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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 kazade84 ( 1078337 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:50AM (#29282697)

    From the UK and don't like the ID card proposals? Then use your vote next year! []

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:42AM (#29282909)

      It seems to be overlooked that the opposition Conservative Party [] has also pledged to ditch ID cards.

      They may not be as sexy as the Pirate Party and no doubt fail to appeal to the rebellious outsider image of the typical /.er, but on the other hand have considerably more chance of winning and actually scrapping the scheme.

      • by FinchWorld ( 845331 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:53AM (#29282965) Homepage

        Really? ID cards are unpopular, they want to be elected, and oddly, they oppose it, funny that.

        I've seen enough elections to know whilst they oppose it now, they'll love it if they get into power, lest the plebs think they matter.

      • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:56AM (#29282979)

        The conservative party? Would this be the same party that used soldiers in surplus police uniforms to put down the miners strike? The same party that used the SAS to carry out extrajudicial executions? That abolished the right to remain silent in police custody?

        The above post is only 'informative' for young people and those with defective memories. Whatever the Tories say is, as it always has been, a lie. Reflect for a moment that the current Labour party got where it was today by imitating the tories...

        • by stupid_is ( 716292 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:07AM (#29283043) Homepage

          Whatever a politician says is, as it always has been, a lie.


        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's great that all you need to get points on /. is to repeat sufficiently mindless and cynical cliches.

          No need to consider that political parties as well as people can change, that politicians might just do what they say and occasionally adopt a standpoint out of principle.

          No, just stick to the old "they're all liars and swindlers" line. Then nothing's your fault, there's no need even to vote, and you are absolved of all responsibility for anything that happens. Just moan about it for /. points.

          • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:12AM (#29283073)
            It isn't fair to judge the Tories on their records? Bullshit, it is fair. The Pirate Party are the only ones serious about challenging ID cards; the tories are just making noises about it for political gain.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by xaxa ( 988988 )

              The Green Party are also against ID cards.

              I don't know if there'll be a Pirate Party candidate for me to vote for next year, but if there is I'll seriously think about voting for them instead of the Greens.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by damburger ( 981828 )
                True, but the green party have quite a bit of extra baggage i.e. their opposition to nuclear power in a world facing a potentially lethal energy shortfall.
                • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:55AM (#29283253)

                  They've given mostly decent reasons for their opposition: policy (PDF) []. I don't agree with all of them, but I doubt I'll agree with everything the Pirate Party says.

                  The energy solutions of the current government are crap anyway -- massive, inefficient, fossil-fuel power stations. If we're going to burn coal, we should at least be using the "waste" heat to do something useful, like heat homes and factories. Instead of building a massive power plant in the Kent countryside, why not build 10 smaller CHP plants in/near towns?
                  This isn't a new idea, my university in central London had a gas (I think) CHP plant, and many towns in the rest of Europe have plants run by power companies powered by various fuels.

                  I won't support nuclear power run by a for-profit company either, the clean-up costs come to the taxpayer in the end, so the profits from the generation should too.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by FourthAge ( 1377519 )

                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

                • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @07:09AM (#29283311)

                  Erm... I did their test. They're rich nutters who don't "believe" in climate change, want to abolish the minimum wage, would like to see some proper poverty, and want the British crime rate to match the American one.

                  More seriously, I don't see how their economic policies are in any way sustainable. They appear to encourage exploitation of workers, resources and the environment/land.

                  The current system sucks, but we can do better than this.

                • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @08:13AM (#29283629)

                  Libertarianism is a recipe for fail.

                  We see over and over again that "the market" brings poverty and misery to millions, yet libertarians still worship it like some sort of god.

                  The world does not work by magic, human nature is selfish and abusive. Libertarianism would result, very quickly, in an effective return to feudalism and serfdom.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by FourthAge ( 1377519 )

                    The alternative to a distributed system like a free market is a centralised system like a Government, which takes a large proportion of our earnings and then wastes them. There is nothing magical about this: distributed is better than centralised.

                    (Minarchist) libertarians believe in the rule of law and would not dismantle laws that truly exist for the protection of ordinary people, rather than existing simply to keep them out of work and dependent on the state (e.g. the benefit system and minimum wage).


