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Cellphones Handhelds Privacy United Kingdom

UK 'Virtual ID Card' Scheme Set For Launch 84

Posted by timothy
from the bitte-ihre-telefon dept.
First time accepted submitter evrybodygonsurfin writes "The UK Government will announce details this month of a controversial national identity scheme which will allow people to use their mobile phones and social media profiles as official identification documents for accessing public services. People wishing to apply for services ranging from tax credits to fishing licences and passports will be asked to choose from a list of familiar online log-ins, including those they already use on social media sites, banks, and large retailers such as supermarkets, to prove their identity." I can't wait until carrying a telephone is mandatory. In the U.S. at least, how else will the government send you important messages?
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UK 'Virtual ID Card' Scheme Set For Launch

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    They will not "be asked."

    It is optional to be stupid enough to log in with an ID that's related to a commercial service such as Facebook.

  • I can't wait until carrying a telephone is mandatory.

    How would people with low income, who until now have relied on payphones for the occasional call away from home, meet such an unfunded mandate?

    • payphones are only still in place because of legislation. if the phone company was allowed to remove them, they would.
    • I can't wait until carrying a telephone is mandatory.

      How would people with low income, who until now have relied on payphones for the occasional call away from home, meet such an unfunded mandate?

      Oh I don't know... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAOwJvTOio [youtube.com]

    • Silly, they are in the Uk. Somebody else will pay for their new iPhone, because it's not mandatory!
    • by 91degrees (207121)
      It won't become mandatory. I think this was a sarcastic quip by the submitter or editor.
    • Well, right now a mailing address (aka "a residence") is a de facto standard way of reaching you for government communications, so is a place to live also an unfunded mandate??
      • Re:Unfunded mandate (Score:5, Interesting)

        by beschra (1424727) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:51AM (#41549121)

        Yes it is. And it makes life for the homeless even more difficult. One of the great services some nonprofits provide is mailing addresses for the homeless.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CMYKjunkie (1594319)
          I suppose that is my point: few criticize having a mailing address as burdensome in order to receive government services or communication, so "most" don't consider it a problem. With more and more people having mobile phone and smart phones, "a lot" to "many" don't consider it a burden and this will only increase over time to where, likely, the majority would not consider it odd or burdensome to have to have a telephone as a required/needed method of accessing a service.
      • A street address identifies a household and by extension its head, not necessarily an individual person. I don't know about the UK, but in the US it's common for two parents and three kids to live under one mailing address, where only some members of the household have their own mobile phone numbers.
    • by loustic (1577303)
      They have to pitch a tent in front of that payphone !
    • Why the gov will give you a tax credit for it of course.

      What I'm worried about is when they start implanting them at birth.

    • Re:Unfunded mandate (Score:4, Informative)

      by Xest (935314) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @10:07AM (#41549293)

      True story: I got on the train on my commute on the way home the other week as normal and this homeless guy got on and was pestering people, saying hello, being all friendly, then asking for money. I think he genuinely was homeless because he smelt homeless, though of course that's by no means a scientific measure of homelessness I'm sure.

      Anyway, he paid his train fair no problem, got off the train and... pulled an iPhone out of his pocket and answered it. Granted it was only an iPhone 4, but here in the UK, it seems even the homeless have cellphones now.

      • by 91degrees (207121)
        Having a mobile phone is quite common amongst the homeless. They're very cheap and extremely useful. They usually have access to somewhere they can charge them.

        No idea how he had an iPhone though.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        He wasn't homeless, that was RMS, and he forgot his lunch money.

        Seriously, though, some people are just stinking slobs. I had a neighbor I was sure was a homeless bum, until I found out he was my neighbor and had a decent job in construction (I journaled about hime a few years ago). I really doubt anybody with an iPhone is homeless, a homeless man would sell teh phone for food or (more likely) drugs.

        BTW, your spell checker failed you -- it's "fare," not "fair" although some fares are fair and some fares are

        • pulled an iPhone out of his pocket

          He wasn't homeless, that was RMS

          Whatever RMS that might have been, it wasn't Richard M. Stallman. He wouldn't be caught dead carrying a defective-by-design iToy. See 5 reasons why iPhone poops [fsf.org].

        • by Xest (935314)

          I've seen him a few times since around the town centre and honestly, I think he's probably actually a pick-pocket or something, he always walks up to everyone and anyone talking as if he knows them getting pretty close, tries to put their arm around them as if they're his best mate etc.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      How would people with low income, who until now have relied on payphones for the occasional call away from home, meet such an unfunded mandate?

      Pay phones are quaint relics and there aren't many left. Poor folks in the US can get cheap cell phones and minutes for "free," paid for by your tax money. The program is called "safelink". [usatoday.com]

    • I can't wait until carrying a telephone is mandatory.

      How would people with low income, who until now have relied on payphones for the occasional call away from home, meet such an unfunded mandate?

      If you don't believe some governments would be willing to further marginalize those already disenfranchised, please note that some states are making it more difficult to register to vote. [rollingstone.com]

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't this make identity theft easier in some cases?
    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:28AM (#41548857)
      Um, yes? And if a FaceBook profile is official documentation in England, they just got a LOT of new residents. Scary!
      • by Agares (1890982)
        The first thing that came to my mind was that you could easily just use who evers name you wanted. How are they suppose to tell if that's who you really are or not? It just seems idiotic to me.
        • by 91degrees (207121)
          Don't think it works like that. The idea is that you tell the government that the facebook ID, or telephone, or whatever is yours, and then you can use the same facebook ID or telephone number each time you use the service. Not really different from providing an email address.
          • by Agares (1890982)
            Ok I see what you are saying. The article made it sound more like a way to say you are so and so without actually needing to provide proof.
  • i can't wait until facebook is attached to birth certificates.
    • by Ferzerp (83619)

      Everything comes and goes. There was a time when the same comment could have been made about myspace.

      • some things don't change once they take hold. postage stamps. passports. credit cards. social security numbers. things that identify individuals. the powers that be see it as necessary that you are uniquely identifiable online the same as in the real world. as for facebook fading like myspace? Facebook has a billion users. 1/6th of the worlds population. myspace at its peak had 100 million. that is what i would call post critical mass.
  • "Boy, this Anon guy sure claims a lot of unemployment."

  • So am I. What are we having?

    Give me a "ham on five, hold the mayo..."

  • by multicoregeneral (2618207) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:46AM (#41549069) Homepage
    Right? As long as everyone uses their real name on Facebook, this kind of system totally makes sense. As for me, I think I'll go to England, call myself Patrick Stuart, and apply for a passport. Hep hep, righto and such.
  • Unfortunately, random images from your cell phone are already OK as "proof of residency" in Wisconsin. (See public radio article:
    http://news.wpr.org/post/cell-phones-can-prove-residency-polls [wpr.org] )

  • When the scheme spreads to copycat countries. From TFA:

    "The Government hopes the identity system will form the basis of a universally-recognised online authentication process for commercial transactions on the Internet, boosting the economy and strengthening Britain's position as a leader in e-commerce."

    Here's one thing I hope the UK doesn't export like deep-fried Mars bars.

  • All Citizens will be able to receive Government Messages through built in channels in the TV's and through computer monitors. In addition, you will be able to pick up your phone address the government by saying "Hello Government" and a Government Watcher will answer back using your phone's microphone and camera. In case of an emergency, all you have to do is yell "help government" or "911 government" and someone will be available to help. After all, your government is Watching out for your safety and bene
  • Ministers are anxious that the identity programme is not denounced as a “Big Brother” national ID card by the back door, which is why data will not be kept centrally by any government department.

    How many of you believe that the government will keep no records? I think they will keep records or have access to them, in order to fulfill the function.

    Once they have logged in correctly by computer or mobile phone, the site will send a message to the government agency authenticating that user’s

  • by loufoque (1400831) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @10:20AM (#41549459)

    Sometimes I enjoy thinking of what I would do if I were at the head of a country to improve society, and providing a service that allows a person to prove their identity to another party over the Internet is one of those.

    In real life, you can choose to show your ID card to someone to prove who you are, but there is no way to do something like this over the Internet, which might be useful to prove your age or nationality and access certain services.
    Likewise, you could use a mechanism to prove you are who you claim to be when you send a message to someone (digital signing). Solutions exist, but you always need to rely on a reference authority; it being the state is the most official authority there is.

    It seems however that in this case the execution is extremely poor, the possibilities limited, and security a problem. In particular, there is no need to put trust in private parties, it should be handled by the state. OpenID and similar technologies can already do the right thing without problems.

    • by 6031769 (829845)

      In real life, you can choose to show your ID card to someone to prove who you are, but there is no way to do something like this over the Internet.

      Easy - there is a one-time enrollment whereby the government signs your PGP key having proven your identity by one of the other robust means already in operation. That sig can always be verified by anyone who needs to. Job done.

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        That's exactly how it should be done, but just try to explain this to a politician. The problem with adopting security is that it's hard to understand so it would require people in power to trust professionals on matters they don't really get, an ability rare in leaders.

