Junior Home Office Minister Andy Burnham has a letter in The Guardian which attempts to defend his wretched ID Card database scheme.
How can such a short letter be so full of so many misleading claims ?
ID cards will help protect the public
Monday January 23, 2006
I don't accept that the government has failed to prove the case for identity cards (Publish the costs or pay the price, January 18).
Most people who have actually looked into the issues, from cross party Committees of Parliament, to independent academics and industry experts, including supporters of the concept of some sort of ID Card, do believe that the government has failed to do so with their particular ID Card scheme.
We already have many public databases, but none which covers every citizen and provides high-standard proof of identity.
Good ! That is how things should remain. It is far more secure to have multiple, independent targets which an attacker needs to sucessfully compromise, rather than a single point of failure "all eggs in one basket".
The passport system comes closest, but some people do not have a passport and it is not sensible to carry one every day. So stand-in documents are relied upon: bank statements, birth certificates, utility bills. All are rich pickings for the identify fraudster.
If it is "not sensible" to carry a passport "every day", then why would it be any different with an ID Card ?
If biometrics really made ID cards "impossible to forge", and the planned ID Card would be useless to anyone except the person to whom it was issued, then there would be no reason to forbid people to have several spare, backup ID Cards at any one time, just like spare keys or spare credit cards, thereby reducing the massive inconvenience if the ID Card is lost, stolen or is faulty..
That is not what Andy Burnham's scheme is offering.
An ID card, backed by the National Identity Register (NIR), is long overdue.
The system will not provide the silver bullet to any single social ill - be it crime, terrorism, benefit or identity fraud
The Home Office / NuLabour propaganda has been claiming exactly that !
- but will make it harder for those involved in these activities to operate.
How much harder exactly, and will the cost be worth the alleged benefit ?
The individual gains convenience and, crucially, identity protection. Linking a unique biometric to personal data means people have control over access to their details.The NIR will also unlock huge potential savings. Any public body carrying out ID checks will be able to check against it. Our estimates for annual running costs of £584m have been commended as high quality by KPMG; set-up costs will be met from Home Office budgets. It would be foolish to limit our ability to secure value for money by saying now what we expect to pay for each element of the scheme. In any event, the bulk of the investment must be made to deliver the next generation of passports. What I find most surprising is your endorsement of the suggestion that the Lords should be able to delay a manifesto commitment of the government on the back of a demand that breaches procurement best practice. Andy Burnham MP Minister, Home Office [/quote]
Linking a unique biometric via a centralised database, rather than keeping the boiometrics only on the smart ID card itself, and nowhere else, which is not what is on offer, to personal data means that the Government have control over access to your details.