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UK Gov't To Require ID Cards For Some Foreign Residents 216

craigavonite, writing "It's looking like the UK is in for biometric ID cards within the next few years, despite widespread protest from groups such as 'NO2ID,'" excerpts from an article at the BBC describing a UK identify card to be issued starting later this year: "The biometric card will be issued from November, initially to non-EU students and marriage visa holders. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the cards would allow people to 'easily and securely prove their identity.' Critics say the roll-out to some immigrants is a 'softening up' exercise for the introduction of identity cards for everyone."
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UK Gov't To Require ID Cards For Some Foreign Residents

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  • ... card identify YOU

  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @05:16AM (#25163285)

    As in "say no to ID". Makes a lot more sense doesn't it?

    • As in "say no to ID". Makes a lot more sense doesn't it?

      They lost my interest when they started spamming me with leaflets after I registered interest. I'm not so inclined to support an organisation that spends so much of its money on maildrops that just end up in the bin with all the other crap.

  • Didn't I see an hilarious piece on You Tube [] recently about redesigning the Stop Sign? Well these things look the same! What a waste of time and money. I don't even need one...I know who I am.

  • Where to begin. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by supersnail ( 106701 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @05:30AM (#25163345)

    1. It wont stop illegal working.
          Anyone who is supposed to have such a card but doesnt can just pretend to be on of the 99.9%
          of the population that is not required to have the card.

    2. Whats the point of the frigging fingerprint?
          Who has got the both tha equipemnt and the right to check it?

    3. The variously elected and appointed idiots are in thrall to various "consultants".
          To paraphrase Warren Buffets immortal words "Never ask a consultant if you need an overpriced solution".

    4. Lastly but most importantly -- there is no "problem".
          Various candidates for the problem to which id cards are the solution have been proposed and they have
          all been found wanting.
          First it was terrorism -- but it was pointed out that all known serious terroist attacks in hte UK
          were carried out by terrorists using thier real names, and, that at no point in the leadup to any attack
          were they required to identify themselves.
          Second it was illegal immigration -- but some 350 million EU citizens have the right to work in the UK
          anyway, the much villified asylum seekers are attempting to immigrate legally, plus nobody is going
          to check the documents of thier Russian nanny or Morrocan cleaner.
          Thirdly it was "identity theft" -- but if the banks give money/credit to unverified strangers it is
          thier problem. For this to be effective lenders would need to have; the equipment to read the card,
          the right to ask for a fingerprint and access to the central database to verify the validity of the

          Currently Jaqi Smith cannot come up with any reasonable justification for this system at all but is
          still pressing ahead with a system that will dump billions into the coffers of the "usual suspects"
          Accenture, EDS (now HP), CAP and IBM.

    Well at least the labour party will be more or less extinct in a years time, but the civil servants who
    are pushing this idea will still be there, and the Conservatives look even more prone to SnakeOil salesman that the incumbent idiots.

    • 4. Lastly but most importantly -- there is no "problem". Various candidates for the problem to which id cards are the solution have been proposed and they have all been found wanting.

      Very nice post. But I disagree on a minor thing with it. When you said there is no problem, you should have said there is no "justification". IMHO the "problem" that they are trying to solve is "lack of total control over population", and as such it exists.

      BTW, a good movie to watch about the UK is Taking Liberties [].

    • I'm going to reply from the point of view of a citizen of one of the many countries (in this case, Singapore) outside the US and the UK that have successfully deployed an ID system for many decades.

      1. It wont stop illegal working. Anyone who is supposed to have such a card but doesnt can just pretend to be on of the 99.9% of the population that is not required to have the card.
      This is true. In order for this to work, the whole population is required to have an ID.

      2. Whats the point of th
      • How does Sinagpore deal with the problem of fake IDs? I don't see anything in this UK ID that will stop it being faked, early and often.
      • Re:Where to begin. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by supersnail ( 106701 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @08:24AM (#25164295)

        Some of your points would be valid if the government were proposing a universal id card for all citizens.

        But they are not proposing this because they know there is large scale opposition to this ( as in civil disobedience, refusal to pay, court challenges, and, quite possibly riots).

        Instead they are trying to sneak in a small scale implemetation for spurious reasons in hte hope that onece the infastructure is in place they can push the boundries until is does become a universal id card.

        As for the fingerprint issue. The fingerprint data is stored electronicly on a chip within the card, therefore special equipment (which must have the the RSA key to decrypt the data) is required to check the fingerprint.

        Either only heavily restricted government agencies are allowed this equipment or the RSA key becomes public knowledge. Given a public key to test, known plaintext and a large number of samples the time required to crack the private key is much less than expected lifetime of the average card so the technical implementation is deeply flawed. I.E. The UK public is being forced to pay over $100 US for something that is no more secure or reliable than a 90 cent plastic photo id.

        Aside from the technical implmentations, the matter of principal for the average Brit is that while they live in a deeply flawed democracy and in theory they have less rights than the citizens of many other countries they have (or imagine they have ) much more personal freedom/privicy than the citizens most other countries.

