As previously mentioned, the 2005 UK Big Brother Awards are postponed until July, i.e. after the Second Reading of the Identity Cards Bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday 28th June.
Nevertheless, all sorts of interesting people turned up for a drink and a chat anyway.
The eagerly anticipated London School of Economics Identity Project report does seem to be nearly complete.
It appears to be a substantial report, judging by what we could glean from a sneaky bit of "shoulder surfing", The Preface has been written by Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner who is legally responsible for enforcing both the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This is unprecedented, and can only add to the seriousness with which this LSE Identity Project report must be taken by politicians and civil servants, given its critque of the Government's Identity Card / Centralised biometric database scheme.
The LSE are proposing a simpler, more practical, less privacy intrusive, les of a risk to national security and above all far cheaper national identity scheme. There is an alternative, and the Government must be forced to justify its design and costs, point for point , against the LSE Identity Project scheme, instead of just endlessly repeating vague promises, and refusing to discuss the detail of their plans.
Apparently the Treasury are to be briefed about the report's findings later today (friday), and there is intense clamour from the media for advanced copies or leaks.
The full report will be unveiled to the press and public on Monday 27th June, at the at the London School of Economics Hong Kong Theatre, Ground Floor, Clements House, in The Aldwych, from 10:15am or so. Contact: Jessica Winterstein, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 020 7955 7060 to reserve a place.
We also got a chance to chat with Kim Cameron who is very influential in the world of computer based Identity
systems, as the author of the much discussed laws of Identiity, and, very significantly, the Identity Architect for the Microsoft Corporation. He got us to promise to have an in depth look at Microsoft's proposed InfoCard scheme, despite our initial qualms over the human user interface.
We also met David Shayler and Annie Machon, who have written a book about their experiences with MI5, the Security Service, entitled Spies,Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 and the David Shayler Affair.
"I will refuse to register for an ID card and will donate £10 to a legal defence fund but only if 10,000 other people will also make this same pledge."
Unfortunately, at some point during the evening, probably between 8pm and 9pm, a black leather bag containing a wallet, with credit cards (maxed out !), a daybook diary and a Sony Vaio laptop computer went missing from near the entrance to the Three Tuns bar, on the ground floor of the Clare Market Building, in Houghton Street within the London School of Economics campus, where we were chatting.
The chances are that this was just an opportunistic theft, but the daybook diary and laptop computer contain important NO2ID campaign data.
No suppporters' personal data has been compromised, but given the very busy NO2ID Campaign schedule, meetings with the media, politicians etc. in the run up to the crucial Second Reading of the controversial Identity Cards Bill on Tuesday, the disruption to the campaign could be such, that a "no questions asked" reward is being offered for the return of the laptop and diary.
If anybody does know who the local street villains or drug addicts who thieve from the LSE are, then please put the word out to them, email us or the NO2ID Campaign and we will put the relevant parties in touch.
In the event of this reward not being successful, does anybody have a spare laptop computer that they might be willing to donate to the NO2ID Campaign ?
Obviously with several people who have experience of "truth is stranger than fiction" conspiracies gathered around, it was not long before the suggestion was made that this might be a targetted theft to disrupt or to gather political intelligence on the NO2ID Campaign.
This would be a very foolish tactic, given the political and publicity downside , should any such plot be revealed to be true.
Hopefully the postponed Big Brother Awards in July will prove to be as interesting and entertaining as thi evening.