We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Only the stupid have nothing to fear

Their lack of imagination will also protect them from the apprehension that they have anything to hide.

It is only people who behave suspiciously who should – and quite rightly deserve to – fear. That is the purpose of having ID cards!”

“Like my friends and acquaintances, I cannot understand how a law abiding citizen
can object to the proposal or how they will limit or infringe my “civil liberties”.

– Unnamed members of the public quoted as endorsing the Home Office view in its consultation summary (2003) (pdf).

The national identity cards scheme will give people confidence, convenience and security in an increasingly vital aspect of modern life – proving and protecting their identity.

– David Blunkett, launching the Identity Cards Bill in 2004

Such views are surprisingly persistent. To tackle them, we (NO2ID) have produced what I suppose is the first NO2ID commercial:

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42 comments to Only the stupid have nothing to fear

  • How will David Blunkett know what is on his ID card?

  • Mike James

    “It is only people who behave suspiciously who should – and quite rightly deserve to – fear. That is the purpose of having ID cards!”

    Stop for the checkpoint. Of course, consent to let the police look around your house without a warrant granted after due process. Have your papers, in proper order, on your person at all times, and produce them for examination by officials upon request.

    ‘If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.’ People who live in a free country should not find themselves perpetually in the position of having to prove their innocence at any and all times, which is the logical implication of the above sentence.

    People who would prefer to live in a comfortable, loosely yet constantly ruled minimum security prison, on the other hand, would seem to have a new national motto (see above).

  • Sam Duncan

    There was an excellent letter in the Telegraph last week on the idea that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear: “I fear having to prove that I have nothing to hide”. A slogan for the NO2ID folks, I think…

  • Pa Annoyed

    Did she just say she was on benefits? How can she be on benefits, and the government not know her address?

  • Kevin B

    A couple of points.

    First to thank Sam Duncan for pointing out that excellent slogan.

    Second, everyone has something to hide.

    Indeed, imagine the authorities reaction if someone were to say “Yes Sir. Here’s my papers! All in order! Come in, look around wherever you like. Would you like to strip search me and the wife? Go ahead. By the way, all my PC passwords are on a sheet under the mouse mat. Oh and here’s a shovel. Dig where you like in the back garden….”

  • Pa Annoyed, at the risk of stating the bleedin’ obvious, if her address in flagged up via a single database accessible by every public sector jackanapes, then it might as well be in the damn newspaper. This is exactly the sort of thing ‘joined up government’ will bring.

  • Ian B

    I’m just pondering whether presenting her husband is bribing someone was the best approach. He could simply be someone who works for one of the myriad bodies with access to the database.

    Might also be interesting to do a riff on a person who had a false accusation made against him, and now is completely unemployable, cannot travel, and so on, because it is following him around the JoinedUpEverything system.

  • My store card statement arrived,along with a default notice.Looked at last month’s statement there it was paid by debit card via automated system. It is impossible to pay without all the requisite account numbers and passwords,so where was the money? Gone to another account I was told by the operative. Got it sorted out.but remember as the police officer dons the rubber gloves and orders you to bend over,it might not be personal.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Perry,

    Surely the ‘National Benefits Database’ is a single database?

  • Ian B

    Pa, I think one point here is that as government gets more “joined up” the more information becomes universalised. There used to be a principle that data storage should be single purposed and specifically not joined up to limit governmental power. Your information held by the Inland Revenue was only for IR staff, your information at the DVLC was only for them, and so on. While this presents opportunities for information leakage, they are less than with universal databases with widespread access. Further, those databases weren’t “matched up”, so an entry for “F. Bloggs” on the IR computers would be one thing, an entry for “Frederick J. Bloggs” on the DVLC would be another, and there would be no awareness by the system that the two database entries refer to the same person. So, while of course all data held by the state is a threat, localised databases are far less of a threat than a single universalised database which can be accessed by the IR, DVLC, local councils, “stakeholders”, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all. The fundamental thing here is that the systems now in place actually “know who you are” in a way that previous systems didnt. I can’t think of a succinct way to put this, but the ID/joinedupguv database directly links your database identity to your actualite as a person, which a name in a more basic database doesn’t do in the same way.