                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      by turgid ( 580780 )

                      People on welfare have all the spare minutes in the world. Why aren't they bettering themselves?

                      People on "welfare" include the badly mentally and physically disabled, the sick, the dying, the frail, etc.

                      Not everyone is a capitalist powerhouse able to toil relentlessly for 14 hours a day, 6 days a week for a pittance to put a manky, dilapidated roof over their head and moldy bread in their mouth.

                      At least in a civillised country, these people will be fed, housed, clothed and probably cared for medically

            • by cowbutt ( 21077 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:52AM (#29283239) Journal

              The Pirate Party are the only ones serious about challenging ID cards; the tories are just making noises about it for political gain.

              The Lib Dems and Greens are also strongly opposed to 'em, and both are more likely to be in a position to be able to assert power and do something about it. I fear the Pirate Party's obsession with 'free (gratis) stuff' also blinds them to the harm it'll do to Free (libre) software.

        • Would this be the same party that used soldiers in surplus police uniforms to put down the miners strike? The same party that used the SAS to carry out extrajudicial executions? That abolished the right to remain silent in police custody?

          Yes, No, and sort of but not really.

          Do I get an A* at political studies?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kazade84 ( 1078337 )

        That's true. But it's pretty much a given that the Torys will get in next time anyway. A few seats for the Pirate Party will reinforce that policy, (if the Conservatives have a change of heart for example). A party doesn't have to win to have influence on government decisions (look at the Green Party or Lib Dems).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:04AM (#29283031)

        It seems to be overlooked that the opposition Conservative Party [] has also pledged to ditch ID cards.

        You seem to have overlooked the fact that the last Conservative government repeatedly introduced proposals for national ID cards, and were generally even worse than the current lot on civil liberties. There is no reason anyone would believe their pledge.

        • by FourthAge ( 1377519 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:12AM (#29283071) Journal

          Mod parent up.

          There are some Conservatives who oppose ID cards and authoritarian policies, such as David Davis and Daniel Hannan, but they spend most of their time being demonised by the media for being "right wing". Consequently they have no political influence within the party, which is simply New Labour with different people.

          • by cowbutt ( 21077 )

            There are some Conservatives who oppose ID cards and authoritarian policies, such as David Davis [...] but they spend most of their time being demonised by the media for being "right wing"

            Really? Got a reference for that? I perceive David Davis' relative lack of influence as coming from his (welcome) views on the value of civil liberties!

      • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blackest_k ( 761565 )

        If Gordon Brown is as unpopular as he is painted then the winner to the greater or lesser extent will be the conservative party.

        The conservative party will not need your vote to win but the pirate party needs every vote it can get to stand a chance of being seen as a significant interest group.

  • They will sell it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damburger ( 981828 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:55AM (#29282723)

    Just like they sold the DVLA database to car buying/selling services (with fucking annoying adverts) where you can text a registration number to a number and get a car history/valuation from it.

    You pay the DVLA for them to process data on your vehicle so you can legally drive it. Then the government sells it to a private corporation, which sells it back to the people who paid for it in the first place for a profit.

    As it will be for the ID card database. The government will not be able to resist selling access to it, and every business that can pay will know your criminal history. In a society that is trying to criminalise littering and file sharing, that is not a pleasant prospect.

    • by Jurily ( 900488 )

      In a society that is trying to criminalise littering and file sharing, that is not a pleasant prospect.

      It's not the society, it's the people you vote for. Why do you keep voting the same two parties over and over again? (Before I get flamed, do you really think there's a difference?)

      • 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.

      • Why do you keep voting the same two parties over and over again?

        We don't all vote the same that's what bullshit democracy is about sadly most people only think their vote counts if they vote for one of the 2 main parties.

    • and every business that can pay will know your criminal history.

      Hmm could come in handy for vetting the short list for that bank job I'm planning :)

    • by dword ( 735428 )

      As it will be for the ID card database. The government will not be able to resist selling access to it, and every business that can pay will know your criminal history.

      Do you have anything at all to sustain that statement?

  • hey, UK (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:56AM (#29282725)

    Stop this shit. You're embarrassing yourselves and setting a bad example for other countries.