        While this has been deeply eroded over the last century these freedoms are still cherished and the any attempt to interfere with this will be strongly opposed.

    • Re:Where to begin. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @07:37AM (#25163943)

      I'm actually from an European country which has ID cards and i'm living in the UK at the moment.

      My ID card is actually quite handy as means of identification since it's basically a plastified card with my photo and thumbprint on it, small enough to fit in my wallet and accepted everywhere in Europe as means of identification.

      That said, here is why i am firmly against ID cards in the UK:

      • The UK has the most duplicitious set of politicians I've seen in all the countries in Europe i've lived in. These guys will say one thing one day, a different thing the next day and yet a third thing the following day. The top politicians have few boundaries and will make and pass laws not on the merits of the law but for reasons like "to get more votes" or "to project an image of being a strong Prime-Minister". This is how, for example, the 30 days detention without trial law was extended to 45 days (the PM needed to look strong and shore up votes)
      • Small powers are constantly abused around here. City councils using anti-terrorist laws to spy on people suspected of letting their dogs foul the pavement, people forced to pay on the spot fines for "dirtying the street" when their little child let a piece of cake fall to the pavement, Health and Safety rules used to stop perfectly legit gatherings 'cause "there is a danger that people might hurt themselfs", traffic cameras and payed parking setup all over the place purelly (often openly admited) for the purposed of making money from the fines.
      • The top police officers are power hungry and currupt (not currupt in a "getting payed by crooks currupt" but instead currupt in a "doing whatever i takes to get and keep personal previledges" kind of way)
      • The UK electorate is shallow, ignorant, clueless and easy to deceive with light and mirrors shows. This is the country of the "celeb" (celebrity) cult where being on Big Brother can propel you from being a nobody to being constantly followed by the local papparazzi. Local newspapers have by far the largest amount of space dedicated to celeb and gossip "news" of all Europe - and yet the vast majority of celebs are actually nobodies. IMHO, this is why local politicians say the most outrageous lies (and contradict themselfs the next day) and people still vote for them.
      • There is no space for freedom and privacy in the laws around here: 45 days of detention without trial; anti-terrorist laws so open that you can be detained just by looking sideways at a cop or criticizing a politician at an open meeting (real case); a circle of 1 mile around the parliement where you can be detained for "unlawfull demonstration" if you simply raise your voice while criticising anything; a DNA database with the DNA of everybody ever detained by the police (including children) even if not prosecuted for anything; the highest density of surveilance cameras per-capita of the whole world

      The problem aren't the ID cards, the problem is that the local institutions and politicians cannot be trusted with anything that can be (mis-)used for surveilance or constrol of people.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by aeiah ( 937509 )
        i agree with most things you wrote, although i cant let the comment about local newspapers stand. our local paper is packed front to back with murders, robberies and rape thankyouverymuch. none of that celeb shit here, just fear and violence ;) what irritates me most about this ID card move is that they're trialing it with a group of people who cannot oppose it. they're forcing the most vulnerable to go through with it. dont want an ID card? get out of the country. once the ID cards are established in the
    • This should be reminded to them when the elections come.

  • pointless (Score:2, Insightful)

    by muftak ( 636261 )
    How do they tell the difference between someone that is foreign and someone that just looks foreign? Any black person can just claim they are a British citizen, so don't need an ID card.
    • this is just the first part, sooner or later everone will have one, so your argument is null and void. As well as pretty stupid.

      For now you can claim that you don't need a card. This will pass with time. That is the entire plan. Start small, then slowly get everyone to have to ID themselves.

      Sometimes you wonder how the goverment can introduce such schemes without people protesting and then you see people like you and you know why. The voter is stupid.

  • They already have biometric Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) plastic cards with chip and other info on you here in Ireland (Republic of) for non nationals, and it must be on you at all times...

    • And, as I discovered yesterday, it seems you need a passport to fly from Dublin to Cork. Not just photo-id: a passport. Some of the nationals I spoke to seemed pretty annoyed.

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Friday September 26, 2008 @06:09AM (#25163537) Homepage

    Identity cards introduced for those foreign Johnnies, not you []. "The card will be compulsory for foreign nationals. All terrorists and illegal immigrants will be required to obtain one and show it to policemen, council officials or dog catchers on request. LOOK! TERRORISTS!"

    This is largely from (a) civil servants who think it'd be convenient to their jobs to have everyone filed and numbered (b) private contractors like EDS and Capita who have been promised CASH CASH CASH for consulting on such schemes, and certainly don't have a track record of employing ex-goverment ministers and senior civil servants at vast consulting fees 12 months after they leave the government. Well, maybe a bit of a track record.

    The ridiculous thing is that this is a creature of the Labour government, who are vastly unpopular, and will likely be kicked out on their corrupt arses in the 2010 election. This scheme is set only to be fully implemented by 2011/2012. EDS and Crapita will, of course, still be paid in full.

