory and it should be a criminal offence to attempt to force someone to show their ID. A person should be notified of any and every access to the data stored against their id, who made the access, their id details, and exactly what data was accessed and why it was accessed, absolutely no exemptions for any reason.

  • Be warned that the same effort is underway in the US through a push for the RealID legislations with the same sinister goals in mind.

  • NO worries (Score:5, Funny)

    by techpawn (969834) on Friday February 01, 2008 @03:53PM (#22265628) Journal
    The database will be written in MSAccess and kept on someones hard drive until it crashes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The database will be written in MSAccess and kept on someones laptop until it gets left in a pub or the back of a taxi by a pissed up junior bureaucrat.
      Fixed that for you.
    • by Kamineko (851857)
      We don't destroy our data in the UK, we just leave it lying about in cars or anywhere we can find really [bbc.co.uk].
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No, no. It will be in an Excel file pasted into a PowerPoint presentation left on some nobs thumb drive which gets lost in the snow. Some homeless vet will find it and think it's a whistle and keep it in the crotch of his underwear. If that's not security through obscurity, I don't know what is.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ah.clem (147626)

      Clatto Verata N... Necktie... Nickel... It's an "N" word, it's definitely an "N" word!

      OK, I'm not always the sharpest pencil in the packet protector, but were you meaning "klaatu barada nikto"? If so, I get the joke, but the spelling is not quite right...

      ah.clem

  • Coercion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2008 @03:54PM (#22265640)
    Why is "coercion" in quotes? Coercion is the business of government. Government is, after all, the organization holding a monopoly on the special right to employ coercion as a business model. Coercion is what defines government.

    Put it this way: If the people actually volunteered to hand over their money and follow the aribtrary rules set forth by a central committee, then government would be entirely redundant. The reason why government exists is precisely because the people would not voluntarily hand over their money and follow that arbitrary set of rules.

    Again, coercion is the fundamental tool which all governments MUST hold -- otherwise it ain't government.
    • Re:Coercion (Score:5, Funny)

      by exploder (196936) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:00PM (#22265742) Homepage

      Why is "coercion" in quotes?
      I'm gonna go out on a limb here... ...because it's a quote?

    • by badfish99 (826052)
      Because the British government have made a specific promise that these ID cards will be "voluntary". So it is looking for every possible method to make people "volunteer" to have them: for example, by making you produce your ID card when you get a job, so everyone is forced to either "volunteer" for a card, or else be unemployed.
      • by Drasil (580067)

        for example, by making you produce your ID card when you get a job, so everyone is forced to either "volunteer" for a card, or else be unemployed.

        It's may be restrictive than that. Without a card you won't be able to claim benefits (social security) and therefore will have no income. You won't be able to operate a bank account either, or negotiate your taxes, so being self employed is out. Ironically the only people who will be able to exist without an ID card will be professional criminals, or perhaps su

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FireFury03 (653718)
        for example, by making you produce your ID card when you get a job, so everyone is forced to either "volunteer" for a card, or else be unemployed.

        Will you be allowed to sign on if you are unable to get a job because you don't have an ID card?
    • by Itninja (937614)
      I believe they are called "fear quotes". The idea being that a word can be made to seem ominous if its' put within superfluous quotes. Like when Fox News has the headline: Alternative "lifestyles" on the rise in US. They inject a sense of duplicity where none actually exists.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Coercion is clearly not what defines government because I can tell the difference between organised criminal organisations and governments (though there are, like with any distinction, borderline cases). Similarly, in a country like Somalia which for a long time recently lacked what you call a "central committee", coercion played a major part in people's lives. So coercion is neither necessary or sufficient to define government.

      Governments don't implement arbitrary rules. Almost every government has a len

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HalAtWork (926717)
      Or... government officials could be paid the minimum wage that they themselves dictate, be excluded of all gifts and other monies, and constantly audited watched and surveyed by the public (with those little traffic cameras set up in every room, hey they're good enough for us), guaranteeing those who get the job really want it and does a really good job.
    • by Dirtside (91468)

      Coercion is what defines government.

      Definition error: The government exists to coerce people into doing the things that the people have agreed that the government is allowed to coerce them into (whoa, confusing); but one of the things the government is NOT allowed to coerce people into doing is accepting laws that a small number of people in the government have decided are a good idea.

