Compulsory dog ID microchips plan - Yet Another National Database of human names and addresses is not acceptable

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The Daily Telegraph has a disturbing report about an alleged compulsory plan to insert RFID microchip transponders in all dogs in the UK, and Yet Another National Database of human names, addresses and telephone numbers, which will not solve the underlying problems, and which will pose a Privacy and Security risk to millions of innocent people.

All dogs to be microchipped with owner's details to 'help track pets'

All dogs in Britain will be fitted with microchips which contain their owner's details, under cross party plans designed to track family pets.

By Andrew Hough
Published: 7:00AM BST 28 Sep 2009

Owners will be forced to install the microchip containing a barcode that can store their pet's name, breed, age and health along with their own address and phone number.

barcode ? Surely not ! How exactly do you read one of those opticaly, when it is implanted under the skin and fur ?

Presumably the author means an implantable RFID transponder chip

This sort of glass encapsulated RFID transponder chip implant, designed for animal tagging, uses a low frequency of around 125KHz, with a reading range of about a metre. High or microwave frequency, faster data rate, longer range RFIDchips etc. are of no use for implants, as those radio frequencies are strongly absorbed by living tissue.

The barcode's details would then be stored on a national database which local councils could access in a bid to easily identify an owner's pet.

What is the justification for this being a national database ?

Why not local Council based databases, with the minimum amount of data needed i.e. just the RFID chip serial number and a description of the dog, but with no names and addresses of humans whatsoever, except of those people who have actually reported a lost dog ?

The new scheme, supported by the Tories and Labour, is designed to curb the trade in stolen dogs, prevent the use of animals in anti-social or violent incidents and reduce the record number of stray dogs being found on British streets.

It is ludicrous to suggest that drug dealers or those involved in dog fighting etc. will ever submit their real details to such a National Dog Owners Database.

If your dog gets stolen by professional thieves, then it will be easily "re-chipped", or "un-chipped" . There is no economic incentive for them to do so at present, but as soon as compulsion is inflicted, the criminals will easily tool up.

Unscrupulous "puppy farm" breeders of pedigree dogs and dog thieves have been forging dog "identity papers" for hundreds of years, and this scheme will not prevent that either.

If your dog gets lost and you have had it chipped, then it is fair enough to include some minimal contact details and the RFID chip serial number, when you report it lost or stolen, but that does not justify creating another insecure national database containing the details of millions of dog owners who have not lost their dogs.

If an owner failed to insert a chip, at an estimated cost of about £10, they could be fined or face the possibility of having their pet taken away.

Why will it be any more successful than the compulsory Dog Licence, which was abolished in 1987 under the then Conservative government, since it was unenforceable in practice, without an army of petty spies and snoopers, with around half of the dogs in the UK not having been registered. ?

See the House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/6: Dogs

The chip would be installed once but if the owner's personal details change the information on the database can be changed.

The chip, said to be the size of a rice granule, is implanted into the pet either behind the ears or between the shoulder blades.

Experts say the procedure is relatively painless for the animal and is over in a matter of seconds.

Not a "barcode " then.

Most pet and farm animal tagging systems only have enough memory to store a serial number in the RFID chip capsule. - it is a bit hard to read an optical barcode which has been inserted inside the animal.

There is no way of protecting any human name, address and telephone number data unless the chip is at least as complex and as expensive as that in the biometric Passports or the planned ID Cards.

The plans, to be unveiled at the next election, were backed by animal charities, who say it was a quick, cheap and painless way of keeping tabs on animals.

So this is really more about controlling humans than about controlling dogs, a National Identity Register by stealth, for the millions of pet owners in the UK.

Who exactly is planning to set up this National Database ?
How much will it cost ?
How will it ever be secure against corrupt insider attacks ?
Who will regulate it ?
Who will enforce the mandatory registration aspect of it ?
What actual cost benefit will there be ?

The Labour government has never managed to come up with satisfactory answers for their National Identity Register scheme, so there is little chance that a compulsory National Dog Owners Register would be any different.

The scheme, which is already being successfully piloted by the Conservative-run Wandsworth Council, would be phased in gradually to provide enough time for owners to comply with the changes.

