View Full Version : Identity cards

24th Nov 2004, 10:51
Can someone explain to me why identity cards will prevent terrorism, reduce crime etc? there must be apparently cogent arguments - it's just I can't find any myself.

24th Nov 2004, 10:57
The short answer is.... They won't. At least not alone.

Having said that - what they will do is provide everyone in the UK with a recognised photo ID that will be (hopefully) difficult to forge and therefore traceable.

Not 100% perfect, but nothing is. As I said in the other thread it has to be better than identifying ourselves with a gas bill!

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear from carrying an ID card. There will be little on that card that isn't already known.

24th Nov 2004, 11:06
The US has had a de-facto compulsory photo ID card for years now, a driving licence. Works well, it stops the cops arresting you because they don't know who you are and want to find out. The problem is the databases they are setting up, not the fact they can now identify you.

24th Nov 2004, 11:24
I've pointed this out many times before in JB discussion but for those who don't already know....

It's not the card or the information on the card that's important. To get a card you will have biometric data collected (e.g iris, retina, fingerprints, facial structure). This data will be stored on a National Biometric Database.

It will mean that with or without your card you could be identified anywhere - using a fingerprint or eye scan. Or perhaps without your consent using a facial scan (very unreliable incidentally).

Every time you do anything, or go anywhere, that requires a scan - this information will be logged on a national database. So various authorities will be able to collect and analyse information about ALL YOUR ACTIVITIES.

Are you really comfortable about this?

In the short term these could include...

- Train, bus, underground travel (scan on entry?)
- Car journeys (face recognition at toll booths)
- All credit card purchases (fingerprint scan to verify purchase?)
- All medical treatment (visits to STD clinic?)
- Scan on hotel check in for security reasons (sorry no more Mr and Mrs Smith)

Feeton Terrafirma
24th Nov 2004, 11:45
I can see several perspectives on the identification capability.


it would tend to lessen crime and increase the chances of being caught.

Less positively, if you are 100% law abiding then what is there to fear?

Against: Big brother would be able to track every little thing you did, and possibly would then find ways to tax you for it. (ok that should be probably)

Who is so perfect that they NEVER break the law in some small way?

I guess the current royals and various celebs would already know what it's like to have people track your every move. It does take away that fundamental sense of privacy.

One last comment - I don't care what promises, legal restrictions, or other limits are placed on the ability to track, monitor, and record peoples activities when a system is introduced because I KNOW that it won't be long before exceptions are made and the restrictions are whittled away.

24th Nov 2004, 11:52
What's the problem with the identification bio-data, Iris scan or whatever, being held on the card itself. No need for centralised databases but identity can be verified quickly by an appropriate reader.
Example: the PRIVIUM system at Schiphol. Iris data is held on your personal card. An immigration officer checks yer passport and confirms that you are the person getting the card issued and bingo. No more immigration control. Absolutely bril. saves waiting up to 1/2 hour in security+immigration queues - a real benefit on the short hauls.

An observation:
The people of the UK really only have themselves to blame......if there had been a quiet acceptance of identity cards a few years ago there would be an established id card system WITHOUT the bio-data. Now that bio-data can be kept easily it's obvious that any new system will be based on that method.

24th Nov 2004, 12:29

The problem with an ID card that contains all the biometric data is that it can then be forged. For an ID system to be reliable it must refer back to a central database to confirm the biometric data at each enquiry. This will ensure that the data matches the details on the card.

If you rely an a card alone (such as the new biometric passports) then the forger will simply encode your own biometric data on a false indentity. Remember border checks will only confirm that the passport matches the person and that entry and exit can be easily traced. (that is all the current system of entry into the USA does.) it does not check your fingerprints vs any database. ( please note the fingerprint checking shown on programs such as CSI takes weeks not seconds if you do not have any idea who you are looking for.)

A further objection to a system such as this is cost. 3billion is the anticipated cost.Who would like to guess what it will actually be? This will not be an off the shelf solution it will be tailor made and will have huge levels of risk (risk that the project will fail to meet its contractual obligations that is).

24th Nov 2004, 13:12
GeneralMelchet Sir,

The PRIVIUM method requires an Iris scan to matche the card you introduce into the reader.
If you do not have an iris that matches the data on the card - no easy passage.
Therefore, it becomes difficult to forge.
The Privium system was run under very stingent control to validate the efficaity and security issue. The reason that the data is held only on the card was specifically to avoid having a central database of personal bio-data. It has won awards for what it does and is being considered by many other airports (I think BAA too??)

24th Nov 2004, 13:34
Allas the 9-11 hijackers which numbered fifteen I think had in total 64 drivers licenses from all over the country. A national license would held that total down to thirty or so maybe.