      In other words, they can make you follow the rules, but they aren't supposed to try to make you agree that the rules should

  • the book of revelations comes to mind and something about accepting the mark of the beast. could that be as simple as a db entry? you know that religous right fanatics should have a field day with this if it were to be tried here...then again...if their ministers tell them there's no harm, then they'll all go quietly.
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday February 01, 2008 @03:57PM (#22265698) Journal
    This is the British Government we're talking about. They have shown themselves, time and time again, to be completely incapable of completing any IT project. Every time they try, they award the contract to EDS, it goes horrendously over-budget and ends up being cancelled. Expect the big brother database to go online some time around 2050, only be able to store first names, and crash losing all data the first time someone tries to run a query.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MoonBuggy (611105)
      I suspect that you're right, but that doesn't mean that we're out of the woods on this one yet. Firstly, and most simply, is the fact that I can think of far better ways of spending billions of pounds than this. Secondly is that (as we have seen with no-fly lists) just because a database is inaccurate, it doesn't mean it'll be enough to put those in charge off using it for important and even life-changing work. Thirdly, as we have so recently seen, government agencies seem largely incapable of securing the
    • This is the British Government we're talking about. They have shown themselves, time and time again, to be completely incapable of completing any IT project. Every time they try, they award the contract to EDS, it goes horrendously over-budget and ends up being cancelled. Expect the big brother database to go online some time around 2050, only be able to store first names, and crash losing all data the first time someone tries to run a query.

      That sounds even worse. At least with a properly functioning sy
    • it goes horrendously over-budget and ends up being cancelled.
      A government contract that goes over budget? My God! How could such a thing happen?!

      Alert the press! Alert the watchdog groups!

      This can't be allowed to happen, again!
    • goes horrendously over-budget and ends up being cancelled

      I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, I think you're joking around and vigorously oppose a 'big brother database.'

      Others however, say 'who cares, the government is incompetent' and are serious. Those people are misguided at best...total idiots at worst.

      If an incompetent carjacker was pointing a loaded gun at you, would you just go about your business and ignore him? Of course not. If something poses a legitimate threat to your fr

      • by jimicus (737525)
        This policy by the British ID system/database (and its inevitable US counterpart) is going to flush freedom down the toilet. Ironically, when the government overreacts to terrorist threats and takes away freedoms...THE TERRORISTS WIN.

        You are way too late there.

        I don't know where you're from or how much you know about British politics, but in the UK political parties of late have been run along very tight lines - politicians will completely ignore any personal feelings and tow the party line almost blindly,
    • by dkf (304284)

      Expect the big brother database to go online some time around 2050, only be able to store first names, and crash losing all data the first time someone tries to run a query.
      I fully expect them to build it with the assumption that first names are usable as primary keys.
  • Awesome (Score:2, Interesting)

    After reading the PDF (I know it is against /. rules...) I have two questions:

    1. Where can I sign up for the US version

    2. Can the US integrate out system into theirs??? That would only help to protect us all!!!

    I mean, after all, I am looking for all of the following:

    1. I want to know that I have the right to be here

    2. I want to know who you "really" are

    3. I want to join a service that meet my needs

    4. I want to be able to prove who I am

    P.S. I want to point out my sarcasm, as my last few posts li

    • by Malc (1751)
      "2. Can the US integrate out system into theirs?"

      They probably already are. Back in October I was being by interviewed US immigration for enrollment in to the NEXUS programme. He tapped the details of my Canadian passport in to the computer and came back with a question about something that happened in the year 2000 when I was travelling on my British passport. I can only assume they got the information from the Canadians linking my two passports/nationalities, but I wouldn't put it passed them to have a
  • Stories like this make me real glad I live in New Hampshire, one of only 6 US States [freestateblogs.net] that actually opted out of "Real-ID".

    Videos [freestateproject.org] of the protests we had against Real-ID are pretty cool.

  • Just like paying income taxes in the US is "voluntary."
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday February 01, 2008 @05:20PM (#22266832) Homepage
    Honestly, I think we all have the necessary reading comprehension to see what the document is driving at. I don't need some ridiculous side commentary, which is wholly devoid of any useful insight, to help me understand the content of the document.

    Frankly, the commentary sounds like the rantings of some extremist, conspiracy-theorist wanker, and does nothing but muddy the issues, not to mention make reading the document more difficult, as I have to wade through their irritating scribblings.
  • An ID card would not make a big difference, because there are already so many databases: the election register, credit ratings, banks, phone companies (including the connection logs), tax files, national insurance, health care... and just about any government institution has access to these. That is the real issue, while the ID discussion is only a smoke screen. I mean, private companies can find out how you use your bank account, even if you are in credit. Why do they need that information?

    As to the ID car
  • I guess it's going to be slightly more difficult to sneakily download MP3's once your details, signature, thumb print and threat assessment are linked to your ISP/IP address, then sold to the RIAA and the BPI...
  • Right-wingers took over the Labour Party the same way they took over the Democratic Party in the U.S. If somebody doesn't come up with an alternative and kick some of these fascist pricks out pretty soon, we're going to find out just how much worse a police state can be than anything a bunch of terrorists could hope to accomplish.

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