The south London council has made it compulsory for its council tenants with dogs to microchip their animals and to place details on a database and has urged other residents to ensure their animal is fitted with such a device.

Wandsworth Council's website gives some figure for their Dog Control Service

    For over fifteen years, we have:

    * dealt with over 6,000 stray or dangerous dogs;
    * prosecuted nearly 800 offenders for dog-related offences;

i.e. an average, only 400 dogs a year , the vast majority of which have not been identified through their RFID implants,

How is this a proper pilot for a national scale database scheme of all dog owners, not just those living in council houses ?

Remember that The Control of Dogs Order 1992 still applies, so you are still legally bound to have a collar on your dog, with your name and address on it (and optionally your telephone number) - this is in addition to any RFID tag

    Wearing of collars by dogs
    2.--(1) Subject to paragraph (2) below, every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it.

A dog collar is of more use in helping with lost or stray dogs than an RFID chip, as it does not need special equipment to read it.

There are also several competing commercial pet chipping technology solutions available in the marketplace, some of which offer their own databases.e.g. PetTrack

None of these are standardised and so one manufacturer's scanning equipment is not necessarily capable of reading RFID chips from all of their rivals.

See also the controversies surrounding the VeriChip "spychips". VeriChip and their various re-branded subsidiaries have been losing money for years, trying to convince people that this technology is somehow morally or ethically suitable for human implantation.

Are any of the Labour and Conservative politicians lobbying for this mandatory national system linked with any of these companies, whose businesses would be greatly expanded by any move towards compulsion, or to a national standard based on one manufacturer's technology ?

Unfortunately the Labour Government seems to be treating human beings just like animals, and is trying to snoop on and collect our personal details, our "life events" history, our changes of address and our transport movements. The Conservatives should not follow their example with ill thought out "national database" plans touted as solutions to local problems.

5 Comments

Hang about! My dog is microchipped. The details of Jack's address and the humans who care for him (me and my husband) is held on a national database not on the microchip. I have NO problem with that - it isn't a government-managed national database and I accept that it's in Jack's interest that if he does stray someone will be able to find out where he lives. I object strongly to any attempt to get information about me clandestinely just because I choose to care for a dog rather than a cat. They'll be tagging bloomin' goldfish next.

They'll be tagging bloomin' goldfish next.

...and they'll be tagging us after they've finished with the goldfish.

@ Hazel Edmunds - why is your name and address on the dog collar, as per the Control of Dogs Order 1992 law, not sufficient ?

Nowadays an anonymous email address, or email alias or mobile phone number might be sufficient contact details, which will not betray your home address to strangers.

As of 1st August 2009 all Horses have to have a Horse Passport and an implanted RFID transponder chip.

As of 31st December 2009 all Sheep will have to have an Electronic tag as well.

Cattle and Pigs have extensive database entries, and external tags, but the available RFID tags for them are not mandatory.

Cats do not yet seem to be under threat of mandatory RFID implant tagging.

I would like to know if anyone out there has read the scientific studies that prove the link between pet implants and cancer in animals. As I see it vets want this because it is a massive revenue generator. Governments want it because they are lobbied by vets and other interest groups who see it as a massive revenue generator. Chip companies project profits for vets of 200% to 400% per chip. Imagine what a charity with volunteers will get per chip? The studies are: Le Calvez 2006, Vascellari 2006, Vascellari 2004, Elcock 2001, Blanchard 1999, Palmer 1998, Tillmann 1997, Johnson 1996. These are all peer reviewed scientific studies that have been ignored in the pursuit of profit at the expense of animal welfare. Shame on the people advocating this.

@ Lawrance - See also the health fears about identical (insecure) RFID chip / transponder implants in humans, based on the demonstrable effects on dogs,

http://www.spychips.com/blog/verichip/

http://www.noble-leon.com/resourcesAdvanced/microchips.html

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Recent Comments

  • wtwu: @ Lawrance - See also the health fears about identical read more
  • Lawrance: I would like to know if anyone out there has read more
  • wtwu: @ Hazel Edmunds - why is your name and address read more
  • HMPB: They'll be tagging bloomin' goldfish next. ...and they'll be tagging read more
  • Hazel Edmunds: Hang about! My dog is microchipped. The details of Jack's read more

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UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

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Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

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Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

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Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."

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Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers