ID cards and the database state

Anyone who believes that the UK government is doing a sterling job in protecting our personal information, and that the recent lapses at HMRC, the NHS, the MOD, the ONS, The Driving Standards Agency….etc. are just unfortunate ‘one-off’ mistakes, or if you’re gung-ho about having a shiny new biometric ID card, then you probably shouldn’t visit NO2ID.

I’m sure you’ll make up your own minds though!


  1. I hadn’t heard of NO2ID before — interesting. While I don’t live in the UK, there are certainly signs that this a trend that will take hold in many countries in the next few years.

    Strangely though, we do all carry around a card (or in most cases, many cards) that has a massive amount of personal information attached to it. Credit card companies love getting information about you — not only what you buy and where you buy it, but also the names of your family members, SSNs (SINs here in Canada), and many other kinds of juicy info.

    While I’m not too keen on the government having all this info on me, I trust it even less in the hands of a corporation whose only motivation is to make money off of what they know about me.

    January 30, 2008
  2. Steve Dale said:

    Thanks for the comment Lucas. I think the main concern for most of us is the casual approach to personal data that seems to be endemic throughout our civil service. The fact that someone can copy 600,000 names, addresses and other personal details onto a laptop, and then lose it shows failings at the system level (how is it possible to abstract that amount of personal data from a supposedly secure environment, AND not have it encrypted), and failings at the human level – i.e. complete absence of security policies.

    Meanwhile, the personal details of 600,000 citizens are now in the hands of potentially unscruplous people.

    January 31, 2008
  3. Guy Herbert said:


    I thionk you’ve got it slightly back-to-front. The corporation is a relatively limited danger while its “only motivation is to make money off of what they know about me”. As opposed to government that has multiple, sometimes quite inscrutable, motivations, and whose object is not money but power.

    January 31, 2008
  4. Ed said:

    1. We’ve been keen on no2id in bristol for some time. good work steve!

    2. someone pointed out the other day that we are already being tracked. by our mobile phones. like facebook, it’s an app we want so we are prepared to be tracked by them. and fill in our profiles, and worry about losing them etc. so the government should buddy up with the phone people…

    January 31, 2008
  5. Steve Dale said:

    Ed – they probably already have! They’re already monitoring millions of phone calls and using Bayesian and other clever algorithms to identify people who fit a particular profile. I’m beginning to think that democracy doesn’t necessarily mean freedom!

    January 31, 2008
  6. Christine said:

    Lucas said, “there are certainly signs that this a trend that will take hold in many countries in the next few years.” You have spoken a great truth. Mark it down, EVERY country in the not too distant future will have national ID of sorts.

    September 24, 2010

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