Good people are willing to be regularized bad people are not.

24th Nov 2004, 13:43
Fundamentally, I have no issue with the ID card - whether we like it or not, such devices exist already in the form of credit card and via the mobile phone we all carry in our pockets, our movements can be traced. What does worry me is security of all of this data that will be centrally held. If someone got access, it would be very easy to steal identities, certainly enough to cause major confusion and possibly worse. Biometric data could be replaced and suddenly Arthur Dent who has lived all his life in Guildford and knows that he is Arthur Dent, and has had a thing about Tricia McMillan ever since he met her at a party in Islington, may find that his data has been replaced by Prostecnic Vogon Jeltz and that he no longer 'officially' exists or at least cannot prove that he exists. Far from helping security, this makes matters worse because you never know who you are chasing !!

If anyone remembers the Max Headroom Television show, there were a whole bunch of people who had no identity, both by non compliance and theft, and therefor did not officially exist. Blank Reg, as I recall, used to drink Abbot Ale which is enough to destroy the self identity of anyone !! This is getting too real !!

24th Nov 2004, 13:58
I wonder how much we will be charged to take part in this compulsory scheme?

I also wonder how often they will have to be updated.

24th Nov 2004, 14:58
...and if yours gets "damaged" i.e. fails to swipe, that will be a 2,000 fine! The same goes for lost cards or non-updated records (yes, you'll have to tell Them if you move). My conspiracy theory - the fines are intended to pay for the giant cost overruns that will inevitably set in two days into the project.

24th Nov 2004, 15:27
It's shameful that you all mostly look at the negative aspects of biometric data. Imagine the day when every schoolgirl, OAP etc. will have an online, always connected camera on them linked directly into the central database. In 15 seconds flat, a squad car will be on their way to arrest the sexual delinquent or the salesman who has a habit of selling 5,000 alarm systems for 2ups and 2downs....?!

OK, at some stage in the near future there may also be a few problems when trying to chat up birds in the pub. The camera, linked to an online blood-alcohol processor thinggie may set off an alarm just when you thought you were going to get your leg over. Do it too often and you might get a reputation. :(

I think they should launch a pilot scheme first. All MPs would be on the database. Cameras would be able to confirm the amount of time they actually spent in Parliament. And the time getting to and from their various residences. And in-between. Of course, I can't see the thing working unless it were installed throughout Europe, in order to apply to all our Euro-MPs too. Fair's fair. Costs for this pilot scheme could be defrayed by giving an independent TV company exclusive rights to diffuse the stuff. For everyone lazy enough not to watch it all in real time that is...:=

PPRuNe Radar
24th Nov 2004, 16:07
At least we know where the :mad: gets his policies from :)

Blinkett Random Policy Maker (http://www.qwghlm.co.uk/other/blunkett.php)

24th Nov 2004, 16:08

The card system you mention is great for local site security. It would prevent a lost or stolen card from being used by a casual intruder. In this case there is an access control database - a list of valid cards - the biometrics simply confirm that the authorised user has the card.

For ID usage outside a controlled environment such as the one you mentioned what exactly prevents forgery? If I get hold of your ID card and put my biometrics on it then I could travel as you!! The encription of data on the card can be broken. Just wait until these sytems are mainstream and you will see how quicky 50000, 15 year old geeks in their bedrooms will take to defeat them - it will be a competition!!

Depending on technology as a holy grail of security is doomed to failure. 20 (very clever) people will develop your security - 20000 very warped and demonically clever people will make it their lifes work to break it - just for fun!!

In the case of national iD cards there must be a database. If the card simply confirms the biometrics match the carrier of the card then cards can simply be knocked up at will. Even if it is a lost or stolen card the biometrics could be updated and you have identity fraud. ( lets face it how many lost or stolen cards will there be if this system gets up and running. It will take days or even weeks for the database to be updated to exclude a certain card number). If the biometrics are in a database then even if you lose the card it will be no use to anyone.

24th Nov 2004, 16:23

Not a chance. It will be more like 130. (if the government get their way over the Euro)

24th Nov 2004, 16:40
So let's look at it. If we have one card that acts as credit card, ID, driving licence etc and it gets lost or pick pocketed, you're totally in the S**t. For instance when travelling, I tend to keep credit cards separated.

How long to replace it? How much? Someone suggested 2000. Ridiculous.

Identity cards were considered useful in the dark days of WW2. I do not see how without a massive database connected instantly to everywhere the card may be used, the capability of detecting any semi competent forgeries will exist.