  • Surely the ‘National Benefits Database’ is a single database?

    Sure, but plans will pool all your data from every department into one panoptic database which in practice means anyone working at any town hall anywhere in the nation has your life at their fingertips, not just people in the benefits office. Jesus. Is this not obvious?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Ian,

    You’re assuming they follow the rules about not joining the databases up. People who would use them for the illegal purposes suggested in the advert feel no such compunction.

    Perry,

    No, it isn’t obvious. Guy’s post comments on the persistent belief among a large part of the general public that this isn’t a problem. There’s no point in moaning at me when I point out what a lot of people watching your advert would think. And which government ministers would be happy to point out to any who hadn’t if they were to be asked about it.

    My initial reaction on watching it was puzzlement as to why it was only the change of address that would enable her ex to find her. Why couldn’t he get her address now? And then it became apparent that she was supposed to be simultaneously hiding out from the government while still claiming benefits. That’s not impossible, but it’s tricky, and it jarred.

    If you think about it, there are a lot of databases that it’s quite hard to stay off, and any one of them has the potential for bribe-based leaks. Sure, a single national database may make the problem worse, but it’s only a difference of degree, not in kind. Someone seriously trying to stay off them is going to have to be working a lot harder at it, and face a lot more problems. She’d be complaining about the fact she couldn’t claim benefits she was entitled to, because it would mean announcing where she was.

    But mostly, I think the issue with the public attitude is not that they can’t imagine reasons why it might be an issue, but that they have lived with pervasive databases (and not just government ones) for so long now they’re inured to it. Most of the time for most of the people they’re not a problem, and they also quite like the benefits they bring.

    It was an interesting and quite emotionally effective advert, and I think if she hadn’t mentioned benefits it would have worked a lot better. But don’t go expecting it to start any massive swing in public opinion. You’ve got a long way to go.

  • Ian B

    Pa, I assumed no such thing. I described the difference between how data used to be considered by the state, and how it now is. There used to be a principle of keeping the databases separate, which was explicitly for the purpose of confidentiality; what you tell one office won’t be passed to another. That was then dispensed with and replaced with “joining up”.

    People who would use them for the illegal purposes suggested in the advert feel no such compunction

    Not so. It’s very unlikely that some nefarious person could surreptitiously link up the separate databases without being spotted doing so, and even if they managed to do so it would have had to be secret so would not provide general access to all civil servants. The departments were bound by rules not to do so. The databases were not “joined up”. The point is, with national monolithic databases, anyone with access from anywhere in the system can see all your information, and that’s a qualitative difference. For example, rather than somebody at the DVLC just having a record of an F. Blogs owning a Ford Sierra, they now have access to the entire personality of F. Bloggs; his benefit claims, arrest for dope posession as a student, the lot. This then allows for a vast increase in the possibility of illegal usage (e.g. bribery as in the example). The husband now just needs a friend somewhere, anywhere within the massive bureacuracy for access to his wife’s entire details, rather than his having a mate at the DVLC who can only find out that somebody with her name owns a Ford Capri.

    To be honest I’m not quite sure what point you’re trying to argue, so maybe I haven’t addressed it properly.

  • Sure, a single national database may make the problem worse, but it’s only a difference of degree, not in kind

    Like a common cold and bubonic plague?

  • Ian B

    Sure, a single national database may make the problem worse, but it’s only a difference of degree, not in kind.

    It’s a qualitative difference, not just a quantitative one. The ID system links the person direct to a single identity within the database system, rather than a database record on a particular database simply recording some name and address at some time. The person and their ID record becoming intrinsically the same thing; the person literally is “a number”.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Ian,

    You say it would be hard for someone to link databases without being noticed by the security measures. I suggest to you that it would be no harder than browsing for people’s details when you’ve no official business doing so. I refer you to the case of Mr Joe Wurzelbacher – when exactly the situation we’re talking about here occurred, it lit up big flashing red lights some place.

    Assuming that can be got round, people who work in government are going to be friends with people who work down the corridor. The connections are informal. Unless you believe civil servants are all so grey and friendless that they never talk to one another?

    But the real problem is going to be when someone loses the whole bally lot in the post. And then, assuming they can read it, they can do what they want with it.

    Laws only constrain the law-abiding.

    Perry,

    Yes, quite so. While it’s perfectly possible even today to catch the plague (5000 cases in India in 1994, for example), few people travelling abroad spend much time worrying about it.

  • Ian B

    Pa, we seem to be in danger of going around in circles here. I’m talking about the diference between an individual gaining surreptitious access by cunning means to a database which they’re not legally entitled to view, and the implementation of a unified system. These are entirely separate things.

    Yes, somebody at the Department Of Fruit *could* if they were sufficiently adept and motivated, gain access by hacking to the database at the Department Of Vegetables- but this would be a special case, illegal, and fraught with risk of detection. He would be acting as a private criminal, like a bedroom hacker. What we’re talking about here is the construction of a combined Fruit And Vegetables database sytem which routinely allows Fruit officials to study the records collected by Vegetable officials.

    It’s apples and oranges.

  • Alice

    Fascinating! Not the topic — the discussion about it.

    It is like getting into a discussion with a “gold bug” at a party. The gold guy is so intense, so well informed, so convinced that fiat money is the root of all evil that he usually does not notice his intended audience has fallen asleep.

    Maybe the no fiat money guys and the no linked government databases crowd could have an encounter session somewhere. But who would buy the drinks? One side would not allow the use of paper money, and the other side would not allow the use of credit cards. A recipe for a very dull party!

  • Pa Annoyed

    Ian,

    “I’m talking about the diference between an individual gaining surreptitious access by cunning means to a database which they’re not legally entitled to view,…”

    I thought that’s what we were all talking about. Or does this lady’s ex have legal access?

    Your Fruit case doesn’t need to be surreptitious in his bedroom. He needs to chat to his drinking buddy who works in the Ministry of Vegetables and ask for a favour. The same way the lady’s ex does it.

    Or maybe someone’ll work late and maybe download an extra copy onto CD, so they can do a bit extra at home. Or carry it on a laptop so they can check on oddly-shaped vegetables out in the field.

    Sure, if they protect it properly, it would be quite hard to get unauthorised access to it. (And of course the same applies to the unified database – not every civil servant should have access to every part of the database. And such limits are not hard to implement.) But the question is, will they?

    The government are going to say of course they will, and a lot of people will believe them – that there will be sufficient security. It’s not true, but then by the same token it’s not actually very much harder to do it at present. Either you believe they’re competent or you don’t. If you don’t, there’s no reason to think they can protect any of it now.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Alice,

    We database guys don’t use paper money either. They print those serial numbers on them for a reason.

    😉

  • Ian B

    Pa.

    The point is, and I am close to banging my weary head against a wall here, that if our woman’s ex knows somebody in the Fruit Ministry, that doesn’t give him access to her Vegetable information, unless he can persuade his buddy in Fruit to ask a buddy in Vegetables, if his Fruit buddy does have a friend in the Vegetable Department who is willing to risk breaking the rules for some bloke she’s never heard of. Yes, departments network, but it’s not the case that every civil servant knows every other civil servant. They aren’t the fucking Illuminati.

    You are portraying increasingly unlikely events as comparable to more likely ones. The longer the chain of “friends” the harder it is to get the information.

    One of the significant points of this database is the sheer vast number of people with access to it. With isolated databases, only Fruit people can access the Fruit database, and so on. With joinedupguv, everyone with a “need” for access to any information gets access to all the information, not just the Fruit or Veg stuff. It’s not just knowing somebody in the Department of Fruit, it’s knowing somebody in the Department of Anything, or the Police, Fire Brigade, Health Service, guv linked Charities, NGOs and pressure groups… the list goes on and on.

  • As someone once said of the Weimar Germans, “They gratefully accepted the manacles, to stop their hands from shaking.”

    Someone should explain to the authorities that the only place the police have an easy job is in a police state.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Ian,

    But what if the woman’s ex knows someone in the Vegetable ministry? (I can’t believe I’m really having this conversation…!) You’ve interposed the Fruit guy, but there’s no reason to suppose it’s any harder to meet up with someone in the right department, if that’s what you’re looking to do. While we’re cutting out unlikely links in the chain, why don’t we cut out that one?

    Seriously, you’re making exactly the same sort of argument that a normal person is going to make about the ID database. Most people don’t have the right contacts, the civil servants are not going to take the risk, there’s security that’s hard to bypass. The only difference between the cases is that in one you have to find someone who works for benefits, rather than any old civil servant. (Even supposing the government couldn’t simply deny that ‘any’ civil servant will have access to the whole database.) Are you seriously claiming that that’s so hard that it makes this critical difference to security?

    This has been my constant observation here on this topic. As far as I’m concerned, we slipped into the database state decades ago – the battle is already lost. And you guys have exactly the same difficulty seeing it that the general public have understanding your concerns about ID.

    People with reason to hide can already be found, by people with the right contacts and resources. And such people exist, and are for hire. To hide from them takes considerable effort, and a lot of help. You’re already far too late.

    I’d invite you to examine your reasons for not believing me, and imagine for a moment that that’s why, as Guy says, “Such views are surprisingly persistent”.

    If you can figure out what would work on you, you might have some chance persuading the general public.

    Good luck!

  • Most people don’t have the right contacts, the civil servants are not going to take the risk, there’s security that’s hard to bypass.

    Bah. I personally know several people who work in various parts of national or local government and every one of them has access to computers at work. People do people favours. It is almost trivially easy to get certain confidential information that state has on people if you are sufficiently motivated. I am not talking state secrets, just ‘private’ information.

    In pre-internet days a private investigator I hired (about 15 years ago) came up with astonishing information on someone in a matter of days and that was when most info was in card files. I suspect it is even easier now. I am not wasting any more time replying to you.

  • Ian B

    OKay, I get your point Pa, and I agree that we slipped over the line years ago. One demarcation point might be when the principle of isolation was dropped- the idea that your information given to Dept. X wouldn’t go any further. So, I agree with you. I’m not saying the current setup is okay; it isn’t.

    As to the question of difficulty of leakage of information; it is a matter of degree. The more people have access, the easier it is to get information surreptitiously. To what degree that matters is a matter of opinion. And as it goes, I actually don’t think leaks are the significant issue here, though I understand it’s an issue that may play well with the public. What is more dangerous by far is what will be legally done with the information by the state.

    The qualitative difference here though is that the ID database is a capstone of the information system. It is the key thing which links all the various databases and data together; the tying of each individual individisibly to a single database identity is what They need to make their system “work”. Once it’s done, every aspect of the person’s life can be tied together into a glorious unified whole, and they have their true “joining up”; linking everything from the status of your health, to your finances, to what you do on the internets, all into a single record. Once they have that, they have their life tracking system. As such it is a distinct qualitative step in the process of the progressive tyranny. So while, yes, the database state has been with us for a long time already, this is the inauguration of a complete, perfect (except it’ll be horribly broken, but let’s not worry about that, they won’t) unified data structure.

    Then they can start mining the data in earnest. Then the real horror begins.

  • Vercingetorix

    Perry, your point here:

    “In pre-internet days a private investigator I hired (about 15 years ago) came up with astonishing information on someone in a matter of days and that was when most info was in card files. I suspect it is even easier now.”

    Undercuts alot of the (perceived) harm that a National ID could do to the public. After all, in the US, we have Social Security numbers, and must present – by law – two forms of identification to prove our citizenship to work in this country (unless you are an illegal, then you need present none). We have already crossed that Rubicon long, long ago; what harm that could come from a single database is truly a matter of degree over the present situation, not a difference in kind.

    There are benefits to having a single ID card, especially in apprehending criminals. There are certainly drawbacks too.

    If you cannot find some concrete, hard example of dangers from a National ID which are unique to a National ID, you as the opposition will lose, and lose badly, at the ballot box.

    I’m not encouraging you to flag your opposition and concede, but, brother, you need to retool your arguments. Again, National ID or no, the same dangers await the public; Unless there is something particularly menacing, the public will accept the danger as they tolerate a certain level of crime, corruption and inclement weather.

  • Ian B

    Vercingetorix:

    I find it’s generally easier to appeal to what people want to keep quiet about, because most people have something. If you tell people that the aim is to make their every action visible to the state, then they get scared. For instance: it will make it impossible to cheat on your taxes; it’ll make it impossible to pay somebody cash in hand e.g. that nice little man who redecorated your hall. Or, it’ll make it more difficult to get benefits (and cheat on them). The message obviously has to vary depending on who you’re talking to. Angry middle class tories will like the idea of stopping benefit fraud but be scared by the tax thing, your average chav will care about the opposite. If the person is into political speech on the internet, you warn them of datamining their internet activities, likewise if they’re a porn afficianado. And so on.

    The message IMV really needs to be about reminding people why they don’t want the state to know about them, not avoiding their child-snatching ex-husbands, which only affects a small minority of people. Though I can understand the choice for the advert, since they presumably wanted to portray a sympathetic victim.

  • Vercingetorix

    Ian, the appeal based on everyone having something to hide assumes that something is already hidden for one and for another, that in fact everyone has something to hide.

    There are however a great many people that do not cheat on their taxes, do not use drugs, do not speed, etc. I would venture that the law-abiding (at least reasonably so) might even be in the majority. For someone that does pay their taxes (in good faith), outing cheaters is a bona fide plus, as it is for people who have never experimented with or use habitually illegal substances when the scofflaws are outed.

    Even if, for sake of argument, we agree that everyone – or at least a majority – do have incriminating things to hide, that leaves us with two problems. One is of discovery; tax cheats may indeed fear being discovered, but the actual mechanism of discovery of their ‘sin’ is a bit murky. Why couldn’t they be outed with the existing system? That (the current system) indeed is the mechanism they are betting against.

    Unless there is some turbocharged mechanism inherent in a National ID, people already defying the current systems will likely shrug and recalculate their bet against a national system.

    The other problem is that people with great ‘sins’ or crimes or secrets, they may already be living with that information in the public. Felons, for instance, have to live with their felony. This is a perceived benefit of a National ID; dangerous people, child molesters for instance, will be more easily identified, and as the majority reviles this type of criminal, this perceived benefit is enormous.

    I like the line better that the National ID overturns the basic presumption of innocence and so is a fundamental breech in the relationship between citizen/subject and the state/crown.

    We all know what a pain in the a$$ air travel is nowadays; you are guilty of the worst mass murder until you prove yourself innocent – or merely incapable. That is simply a hassle.

    Now consider the onerous privelege of living within a state which presumes you guilty of the whole ledger of crimes from jaywalking to treason on an ongoing basis. I think that strikes a more resonant chord. It strikes the honor of the average citizen and the worry of the criminal (petty and otherwise), and is more illustrative to the eventual danger you are warning against.

  • Ian B

    Well, my emphasis perhaps wasn’t right there. It’s not so much that everyone is actively cheating on taxes or benefits (though many upstanding citizens will have been pleased to get a discount from a tradesman for paying in cash). It’s that a comprehensive database structure will allow unlimited prying by the state and there is a natural appeal to people having a private life. The ID number is the glue that binds that system together. It’s not the card itself but what the future may hold; and that’s a nebulous speculative thing, which is difficult to campaign against but is, to me, the real danger of this thing. The threat is the *number* you are assigned, not the card itself.

    As a hypothetical example; in a Joined Up society, your doctor may decide to tell you to stop drinking alcohol. The pubs and retailers, which have to process sales with ID checks, find your ID number is blocked from purchasing alcohol. Your local can’t sell you a beer. Or, you are a registered smoker; a potential employer sees this when he does your ID check, and you don’t get the job. He can also see that you have surfed adult sites on the internet and, even worse, some anti-EU ones.

    This isn’t an ID card in the old sense, a “proof of identity” to show Gestapo officers. It is a crucial infrastructural thing they need to create their ideal society; in which every interaction between persons is moderated by the state, because the ID number will tie all the currently somewhat disparate data collections together. It creates a one-stop-shop of the various disparate data bundles they currently hold and will allow far deeper penetration of privacy as a consequence. But the peril of that is difficult to get across in a concise way, at least for me, as my rambling posts demonstrate.

  • Vercingetorix

    The threat is the *number* you are assigned, not the card itself.

    I can and do agree with that.

    However, a string of theoretical dangers do not warn off most people. The possible dangers of walking a street, going to a club, driving a car, etc. are all the greater and still the crosswalks are jammed, car companies (until recently) do brisk business and people cram together in bars.

    I see that as a huge problem for the opposition. The system (of oppression) is already in place; a National ID merely recognizes it. And still, those issues you highlighted (your doctor being able to suspend your rights to alcohol) are much further down the slippery slope. A reasonable person could get outraged at those intrusions and still accept a National ID.

    The fundamental issue, I think, is whether your rights exist as a grant from the state or whether they are fundamental. A motor vehicle license is perhaps a reasonable exercise of the state’s authority; a license to live is however an outrageous overstep of the state’s authority. Could they revoke it? Could they attach riders to your citizenship/fundamental rights?

    Perhaps my preference would be a commercial of a traffic stop or applying for an account at the bank, and have the officer/teller ask about your credit, your medical history, criminal past, your contact with children since your divorce, show pictures of you at spring break when you were in college and ask about your sex offenses/public nudity, ask about your smoking, your drinking, your sexual partners, etc, in double-bind questions:

    “When, Messr B, did you stop beating your wife? When, Messr B, did you stop cheating on your taxes? When, Messr B, was the last time you were alone with children?”

    And point out just how much information would be stored on a national database and how absurd and embarassing it would actually be to have one.

    And even though it turns out you weren’t speeding, still get a ticket for an absurd tax lien you didn’t know you had, or credit card debt that someone had stolen and ran up.

    We, in the end, probably have just a difference in tactics, not views.

  • guy herbert

    Pa Annoyed’s argument is a variation of the “but they know everything about me already”, that one frequently encounters on the street.

    It makes the mistake of personifying “government” as a single entity with complete coherent and consistent knowledge. It is the Home Office’s and the Cabinet Office’s recognition that they themselves cannot follow or target individuals, that people and things can change their identities or just be lost by the systems, that is one of the prime motivations for the National Identity Scheme. The Identity Scheme is intended to facilitate the centralisation of electoral registers and tax and benefit records (which are only yet patchily centralised – and the task may yet prove too difficult, as the national physical address register did), NHS medical records, police and criminal records, and so forth, by providing a single coherent index of every person without (by the imagined magic of biometrics) duplicate records .

  • guy herbert

    Vercingetorix,

    “It could be done anyway”, is not an argument against making it easier. But it is also not the point of the film to show something that is a unique threat of the identity scheme. We know all sorts of people with legitimate reasons to hide are tracked down already.

    What we are trying to do is to penetrate the public imagination with the idea that you can have a good reason to hide. It is deliberately targeted at women because research appears to show that women are more affected by the Home Office’s strategy of suggesting (on no evidence whatsoever) that the scheme will make us safer.

  • Ronald

    Of course anyone in the UK who visits the album page on Amazon.com for the Scorpion’s Album Virgin Killer could technically be deemed a paedophile. The fuss in the press(Link) at the moment about UK ISP’s censorship of some pages on Wikipedia is of the record cover for that album. The page on Wikipedia showing that image is censored in the UK (“to protect us from viewing banned images”) thanks to those keen eyes of the Internet Watch Foundation.

    Amazon UK have a different cover.

    So yes you may have something to fear, just by visiting Amazon.com! The rest of the world must find us rather backward at times.

    I’m not in the Rev Dodgson school when it comes to young girls but this is more reminiscent of the “anyone who takes nude photos of their young kids is a paedo” mindset.

  • guy herbert

    Ronald,

    No; technically they would be deemed to have committed the offences of possessing, and making, an indecent photograph or pseud-photograph of a person under 18. – Conviction for, or even accusation of, such an offence is what would make one highly non-technically a “paedo” in the eyes of the tabloids and the mob. And give one a good reason to hide from violent pseudo-retribution.

    (Quaere: What are the modern equivalents of pitchforks and torches? Placards and baseball bats?)

    O tempora, o mores! When I was a teenager, no public library was complete without several coffee-table books by the enormously popular kitsch photographer David Hamilton, whose soft-focus chocolate-box erotica featured exclusively adolescent girls. There must be thousands of attics across Britain harbouring such “child pornography”. But, as I have pointed out here before, the offence is so broad that the determinant of guilt is the decision to prosecute, and who one is.

  • Ian B

    Wow, I hadn’t seen that about wikipedia. But well, it exactly demonstrates the state we’re in; “policing” is now a very broad thing, carried out by all manner of bodies. The IWF and its ilk are judge and jury, and there is nothing any of us can do about it. If they think something may be against the law, by their personal interpretation, that’s it. Game over. No need for courts or proof or anything like that. And it’s indicative of how disastrously liberty has collapsed that the few people who actually object are considered to be radical nutballs.

    The internet has already become “Great Firewalled”. It’ll be barely recognisable ten years from now. The days when it was a free medium of communication are like, soooo over. What kind of irritates me more than anything else is the number of people I’ve argued with over the years who insisted “it can’t be censored”, “it routes around censorship” and all that other happy clappy techno-geeky bollocks.

  • Black

    I didn’t find the ad compelling in the least. The “husband” could just as easliy bribe a variety of civil servants in various departments for the same information presently. If NO2ID is going to make an effetive point it will have to be in a way that makes clear the dangers that are not already present from current ID and system failures.

    Personally I think a lot of the sting of ID cards has been taken away by having such an intrusive government already in existance. One more step down that road doesn’t seem like a big deal as it might have in say 1980.

  • Ian B

    Well, while I’m waiting for my above little rant to be desmited, if it is, I’ll just temper it by adding that it was rather nice to just discover that that wiki page is still visible via my ISP (Zen) so the rather pricey contract is worth it, at least in this case 🙂

    But the principle still stands.

  • jb

    What I find quite amazing looking at the ID thing over the years is that the government still manages to get away with talking shit about what it will achieve as if there were no other countries in the world with ID cards.

    There are lots of countries with compulsory ID cards in the world and, without bothering to check the exact facts but having lived in some of them, I’ll venture the following assertions:

    1. No country with ID cards has significantly lower crime rates or illegal immigration.

    2. In every country with ID cards criminals find it easy to obtain fake or stolen ID cards as they require them.

    3. In every country with ID cards the police routinely use document checks to hassle and/or shakedown minorities.

    I could go on, just about everything they ever say is an outright lie and journalists never seem to call them on it.

  • I could go on,

    The one which does need to be said is “Having compulsory ID cards doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the likelihood of being attacked by terrorists, or the success of such attacks”, too.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Perry,

    “Bah… I am not wasting any more time replying to you.”

    A pity… just at the point when you were in 100% agreement with me. 🙂

  • Typical to use manbashing tactics as a reason not to expose radical Islamist networks. The myth of men tracking down ex-wives to murder them or exercise their rights as fathers to have custody of their children is no arguement against ID cards. Shame on them for their manbashing. Find a good reason. It seems that this commercial actucally proves the point of the ID card system, in that someone cannot operate in the society without them. For instance, radical Islamists use the welfare system to suppor themselves and their families. ID cards will make it easier to track these people down. Find a better reason.

  • guy herbert

    I think I might suggest a competition to my colleagues for the maddest comment on the video, now I have an ace up my sleeve.