Skip to main content
A Question of Identity

Following the murder of a Manchester Police officer during an ant-terrorist arrest yesterday, I wonder how many people would be in favour of 'All' asylum seekers and refugees carrying identity cards from tomorrow morning or risk immediate imprisonment or deportation. It's an emotional issue at a time of public risk and the privacy lobby - the thin line of protest and debate between us and the Home Office - have their own view on what should and should not be done as regards the question of entitlement or Identity cards. What do you think? Read on....

David Blunkett gave a keynote speech on his proposed entitlement/identity cards today - but once again conspicuously failed to explain what exactly the proposed £1.6 billion cards would be for.

He did, though, concede that "people need more information", and are "hungry for knowledge" on the implications and practicalities of cards and for the answer to the simple question, "what's the Government up to?". Those questions arose from the Government's focus groups - and, from Mr Blunkett's acknowledgement that members of the Cabinet have "different views" on ID cards, are presumably being raised there too. But the wider public still aren't being told the answers.

The Home Office has rejected the idea of holding open public meetings - despite Mr Blunkett implying the contrary today - and has organised none. In fact, the only public meeting held on this issue before today was organised by Privacy International, Liberty and FIPR.

Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, says: "Mr Blunkett concedes that the Cabinet is split. "He may not be listening to public opinion, but clearly some in the Cabinet are. Responses to the consultation are now running at least four-to-one against the Government's proposals".

Simon Davies

Ian Brown, director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), says: "The Home Secretary is still casting about for problems to justify this expensive and increasingly unpopular initiative. He has, though, admitted that ethnic minorities will quickly have to carry the card to produce when stopped by the police".

Mark Littlewood, campaigns director of Liberty, says: "The government should ditch its ID card plan. The more people hear about David Blunkett's scheme, the less they like it. Billions of pounds spent so the government can snoop on innocent British citizens is money wasted. If the Home Secretary goes ahead with this ludicrous proposal, he will face trenchant opposition from across the political spectrum. The time has come to call a halt".

Mr Blunkett was speaking at the Information Commissioner's conference in London today.


Popular posts from this blog

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.

In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Nature of Nurture?

Recently, I found myself in a fascinating four-way Twitter exchange, with Professor Adam Rutherford and two other science-minded friends The subject, frequently regarded as a delicate one, genetics and whether there could exist an unknown but contributory genetic factor(s) or influences in determining what we broadly understand or misunderstand as human intelligence.

I won’t discuss this subject in any great detail here, being completely unqualified to do so, but I’ll point you at the document we were discussing, and Rutherford’s excellent new book, ‘A Brief History of Everyone.”

What had sparked my own interest was the story of my own grandfather, Edmond Greville; unless you are an expert on the history of French cinema, you are unlikely to have ever hear of him but he still enjoys an almost cult-like following for his work, half a century after his death.

I've been enjoying the series "Genius" on National Geographic about the life of Albert Einstein. The four of us ha…
The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…