  • because once your biometric details are stolen it's easy to replace/reset them.......
  • What is the logic behind targetting foreigners first? The obvious answer is that the population is less likely to protest. I suspect some not-so-thinly veiled xenophobia.
  • Its a new stealth tax, just like how the fee to get permanent residency has gone up about 300% in just a few years. No doubt there will be a nice hefty fee to get this card and no one will care because its immigrants paying right?

  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @07:00AM (#25163763)

    Maybe the data isn't stored on the RFID in the passport. But there's the headshot ; such an obvious biometric that people forget about it.

    What many people noticed on applying for a UK passport recently was the leaflet that came with the form telling you exactly how to pose for your photograph... you were only allowed certain margins, certain backgrounds, you had to face forward, you had to take off your glasses. It was pretty clear to those with a technical bent that the photograph was intended for consumption by a computer, so I'd suggest that anyone with a recent UK passport is already in a large database of facial geometry metrics somewhere in the Home Office (and maybe on your passport chip too). This would mean that you are ripe for rapid recognition from any sufficiently detailed CCTV footage ; and as we know, the UK has more CCTV cameras than anywhere else in the world. Nice.

    Now, people don't habitually carry their passport in the UK, partly because it's a valuable document, partly because you don't need it for everyday usage, and partly because of the form factor - a little red book that doesn't conveniently fit into your pocket without the risk of being bent. A credit card sized ID on the other hand, is VERY easy to slip into your wallet and forget about.

    If I were the UK government wanting to promote the routine carrying of an RFID enabled ID, I'd make the UK passport modular - a red book for the visa stamps, with a pocket in the back to carry the wallet-sized photo / RFID card when you're travelling. A lot of people would take to carrying their "passport card" routinely because suddenly, it's convenient.

    Many is the time I've turned up at a place and found I needed a photo-ID or my passport and not had one, buying foreign currency, for example. It would probably work on me (after I put the tinfoil weave in my wallet, of course).

    • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

      you had to take off your glasses

      That could cause a problem for the person who has to sign my next passport photo to warrant that it's a faithful likeness.

  • Feature creep (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @07:14AM (#25163821) Homepage Journal
    The issue as I see it is this.
    At present I carry a passport, a driving licence, another chipped card for the tacho in the truck and various other cards for entitlement to drive various machinery.
    The lame brained would say it is more convenient to have all the relevant data stored on one card. I disagree.
    If I travel to a foreign country, I need a passport and maybe my driving licence (to hire a car). If I don't travel, I don't need the passport - why should I prove my entitlement to travel if I am in my native country ? Why should I open my complete life to inspection every time I "prove" my identity. The passport application process surely proves my right to be here. My driving licence proves my entitlement to drive on public roads in the UK, why should it identify me to the immigration dept. too ?
    There will gradually be feature creep in the system leading to even your bank cards migrating onto this one evil card. Fine you say, less to carry around. Except that you will be required to use it more and more to gain access to anything. This means your entire life is recorded - which roads you used and when, what you bought and where, who was nearby when you drove and or bought anything etc etc.
    The question you should be asking is not, can the cards be forged ? The question should be - can the system be hacked ?
    Is there anybody here that thinks that any networked computer can be hack proof ? In that case, what happens when somebody breaks in and uses YOUR primary key to create a totally ficticious chain of events placing you in the vicinity of a robbery, murder, terrorist act, or even in the same building as other known criminals. As far as the police are concerned, the system doesn't lie and since your card contains your finger prints, it can't be anyone other than you that the records refer to. Not a problem ? Well not a problem until you are late for a train and they think you are about to set off a bomb and decide to shoot first and ask questions later. Quite a bit of incentive for terrorists there I think. Create a false trail for themselves, showing nothing but innocent activity, and a damning trail for some innocent who will be miles away from the action but conveniently will have the police trailing them, not the terrorists.
    Bad idea.
  • Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Friday September 26, 2008 @07:21AM (#25163855)

    It's scary how V for Vendetta is slowly turning from a work of fiction into a documentary.

  • Please, you must support this ID card, think of all those very poor multinational IT companies like IBM sorting through people's data, just like they did in Nazi Germany. Think of the politicians and their backhanders, and please, think of the taxpayer who is seemingly ever willing to put their hands in their pockets to find another £20bn (about $40bn US) the country cannot afford, whilst the government loses yet more personal data of the population.

    The only people that are backing the ID cards are pe

  • The really nasty thing here is not having a card with an identifying number on it, or even a card with lots of scary-sounding biometric data.

    The really nasty thing is that the card implies a central government database which will contain everything they've got on you - criminal record, DNA fragment, address, car registration plate.

    They have some or most of this stuff already but the crucial difference is that it's all sliced up into different databases and it's not practical to pull everything on some
  • by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoe ... minus poet> on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:43AM (#25165971) Homepage
    Well, the frog is now in the pot, and the water is lovely and warm - it thinks it's having a bath!

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham