The evening newspaper in London, the Evening Standard managed to print a peculiar bit of spin about the Government's Identity Card scheme.
This article totally misses what should be obvious - secret agents, spies, special services soldiers, undercover policemen etc. will all have their false identities or noms de guerre compromised because they will have had to surrender their Biometric Identifiers at the age of 16, long before most of them will have been recruited into any of these identity sensitive jobs.
How can you trust foreign border control systems not to preserve your "Biometric Identifier identity" at the age of 16 and to throw up an alarm, years later when you turn up with a different name but the same Biometric Identifiers as a secret agent ?
"Biometrics - the password you can never change, even when the system has been compromised"
A still from a James Bomnd film featuring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry.
A faked Passport Office Biometric trial smart card with a photo of Pierce Brosnan
Reference Number: 007
Mr Bond ..... James Bond
Friday 4 February 2005
Ban on fake identities is a major handicap for spies, warn secret services.
"Why shake-up on ID cards has Bond stirred"
by Ben Leapman
Home Affairs Correspondent
Spy chiefs are demanding sweeping legal powers to create false identity cards for secret agents, the Evening Standard has learned."
How exactly did the Evening Standard "learn" this ? Would that be a press briefing from the "usual sources" ?
"The Government's ID cards scheme includes penalties of 10 years in prison for anyone who makes or uses fake cards.
Crucially, draft legislation before Parliament"
The Draft ID Card Bill was published in April last year and has been made obsolete by the full Identity Cards Bill which was published on November 29th, and is set to complete its Third Reading in the Commons on Thursday 10th February. There is nothing "draft" about it at all !
"makes no exception for British intelligence staff - leaving them open to prosecution"
The same is true for the hasty and improperly debated Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 Part 12 Bribery and Corruption. No bribing of foreign officials is allowed, even for our "national security" purposes. How dim are the Home Office ? Surely the Attorney General can decide not to prosecute British secret agents ?
"Information obtained by the Evening Standard"
Repeating that this is an Evening Standard "exclusive". How exactly was such information "obtained" ? Would a better expression be "spoon fed" ?
"shows that the secret services are trying to persuade the Government to amend the draft Bill and existing legislation."
It is still not a draft Bill, no matter how many times you repeat it.
There are only less than 4 hours of debate and amendment timetabled on Thursday, it will be interesting to see if a Government amendment does apper, or if they will just rely on the slimey "2 Individuals entered in Register:
(5) The Secretary of State.
(a) may at any time modify the Register for the purpose of correcting information entered in it that he is satisfied is inaccurate; but
(b) is not, by virtue of any provision of this Act, to be under a duty to correct such information unless he is so satisfied.
"Their demand was backed today by civil liberties campaigners. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said the work of the security services "is best undertaken within a clear statutory framework".
For decades the secret services operated outside the law, with no official admission that they existed.
Since the Eighties they have gradually been brought within legislation. The 1994 Intelligence Services Act"
That would be the Nineties rather than the Eighties then.
"set out their responsabilities, including espionage.
But many of the tactics used by James Bond remain illegal for real life British spies, including the manufacture and use of "false instruments" such as fake passports and driving licences."
"false instruments" is a term from the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. The Identity Cards Bill talks about offences regarding "designated documents" and the ID cards themselves.
"The call for a change in the draft ID cards law"
It is not yet law, and it is not a draft.
"has been endorsed by Whitehall legal experts and is under consideration by the Home Office. The cards are due to be launched by 2007 and be compulsory by 2012."
Once the Identity Cards Bill is passed, they can be made compulsory for groups of people immediately.