Wednesday, October 26, 2005

ID: the debate continues...

Although they seem to have removed the link to The Kitchen about ad hominem attacks (which I resorted to because reasoned argument just doesn't work on some people, and throwing personal insults makes me feel better) Bloggers4Labour have this to say:
Neil is continuing to hold the line on ID cards, despite Tim Worstall's assertion that he is the only blogger out there who is doing so. It's a nigh-on impossible task and, all in all, an extraordinary situation. All 99.9% votes are suspicious, and even I - an optimist, and someone with a better-than-average understanding of database issues - can see possible benefits.

The thing is that we can all see possible benefits. The fact is that most of us oppose this proposal (not the Swedish system or any other) on a combination of these grounds (which outweigh the possible benefits):
  • It is a gross imposition on the people by the government. It redefines our relationship when it is the government that tells us who we are.

  • Nothing like the efficiency of the Swedish system that Neil highlights, such as the automatic payment of benefits, has actually been proposed. Nor, on past performance, would we expect it to work even were such a scheme being proposed.

  • From a technical point of view, they will not work. As an IT project managed by the public sector, they definitely will not work.

  • We are being lied to about the true costs. We will have to pick up the bill, whether by direct payment or through taxes.

  • There is the worry about government snooping: this government's past actions do not give one any faith that personal information will not be used. And whether or not you trust this government, the potential for abuse by subsequent governments is enormous.

  • In a narrative similar to the motives for the Iraq invasion, the benefits claimed for the cards have changed as each has been systematically rebuffed. This does not inspire confidence. What is the point of the cards if they will not stop terrorism or identity fraud? And what is the real reason for the government's enthusiasm for them?

  • Lest anyone had thought that they were mending their ways, they are still lying to us repeatedly, which does not bode well for the future.

  • The one person arguing for them seems to have:
    • a) an unshakeable faith in the altruistic instincts of this bunch of shits currently ruling us,

    • b) no personal knowledge of databases or the other technologies associated with the cards, unlike the many of those arguing against (such as Chris, Unity and myself),

    • c) no personal knowledge of dealing in public sector IT projects (such as Chris, Unity and myself), and

    • d) continues to compare apples with oranges

If anyone would like to add some more basic objections, then feel free. Generally, go and read Chris and Unity's stuff; they cover the issues in far more detail than I can be bothered to and have far more patience with the dense than I.

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