This is my response to some of Talkpolitics's latest points on ID cards.
"I appreciate your efforts to put detailed counter arguments to those of us who have argued forcefully against this bill but don't you think this is something that the government should have been doing?"
Quite simply, yes, but the fact that they are not making good arguments doesn't means ID cards are a bad idea. This govt have failed to make the case for a lot of policies that when implemented have proved of considerable benefit to us.
"The bare comparison of Britain and Sweden you are making ignores 1400 years of British history..."
I do not care much for tradition...tradition does not mean anything if it is wrong. This just sounds like a typical Tory argument for the status quo when they haven't got very much else to say. I'm not of course suggesting this is your reason for using it.
"We have no written constitution and no constitutional bill of rights"
Well its about time we did then. This is another area where the Tories use the 'tradition argument' to defend something that should have been changed a long time ago. They have been doing this ever since the reactionary Edmund Burke criticised the ideals of the French Revolution. Compared to Scandinavia, Britain is a crap country to live in when it comes to protecting our rights and preventing criminals using our identities.
"[about opinion polls] the actual differential between the two figures could run anywhere from a 9% differential in favour of ID cards to a 3% differential against."
All I said was that all the opinion polls so far show more in favour, which they do. This is a minor point anyway, its pretty obvious that public opinion is very malleable on this subject, a couple of years into a successful introduction and opposition will melt away. I think one of the polls said 70% know little or nothing about ID cards. This is hardly surprising, I reckon most people know little or nothing about a lot of govt policy. Even if 99% of people opposed ID cards, I would still argue for them and try and persuade them they were wrong, a bit like I'm doing here. The opinion polls just give an idea of where people stand on an issue. It doesn't necessarily mean an issue is right or wrong, but it is important they do support an issue for obvious reasons, and when the benefits are shown they will support it.
"Do you seriously believe that were there to be a change of government at the next general election, the Tories – the only opposition party which could take power – for all their parliamentary opposition to the present Bill, will actually repeal this legislation outright and dismantle the entire system that Labour will have, by then, put in place?"
Wheres your confidence gone? Surely if ID cards are going to be the costly and technologically flawed disaster you are predicting, the Tories will ride to victory on a promise to get rid of them and be crucified if they don't carry through their policy. You obviously aren't quite so sure it is going to be a disaster are you?
"you should know better by now that to cite a source like CIFAS"
As long as the figures are correct, it doesn't matter where you get them from. Ok I misunderstood cases as meaning people, but there has still been a 500% rise in cases between 1999 and 2003. This will mean 1.1 million cases by 2008, if it continues at the same rate.
"ID cards, far from deterring efforts to obtain a false identity will actually make such efforts all the more attractive, particularly to terrorist organisations and organised crime."
Why do 21 out of 25 EU countries think its worth it?
"Just look at the history of 'copy protection' on software, music and now films. Billions have been poured into the development of systems designed to prevent theft of intellectual property"
And why do you think they spend this money and continue to spend even more to this day? Obviously the billions they are spending maintain sales that they would otherwise have lost, and this figure is larger than what they spend. They are commercial companies. If not spending this money made their profits bigger, they wouldn't spend it.
If you make something harder to do, less people do it. You admit yourself that ID cards will make it harder to get a false identity. You don't just say 'oh well its not perfect, lets just have no protection at all and let the criminals have it easy'.
"suppose you are, once ID cards are introduced, a victim of ID fraud...How, then, are you going to prove that none of this was down to you, that your identity was, in fact stolen?
The same way you prove it now, by showing you were at work, or having evidence you were somewhere else when the crime was committed. Basically the crime will be much rarer, so this is less likely to happen to you in the first place. But if it did happen, the govt is going to have to address the problem, and they wouldn't do that by locking up innocent people. If they did this, they would just bring more attention to the problem, a problem that would eventually get worse. It would be a case of constantly keeping one step ahead of the criminal, just like they do to stop counterfeit money. They don't just give up and say 'oh its too expensive to add more security features' or say 'lets get rid of money altogether and rely on bartering instead'. You stick with the most cost effective system and ID cards will be more cost effective.
"even if it turns out the system is insecure, will the government and its users even admit to it, knowing that without absolute confidence that the system is secure, public confidence in it will evaporate overnight. Let me give you a clue as to what's likely to happen in that scenario...Matrix Churchill"
The govt were found out, made to look idiots and lost the next election. If they tried this with the ID card scheme, it wouldn't last very long. The govt doesn't deny there is counterfeit money about, it just keeps it to a minimum by using advances in technology. They will do the same with ID cards.
___Even opponents of ID cards admit identity fraud cost (latest figure 2002) at least £150 million a year (they also admit this is likely to be an underestimate). The annual running costs of ID cards will be £85 million.____
"Again, you quote figures from unverifiable government sources"
These figures are taken off spyblog, an organisation that opposes ID cards. Even they accept these figures. The fact the £150 million figure is 3 years out of date, means this figure is probably far higher, especially when you think of the 500% increase between 1999 and 2002 in identity cases. There is no reason to believe this rate of increase hasn't continued.
"Who are Biopay and Touch-and-Go?"
Biopay and Touch-and-Go are two of the biggest biometric firms in the US, and are expanding rapidly because they provide a cheaper service than card based systems and it is more reliable.
I'm begining to think opponents of ID cards are just the equivalent of latter day luddites smashing up looms. You just don't like the 'sound of it all'.
Even if someone managed to hack into the system. Explain to me how data of someone's fingerprint, iris and face measurements would be useful to a criminal? Then maybe I would change my opinion.
"neil..if the government announced plans to repeal the Law of Gravity would you jump out of a plane without a ****ing parachute?"
I'm a bit disappointed you put this. You've said in the past, that you have liked posts on here. I'm sure you must know that I have written posts criticising govt policy.
I hope you realise that when I say I believe in ID cards, I do it because I genuinely do believe in them. If you or someone else can persuade me otherwise I will change my mind.
I just haven't heard a convincing enough argument. I agree the govt's proposals have many flaws and you have pointed out some technical issues that I didn't know about. But technical flaws are irrelevant because, that is not the real reason you oppose ID cards. You and I both know (because it is happening in other countries) that a system can be devised that works. You believe that the govt will proceed with a system that doesn't work. I can't see how the govt would find that beneficial.