Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In response....

Many thanks to the poster who commented on my previous post, as promised, here is my response.

1) Why should I prove my ID? You say that ID cards are supported by iris recognition/finger prints etc and while chips can be cloned, body parts cannot. I have two thoughts on this matter. The first being Dolly the sheep. The second being science can do amazing things these days - anything can be transplanted and/or cloned from an iris to a face.
Firstly, on the subject of whether we should need an ID card to prove our identity, this I feel is part of the very large debate on the relationship between the state and the individual. From a practical point of view, I feel it makes sense that an individual should have to prove their identity and therfore their entitlement to be genuine when making use of services provided by the state.

On the subject of the possibilities of technology and cloning, I feel that what needs to be considered here is the amount of effort required to somehow make use of the technology in order to subvert an identity check. Attempting to fake an identity check requires a considerable amount of expertise and resources. Weighing this against the potential gains to be made from subverting an ID check, and it means that only small selection of high yield identity fraud based crimes remain viable.
2) They didn't stop Madrid. No they did not. This IS a reasonable arguement. Surely any bombing that falls through the cracks of "security" and is allowed to occur is one bombing too many. A simplistic view I grant you, but one that is still valid.
On this point, I feel that I should clarify my thoughts on this. The statement "ID cards did not stop the Madrid bombings" validates the statement "ID cards are not guaranteed to pervent terroist attacks". I don't feel that it validates the statement "ID cards will not prevent terroist attacks" because I feel that ID cards and the NIR will be a valulable tool for the intelligence services (I'll try and expand on this at some point). One terrorist attack is too many, but every terrorist attack prevented is a good thing.
3)The only way of stopping benefit fraud is by creating a system that doesn't allow defrauding in the first place. Either by being more severe with the culprits or by having a system that is not worth defrauding in the first place and therefore only aides the deserving. ID cards still wouldn't help with this problem - I refer you to the leaps in science/iris transplant scenario. After all if they are able to screw the system for millions, the small matter of an iris transplant is a mere drop in the ocean. Especially with the NHS in it's current state. I should know - I work for them.
On the subject of benefit fraud I feel that ID cards would increase the chance a fraudster being caught out, I belive that this increased chance of getting caught would act as an additional deterrent. On the subject of punishments, I see this as problematic since often benefit fraudsters might not be able to afford fines and jail as problematic since benefit fraudsters can not really be considered a danger to society and prison places are in short supply.

On the subject of getting millions out of the system, this is again a technical issue. In the recent tax credit fiasco, the thieves used the data (from Network Rail I believe) of some 15,000 people to claim tax credits, these tax credits were then sent to the thieves bank accounts. The thieves in effect posed as each of these 15,000 people and claimed tax credit for each one. In this kind of theft, faking 15,000 sets of fingerprints, or irises would be far more difficult.

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there Citizen

Thanks for addressing the points I put to you. I have to say some of your arguments were quite persuasive and this is clearly something that you have given a great of deal though. However I still can't agree with you. (I'm
afraid your arguments just weren't convincing enough).
It was interesting that you mentioned the relationship between the state and the individual. That in itself elicited a response that became to long and so will have to be abandoned for another time. Suffice to say that our present government do seem to have forgotten who is employed by whom.
Your most compelling argument is that an individual should be able to prove their identity and therefore their entitlement to be genuine when making use of the service provided by the state. I have to say that I agree with you
whole-heartedly on this point. I just stop short of finding it a good enough reason for ID cards
I also have to agree with you that preventing even one terrorist attack is a good thing. However that is just looking at the the argument that "one attack is one too many" but from another angle. Nice try but I don't buy it.
The best way to prevent attacks is to invest in the intelligence agencies,helping them detect potential groups, infiltrating them and helping to bring them down. It's the same as Daily Mail readers saying that "hoodies" cause
crime. No they do not. Desperate social situations cause crime not people wearing hoods. I.D. cards will not curb terrorism. Better detection will. As will a better understanding and tolerance of our neighbours. If someone is stood in the middle of a busy shopping centre with several explosives
strapped to his/her body, people aren't going to be concerned if he really is Eric Stanton, 42, who resides at 15 Cedar Road and has a clean driving license.
The fact is that it doesn't matter how well you argue the case for ID cards,I just feel uncomfortable about them. I think they are a lazy way of dealing with some problems, while others are being used to legitimise the reasons
for issuing cards. This government is playing on peoples fears to push something through that most people don't want. They initially started by saying they'd have a referendum on the subject. When it became apparent they'd lose such a vote they just said "Well we're going to do it anyway".
How very democratic.
I realise that you will suggest that my arguments are weak and I have stopped short of stamping my feet and shouting "I won't do it! I won't do it!" but I feel I'm being lied to over what the cards will carry and who will have access to that information,despite the data protection act and
the freedom of information act.