ID cards

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: ID cards

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:52 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:37 am
Among all the democracies in which there is an ID card system or population register, do you know of any in which a government database is routinely consulted whenever people want to do things buy alcohol in a shop?
Curious about this - AIUI in Norway you have to buy most alcoholic drinks over 3.5% in a special government shop. How worried are people there about the amount of data the government is collecting on their lifestyle?
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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:15 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:52 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:37 am
Among all the democracies in which there is an ID card system or population register, do you know of any in which a government database is routinely consulted whenever people want to do things buy alcohol in a shop?
Curious about this - AIUI in Norway you have to buy most alcoholic drinks over 3.5% in a special government shop. How worried are people there about the amount of data the government is collecting on their lifestyle?
It’s 4.5%, and I haven’t heard of anyone being worried about that. Someone who looks like they might be underage will be asked to show ID. But nothing is recorded. Everyone else just buys without needing to identify themselves.

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Re: ID cards

Post by sTeamTraen » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:17 am

bolo wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:33 am
The blue is because of passport cards?! Nobody here has a passport card. I mean yes, I know they exist, but I've literally never seen one, and I bet most Americans don't even know they exist.
Ireland also issues a passport card. I have one here. It's extremely handy because it is credit-card sized and so I always have my valid photo ID on me here, in my phone cover. It is also valid for travel anywhere in the EU/EEA, and to a slowly increasing number of countries (I think Serbia and Albania, from memory) which don't need/want to put a stamp in your passport "book".

It also means that if my phone is lost or stolen, I still have my passport in a drawer at home (and of course my new black post-Brexit UK passport if I get desperate). One of the hazards of long-term expat life is the period of quite intense stress when you have to send your passport in for renewal, typically with no receipt, and so you spend between 3 and 8 weeks hoping not to have your ID checked, or having to get on a plane for a family emergency. Again, if I had a valid national ID card as well as my passport, that problem would be solved, at least within the EU/EEA.

However, you can only get a passport card as a complement to your full Irish passport. It lasts 5 years, or until the corresponding passport expires. So it would have limited value as a national ID card because you have to have a full passport anyway. (Very few of the Irish people I know have one, but when I explain how it works they sometimes apply, simply because €35 is not bad for ID that you always have on you. Passport books are not designed to live in your jeans pocket for 10 years.)

My understanding of the US passport card is that it was brought in for Americans who want to travel to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean on vacation, and don't want the expense of a full US passport. Until 9/11 and its aftermath, US citizens could enter Canada (for example) with just a drivers license, and vice versa, but when the US imposed a 100% passport requirement on other countries, they reciprocated. So the US negotiated (quite probably in their inimitable "We are very big, what are you going to do about it" way that we know and love) for their citizens to be allowed to enter those countries with just this "lite" passport. Unlike the Irish passport card you don't need a full US passport to have a US passport card, but it still costs about $60.

(Aside: One of the problems for the 3.2 million EU citizens who live in the UK have in registering to stay after Brexit is that they don't have a passport; they entered the UK on their French or Polish ID card and nobody ever asked them to register with a passport. From 1 October 2021 everyone will need a passport to enter the UK; among the other side effects of this is that it will kill the school exchange visit, as many people are not going to want to splash out €100 on a passport so that Magali or Tobias can spend a weekend in London.)
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Re: ID cards

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:30 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:15 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:52 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:37 am
Among all the democracies in which there is an ID card system or population register, do you know of any in which a government database is routinely consulted whenever people want to do things buy alcohol in a shop?
Curious about this - AIUI in Norway you have to buy most alcoholic drinks over 3.5% in a special government shop. How worried are people there about the amount of data the government is collecting on their lifestyle?
It’s 4.5%, and I haven’t heard of anyone being worried about that. Someone who looks like they might be underage will be asked to show ID. But nothing is recorded. Everyone else just buys without needing to identify themselves.
Ah yes - 3.5% is Sweden. I don't think there's many places where the government would actually want a list of wine purchasers.
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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:31 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:47 am
I just find it a bit odd that ID cards is so ingrained in the Anglophone mind as a stepping-stone towards/catalyst for government oppression, when that doesn't seem to be the case anywhere else. There must be some interesting and unique historical/cultural phenomena at play.
Yes, I agree.

As mentioned above I'm not even an advocate for an ID system. I think its a complex issue with many benefits and drawbacks which are based on how a system might be developed. But the benefits include all the people who'd be protected by having their legal status confirmed. As well as the Windrush generation, that also includes all the long-term resident EU nationals who were asked to prove their residence status in the UK (some of which were also told they had to leave).

I would be opposed to a government database which involved a government routinely collecting data on everyone's shopping or leisure activities. But doubt that is a realistic prospect. I'm not aware of any democracy where its happened, and would be interested if people have examples.

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Re: ID cards

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:35 am

Indeed. And the way things are going in the UK, if we're going to worry about future hypothetical scenarios involving oppressive governments, I'd be much more worried about rights being denied to people who don't have the right ID (from deportation to accessing the NHS or benefits) than about general surveillance (beyond what already happens with phones, emails, banking, etc).
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Re: ID cards

Post by dyqik » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:44 am

bolo wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:33 am
The blue is because of passport cards?! Nobody here has a passport card. I mean yes, I know they exist, but I've literally never seen one, and I bet most Americans don't even know they exist.
It'd be more reasonable for it to be blue because of the REAL ID option on driver's licenses and on state non-drivers IDs.

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Re: ID cards

Post by shpalman » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:51 am

This discussion kicked off because of the idea that "Vaccine passports"* would be "ID cards by the back door". I remember when photocard driving licenses were ID cards by the back door. How did that go in the end?

* - see my previous comment about my regional services card which is also my health card.
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Re: ID cards

Post by sTeamTraen » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:39 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:35 am
Indeed. And the way things are going in the UK, if we're going to worry about future hypothetical scenarios involving oppressive governments, I'd be much more worried about rights being denied to people who don't have the right ID (from deportation to accessing the NHS or benefits) than about general surveillance (beyond what already happens with phones, emails, banking, etc).
I also find that some of the arguments against ID cards start to veer rather close to "We need guns to protect us from the tyranny of gubmint".
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Re: ID cards

Post by dyqik » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:40 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:35 am
Indeed. And the way things are going in the UK, if we're going to worry about future hypothetical scenarios involving oppressive governments, I'd be much more worried about rights being denied to people who don't have the right ID (from deportation to accessing the NHS or benefits) than about general surveillance (beyond what already happens with phones, emails, banking, etc).
Not to mention CCTV everywhere and facial recognition technology.

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Re: ID cards

Post by jdc » Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:51 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:50 am
jdc wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:34 pm
bob sterman wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:15 pm

Here's the seemingly innocuous but chilling wording from Schedule 1 of the Identity Cards Act 2006 (Information that may be recorded in the register)...

Can I just check what your interpretation of this paragraph is?
I interpret it to mean that if you buy a bottle of wine, and the checkout operator uses your ID to verify your age (and I expect that this would be required by law), then the database would record that you were checked for the purpose of buying a bottle of wine (and this might include other data relating to the transaction such as what other things you bought in the same transaction), when and where it took place, and the identity of the checkout operator.

Similarly for any other circumstance in which your ID card is used, resulting is a huge quantity of data about you and your lifestyle being recorded.
Have a look at the law. 'Provision of information' covers instances where information in your entry in the register is requested. Information can be provided to someone who has your consent to see it, and by public authorities. The Secretary of State might be asked for this information by the police or the security services. Not your local off-license. Para 9 of schedule 1 is not referring to you showing your card, it's referring to requests by proper authorities to see your entry in the register.

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Re: ID cards

Post by discovolante » Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:48 pm

nekomatic wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:15 am
I went to see whether Shelter say proving ID is one of the top issues facing renters - they don’t.
No, although a minority of renters are likely to be affected by the Right to Rent rules, exactly how many seems to be unclear (see the commentary here: https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2020/04/2 ... rent-case/). Even if it isn't that many in practice I do find it a bit troubling that this is one other hurdle people have to get over to achieve some sort of security.

