Thursday, October 26, 2006

Coalition of the willing

I though it was only the tin foil hat brigade that seriously believed that the NIR would be part of the architecture for a new world order. I was wrong.

A telling quote:

"'We would violate the privacy laws of individual countries if we shared data as we wanted to,' said Potter [Troy Potter, biometrics programme manager for the US Department of Homeland Security's biometric border control programme]."

We already know this - given the illegal requests for data about airline passengers that the US immigration service insist are necessary.

Porter went on to say: "The last thing we want is for someone who has changed their ways and then we keep harassing them." What - by illegally disenfranchising them?

Too folorn to take this story fully apart right now. I may return to it when the disbelief and dispondency clear up.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

From the Reg

This makes worrying reading for anyone with an RFID passport. Tin foil passport wallets on!

Monday, October 09, 2006

They "misunderestimate" again

Press hooha today over the latest government "figures" for the ID card project. The latest estimate comes in at £5.4 billion - far short of the £19 billion suggested by the independent study carried out at the London School of Economics.

Trebles all round? Perhaps not. It looks as though there have been a few oversights in coming up with this figure. For a start, 70% is pledged to the rollout of "next generation" passports. Not the cards, just the passports. How much is the rollout of the cards, card readers, face scanners and fringerprint readers going to cost? Apparently not more than 30% of £5.4 billion.

But wait - it's worse: another 15% is budgeted for the IT costs. That's just £8.1 billion in IT costs. Compare this to the £12.4 billion already spent on the NHS IT fiasco, not to mention the £15 to £20 billion it is estimated will be required to make the NHS system workable. The Government just can't seem to get IT projects right (see entries on this blog passim). The identity register will be no more straighforward than the NHS project, with plans to share data throughout all Government departments.

So that's only £8.1 billion left over for all of the other costs - rolling out the plastic, the readers, the scanners, the manpower, the cost of chasing conscientious objectors (of whom there will be at least 11,365). And the up-front costs of consultants, advisors, PR agencies and feasibility studies are already eating into this at a rate of £63,000 per day.

Look again at the report by the LSE. Whose figures look more credible?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shilling for da man...

Sorry to do this - I know this site isn't fantastically "monetizable" but any advertising link you click on will help raise money to buy posters and flyers. It's better than hanging 'round town with a collecting tin. Also, if you follow one of the firefox links from this site and install the software in question, that also raises money. I can strongly recommend Firefox - it is better and more secure than IE. Google pack has popup and spyware killing tools and Picasa looks a lot like iPhoto - so download it only if you aren't lucky enough to have a Mac!

I promise the ads will go when we have enough money to buy some posters/leaflets. For reference - the ones we're after are this and this. If you're a generous printer prepared to give good rates on A5 leaflets in return for a big shout out on the blog (indeed, even a permanent advert!) then please email

The processing centre is opening soon. When it does, the database will have us all no matter what the Tories or Lib Dems may do. Help us stop it before it is too late.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How democracy works

The conservative party conference has thrown up some interesting position statements on ID cards. Pauline Neville Jones, head of the Tories' policy group on national and international security thinks that the Conservatives should back the cards in principle. Nevertheless, Cameron has decided to follow the lead of David Davis and to pledge to scrap ID cards if the party comes to power before the scheme has been introduced.

In Pakistan, ID cards are already in existence and are being used to systematically erode support for Benazir Bhutto. I'm not sure that Musharraf has party conferences.

Meeting Apologies

For those of you who tried to find us in the Varsity - their decision to hold a pound night threw a spanner in the works royally - I promise to find us a better venue for November.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Who do you trust with your data?

My landlady is lovely. I've only really spoken to her about four times but she's very nice: solicitous of my welfare and keen to fix any problems with the flat. However - I have rented from some right sod in the past, including one chap who was using our (student) house as a mailing address to commit housing benefit fraud from. Would I trust him to have access to the details on my ID card? According to the IPS I might have to. And the kid behind the counter in Blockbusters. And "Retailers of all kinds, including Internet companies".

But the real sting in the tail is this - according to section 9 of Schedule 1 of the Identity Cards act:

"The following may be recorded in the entry in the Register for an individual-

(a) particulars of every occasion on which information contained in the individual's entry has been provided to a person;

(b) particulars of every person to whom such information has been provided on such an occasion;

(c) other particulars, in relation to each such occasion, of the provision of the information."

Renting a house because you've left an abusive spouse or parent? It's on the register. Renting videos that, unbeknownst to you, have been pirated? It's on the register. Paid for information about a medical condition, or bought something to spice up your marriage online? It's on the register.

With a huge recruitment campaign to staff the 69 new "processing centres" it is inevitable that some less than savoury folks will get jobs. Security clearances will pick up those with existing criminal records, but not the abusive spouses, stalkers or those that can be induced to sell or give away information who will be applying for these jobs. And even those who are model employees, acting in the best of faith, can still end up handing your data over to criminals and extortionists.

Hand on heart - who do you trust with your information? Because as much as I like my landlady, there are things I don't even tell her.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Next Meeting

This Tuesday (3rd October), upstairs in the Varsity at 8pm. We'll be planning the next phase in the v-petition project, and publicity events for the opening of the new, aberystwyth-based "processing centre". Free badges! All welcome!