Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Random thoughts about ID Cards

On Monday 30th June, nine members of NO2ID were arrested for protesting outside a consultation about ID cards with Meg Hillier, Minister in Charge of Trying to Sell ID Cards to the Public (I don't think that's the official title). There's a good first-hand account about this at James Hammerton's blog, another on the NO2ID forum, and a nice write-up at Spyblog, which does a nice job of pointing out the genius of the NO2ID strategy here.

The government's been having a period of "public consultation" about ID cards, which has consisted largely of trying to avoid any actual cotact with the publc. As far as I've ben able to make out, this as been a process of telling interested businesses and local bureaucracies that ID cards will be a magic bullet for every single administrative problem they face at the moment or can imagine in the future, and trying to keep everyone else the hell out. Then, once the consulation process is over, the fact that there's been "public consulation" becomes a nice gotcha for anyone making further protests - "Don't like ID cards? Well, you should have mentioned it in the consultation process. Oh yes, we had one. All the serious people turned up - didn't see you there, though." Whereas, if the most widely publicised thing about the "public consultation" is that members of the public were arrested when they showed up to express their opinions, well...

Also worth pointing up either the both the blinding arrogance and duplicity/stupidity (can't tell which) of Meg Hillier's comments on the incident:

"I offered to meet NO2ID in Edinburgh but they declined. They are stuck in the past and need to realise that the majority of UK citizens are supportive of identity cards, which start being issued to foreign nationals later this year."

So they did show up, and she had them arrested! There's a woman interested in productive dialogue with all affected parties. Also, the "stuck in the past" comment is beyond satire. Is anyone still buying the idea that this is a fight where a bunch of Luddite engineers, privacy experts and IT professionals face off against technologically savvy government ministers?

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Support the Open Rights Group Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License.