Oh look! More horseshit from the Identity Card wingnuts.
Twenty pages it is, and only three of them (1, 2 and 20) don’t contain misinformation or outright lies.
A sample of such misinformation/lies:
- Page 3: Apparently an ID card will “make it harder for criminals to use false or multiple identities and thus protect us all from crime and terrorism”; never mind that every terrorist strike in the last five years has been done by someone in their own fucking name… –
- Page 4: apparently passports, driving licences and birth certificates aren’t actually identity documents. Only because the government has decreed that the ID card is to be the only official identity document
- Page 5:However you will not be required to carry or produce an identity card – yet.
LIKELY LIE in the long term.
- Page 6: case study: She is relieved that she no longer has to hand over documents with her address on them to prove her age
MISINFORMATION, since a passport doesn’t have an address on it.
- Page 7: There’s mention of electronic readers and unmanned gates at point of entry.
MISINFORMATION since the card cannot be secure enough to allow this.
- Page 8: When data is checked your information won’t leave the register, apparently.
LIKELY MISINFORMATION because there’ll be an effort eventually (probably for the children to allow ‘trusted individuals’ to view such information on request.
- Page 9: Private companies will take the word of the National Identity Register as gospel and issue mortgages on it.
OUTRIGHT LIE since even the dumbest of companies know that the information on the NIR will be as good as the information on other government databases. That is to say, shite.
- Page 10: Not so much misinformation as mistakenly assuming that something is a good thing. Knowing how most people feel about the photos on their passports/driving licences, I can’t imagine that there’ll be a boatload of teenagers wanting the same picture on everything…
- Page 11: ‘It is standard practice for a new employer to check your identity and your right to work in the UK’
MISINFORMATION since that practice has only really become widespread under this government, as part of its plans for the ID card.
- Page 12:
MISINFORMATION on the description of ‘private sector partners’ – the generally accepted terminology for such people is actually Quisling.
- Page 13: the interview before being issued is not a test.
OUTRIGHT LIE – it is at best a test, and at worst an interrogation.
- Page 14: The UK is committed to EU standards to make EU passports the most secure in the world.
OUTRIGHT LIE, since the RFID on EU passports is able to be read wirelessly from yards away. Even the US passport is more secure.
- Page 15: The PIN number provides you with a simple way to ensure that nobody else can use the card.
OUTRIGHT LIE – Er, not so much.
- Page 16: Your information will not be passed to private sector organisations without your consent.
OUTRIGHT LIE – the database will be designed by an outside organisation, probably maintained by an outside organisation, accessible to hundreds of outside organisations and likely communicate over private sector communication networks. And that’s before you get to the inevitable CD left on a train somewhere…
- Page 17: If you lose your card you will be able to inform us…
MISINFORMATION – if you lose a card you will be legally obliged to inform the IPS.
- Page 18: A new National Identity Scheme Commissioner will be independent and look after your interests.
OUTRIGHT LIE They may try to look after your interests, but prior experience shows that such commissioners are either pretty toothless or simply yes-men.
- Page 19: The IPS is committed to ensure information and support is available to everyone
MISINFORMATION – they’ll only provide information if it suits them, given the whole fuss about releasing actual costs…
If you’re interested, the only reasons that pages 1, 2 and 20 escape without lying are that none of them has more than 20 words on them and just exist to space out the leaflet…
So you don’t think that “How the scheme will … benefit you” on page 1 falls into misinformation/lies then?
Not really, because there’s a handy answer to that question:
“It won’t, but it will benefit us. So suck it up, bitch…”
Actually, I think the page 4 misinformation is much more troubling, albeit much more subtle.
The reason that they can say that passports, driving licences, birth certificates etc are not officially identity documents is because the UK is a Common Law country where the state does not control your identity, unlike the Civil Law system in most of the rest of Europe. The only “official” name you have in the UK is the one you are christened with: your “Christian name”. IIRC the only way to ever change this is with an Act of Parliament(!) [in practice you can be given another “Christian name” by a bishop at confirmation and use it in place of your original one, but it doesn’t actually change the original].
A birth certificate doesn’t even have to have a name on it (there are provisions to be able to add a name to one within the first 12 months, but there are a handful of births every year that never add one).
Your driving licence and passport can be in any name by which you are commonly known. I, erm, once knew someone, whose birth certificate, passport, and driving licence were all in in different names, without any difficulty whatsoever.
For all practical purposes in the UK you’re allowed to call yourself whatever you want and you can change your name solely through usage. Any exceptions are to do with the result (e.g. fraud), rather than the naming per se. Multiple “identities” are not just allowed, but commonplace (a rather pertinent example in this regard is Cherie Blair/Booth).
The whole ID card scheme is turning this on its head. Identity will now be controlled by the government, not by the people. Changing your identity in any way (e.g. taking a new name at marriage) will now carry fines if you fail to notify the proper authorities in a timely manner (and, doubtless, cost you money for a new card). This is a fundamental shift that very few people seem to have identified or discussed, and in some ways much more significant than any of the more prosaic (although still very very real) problems relating to the card itself or the database.
People will believe this crap if we don’t start talking about it with our peers and workmates. Scary shit.