Consider the ingenuity of the prisoners of war in WW2 in forging the identity papers necessary to travel in Europe. If they, with their limited facilities, could produce adequate forgeries, what's to stop the much more sophisticated criminals or terrorists today?

Combined with being the first European government since Hitler to ban hunting, the talk of being able to lock up people suspected of terrorist connections without a public trial, and now identity cards, it all has an unpleasant smack to one who reads history of the Nazis or the Stalinists.

The argument that' if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear' is another one of the arguments historically used by repressive regimes. More to the point is 'If I have nothing to hide, why do you need to know it?'

Now as soon as you have to insert the card into the electronic voting machine in order to qualify yourself for voting, we really are back to where the Gestapo marked the voting papers with milk. 'Adolf' Blair, 'Heinrich' Blunkett, 'Herman' Hain......it's a good start to introducing repression, and if you allow only 'right minded' people to go into parliament, you have a semblence of democracy, but only a semblence. Note that judges are going to be bribed by not having their pensions limited, so it keeps them sweet.

OK, so I'm paranoid. I hope I'm wrong, but I do not see the safeguards. History has a habit of repeating itself.

izod tester
24th Nov 2004, 17:14
I have no problem with carrying an ID card - did so for years when I was in the RAF and I don't particularly mind the system from knowing my whereabouts; I have nothing to hide.

Further, earlier this year I had a problem that my passport was doing the rounds of a number of embassies getting visas when a short notice requirement to go to Italy for a couple of days came up. If we had UK national ID cards then there wouldn't have been a problem - travel within the EC does not require a passport if you have a national ID card.

24th Nov 2004, 17:15
Radeng hits the nail on the head (in his own paranoid fashon). ID cards themselves seem to most law abiding people as harmless.

But the whole system is dependant on benign government who are not out to harm you. A govenment should simply not be able to know everything about everybody. We work by government by concent.

When government controls your ID then they can manipulate it as it feels necessary.

Remember we already have a goverment who have taken us to war justified by lies and errors - and they are on our side! A government who had any less moral fibre would be down right dangerous even without knowing who everyone is and what they are doing!!

Don't get me started on the civil contingencies bill!!

If you want to make the UK safer - Spend 3billion on more customs men.

24th Nov 2004, 18:57
I think the basic idea of cards is fine and has been stated by others, credit/debit cards and mobile phones already give away much info. We also of course merrily hand supermarkets and the like including most scary of all, airlines, much info every time we use our loyalty cards. The whole issue of identity theft is however one which scares me witless. What safeguards could be brought in to protect against this ? If DNA/biometric data is tampered with, its a nightmare scenario. Hell, how would Danny prove that he is Danny or Drapes prove that he is Drapes? or worse, how would VFE prove that he is not a fan of BUSTED ?

24th Nov 2004, 19:26
If/when these ID cards come into use, how long will it be before you will be required to show them in foreign countries in order to gain entrance, or as ID when using credit cards etc .They can have foolproof security in the UK, but overseas might be a different matter.
Would anyone feel safe handing over a card with all their personal details on, in Nigeria for example.


24th Nov 2004, 19:29
izod, since the UK are not party to Schengen, UK citizens would still need more than an ID card...:(

24th Nov 2004, 19:35
As reported in today's Private Eye magazine, the company that has it's eye on the I.D. card contract is EDS.
The same company that the government is currently withholding a 1 million GBP payment from for the disastrous new Child Support Agency's computer system..........so, no worries there then:uhoh: :uhoh:

24th Nov 2004, 19:52
One noticed that the French living in the UK never had to apply for ID cards all these years. After all the centuries of fighting, they finally had the opportunity to quietly takeover. Apparently, they decided not to take whatever advantage the situation offered. In fact, the French just recently removed obligations to UK Citizens from applying for a French ID card. Don't they appreciate the risks? After all, the rosbif have quietly been buying up the north-western part of France...?! Some of us will soon be asking for direct rule by HM in the local elections... :E

24th Nov 2004, 22:10
Listen up fellow Brits. You are not accountable to the government.The government is accountable to you !
Convenience ?
A vacuum cleaner is very convenient but you are not criminalised for failing to posses one.
If you have nothing to hide etc ?
AAAAAAArgh!!!! Two words- Nazi Germany.Lets wire up your car to automatically fine you and issue points if you drive at 32 in a 30 zone.After all, if you,ve nothing to hide,,,
You already carry lots of stuff with personal info on it?
So what the hell do we need an ID card for then? Nobody is criminalised for failing to apply for the latest Egg Card.
Will cut out the black economy?
Utter bollox.Is the dodgy sweatshop owner going to demand to see cards?He's handing out dodgy jobs fer fecksakes!
Help fight terrorism ?
Two more big swinging hairy ones!Not a single shred of even the merest hint that it would make an iota of a difference.

This is a fundamental shift in the relationship between us and the state folks.You have a basic right to exist on this planet .It's called living and you don't need permission from the government to do it.You chose to bank,work,draw state benefit,drive,be in the forces etc etc.Your identity is already confirmed for these things.
You dont need to prove it to the government.

tony draper
24th Nov 2004, 22:50
Chip everybody I say, you lot need controling, you have abused the freedoms we gave you,twenty years from now there will be 120 million people on this small island, we can't allow you lot to mill about willy nilly doing what you please ,so take the pain.


Feeton Terrafirma
24th Nov 2004, 22:54
But the whole system is dependant on benign government who are not out to harm you


Funny but I thought that WE elected the government to represent US, not to do what ever they like to us! I could be wrong, its happened before)

25th Nov 2004, 00:46
There's an interesting article on this subject in the Institute of Electrical Engineers' magazine "The IEE Review" this month. It examines the technology and the underlying principles. There are two main uses of such ID cards:
(1) one on one, where the holder is checked against the document to see if the person matches the ID document and
(2) one on many, where an individual is checked against the database to see if they are who they claim to be.

In the case of a one on one check, the document can (and will be!) easily forged. In the case of a one on many check (remember that there will be more than 50 million people in the database and 'one on many' checks will hardly be instantaneous) the required error rate would be smaller than 1 in 10 to the power 10. With such technical difficulties, targeted continuous monitoring of an individual person would be virtually impossible. However, electrical engineering specialists conclude that current technology cannot support this requirement. Another interesting fact - for iris recognition systems, both irises are needed and 1 in 70,000 people are born without irises to check.

For those who are interested in detailed analysis, visit the Home Office website and check out their own Feasibility Study. (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs2/feasibility_study031111_v2.pdf)

25th Nov 2004, 07:47

Feeton Terrafirma
25th Nov 2004, 08:38
It's already started in Oz (http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,11494549%5e16123%5e%5enbv%5e,00.html)

25th Nov 2004, 11:52
I started this thread and nobody has yet convinced me that ID cards will do any good at all - except for the companies making money out of it.

The explanations of the necessary error rates, and the reliance on technology is frightening. If something as simple as the link to the central data point goes down ( JCB's have been known to cut cables!), everything grinds to a halt. If you don't have that, then the system is so far from fool proof that it's joke.

Send Clowns
25th Nov 2004, 12:01
Lots of chat about how this card could be useful ID, cannot harm the innocent. Still no-one has given a sensible answer to the original question - how will it help prevent crime or terrorism?

25th Nov 2004, 12:25
I believe this has been covered in greath depth many times before, with it ending in an argument between the luvvies and those of us in the real world...

25th Nov 2004, 15:13

Operator: "Thank you for calling Domino's. May I have your national ID number?"

Customer: "I'd like to place an order."

Operator: "I must have your NIDN first, sir?"

Customer: "My National ID Number. Erm, hold on, it's 6102049998-45-54610."

Operator: "Thank you, Mr. Smith. I see you live at 1449 Great Western Road, and the phone number's 494-2366. Your office number at Lincoln Insurance is 745-2302, and your mobile number's 266-2566. Email address is [email protected] Which number are you calling from, sir?"

Customer: "Eh? I'm at home. Where did you get all this information?"

Operator: "We're wired into the NSD, sir."

Customer: "The NSD, what is that?"

Operator: "We're wired into the National Security Database, sir. This will add only 15 seconds to your ordering time".

Customer: (Sighs) "Right, well, I'd like to order a couple of your Spicy Meat Special pizzas."

Operator: "I don't think that's a good idea, sir."

Customer: "How no?"

Operator: "Sir, your medical records and commode sensors indicate that you've got very high blood pressure and extremely high cholesterol. Your NHS consultant won't allow such an unhealthy choice."

Customer: "What the f**k? What do you recommend, then?"

Operator: "How about our low-fat Soybean Pizza. I'm sure you'll like it."

Customer: "What makes you think I'd like something like that?"

Operator: "Well, you withdrew 'Gourmet Soybean Recipes' from your local library last week, sir. That's why I made the suggestion."

Customer: "OK, OK. Give me two family-sized ones, then."

Operator: "That should be plenty for you, your wife and your four weans, and the 2 dogs can finish the crusts, sir. Your order comes to 39.99."

Customer: "Jesus! Right, my credit card number is...."

Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid you'll have to pay in cash. Your credit card balance is over its limit."

Customer: "Right then. I'll go out to the cashline and get some ready's before your driver gets here."

