Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday 26 September 2008

Yesterday, Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith unveiled the controversial ID Card. In what is being seen as the softly, softly introduction of this grossly invasive piece of legislation, the BBC put a positive light on it interviewing gullible youngsters on the street who generally spoke in favour of them. The only voice of dissent was Phil Booth of NO2ID whose limited time span in the news piece only allowed commentary on the government’s appalling record of data loss, implying how that could impact on this scheme.

Non-EU foreign nationals will be carrying the cards from this November onwards, while staff in highly secure environments - like airports - will be required to carry them from next year, and applicants for new passports will require an ID card from 2011 onwards. Thankfully mine isn’t due for renewal until 2014 but who knows what might happen before then! Phil Booth of NO2ID has cited the mandatory need for an ID card for non-EU foreign nationals as starting at the easy end with a group of people who have most to lose if they don’t comply - either they have one or they’re out!

Airport workers revolt over next year’s proposed introduction of ID cards. Airport workers and the TUC are fiercely opposed to their members carrying ID cards telling government that they are being treated like guinea pigs in a scheme that so many are opposed to and has very doubtful, if not negative, benefits. The British Airline Pilots Association said that it would be prepared to mount a legal challenge on human and employment rights grounds if the government sought to make them compulsory for their members.

Meg Miller, a Labour under-secretary at the Home Office has suggested that people as young as 14 should get ID cards, two years younger than the current age limit. Miller was addressing a meeting of tobacconists and convenience store owners and stated that the government was keen to implement such a move as quickly as possible. “There isn’t a way to unpick this scheme, (once implemented) quite rightly because it is invaluable" she bragged. With the Tories’ current rhetoric of scrapping the ID card scheme (more of an election gimmick than reality, I suspect) Labour would be keen to have this scheme in place before the next general election.

Anger has arisen over the collection and storage of car journey data by civil liberties campaigners. Once collected the information would be held on a database for five years. Some 10 million journeys a day are being currently recorded using automatic number plate recognition (APNR), but plans are already under way to raise that figure to 50 million.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday 12 September 2008

The race to use advanced technology to compile databases on us
is wholly self-defeating. The government’s latest plaything - the ContactPoint database - has been delayed for three months due to technical difficulties. Originally due to be launched last April and receiving a further hold up to its revised launch next month, ContactPoint, which holds the details of every child in England and Wales, will be delayed by another three months because of fears arising from the HMRC child benefits data loss in November of last year. In the words of Professor Ross Anderson of the University of Cambridge “The public sector wastes huge amounts of money (taxpayers’ money) on software that doesn’t work. The most likely explanation is that they can’t get ContactPoint to work”.

The ogre of undefined menaces lurking around every corner is being used under another Orwellian-sounding piece of nonsense being created by the EU - Statewatch. Designed to make us all feel safe from these menaces, Statewatch seeks to garner as much information as possible about each individual across the EU by using un-fettered powers in its attainment, an operation which it, unsensitively refers to, as a ‘digital tsunami’ for the benefit of law enforcement and security agencies - certainly not for our benefit!

Another flaw has been identified with fingerprinting technology. A frequent air traveller was recently refused entry to New Zealand, until she eventually proved her identity to immigration officials, as her fingerprint scans did not match those on the database. An official stated that this quite often happens on long-haul flights where the passenger has been subject to cabin pressurisation for a long period of time in that pressurisation alters the fingertip geometry beyond the tolerance of biometric measurements!

If you think the retention of your personal data is safe the think again. German companies are engaging in the illegal trading of millions of sets of personal data drawn from the official registration system. The revelation has only come after the story was picked up in the press and officials had to admit to the fraud. Intermediaries who hold the data on behalf of town halls - and eventually - a centralised database, have used the selling on of personal data for commercial gain, a pretty predictable state of affairs when private corporations are allowed to be the ‘custodians’ of our profiles!

In France, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) and the Office of the French Information Commissioner forced the government to publish a secret decree which authorised the creation of a highly intrusive database on French nationals. Clearly created under the hand of that infidel of the NWO, Nicholas Sarkozy, the register codenamed ‘Edvige’ would list everyone over the age of 13 who had been active in politics, trade unions, has a significant role in business, the media, entertainment or social and religious institutions - in fact a list of, quite possibly, 20 million people, who, as the authorities perceive them, would be likely to breach public order. Since they maintain that so many people’s personal profiles are readily available on Internet forums such as Facebook, it’s OK to amass information this way. (Of course, that was probably one of the covert ideas behind Facebook and other social forums of its ilk). Although officialdom has tried to dismiss outcry follwing the revelation of this vast data-mining exercise, saying that it is just a higher-tech version of the current Renseignements Généraux (RG), Michel Pezet, a former member of the CNIL said “The Edvige database has no place in democracy... The electronic Bastille is upon us”.

The retention of innocent people’s DNA records are still being found. A Tory MP who was fingerprinted after the murder of his 80-year old uncle, but who was proved innocent has stated that he has become a victim of Labour’s ‘Big Brother’ policies. Well, don’t be vindictive, they’ll become your party’s policies after the next general election!