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ID Cards

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  • 14-04-2010 7:58pm
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭


    ID cards, if introduced, will centralise all of your private details on one national database. There is also the danger that future legislation will begin 'tracking' your private movements - ie, every credit card purchase, ever electricity bill etc. will all be recorded in a file somewhere in a government department.

    I've worked in the civil service before. I refuse to accept the likes of 'me' having access to my private details on the scale this would entail.

    Identity cards pose a massive risk to our individual liberties and pave the way for the implementation of a police state (New Labour has brought Britain halfway there already). People will say that they will greatly reduce crime and terrorism, but that of course is besides the point. The institution of a police state and the introduction of zero tolerance would practically eliminate crime, but there is a reason why nobody wants that. We decided a long time ago to find a balance between personal liberty and personal safety, and ID cards are a step in the direction towards the erosion of our civil liberties.

    Britain will introduce ID cards within the next 5-10 years. They've silently been accumulating a massive national database from all people arrested (Even people not convicted) This is patently a disgrace and of course, it will be followed in this country sooner or later. Our political class has absolutely no interest in the maintenance of individual civil rights, nobody thinks about it or takes it seriously in this country since the early heyday of the PDs.

    Any thoughts?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 40 MysNthR0p3


    I love this argument about ID Cards signifying the rise of an Orwellian state.

    What most people don't consider is the government can already access all that information about us. We have PPS numbers, Bank account numbers, Utility account numbers, Medical chart numbers, Passport numbers, TV licence numbers, Drivers Licence numbers. The government can request these institutions provide details regarding the information pertaining to each of these numbers (especially from semi-state bodies - such as what the banks have just become and ESB and Bord Gáis already are) and receive them at the drop of a hat.

    So what if an ID card centralises the information?

    I don't smuggle/supply drugs, I haven't murdered/raped anyone, I don't incite sedition (well no more than anyone else here), I haven't committed treason, I'm not a paedophile, and I don't hold any opinion strong enough that I would not relinquish it should it become illegal to have. So what do I care if they spy on me.

    I mean, I'm sorry to be so apathetic about this, but any crimes I commit are not going to show up on any ID card, and the information that does, I have no problem sharing.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭Denerick


    MysNthR0p3 wrote: »
    I love this argument about ID Cards signifying the rise of an Orwellian state.

    What most people don't consider is the government can already access all that information about us. We have PPS numbers, Bank account numbers, Utility account numbers, Medical chart numbers, Passport numbers, TV licence numbers, Drivers Licence numbers. The government can request these institutions provide details regarding the information pertaining to each of these numbers (especially from semi-state bodies - such as what the banks have just become and ESB and Bord Gáis already are) and receive them at the drop of a hat.

    The danger is that all of that information would be centralised. Not only is it patently a bad idea for the government having the ability to know absolutely everything about you at any time, but it also leads to the possibility that data would disappear from the system. In a word - internet hackers. At the moment the information you give about yourself is fragmentary and requires an enormous act of will for it to be gathered into one place - if not illegal. Hacks cannot access your details presently but could rather easily if the information were centralised.

    And perhaps more importantly - why do they want this information? Why? Why do they need to know that I spent 16 euros on two packets of fags with my laser on a lazy thursday afternoon? It creeps the hell out of me.
    I don't smuggle/supply drugs, I haven't murdered/raped anyone, I don't incite sedition (well no more than anyone else here), I haven't committed treason, I'm not a paedophile, and I don't hold any opinion strong enough that I would not relinquish it should it become illegal to have. So what do I care if they spy on me.

    This is the oldest trick in the book, and a lazy argument. 'You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide'. Presently, this may be the case if you can completely trust your government. Or perhaps you may be something that will at some stage be considered immoral. In ten years time the global pendulum towards toleration of homosexuality, for example, may swing the other way. if you happen to gay in such a system, you have plenty to fear, for doing nothing wrong. It is remarkably easy for a majority to punish a minority if the rabble are roused enough by populist politicians. One of the reasons why its a bad idea to centralise information is because it is impossible to understand what the world will be like in 10 years time. We could be ruled by the Chinese for all we know. Why have an information infrastructure in place, that can be abused at any time, by any government?

    Here's a tragic example. The Belgian colonial government introduced ID cards in Rwanda, and inadvertently this marked out Tutsi's and Hutu's in a national database. When the genocide happened, it was remarkably easy for the Hutu's to gather together a million Tutsi's in the space of 100 days and kill them all. Without a national database system which recognised the race of every Rwandan citizen, this would have made the genocide much much much less efficient and perhaps many lives could have been saved.
    I mean, I'm sorry to be so apathetic about this, but any crimes I commit are not going to show up on any ID card, and the information that does, I have no problem sharing.

    Apathy is the birthright of all totalitarianism.


  • Registered Users Posts: 40 MysNthR0p3


    Denerick wrote: »
    ...In a word - internet hackers.

    That is a valid point. I am more concerned about non-governmental agents getting at my data than any civil servant.
    Hacks cannot access your details presently but could rather easily if the information were centralised.
    Its much easier than you think, especially if the person is incentivised to find out.
    It creeps the hell out of me.
    Again, maybe read 1984 one too many times, or saw The X-Files or Enemy of the State?
    This is the oldest trick in the book, and a lazy argument. 'You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide'. Presently, this may be the case if you can completely trust your government.
    I definitely don't trust the government. But you seem to be confusing what could be stored with what will be stored. Where, on any form have you ever be asked for your sexual orientation (actually I just thought of one, but I'll let you figure it out)? Where have you been prohibited from opting out of answering, assuming you are not being formally questioned by Gardaí, which even then you can refuse to answer?

    If I have something to hide, I hide it, meaning it will not be divulged. If that means lying on a form, then I lie on a form, its not unheard of.

    The government is not some coordinated body of hive minded drones (never though I'd make that argument). Its made up of individuals with different political beliefs about privacy rights. To pull off an Orwellian state would require significantly more than just ID cards alone, and would be a minuscule step in that direction.

    And should China invade then my response is

    歡迎您到愛爾蘭,我怎麼能是今天的服務?
    Apathy is the birthright of all totalitarianism.
    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

    You misread me, I'm apathetic about ID cards, not about totalitarianism.

    Two quick points:

    1. Do you use Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / Google / Hotmail / Gmail or any of the myriad of social networking portals in existence today? How much information do you think they have on you.

    2. What makes you think that you must have ID cards to centralise data? Each of us has a unique PPS number, why not centralise all data off that and never tell anyone? Unless I'm mistaken birth certificates are also uniquely numbered. Who says the government doesn't already know everything about us?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭Denerick


    MysNthR0p3 wrote: »
    I definitely don't trust the government. But you seem to be confusing what could be stored with what will be stored. Where, on any form have you ever be asked for your sexual orientation (actually I just thought of one, but I'll let you figure it out)? Where have you been prohibited from opting out of answering, assuming you are not being formally questioned by Gardaí, which even then you can refuse to answer?

    If I have something to hide, I hide it, meaning it will not be divulged. If that means lying on a form, then I lie on a form, its not unheard of.

    The government is not some coordinated body of hive minded drones (never though I'd make that argument). Its made up of individuals with different political beliefs about privacy rights. To pull off an Orwellian state would require significantly more than just ID cards alone, and would be a minuscule step in that direction.

    You are mistaking the government as it is presently and not with what it could be in ten years time. Why create such a comprehensive information infrastructure? It could far too easily be abused by vested interests and by future governments. I'm not prepared to take such a risk. And once again I ask - why do they want this information? What are they doing with it? If nothing else it broaches a constitutional problem and questions the traditional limitations of the State. Do we want the state to be an all encompassing body and -foolishly- 'hope' that it never abuses the trust we place in it? Or should we do as every liberal thinker has argued for the past 300 years - exercise some civic virtue and prevent un-necessary intrusions by the State into our private lives. There is a worrying precedent here.

    Another argument that could be introduced is the idea of 'presumed consent' in organ donation. Presumed consent is a worrying concept as it allows the government to 'presume' that I consent to allowing them to take my organs and enter them into the national organ trust. Instead of the traditional relationship between individual and State, the onslaught of presumed consent assumes that the individual automatically gives his/her consent to organ donation. The emphasis is on the individual to explicitly state that they DO NOT want to donate their organs, as opposed to the individual explicitly stating that they DO want to donate their organs. Do you understand the precedent this establishes and why it is so problematic?

    I think it is a useful parallel when considering ID cards. The concept on a purely superficial level may be sound - ie, provide government with information about you in one single place in order to tackle crime and terrorism. However on an abstract level it means that the government has access to my personal details, every financial footprint I ever take, for no particular good reason.

    It is only a matter of time before the government moves to keep a digital copy of all digital communication (Email, texts etc.) between private individuals. After all an important precedent has been established. Information is no longer a fundamental aspect of our right to privacy, but 'an important tool in the fight against crime'. And as per usual authoritarian populists will manipulate the stupid, and try to draw their attention to the fact that they'd 'never dream of misusing your information, oh no'.

    In short, its not so much THIS government I worry about, its the one around the corner I worry about. We are only ever 3 square meals away from a revolution, that is important to bear in mind. A global catastrophe, such a distribution meltdown, or a health pandemic, could completely shatter the government and all supply lines. Out of the ashes could arise something much more sinister. Why leave them an information infrastructure that can easily identify every individual in the country by what political party they are in, what sexuality they are, what kind of porn magazines they like to buy at 3 AM in the morning etc. etc.
    1. Do you use Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / Google / Hotmail / Gmail or any of the myriad of social networking portals in existence today? How much information do you think they have on you.

    I'm cautious about any information I leave on the internet. My facebook page identifies me by name and about three other very minor things.
    2. What makes you think that you must have ID cards to centralise data? Each of us has a unique PPS number, why not centralise all data off that and never tell anyone? Unless I'm mistaken birth certificates are also uniquely numbered. Who says the government doesn't already know everything about us?

    As I've already said, national identity cards and PPS numbers are two whollely different beasts. Someone may know my name by a birth certificate, but they won't know that I've been actually cheating on my wife with a Thai manwoman in a seedy Dublin nightclub at 5 AM in the morning. (Of course thats not me :D) You don't worry about people having the ability to peer into your private life?


  • Registered Users Posts: 40 MysNthR0p3


    Denerick wrote: »
    I'm not prepared to take such a risk. And once again I ask - why do they want this information? What are they doing with it? If nothing else it broaches a constitutional problem and questions the traditional limitations of the State. Do we want the state to be an all encompassing body and -foolishly- 'hope' that it never abuses the trust we place in it? Or should we do as every liberal thinker has argued for the past 300 years - exercise some civic virtue and prevent un-necessary intrusions by the State into our private lives. There is a worrying precedent here...

    ...It is only a matter of time before the government moves to keep a digital copy of all digital communication (Email, texts etc.) between private individuals. After all an important precedent has been established. Information is no longer a fundamental aspect of our right to privacy, but 'an important tool in the fight against crime'.

    You do, of course, realise that there is no explicit right to privacy in this country. Privacy rights are implied through the legal system according to generally accepted tenets, they are not formalised in any documentary sense, such as in the constitution.
    And as per usual authoritarian populists will manipulate the stupid, and try to draw their attention to the fact that they'd 'never dream of misusing your information, oh no'.

    Your implication here is that the government either now or in the future will require the consent of the populace to gather this data. I don't see where there's any constitutional requirement for such consent.
    In short, its not so much THIS government I worry about, its the one around the corner I worry about. We are only ever 3 square meals away from a revolution, that is important to bear in mind. A global catastrophe, such a distribution meltdown, or a health pandemic, could completely shatter the government and all supply lines. Out of the ashes could arise something much more sinister. Why leave them an information infrastructure that can easily identify every individual in the country by what political party they are in, what sexuality they are, what kind of porn magazines they like to buy at 3 AM in the morning etc. etc.

    Setting aside for the moment that your paragraph reads like a paranoid crazy rant, lets examine the possibilities. Assume that in 15 years Ireland is a satellite state of some non-specific Asiatic superpower. You didn't go to sleep the night before in Ireland and poof wake up in West Asia. There would be a series of events leading up to Ireland's subjugation. At any point in those events, all records could be destroyed (look at what happened to the Customs House). If the data is stored digitally, it can be as easy as the flick of a switch which generates an EMP. Also any of the events in the lead up to our subjugation could see our salvation as the Americans enter the conflict 2 years late after someone mentions the oil deposits found off our East coast and then tell us for the rest of our lives how if it wasn't for them we'd be all speaking said Asiatic superpower's lingua franca.

    If there's a revolution, you're either going to be a winner or a loser. Assuming its not overly bloody and you actually survive, having access to the records will be either beneficial to you and your pals in the new junta or not particularly relevant as someone on the winning side will point you out in a line up of losers to be executed. Again, at any point in the revolutionary process the data can be destroyed. Of course, won't really make much of a difference when the winner points you out in the line of losers to be executed.

    And finally, it is quite possible judging from history that there will be wars, revolutions, uprisings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, tensions between nuclear states, genocides, jihads, fatwas, plagues, films with really bad sequels, and reality shows that make you wish humanity would just hurry up and become extinct, but in your every day existence life will plod along regardless of who knows what about you and your repressed fetish for transsexual Asians.

    Failing all of that, you could be hit by a bus crossing the street tomorrow and killed.

    Ergo my apathy.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭Denerick


    MysNthR0p3 wrote: »
    You do, of course, realise that there is no explicit right to privacy in this country. Privacy rights are implied through the legal system according to generally accepted tenets, they are not formalised in any documentary sense, such as in the constitution.

    I meant constitutional in the much broader sense. As in the constitutional interpretation of liberty (Classical Republicanism as opposed to legal intricacies)
    Your implication here is that the government either now or in the future will require the consent of the populace to gather this data. I don't see where there's any constitutional requirement for such consent.

    As far as I know there isn't. All it takes is new legislation, which i argue we need to prevent at all costs.

    I'm willing to go to prison over this. If the government introduced ID cards I will refuse to have one. If enough people do this, they will have to be scrapped.

