The government is going to introduce a national ID card next year that will further control our lives, expose our most private details: any and all financial transactions, every time we travel, obtain health care, work, rent or buy a house yet no one asked us, the people, if we support such a totalitarian measure. They didn’t even explain how information is stored and retrieved from the card nor who is authorised to view our private details.
For example, when one uses the card, is all the information contained in it exposed or will there be sub-levels of access? That is, will the doctor only be able to see our health record? The bank our financial transactions? The traffic police our traffic related offenses only? Or will anyone with an appropriate card reader be able to drill down every conceivable private detail stored on the card? Giving our consent to whoever is going to read our details by scanning our thumb-print is not enough if that will result in an unrestricted view of the contents.
The government from what I’ve read so far is selling the concept of convenience. I don’t buy it. To me, this looks much more like total control of an individual’s life.
Consider the case of using a credit card for instance: when this card is used, the authorisation software does much more than merely check the identity and available credit. Before getting an authorisation number a credit card number is transmitted to a central computer which performs a large number of transaction: is the card on the system? Has it been reported lost or stolen? Does the account have adequate credit for the current transaction? It goes further: it checks the transaction history, the nature of the current transaction and compares it with the current proposed transaction to see if this transaction fits the customer profile and compares all of that with profiles of fraudulent transactions stored on the system. Once this operation is complete it assigns a “core”to the prospective transaction which it uses to determine whether or not to authorise the transaction.
I can see the national ID card to follow the same path should strict controls not be specifically introduced.
Say you go to a doctor and some software glitch happens in the myriad of equipment and software, will you be satisfied by the rejection of provision of medical aid because of this glitch? What if you want to buy a ticket for a concert and you give your ID number to a distant clerk on the phone who then taps your number on his terminal and not only knows your full home address, but now also when you’re NOT going to be at home? Can the government vouch for the honesty of every clerk? Or will the information be restricted for that type of transactions? If so, what will that clerk have access to?
The proposed card is a huge invasion of privacy, and privacy is one very basic human right. Do we give this away as citizens without question? Why is the government so insistent on knowing every detail of our private life when we see a whole continent like Europe almost doing away with passports? Why does the government want to track every aspect of our lives?
We should at least let Parliament examine these issues closely before even starting such a pervasive scheme. What I’ve heard so far is everyone applauding a clearly “big brother” scheme without any thought given to the real effect that such a card will introduce, whether we like it or not.