I'm not really out to make a strong case either way for ID cards for this reason and I'm not sure how an ID card system would catch people who have e.g. a derivative right of residence, unless they applied for a permit anyway, but hey just wanted to flag it up again.
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Re: ID cards

Post by bob sterman » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:03 am

jdc wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:51 pm
Have a look at the law. 'Provision of information' covers instances where information in your entry in the register is requested. Information can be provided to someone who has your consent to see it, and by public authorities. The Secretary of State might be asked for this information by the police or the security services. Not your local off-license. Para 9 of schedule 1 is not referring to you showing your card, it's referring to requests by proper authorities to see your entry in the register.
I think you're underestimating the scope of the system that was proposed. The title of the relevant section of the act "Provision of information from Register for verification purposes etc" implied that "Provision of information" covered various types of routine identity verification events - e.g. transactions where people need provide the sort of information stored in the register (e.g. name, date and place of birth, addresses,
residential status, ID number etc).

Moreover, as the system was going to be based around biometrics it was envisaged that many ID checks would not require someone to present the physical card itself - they would involve a biometric scan which would be checked against the register, and the confirmation of ID details sent back would constitute a "provision of information" under Schedule 1.

Many of the people who campaigned (successfully) against the introduction of the cards - and more importantly the National Identity Register - were of the firm belief that the proposed system was designed to create a detailed audit trail of people's activities. Perhaps not visits to the local off-licence - but things like taking out a gym membership, buying season ticket, boarding a ferry, buying certain restricted goods etc etc.

And a Home Office Minister basically admitted this in 2008...

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2 ... ntityCards
Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how a single audit trail will be created from the identity card transactions linked to the biometric, biographic and administrative databases which will make up the National Identity Register. (202451)

Meg Hillier
[holding answer 29 April 2008]: An audit record will be kept of occasions when an individual's record is checked or amended. The biometric, biographic and administrative components of the national identity register will each have their own audit record so information from these individual audit records will only be brought together to support the security of the register, in the interests of national security or the prevention and detection of serious crime, or to respond to an individual's request for data subject access.
Some discussion here...

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... tionpolicy

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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:54 am

bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:03 am

Many of the people who campaigned (successfully) against the introduction of the cards - and more importantly the National Identity Register - were of the firm belief that the proposed system was designed to create a detailed audit trail of people's activities. Perhaps not visits to the local off-licence - but things like taking out a gym membership, buying season ticket, boarding a ferry, buying certain restricted goods etc etc.

And a Home Office Minister basically admitted this in 2008...

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2 ... ntityCards
Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how a single audit trail will be created from the identity card transactions linked to the biometric, biographic and administrative databases which will make up the National Identity Register. (202451)

Meg Hillier
[holding answer 29 April 2008]: An audit record will be kept of occasions when an individual's record is checked or amended. The biometric, biographic and administrative components of the national identity register will each have their own audit record so information from these individual audit records will only be brought together to support the security of the register, in the interests of national security or the prevention and detection of serious crime, or to respond to an individual's request for data subject access.
Concerning a database, an audit trail is a record of every access or edit made to a piece of information, and of who made that edit. It’s a way to identify misuse or systematic errors. Every database containing sensitive information should have one.

What that quote describes is a way to keep the data secure. The people being monitored by an audit trail are the users of the database.

You can read more about audit trails here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audit_trail

https://www.datasunrise.com/blog/profes ... dit-trail/

https://www.imperva.com/blog/why-you-ne ... dit-trail/

https://logsentinel.com/blog/what-is-an ... t-context/

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Re: ID cards

Post by nekomatic » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:15 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:54 am
What that quote describes is a way to keep the data secure. The people being monitored by an audit trail are the users of the database.
That would be the ‘to support the security of the register’ bit (I guess they should really say ‘security and integrity’). What about the ‘in the interests of national security or the prevention and detection of serious crime’ bit? How does that not imply police (or algorithms) would be able to trawl through it looking for stuff?

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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:27 am

nekomatic wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:15 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:54 am
What that quote describes is a way to keep the data secure. The people being monitored by an audit trail are the users of the database.
That would be the ‘to support the security of the register’ bit (I guess they should really say ‘security and integrity’). What about the ‘in the interests of national security or the prevention and detection of serious crime’ bit? How does that not imply police (or algorithms) would be able to trawl through it looking for stuff?
Unauthorized access could be a national security threat (eg Russian, Chinese hackers) or due to organized crime (eg blackmail, identity theft).

And to repeat, an audit trail is used to monitor users of a database. Its a piece of jargon that has a specific meaning.