    • Re:hey, UK (Score:4, Insightful)

      by damburger ( 981828 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:11AM (#29282773)
      Yes, it is a shame on us that we elected to power such people as Queen Elizabeth II, Gordon Brown and Lord Mandelson. Oh, hang on a moment...
      • Re:hey, UK (Score:4, Informative)

        by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:44AM (#29282921)

        Yes, you're right, no one elected Gordon Brown to power... Oh wait, yes they did:

        Labour - Gordon Brown - 24278
        SNP - Alan Bath - 6062
        Liberal Democrats - Alex Cole-Hamilton - 5450
        Conservative - Stuart Randall - 4308
        Scottish Socialist - Steve West - 666
        UKIP - Peter Adams - 516
        Scottish Senior Citizens - James Parker - 425
        Independent - Elizabeth Kwantes - 47
        Independent - Pat Sargent - 44

        (Results for the 2005 Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath parliamentry elections)

        • Re:hey, UK (Score:5, Informative)

          by damburger ( 981828 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:50AM (#29282945)

          There you go ladies and gentlemen - the most powerful man in our country, our effective head of state for some issues - voted in by 24278 people in Scotland who, due to the devolved parliament there, will not be affected by many of his decisions anyway.

          Furthermore, he wasn't leader of the Labour party in 2005, so those people did not elected him as PM they elected him as Chancellor.

          This is about as democratic as Iran. Yes, there is technically a vote - but the context of it and result are so warped you cannot really consider it a democratic election.

          • Re:hey, UK (Score:5, Funny)

            by damburger ( 981828 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:02AM (#29283019)
            Flamebait? Seriously? Has a random number generator been given mod points or something?
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              >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 pe
            • Re:hey, UK (Score:4, Insightful)

              by thisnamestoolong ( 1584383 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @07:49AM (#29283467)
              There are some mods on this site who can't tell the difference between flames and opposing viewpoints. I am going to chalk it up to watching too much Fox News.
          • Re:hey, UK (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ma8thew ( 861741 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:04AM (#29283027)
            No shit, because we don't elect the Prime Minister. We elect the government.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by damburger ( 981828 )
              Nope, the government is appointed by the PM, who is appointed by the party. In the most recent case, this was done without the involvement of the electorate at all. You fail politics.
              • by Ma8thew ( 861741 )
                No, the government is the party in parliament with the most seats. And we elect the people in the seats. It's not a perfect system, but to compare it to Iran is dangerous and ignorant.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Angostura ( 703910 )

            so those people did not elected him as PM they elected him as Chancellor.

            Hmmm, no. They voted for him as their member of parliament. He was chosen as leader by the party members, including the elected MPs.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by beelsebob ( 529313 )

            What's warped about it. This vote was carried out in the exact same way all other UK parliamentary elections were carried out.

        • by gsslay ( 807818 )

          Yes, you're right, no one elected Gordon Brown to power...

          The Labour Party voted him into power. The Labour Party was voted into power by the electorate. This is how it works. This is always how it has worked. This is how every PM from the year dot has been voted in.

          Those whining about it are acting like it has come as a surprise. All they're really complaining about is it's only now a big problem because it doesn't suit their personal politics.

          If you don't like it, vote for a party who want to overhaul the electoral system.

    • Which countries? As far as I'm aware most of the EU have mandatory ID cards. France is the only big exception.
      • Which countries? As far as I'm aware most of the EU have mandatory ID cards. France is the only big exception.

        Yeah, but they are not yet linked to any central database. The ID card data in Germany is managed on city level. As yet there is no biometric data on the card except for a photograph. Also, they are mandatory to own, not to carry. If I get stopped by traffic police, they ask for my driving licence and work with that, not my ID card.

        Criminal records are tied to name/birthdate not the ID card primary key.

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:10AM (#29282767)
    Every time you have contact with the governments your name will land in a database to properly assign the bit of info to the correct person. Tax ? You are in the tax database. Crime ? You are in some police DB (print,possibly DNA, photo etc...). Identity ? You are in birth certificate, death certificate at the end. The alternative of not being in those database, is possibly to be mismatched to somebody else. So people get their panties in a knot when the government try to do a proper job to make sure they have identified the correct persons, but when they refuse them the tool to do so, and error happens, they get their panties in a bunch and accuse the government to be unprofessional, doing a bad job, then possibly suggest a private entity which will have possibly worst privacy or less oversight. Sure government should not willy-nilly be able to use or abuse such data, but it is the abuse which should be reprimanded. Not the normal usage. And the linking above, do not sound abusive. We call it here around a background check and it is done by checking your judicial database for sex offense.
    • 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.

      • Keeping accurate track of such information should be trivial. Actually doing it should be a no-brainer.

        That's good, because the government has no brains :-)

        You're dead right in that we need a simple, reliable ID system, and that (if done well) it would be less intrusive than the current silly, ad hoc systems currently used when it is necessary to verify ID (one favorite method is to ask for a gas or electricity bill - but all the gas and electricity firms are moving to paperless billing...).

        Problem is, the gubment has such a stellar record on delivering IT systems that nobody in their right mind trusts the

      • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:18AM (#29283099)

        The Id card as proposed by the UK government is not a simple reference document, but it allows connection with any means of electronic media, including computer databases, of course. This opens a huge can of worms: forming a resistance movement against an authoritative power will become very difficult, or even impossible.

        Here is an example: suppose that you are interested in the preservation of the environment and the climate change; you don't want to sit on your couch all day, and the next G7 climate change meeting is not far from your country. You take a holiday, and then riding the first plane to the city where the climate change meeting takes place, you participate in the rallies against G7 policies regarding the climate. Sooner or later, you are part of a street battle with the local police that wants you not to rally at all. They arrest you, they get your picture and send it to the London's police department along your ID card data. They open a record for you in the UK criminal database as a possible "environmental terrorist".

        You then return home, only to find that you have been fired. Although it hurts your feelings, you try another job. But without luck...employee after employee connect to the UK's criminal database using your Id card only to find out that you are a "terrorist". You are essentially finished...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bakuun ( 976228 )
          So you're worried that if you get arrested abroad, that information will be available to police authorities in your home country? Why? In my opinion, that's how it should be.

          The example you give is hardly something we would want, of course. The problem, however, is not with the data integration - it is with (1) you getting in a "street battle", (2) the police terming you an "environmental terrorist" and (3) your employer firing you on unreasonable grounds (unless you're working in an area where such things

        • Mod parent up. This has hit the nail on the head.
      • by CaptainOfSpray ( 1229754 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:26AM (#29283131)
        KÃre vÃn, you are comparing a country where 64% of managers have engineering or technology degrees, where the customary approach to selecting options is to gather measurable facts and do some calculations based on those facts, with a country where 38% of managers have no formal qualifications at all (not even basic school leaver certificate), and almost all options are selected by dogma or whim.

        Sweden is not perfect - the same id number has been allocated to a new born baby as is already in use by someone over a hundred years old (that's fun for the old lady when she gets called to the doctor for a post-natal checkup!). But in general it works because (a) most government and commercial business is run mostly on rational processes (b) the freedom of information laws and privacy laws have teeth. Most government naughtiness gets caught out.

        Britain is by comparison chaotic and irrational. Most of us like it that way because we can get on with our lives without any central or local government snoop knowing enough about us to interfere (and believe me, they would if they could - just look at the frequency of local councils using terror laws to combat littering!). Our real objection to ID cards is just this - we don't want to be ordered around by petty jumped-up know-it-all officials.
      • by mrrudge ( 1120279 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:32AM (#29283151) Homepage
        Ah Sweden. This is a discussion I ( English ) have with my gf ( Swedish ) often, and I think it's important to realise that Sweden is almost alone in having a paternal socialist government which is largely fair. In my experience a Swedish approach to living in England often results in frustration and genuine shock that people could live like this.

        In England, personal information is very likely to be abused or used for profit by people who are effectively above the law, and it's unlikely that this information will have any positive effect on society, so people are naturally cautious as to plans like this, they feel ( correctly in my opinion ) that it's a loss of power for no gain. These laws tend to have clauses which exonerate the ruling classes, a lack of transparency which inspires contempt and a high likelihood that the data will be stored ( and used ) incorrectly.

        England does not work. It's run by self-serving and generally unaccountable people who believe they are superior to large sections of the population, an opinion based largely on birthright. The class system I imagine was useful in an empire context where everyone knowing their place resulted in the entirety of the country ( questionably ) achieving greatness, but it is now almost impossible to dissolve, as this would require a reduction in power for a group of people who's entirety is based around not doing so.

        You're right to say that in Sweden this would not be a problem, and is a good idea. In England not so.
      • 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dunkelfalke ( 91624 )

          And that is a problem with any number used as an ID. Same shit happens with the American SSN.

          Germany has done it right for once: The number of the personal ID card is just a serial number and the date of birth and by itself meaningless. Only the ID card itself can be used as identification so to steal someone's identity the card itself has to be stolen (and it has got a colour photo and the signature on it) AND the thief has to be able to access the victim's mailbox (because his address is on the back side

    • by Spad ( 470073 )

      It's not so much the data collection, but the data collation.

      Right now it it (or at least should be) easy to control who has access to what information about individuals, but if you start collating all of the disparate databases into one, linked off a single identifier and allow tens of thousands of people access to at least parts of it, then your asking for trouble. Especially when the current British government has shown both an amazing disregard for the wishes of the public and a level of incompetence th

  • SOP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdot.spad@co@uk> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:15AM (#29282793) Homepage

    The claim that they will be used for "background checks on people who work with children and vulnerable people" as just an extension of the earlier plans to issue the cards to foreigners, i.e. a way to try and make the deployment of the cards acceptable to the public by initially issuing them to disliked groups (Paedophiles, Immigrants & Criminals) so that by the time they get to the rest of society it's too late to do anything about it.

    • Anyone who works with children or the mentally disabled even peripherally (teachers, sports coaches, authors who give school talks) already has to submit themselves to a criminal records check (CRB check) to confirm they're not a pedophile. I work in a school, and it was a huge long form with a substantially amount of additional ID such as my passport and driving licence I had to provide in order to be employed. There's already been a number of high-profile incidents of false positives []; people with a simila

  • I'm all for privacy so don't get me wrong... But what is the point of having a criminal record system if the information is not easily available? A criminal record is a public thing, and it's relevant that a person can be matched to it.

    • by Spad ( 470073 )

      It's the difference between a potential employer requesting a CRB Check and large swathes of the population potentially having access to your record whenever you use your ID card (such as buying any age-controlled items).

      Publically accessible by request is not the same as browsable on demand.

    • The title is grossly misleading. It's not about adding a national_id_number field to the criminal record database: it's about forcing everyone who applies for a certificate that they don't have a criminal record to also apply for entry into a "voluntary" database which aggregates far more data than ever previously stored about British citizens.

      Once you're in you can't get out, and you become subject to a $1500 fine if you, for example, fail to update the database when you move house.

      Moreover, something like

  • 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.
  • The slippery slope really does exist!

    (That is, while in logic, a slippery slope argument is a kind of fallacy [they aren't logically inevitable], in the real world, many kinds of political change do in practice [] resemble a slippery slope, where each successive change makes it easier to introduce the next one.)

  • by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:24AM (#29282837) Homepage

    Anyone who "thinks of the children" when writing or promoting legislation will be deported to the moon.

  • I'm all for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stachel ( 718095 ) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:34AM (#29282887)

    In fact, why not take it a step further? Why limit the use of this system to the protecting only of children and vulnerable people?

    I propose a system where offenders are clearly marked using clean, unique identifiers, worn in a visible place. For example, on their lapels or coats. By marking people this way, it will be easy to pick them out to disallow access to certain areas and to provide for continuous easy monitoring of their ways.

    Distinctions could be made between sex offenders, thieves, previously convicted enemies of the state, etcetera, by using a colour-coding system of sorts.

    • Why have it on the card? We could implement some kind of numerical coding system, and have it tattoed onto the skin to prevent theft of their unique identifier!

      I thought this thread would be Godwin'd long before now.
    • Why not indeed? Such a system would only be misused if the Government was "fascist".

      A nice cuddly left-liberal Government like New Labour (or their "conservative" successors) would only use the system for good.

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:59AM (#29283005) Homepage

    The Home Office has announced new security measures for identity cards.

