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Government Privacy

UK Plans To Link Criminal Records To ID Cards 359

Death Metal writes with this excerpt from about the UK's national ID card scheme: "Privacy advocates have reacted angrily to reports that the government plans to link national identity records to criminal records for background checks on people who work with children and vulnerable people. Up to 11 million such workers could be affected immediately if the plan goes ahead. Phil Booth, national co-ordinator of privacy advocates NO2ID, said the move was consistent with the various forms of coercion strategy to create so-called volunteers for national ID cards. 'Biometrics are part of the search for clean, unique identifiers,' Phil Booth said. He said the idea was patently ridiculous when the Home Office was planning to allow high street shops and the Post Office to take fingerprints for the ID card."
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UK Plans To Link Criminal Records To ID Cards

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  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:18AM (#29282813)
    I will not have biometric ID card, and I will resign over it.

    I'm currently writing to my MP, my Union representitive, donating to NO2ID, and looking very seriously at becomming a member of the Pirate Party UK.
  • by bakuun ( 976228 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:32AM (#29282877)
    I completely agree. How is a government supposed to do everything it needs to do if it cannot accurately keep track of its citizens?

    In Sweden, where I originally come from (now working in the UK), data is heavily integratated like this. Special, independent, departments oversee the use of the data in order to prevent abuse. And everything just works! Sure, it means that the government has an easier time detecting tax and benefit fraud, but hey... that's not so bad, is it?

    Since I came here to the UK, I've really come to appreciate the way those things are handled in Sweden. My girlfriend was unable to get a cell-phone contract, since a credit background check showed that somebody previously living at our address had had problems with debt. The idea of identifying people by their address is utterly absurd as it changes constantly as we move around - but in a country with no effective ID system, it is necessary. I've lost count of how many times I've been asked to bring a gas bill with my name on it to prove where I live - also completely crazy. Keeping accurate track of such information should be trivial. Actually doing it should be a no-brainer.

  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:36AM (#29282897)

    See my comments elsewhere. The notion we have an elected government in the UK would be charitably described as an 'exaggeration'.

    Our head of state is an unelected Monarch whose power is quite real although understated.

    Our head of government was elected by a Scottish constituency during an election held whilst he was not leader of his party. He makes decisions that do not affect his constituency, on issues that are devolved to the Scottish parliament.

    We are overdue a republic.

  • Already Happening (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ragein ( 901507 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:17AM (#29283087)
    I do not really like the idea of mandatory Id cards but on this particular story I have a differing opinion.

    Although this is not with ID cards you already need a CRB check to work with children, this uses a photocopy of your passport to check who you are. If Id cards are a safer identifier of a person biometrics and all and if they can be used to instantly give a CRB check (only to appropriate bodys local councils, schools ect)then I have to say it's a great idea.

    A person can wait up to six months to get a CRB check at the moment which in most cases means the person cannot start their job if working directly with children or have to be supervised if they work indirectly.

    Sources - Personal experiance
  • by chetbox ( 1335617 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:20AM (#29283113)
    It seems as though many have missed the fact that there will be an extra layer of protection in this scheme and have jumped to the conclusion that unauthorised people may gain access to one's criminal (and other?) records. The article states that people's ISA Statuses will be accessible to employers and voluntary organisations, and that

    people who work with children and vulnerable people have to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA),

    There is no mention of what the "ISA Status" that is visible to the employers actually includes and how detailed it is. It may be some arbitrary measurement of how much trouble you've been in or it could be details of your entire life history. Who knows.
    Frankly, I find this quotation (ISA) quite concerning because it seems like this government body decides how much of your personal information is available to others:

    Applicants will be assessed using data gathered by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), including relevant criminal convictions, cautions, police intelligence and other appropriate sources.

    However, it seems to suggest that based on all of this data the ISA will only give a "thumbs-up"or a "thumbs-down".
    (Let's also remember that this is just a "feasibility study" and seemingly not certain.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:39AM (#29283187)

    I used to live in London and I am from Sweden, I have gone through the pain of getting the initial bits and pieces set up and sorting out problems due to the previous tenants unpaid bills, which is a very awkward and unfamiliar process.

    I am strongly opposed to the id system in Sweden. Yes, it works very efficiently. So efficiently that you have to provide it in any non-cash transaction and quite a few other situations to boot. So efficiently that the id number was all that was needed to steal my identity, sign up for 5 different mobile contracts, take out loans in my name and buying a whole load of crap using my name and credit history.

    Here is the kicker - the credit rating agencies use the number of queries on your name as an indicator of how good your credit is. The more queries, the more likely you are to be in financial difficulties. Only they refuse to remove any references to fraudulent queries. Bad credit == can't rent a flat, get a phone etc. I was effectively banned from moving home for 5 years until this cleared from my record.

  • by FourthAge ( 1377519 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:42AM (#29283193) Journal

    As are the Libertarians [].

    Unlike all the other parties, their opposition to ID cards comes not from a specific belief that they are bad, but from the more general "minarchist" belief in small Government and personal liberty. They hold that large Government is harmful in itself, so Government should be constitutionally restricted to the things that no other organisation could do. This means that there would be no ID cards, but also no equivalently bad things, like DNA databases. Also, there would be no income tax: you keep what you earn, and public sector jobs cease to be a route to personal enrichment at the taxpayer's expense. Pretty radical idea, eh?

  • Re:hey, UK (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @07:12AM (#29283335)
    >Flamebait? Seriously?
    Pretty bizarre eh? FWIW, I agree with your post and I'm (currently) a Tory voter next time round but mainly because they're not Labour than anything else. Labour have been around so long there's a whole generation around that forgot some of the dodgy goings on the Tories got up to but then it's pretty much a different bunch in now so I'm prepared to give them another crack.
    Reasons I'm not voting Labour
    1. ID Card
    2. Iraq
    3. Selling off the gold at its lowest price
    4. Taxing the pension funds
    5. ID card (again).
  • by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @07:56AM (#29283511) Journal

    The Conservatives want to scrap the ID cards, but have made no comment on the database behind it, which is being built full steam ahead in conjunction with people getting new / renewal passports.

  • by gravis777 ( 123605 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @08:36AM (#29283811)

    Am I the only person who thinks this is a brilliant idea? I mean, if you are going to have a national ID program, yes, by all means, link it to the criminal database. Gosh, think of the money saved on criminal background checks alone! And I am sorry, but if you do have a criminal background, you should be discouraged against. I mean, I think most people are going to be able to see that if you got picked up for speeding in 1977 does not make you subject to not get hired, where a molestation charge in 2006 or something may make them think twice about hiring you as a teacher or someone who is going to be going into people's homes.

    The only thing about it is, there needs to be a program where citizens can see what is on their record, and dispute stuff mistakenly entered by inept data entry clerks.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.