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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:42 am

bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:03 am
Some discussion here...

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... tionpolicy
Lots of speculation, but his seemed to look like a fact:
Or that civil servants are expecting up to 265 government departments and 44,000 accredited "private sector organisations" to use it to verify your identity.
A lot depends upon what is meant by an 'organization'. If it means a bank or building society branch* or estate agent offices then those would probably account for getting on for half of the private sector organizations. On the other hand if it means the whole company (eg Barclays is one organization) then that would seem to be excessive. Though an order of magnitude lower than the number of licensed premises.




*Which brings us to a real problem. Not having the right documents can make it difficult to do things like open a bank account. Something which affects some lawful migrants or young people.

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Re: ID cards

Post by bob sterman » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:51 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:54 am
What that quote describes is a way to keep the data secure. The people being monitored by an audit trail are the users of the database.
Yes - but in this context the "users" of the database are the organisations using the database to verify someone's identity - as set out in the way the legislation describes the "provision of information".

You might not share this view about what I'm suggesting the audit trail would consist of - but many members of parliament and campaign organisations (e.g. NO2ID) did share this view - i.e. had serious concerns about the nature and function of this audit trail similar to the ones I've expressed. You can see this from the lines of questioning in parliamentary committees.

And you have to remember this bill was introduced during a time when the government was focused on the issue of security threats (terrorism) and was hoping that by trawling through audit trails the security services could spot terrorists (the "build a bigger haystack" approach to finding a needle in a haystack).

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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:56 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:42 am
bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:03 am
Some discussion here...

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... tionpolicy
Lots of speculation, but his seemed to look like a fact:
Or that civil servants are expecting up to 265 government departments and 44,000 accredited "private sector organisations" to use it to verify your identity.
A lot depends upon what is meant by an 'organization'. If it means a bank or building society branch* or estate agent offices then those would probably account for getting on for half of the private sector organizations. On the other hand if it means the whole company (eg Barclays is one organization) then that would seem to be excessive. Though an order of magnitude lower than the number of licensed premises.




*Which brings us to a real problem. Not having the right documents can make it difficult to do things like open a bank account. Something which affects some lawful migrants or young people.
I found it quicker than expected.
While the definitive estimate of transaction points is still evolving and depends on several factors, the programme currently estimates that approximately 44,000 user organisations will seek accreditation to use identity services, including finance sector organisations, employers, and government agencies.

It is important to note that one Government department or commercial organisation may constitute multiple user organisations as it is envisaged that accreditation should be provided on a unit-by-unit basis, rather than to a Government department or parent company as a whole. This reflects the different functions, operation processes and technological standards operating within Government department or commercial organisations.
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/c ... 2/1032.pdf

So the 44 000 includes units within government departments. At the unit level that doesn't cover anything close to shops or pubs serving alcohol. If we include Post Office branches it probably doesn't go much further than the financial services and property sector.

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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:00 am

bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:51 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:54 am
What that quote describes is a way to keep the data secure. The people being monitored by an audit trail are the users of the database.
Yes - but in this context the "users" of the database are the organisations using the database to verify someone's identity - as set out in the way the legislation describes the "provision of information".

You might not share this view about what I'm suggesting the audit trail would consist of - but many members of parliament and campaign organisations (e.g. NO2ID) did share this view - i.e. had serious concerns about the nature and function of this audit trail similar to the ones I've expressed. You can see this from the lines of questioning in parliamentary committees.

And you have to remember this bill was introduced during a time when the government was focused on the issue of security threats (terrorism) and was hoping that by trawling through audit trails the security services could spot terrorists (the "build a bigger haystack" approach to finding a needle in a haystack).
Is there a quote from a government source stating that they would [eta] use the proposed ID database to [/eta] trawl through 'audit trails' to spot terrorists? If they did then fair enough, they had their own meaning for the term. Which can happen.

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Re: ID cards

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:03 am

One would expect that any competently designed ID card would include a picture of the holder's face and date of birth, so it shouldn't be necessary to query a database just to confirm someone's age.
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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:12 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:03 am
One would expect that any competently designed ID card would include a picture of the holder's face and date of birth, so it shouldn't be necessary to query a database just to confirm someone's age.
Definitely for things like buying alcohol in a pub. It could just work like a driving license.