    I'm not normally politically motivated. I've only ever attended one political rally. Personal privacy is the one political issue I'm prepared to rouse from my lethargic slumber for.
    Setting aside for the moment that your paragraph reads like a paranoid crazy rant, lets examine the possibilities. Assume that in 15 years Ireland is a satellite state of some non-specific Asiatic superpower. You didn't go to sleep the night before in Ireland and poof wake up in West Asia. There would be a series of events leading up to Ireland's subjugation. At any point in those events, all records could be destroyed (look at what happened to the Customs House). If the data is stored digitally, it can be as easy as the flick of a switch which generates an EMP. Also any of the events in the lead up to our subjugation could see our salvation as the Americans enter the conflict 2 years late after someone mentions the oil deposits found off our East coast and then tell us for the rest of our lives how if it wasn't for them we'd be all speaking said Asiatic superpower's lingua franca.

    If there's a revolution, you're either going to be a winner or a loser. Assuming its not overly bloody and you actually survive, having access to the records will be either beneficial to you and your pals in the new junta or not particularly relevant as someone on the winning side will point you out in a line up of losers to be executed. Again, at any point in the revolutionary process the data can be destroyed. Of course, won't really make much of a difference when the winner points you out in the line of losers to be executed.

    And finally, it is quite possible judging from history that there will be wars, revolutions, uprisings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, tensions between nuclear states, genocides, jihads, fatwas, plagues, films with really bad sequels, and reality shows that make you wish humanity would just hurry up and become extinct, but in your every day existence life will plod along regardless of who knows what about you and your repressed fetish for transsexual Asians.

    Failing all of that, you could be hit by a bus crossing the street tomorrow and killed.

    Ergo my apathy.

    I understand what you're saying, and we can draw up war games as much as we like, but won't escape the underlying problem - the creation of an information infrastructure which continuously increases the power of the state against the individual. I argue that future political events (A foreign takeover, domestic authoritarianism, anarchy etc. etc.) make having a centralised database of our financial footprint will at the very least be problematic, at the very worst be the beginning of a march to an authoritarian regime. I'm much more worried about the dangers of encroaching authoritarianism than political revolution - 1) because with revolution we have time to react, but more importantly 2) with an encroaching system the terror slowly approaches you from afar, before it completely has you by the throat, and before you know it your children are been ordered into State military institutions. (As a crazy example)

    Paranoid? Yes, but only for the purposes of dramatic effect. My point is that we cannot predict the future, but if history is any baromater, its hopelessly naive to place blind trust in persons or institutions of political power.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,018 ✭✭✭Mike 1972


    Denerick wrote: »
    Another argument that could be introduced is the idea of 'presumed consent' in organ donation. Presumed consent is a worrying concept as it allows the government to 'presume' that I consent to allowing them to take my organs and enter them into the national organ trust. Instead of the traditional relationship between individual and State, the onslaught of presumed consent assumes that the individual automatically gives his/her consent to organ donation. The emphasis is on the individual to explicitly state that they DO NOT want to donate their organs, as opposed to the individual explicitly stating that they DO want to donate their organs. Do you understand the precedent this establishes and why it is so problematic?

    I think it is a useful parallel when considering ID cards.

    I dont see how the two are related at all
    Denerick wrote: »
    Here's a tragic example. The Belgian colonial government introduced ID cards in Rwanda, and inadvertently this marked out Tutsi's and Hutu's in a national database. When the genocide happened, it was remarkably easy for the Hutu's to gather together a million Tutsi's in the space of 100 days and kill them all. Without a national database system which recognised the race of every Rwandan citizen, this would have made the genocide much much much less efficient and perhaps many lives could have been saved.

    Excellent point. Wasnt there a similar situation in 1930's Germany RE: Jews ?
    MysNthR0p3 wrote: »
    and I don't hold any opinion strong enough that I would not relinquish it should it become illegal to have.

    Says it all really :rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie


    MysNthR0p3 wrote: »
    But you seem to be confusing what could be stored with what will be stored. Where, on any form have you ever be asked for your sexual orientation (actually I just thought of one, but I'll let you figure it out)?

    Using that as an example, I don't want the information I fill out when donating blood to be available to any and all government agencies. While I appreciate the efforts that IBTS take to protect the blood supply, and ultimately the recipients, I don't think it appropriate for the Revenue Commissioners (random example) to have records on whether I've taken aspirin in a particular 48 hour period, or whether I've been handling monkeys.

    What if our healthcare system went down the private route and I was denied treatment because I'd told the IBTS I was handling monkeys? Would it lead to people deliberately lying on the illegal drugs section of the form on the basis that if they say yes the Gardaí may turn up at their door that evening?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,826 ✭✭✭SeanW


    "But if you have nothing to hide ..."


  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Thegymrat00


    I'm just wondering if I want to get into a bar or club but I don't have a National Age Card in Ireland, will a Student ID card from college do? It has a photo and my date of birth.


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