      • by UpnAtom (551727)

        What's to stop data collection via "one of the other robust means already in operation"?

        Secondly, authentication is only part of the problem. Whether to pay your taxes, order a new passport or whatever, you need to provide identifying information.

        What's proposed has actually been thought through a lot more than by you.

    • "In particular, there is no need to put trust in private parties, it should be handled by the state."

      Trusting the state is entirely the problem this proposal is avoiding.

      Whichever third party I choose will have no other data on me, a track record for data protection and ethical behaviour, no ability to rewrite the law, no ability to coerce the media, no police, no secret police, no army etc etc.

      You should read this historical document the scheme is based upon:
      http://www.amberhawk.com/uploads/LSE_surv_2.pdf [amberhawk.com]

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        Why would you need to give any data to anyone, other than proving your ID?
        The system should be designed so that the "trust authority" cannot be able to track who you are giving your ID to.

        • by UpnAtom (551727)

          "Why would you need to give any data to anyone, other than proving your ID?"

          Well if you want a passport with your name on it, they need to know your name,
          If you want to pay your taxes, rather than someone else's, they need to know which is your tax return?

          "The system should be designed so that the "trust authority" cannot be able to track who you are giving your ID to."

          True but that would depend on encrypting the data at the ID checkpoint as well as on the 3rd party's database, with no backdoors. Free choi

          • by loufoque (1400831)

            Well if you want a passport with your name on it, they need to know your name,
            If you want to pay your taxes, rather than someone else's, they need to know which is your tax return?

            Yes, so?
            What data are you exactly giving away?
            When you register for a passport, the government already adds you to a database. I don't see what new data you are giving away to anyone with the digital ID scheme, be it the government or a third party.

            True but that would depend on encrypting the data at the ID checkpoint as well as o

            • by UpnAtom (551727)

              "Yes, so?
              What data are you exactly giving away?
              When you register for a passport, the government already adds you to a database. I don't see what new data you are giving away to anyone with the digital ID scheme, be it the government or a third party."

              In particular, you would be giving away the data that all these disparate records in different databases hold data on you.

              I'm certainly not happy about the passport database, nor the fact they need to scan my passport even when I go through the free travel zone

  • Labours launched some random identity card program, now coalition government is launching a virtual ID card program. I don't know which is worse.

    • In fact as a former regional co-ordinator of NO2ID, I can point out that NO2ID were consulted and have approved this scheme.

      We accept that there is a demand by the public to be able to easily authenticate/identify themselves for the purposes of govt services, many of which can be delivered online. Success of this scheme will deny Big Brother govts the opportunity to masquerade a future surveillance scheme as a benefit to the public.

      Secondly, the scheme complies with the Nine Principles of Data Privacy: htt [amberhawk.com]

      • In fact as a former regional co-ordinator of NO2ID, I can point out that NO2ID were consulted and have approved this scheme.

        Proof positive that NO2ID were a front of the Tory party all along.

        Notably, all data is held by a trusted third party.

        ... with the dumb ass idea that private enterprise is to be trusted where government is not.

        • by UpnAtom (551727)

          "Proof positive that NO2ID were a front of the Tory party all along."

          Ahahaha, yet run by a left winger (Phil Booth). The threat posed by the party you presumably support was so extreme that party politics went out the window. It was both a glorious and terrified resistance movement.

          "... with the dumb ass idea that private enterprise is to be trusted where government is not."

          Depends which Govt really, doesn't it. The one that invents evidence to invade Iraq, locks up people for reading out the names of th

          • the party you presumably support

            If you're guessing any of the big 3, you're wrong. However...

            Depends which Govt really, doesn't it. The one that invents evidence to invade Iraq, locks up people for reading out the names of the Iraqi dead at the Cenotaph, passes two laws which can abolish Parliament with Parliament debating it probably isn't a good one to trust.

            ...just confirms my comment about NO2ID being a Tory front.

            • by UpnAtom (551727)

              Yes because anyone concerned about totalitarianism is a Tory, got it.

              • Are you a Tory?

                • by UpnAtom (551727)

                  Nope, but you're Labour.

                  I sympathise with the LibDems mostly, but I think all political parties are cults so refuse to join them. I'm probably going to campaign for an independent mayor against the LibDem candidate.

    • The conservatives opposed Labours National ID card scheme on principle and due to IT cost concerns, and they scrapped it as soon as they got power. And now they launch their own National ID scheme based on mobile phones. Obviously they are far worse. Hypocrites of the first order.

  • I *am* Corbin Dallas.

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