ID Cards | Data Protection | Education/Legislation



292199The Customs and Revenue department announced today that it had somehow ‘mislaid’ discs containing all of the details of 25 million people in Britain claiming Child Benefit. Personal details, bank details, National Insurance numbers and addresses were all part of the records that went missing in an internal mail delivery.

And this is within a government that wants to spend £5.6bn – three times that much, say experts – on a National Identity Database, linked to ID cards. Well they can bugger off. Quite why I should pay £50 to have a card that is going to cause me grief, leave my ID and details being more open to theft is beyond me. The reasoning is that it will stop terrorism. Ah yes – terror plots like the ones perpetrated by full British citizens Mohammed Siddique Khan et al. It’s total nonsense.

With more CCTV cameras per capita than any other nation in the world, with data security breaches like this one part of a pattern of systemic failure of central government to protect information, and with spiraling costs, it seems we are being sleep-walked into a crazy Orwellian world. As I mention in the book, education is always more preferable to legislation. It internalizes the desired effect: I don’t commit terrorist acts because I believe they are wrong, not because I’m afraid of being caught.

Imagine £5.6bn – or more like £12bn ring-fenced into community-based education, or programmes to target those most at risk from offending. Surely this would have better outcomes, and leave the rest of the law-abiding society to get on with their business without a camera prying into every damn thing.


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3 responses to “ID Cards | Data Protection | Education/Legislation”

  1. i’m normally a lurker on blogs, but i could not stop myself cheering when i read your post Kester – if the government put half as much energy. time and money into working with young people – particularly disaffected young men – as they do into ‘watching and following’ us, they might actually see some positive results and the fear and threat of terroist activity might actually reduce – why are we not in charge of the country ;0)

  2. So the question is, what do we do with this? Right?
    I don’t know. I’m actually American, but live in England. In The States, there is an overall sense of freedom. Maybe that’s because it’s literally too big to thoroughly ‘police’, but we certainly have our own share of personal-right-breaking excuses. This reminds me of Banksy’s “What are you looking at?” tag… usually strategically placed in front of some CCTV camera. Honestly though– isn’t it a valid question?

  3. amen kester !