|The Observer Via Kim Cameron's Identity Weblog » Tales from beyond the crypt : Gordon Brown is planning a massive expansion of the ID cards project that would widen surveillance of everyday life by allowing high-street businesses to share confidential information with police databases.|
Far from intending to dump ID cards once he is in Downing Street, Brown is quietly studying how biometric technology - identifying people by unique markers such as fingerprints and iris patterns - could be expanded over the next 20 years to fight crime.
Police could be alerted instantly when a wanted person used a cash machine or supermarket loyalty card. Cars could be fingerprint-activated, making driving bans much harder to disobey.
The plan would make the ID cards scheme cheaper, since companies would pay for access to the national identity register - a government database of biometric information being compiled for the ID cards programme. Brown's plans belie reports that the Treasury, concerned about the cost of ID cards, would ditch them when he became Prime Minister. It's almost the opposite - Gordon's thinking about ID cards is that it's part of the answer but there's a much wider picture, said a source close to him.
I hesitate to suggest this, but what's dropping out of this is that the government needs to do nothing more than enact a couple of laws. The one's that say that any corporate ID / tracking system must include a backdoor that provides access to law enforcement and that any unusual transactions (volume or size) are automatically reported in near real time. That way they can avoid all the costs and maintenance issues.
In some jurisdictions, actually passing the laws is optional. The government just has to ask nicely and the corporations (I'm looking at you AT&T) willingly hand over the data.
BTW. What is it about Social Security numbers? You have to hand them out frequently to people who can barely be trusted (like your employer) So what's the big deal? Aren't they pretty much something like a Bank account number that is useless in isolation?
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[ 10-Aug-06 11:52am ] [ ID ]