Operator: "That won't work either, sir. Your bank account's overdrawn too."

Customer: "Never mind! Just send the pizzas. I'll have the cash ready. How long will it take?"

Operator: "We're running a little behind, sir. It'll be about 45 minutes, sir. If you're in a hurry you might want to pick them up while you're out getting the cash, but then, carrying pizzas on a scooter can be a little awkward."

Customer: "Wait a minute! How do you know I ride a scooter?"

Operator: "It says here you're in arrears on your car payments, so your car was re-posessed last week. But your Vespa's all paid for and you just filled the tank yesterday."

Customer: " For f**k's sake!!!"

Operator: "I'd advise watching your language, sir. You've already got a July 4, 2005 conviction for swearing at a traffic warden, and another one I see here in September for contempt at your hearing for questioning the parentage of the judge." "Oh yes, and I see here that you just got out from a 30 day stay in the Barlinnie. Is this your first pizza since your return to society?

Customer: (Speechless)

Operator: "Will there be anything else, sir?"

Customer: "Yes, I have a voucher for a free 2 liter of Coke".

Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but our ad's exclusionary clause prevents us from offering free soft drinks to Diabetics. The New Constitution prohibits this. Thank you for calling Dominos'!"

25th Nov 2004, 20:44

you obviously don't write scripts for the BBC - you're far more inventive, and far funnier - and probably frighteningly accurate!!

25th Nov 2004, 21:42
Very funny stuff. But unfortunately I don't think all the credit can go to Dishman...US Version (http://gpsinformation.us/main/ID.html)

26th Nov 2004, 03:23
Like many others, I carried an ID card during my 22 years in the RAF, but I cannot get beyond my abhorrence of the necessity to carry one now on the basis "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear". That has to be the most specious argument in favour of a privacy invasion I have EVER heard! By inference, only those with something to hide object to the principle of faceless entities holding all sorts of private information about them in inaccessible data bases, very possibly able to be compromised by anyone with the wit and resources so to do.

I was not put on this Earth to be told by ANYONE, including a government which I help to elect, that I must provide information to assist ANY authority in keeping tabs on me, my family, our health records and any other info they deem collectable at the time, or any time in the future. It just isn't on!!

Kind regards,


26th Nov 2004, 06:57
Radeng, I'm afraid, much as i would like to take credit for it, Stagger's right.

I'm just adept at "cut & paste" - my secretary sent it to me first!

26th Nov 2004, 09:42
Still struggling with the logic behind that one, MJ.

So you'd have a database of all the legitimate gun owners - the ones who've registered their weapons and won't use them for crimes. And how many illegal owners of guns would there be on it ? Who thinks these things up ?


And all you nothing-to-hide-nothing-to-fear merchants should read Manalone by Colin Kapp.

ISBN: 0586042342

26th Nov 2004, 16:52
Having initially been a proponent of the ID card and of the school of 'if you haven't done anything illegal ...'
I have though, since my return to Blighty, been witnessing the silent creeping revolution that has taken place under the present Government in the UK, and have now swung to the other side of the ID card debate, ie against.
The uses to which such data would undoubtedly be put to makes me somewhat paranoid. Funny that on returning to this neck of the woods I look far more over my shoulder than I ever did in the big ashtray! I keep seeing G Brown everywhere I look. He has his big mitts into everything and I dare say would like more and more and more.
Much of what taxpayers money is p*ssed away on is already outrageous, the cards would only make his job that much easier to collect more, and that is probably on the lighter side of the various uses the Government would like to use the card for.

26th Nov 2004, 17:19
So how useful will they be?.
If the new driving licences are anything to go by.
Madame DC and I got ourselves driving licences with our pictures on to make it easier when travelling and hiring cars etc., we also thought it would be useful for providing ID. Madame went to the post office today to arrange for our mail to be diverted whilst we go away, driving licence was required as a form of ID. Madame produces the photographic plastic licence, the response. "Sorry we cannot accept that as proof of identity, we need the paper counterpart licence you received when you got your plastic licence." So the one that gave some form of ID is no good but a piece of green paper with apparantly less information on it is OK.

Words fail me....

26th Nov 2004, 17:22
Oh no... I lost the paper bit somewhere ages ago :uhoh: i guess that means the placcy bit is now useless.:oh:

27th Nov 2004, 10:58
When I was a mini-cab driver doing the late night shift we used to dump those unconscious drunks near the Police Station and help ourselves to the fare from their wallet.

S'funny, those guys were always the best tippers too ;)

Feeton Terrafirma
27th Nov 2004, 11:11
I have considered the need for an ID card, and after an exhausting effort I remembered who I am. Guess I dont need one now :)