For financial services the stakes are higher and I can imagine a desire to be able to check that the card isn't a forgery or that it hasn't been flagged as stolen (photos can be difficult given how often people change their appearance anyway).

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Re: ID cards

Post by bob sterman » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:28 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:00 am
Is there a quote from a government source stating that they would [eta] use the proposed ID database to [/eta] trawl through 'audit trails' to spot terrorists? If they did then fair enough, they had their own meaning for the term. Which can happen.
As I said - many members of parliament (on both sides of the house) and campaign groups spotted how the act permitted trawling / data-mining and aggressively question the government about this. Pinning ministers (or Blair) down in this issue was tricky. They often refused to answer directly. As in this exchange during PMQs in 2007.
Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough) (Con): In direct response to me during consideration of the Identity Cards Bill, the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety, the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty) gave me and all of us on the Committee an undertaking that the police would not be permitted to trawl through the national identity register. Yesterday the Prime Minister ripped up that undertaking. Why?

The Prime Minister: I do not believe that we have gone back on any of the undertakings that we have given. What is extremely important, however, is that we have such a register, because not only will it help us to tackle crime, terrorism and illegal immigration, but an identity card scheme, with the new technology available—and the vast bulk of the cost will be spent on passports, anyway—will allow consumers to access better private sector services as well. The Tory opposition to ID cards is regressive, old-fashioned and out of date.
Underlined are some key points in Blair's answer. Note that the "register" is going to help "tackle crime, terrorism and illegal immigration". And the benefits to the individual of having a card are set out in the next sentence.

The "register" was always going to serve a much bigger purpose than the plastic card itself.

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Re: ID cards

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:48 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:12 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:03 am
One would expect that any competently designed ID card would include a picture of the holder's face and date of birth, so it shouldn't be necessary to query a database just to confirm someone's age.
Definitely for things like buying alcohol in a pub. It could just work like a driving license.

For financial services the stakes are higher and I can imagine a desire to be able to check that the card isn't a forgery or that it hasn't been flagged as stolen (photos can be difficult given how often people change their appearance anyway).
For sure. I know the new money laundering regulations require a lot of separate bits of documentation now from people buying property, for instance https://www.propertymark.co.uk/advice-a ... hecks.aspx which is all information that could otherwise be obtained from a single query of a joined-up database.
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Re: ID cards

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:49 am

bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:28 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:00 am
Is there a quote from a government source stating that they would [eta] use the proposed ID database to [/eta] trawl through 'audit trails' to spot terrorists? If they did then fair enough, they had their own meaning for the term. Which can happen.
As I said - many members of parliament (on both sides of the house) and campaign groups spotted how the act permitted trawling / data-mining and aggressively question the government about this. Pinning ministers (or Blair) down in this issue was tricky. They often refused to answer directly. As in this exchange during PMQs in 2007.
Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough) (Con): In direct response to me during consideration of the Identity Cards Bill, the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety, the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty) gave me and all of us on the Committee an undertaking that the police would not be permitted to trawl through the national identity register. Yesterday the Prime Minister ripped up that undertaking. Why?

The Prime Minister: I do not believe that we have gone back on any of the undertakings that we have given. What is extremely important, however, is that we have such a register, because not only will it help us to tackle crime, terrorism and illegal immigration, but an identity card scheme, with the new technology available—and the vast bulk of the cost will be spent on passports, anyway—will allow consumers to access better private sector services as well. The Tory opposition to ID cards is regressive, old-fashioned and out of date.
Underlined are some key points in Blair's answer. Note that the "register" is going to help "tackle crime, terrorism and illegal immigration". And the benefits to the individual of having a card are set out in the next sentence.

The "register" was always going to serve a much bigger purpose than the plastic card itself.
I would definitely be concerned about police routinely mining the entire database looking for suspicious patterns. To start with doing that would likely generate a huge number of false leads.

On the other hand, the police can already access a huge amount of personal data if on people if they are suspects - bank account, credit card, phone records, everything on a phone or pc, flights, cctv etc. As mentioned by others, what would be in a national ID database would just add to the massive amount of information they can already access with a search warrant.

That access to information is definitely worth discussing and there are costs and benefits. I just don't see how a national ID system makes a huge amount of difference to the information that the police can already obtain on someone.

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