    "The biometrics, chip and PIN, RFID transponder, fingerprint-reader, real-time spectroscopic DNA analyser and two-way radio that demands 'papers please!' in a cod-German accent inexplicably failed to completely eliminate crime or identity fraud or stop terrorism," said Home Secretary For Life Jacqui Smith, "so we're getting back to the basics of PFI-funded governmental identity management: magic beans, pixie dust and snake oil []. EDS Capita Goatse's experience in these areas is unparalleled."

    Identification procedures have duly been enhanced. Magic beans are squashed into the paper driving licence, producing a pixie-dust effect when inspected by the police. Day-to-day purchases are made smoother by the snake oil, with the pixie-dust glow authenticating the transaction. Frequenters of brothels will be able to require the prostitute to wave her identity card at them and be reassured by the pixie-dust glitter certifying her bona fides as a legal resident.

    The requirements for getting a bank account -- a retinal scan, hair clippings, 250 millilitres of blood and three documents for every address change since twenty years before your birth -- remain unchanged.

    The new identity card weighs thirty-five kilograms. All UK residents must carry it everywhere at all times and produce it on demand of council bin inspectors or any higher official.

  • It doesn't take much to see the Overton Window at work on both sides of the pond. []
  • 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
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ragein ( 901507 )
      I Dislike being modded Troll there, the comment was intended as a frank answer to the article using personal experiance.

      Working within three schools and one other company also requiring a CRB.
  • I don't get it.. were criminal records anonymous before this? if they can look up your name and get your record, it's already linked to your identity, isn't it?

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Yeah, but it wasn't stamped on a card that you had to carry around with you. Neither was it tied into something which required your fingerprints. Neither was it tied into something that *you* would have to be pay for. Neither was it required even if you'd never committed a crime in your life.

      Nobody's saying that "identity" or "databases" don't exist, of course they do and damn well should do to make people pay their taxes and carry their history into the future. What the nay-sayers are saying is: Why th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @07:10AM (#29283321)

    In case you might not grasp the reality of the mission creep which inevitably follows the implementation of any system which potentially trivialises the access to private data, see here how the use of the Oyster card system, ostensibly used to streamline public transport in London, has transformed over the years. Bear in mind that the same system is now being promoted for other cities in the UK:

    2003 - Civil liberties concerns brushed aside []
    2006 - Police increasingly access Oyster travel database []
    2008 - Security service wants full access to whole travel database 2008 []

    Once it is in place, the use of the system will be extended, and it will be well nigh impossible to get rid of. That is guaranteed - unless you raise a storm over it, and truly punish your MP for their behaviour.

    Remember: your MP doesn't care what you think. Except for the two or three months immediately prior to an election, they only care about the organisations who lobby them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @07:32AM (#29283411)

    The "If you have nothing to hide" lobby are missing an important point. We don't live in a full democracy. If we did, there would be no problem.

    The difficulty lies in the fact that we have a tiered democracy (don't call it 'representative', it isn't.) We vote only for the people who will take the actual decisions; we have no say over the legislation itself. That system allows rich individuals and organisations to influence our 'representatives' far more effectively than our puny vote does.

    In such a flawed system the only thing preventing our MPs from going completely off track, is the notion that should they go too far, they will have a riot on their hands and they would run the real risk of suffering retribution. The sheer numbers of the people who might be involved in such a reaction ensure that the state is kept responsive to the people's needs. Back in the eighties UK, the poll tax was abandoned only after extensive rioting in the streets, not because of polite letters sent to MPs.

    Step forward Big Brother. With the technology available today, it is possible for fewer and fewer people to keep tabs on the population at large and identify malcontents before they have an opportunity to act.

    In a world where protesters have to ask the police for permission to protest, where a person's location can be identified through the mobile phone records and the national motorway vehicle identification database, where email headers and phone traffic data is routinely held and scrutinised, the ability to mount an effective protest is rapidly diminishing.

    Yes, I do want to retain the ability to riot (legal or not) because if we as a citizenry ever loose that ability, we might as well also give up the vote, because we will surely have lost any say in the running of this country.

    There is every reason to avoid yet more databases.

  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by selven ( 1556643 )

      if you do have a criminal background, you should be discouraged against

      I disagree with this. How can criminals become productive members of society if they get ostracized?

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard