"ID cards have worked in Europe before…"


Samizdata flags the spiffy homepage of NO2ID, a group dedicated to blocking the UK Labour Party's efforts to introduce national ID cards as an "anti-terror" measure. The campaign's backed by a left-right coalition sweeping up allies from George Galloway's Respect party to the conservative, anti-Europe UK Independence Party.

Let's get this straight—it isn't just about identity cards. The government's identity scheme includes a huge database to keep tabs on everyone, a massive infrastructure to collect peoples' details, and a giant network of technology required to verify people against their cards and both of these against the database.

The card is just the tip of the iceberg.

It's a good cause that has a chance of winning, and then of providing a model for opposition to the inevitable U.S. ID bills that'll be cropping up in Congress soon. (If the GOP retains the House and Senate for Bush's last two years, I'll be shocked if the majority doesn't try to push through ID cards as part of an immigration deal.)

What's that? You want to see a video of the Pet Shop Boys ID card song "Integral" set to footage from the new Dr. Who?

NEXT: Mollusks on the March!

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  1. Let me recommend Jim Harper’s book ‘Identity Crisis’ (available through CATO or Amazon) for an excellent discussion of why identification doesn’t prevent terrorist attacks, it just furthers other types of agenda. The book also has a pretty good discussion of the theory behind security, both electronic and physical.
    Identity Crisis

  2. (If the GOP retains the House and Senate for Bush’s last two years, I’ll be shocked if the majority doesn’t try to push through ID cards as part of an immigration deal.)

    Even if the Democrats takes the House and the Senate, I believe it will still pass. The Dems are trying to show off their security muscles.

  3. Just a thought. And a question.

    I’m in between on the ID card thing. I can see “some” merit to having one. I’m not sure I see “all” the objections, short of the names on cards being made into some nefarious political use. (But then, aren’t all political uses of names nefarious?)

    If the ID card “requires” a data system every time it is used, why not just a fingerprint reader without the card? Even the best of cards can be counterfitted, but until now I don’t think anyone has invented a way to do counterfit fingerprints.

  4. “but until now I don’t think anyone has invented a way to do counterfit fingerprints.”

    Actually, researchers have made fake fingerprints with a fair degree of success: http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/tip/1,289483,sid14_gci833464,00.html

    According the original paper on the subject (http://cryptome.org/gummy.htm), the researchers tested 11 different fingerprint scanners and were able to trick all of the systems at least 67% of the time (and if you look at figure 4.7, it appears that three of the systems accepted the fake fingerprints in 100% of tests).

  5. “The card is just the tip of the iceberg.”

    I tell ya – these brits and their icebergs. They ran head on into nearly every socially constructed iceberg known to mankind… funny they are just spotting the tip of it now.

  6. Thanks SR,


    Knocks my idea on it’s head big time.

    If that’s the case, we might as well do the best we can with what we’ve got already and save the costs of cranking up the program, becaause there will have to be another one right behind it just to fight the corrupt ID suppliers.

    I’m just going to guess the same defeat capability is true regarding ID scanners for the eyes. Do you have a website that shows whether they can also be fooled, and if so, how easily?

  7. National Geographic reports on people born without fingerprints. If it weren’t for the other unhealthy effects, that would be so cool.


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