back to article Can the UK have its identity strategy back, Mr President?

There was a lot of razzmatazz and back-slapping in the US in early September as President Obama's team announced a partnership with ten leading companies to provide federated digital identities acceptable for use with online government services. All part of the big push towards better, more open government, as set out in Obama …


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  2. Scott 19


    Don't knok the UK ID card scheme, its shown the rest of the world (apart from China and North Korea) how not to do it, a closed system where you have no control over any information that is held on you. Can't wait to see the first people up north get there cards and then try and move house or change contact numbers, i'll be interested in the costs, especially when they say its your fault the super DB is not updated and charge/fine you for that as well, not to mention function creap and trying to claw money back by selling all the info to the lowest bidder.

  3. ElNumbre

    Don't Believe it Yet!

    "...wondering why we can't do something savvy like that here, instead of flapping around in the embarrassing death spasms of the UK's national ID card fiasco."

    Don't count your chickens just yet. We still need another political party to take over AND actually implement the takedown notice. Until then, I shall continue looking over my shoulder for the dark sith lords...

  4. Evil_Trev

    On second thoughts

    Can the UK have its identity strategy back, Mr President?

    Well if you like we have a whole new one your welcome to too, we don't need it.

  5. TeeCee Gold badge


    Coming soon to a seat on the train near you.....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't get me started on the Americans nicking ideas.

    Initally though, fantastic ideas always means "What a kerfuffle."

    But after the mess has cleared, someone sees a use for it, and it becomes worth developing. Just look at eigen vectors for instance.

    It's not surprising that our allies take something clever people invent from all over, and apply more resources, and so long as I benefit from it I see no problems.

  7. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    This is ideal for yet more government spying and data mining people...

    "The President's cunning plan is that by using OpenID and Information Card technologies, US citizens will be able to use their existing online digital identities rather than having to register yet another ID and password to make use of online public services"

    Yeah right. Give the government yet another way to workout what everyone has logged into and is reading and saying online. By spying on the openID they can associate people between web sites. That is exactly what the control freaks want to build bigger more complete pictures on ever more people online. The US government has already been had up for wanting to spy on massive numbers of its own peoples viewing habits. e.g.

    And what does indiemedia do thats so illegal? ... As far as I can tell nothing illegal. They simply report on protests and campaigns against government plans. So much for democracy. It shows the government wants to spy on anyone who is even interested in learning what is going on let alone wishing to then exercise their democratic right to speak openly about their views. e.g.

    The government control freaks want OpenID because they know behind the sales pitch of easy login, they can use it to automate a lot more data mining spying. They want to know who reads sites like indiemedia because then they have a list of people interested in political protests and therefore potential political opposition to their government plans. This indiemedia case proves the government attitude (and desire to spy on) anyone who dares to speak out against them or may even just be interested in speaking out against them. This case also silences the fools who don't believe the governments spies on their own people. The people in power are determined to stay in power. They don't think they work for us. They work for them and see us all as potential opponents, not their employers. It shows they work against us not for us. Of course their two faced words (throughout history) have always been for all of us, but behind the scenes it shows they work against us all.

    OpenID is yet another control freak chess move in their desire to spy on everyone to workout whoever could possibly be political opponents. Spying on the OpenID gives them a lot more spying capability. The ability to assocate between web sites (which each login detected can then be logged by them as web sites for and against government views, allows them to workout how politically interested people are and what their political interests are. Its yet another way to spy on us all, and as usual, their true intentions are hidden behind yet more of their two faced words, this time about easy login.

  8. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!

    @ ElNumbre

    "Until then, I shall continue looking over my shoulder for the dark sith lords..."


  9. Anonymous Coward

    Frankly I'd rather have the smart cards.

    I don't mind smart cards, in fact I'd much rather have physical contact chips in ID cards than RFID chips to carry the same data. There is something to be said for being reasonably sure when your data can be read and when it most likely cannot be. For RFID cards it doesn't matter whether you hand the card to a clerk or you have it in your hand (or in your back pocket): With a sufficiently powerful and sensitive reader, it can be read anyway and you'll have no indication it happened.

    To me RFID and the various (`hard', `biometric') ID schemes make people serve machinery instead of the reverse. And that is a real shame and the real crime. So much so that I'd like to try the collective RFID manufacturers and the governments deploying the tech to track people for crimes against humanity. Over the top? Better stop it now before it spreads too far.

  10. Ross 7


    OMFG. So the choice is have hardware based ID and risk big brother showing the slightest bit of interest in you (seriously - you're boring. No one gives a shit about you. I know - you really, really wish they did. That's why you blog/write your deepest feelings on Facespace, but really, no one gives a shit) or stay as we are and risk a bunch of Russians/Chinese/Nigerians taking an interest in your online banking (and they *are* interested)

    If you're that worried that you have an interesting life rent a decent VPN, but if you;re just throwing your arms up in the air for the sake of it then please God STFU.

  11. MinionZero

    @Ross 7, you sir, are a moron.

    Political power is about herding large numbers of people. Governments don't care about individuals at all, (unless they lead groups) but then all herds are composed of individuals, therefore they have to profile individuals to build up profiles on large numbers of people. That is why they seek to profile everyone. Plus with ever more automated databases etc... etc.. etc.. they can automate ever more ways to do fines and other quiet ways to hold back anyone who they consider opponents.

    But then everything I say to you, Ross (age) 7, is I guess pointless. Frankly I am at a loss to deal with someone as closed minded as you. I see that nothing I say will get through to you. You are evidently way to busy insulting me assuming its all about attention for which you are seeking to put me down. After all you said "No one gives a shit about you. I know - you really, really wish they did." No fool. Thats about your need for attention and putting others down.

    Maybe when you grow up, you'll finally learn. (But then that assumes you will ever bother to read what is going on in the world. Currently you have shown the depth of your ignorance, so its pointless me wasting any more time on speaking to you).

    Ross (age) 7, go back to sleep.

  12. Russell Long

    Are we really in a position to decide?

    The ID database and ID card is a European project and not a British one. I doubt we are in a position to decide which system to pick. The database will be EU-wide and therefore it'll be a single system.

    Unfortunate, but that's what you get with dictatorships.

  13. Richard 102

    Tell you what ...

    ... not only can you have your identity strategy back, we'll give you the persident and his whole cabinet as an apology. I mean, you British like pompous twerps; you keep electing them and always provide Jonathon Ross with work.

  14. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    @Ross 7

    "So the choice is have hardware based ID and risk big brother showing the slightest bit of interest in you [...] or stay as we are and risk a bunch of Russians/Chinese/Nigerians taking an interest in your online banking"

    Er no. That's not the choice. The security between me and my bank can be arranged, would you believe it, between me and my bank. The Sith Lords don't need to get involved. Indeed, my bank doesn't give a toss about who I am, as long as I am the same person who opened this particular account. A unified ID benefits neither me nor my bank. Indeed, by making it easier to collate personal information, it probably makes it easier for third parties (like the crook who picked up the USB stick on the train) to impersonate us, which makes it a net loss for me and the bank.

  15. David Sidebotham
    Jobs Halo

    Let's be honest here

    The only reason we do not have ID cards now is cost. The government will not stump up. However most, if not all of us, already have ID of one kind or another: driving licence, bank card, credit card. For a low cost solution all the government need do is insist that a photograph and biometric coding are inserted in the cards. It will help the banks beat fraud.

    Estonia has already gone this way (yes I know, not the obvious choice for tech savy but they did give us Skype). They use pin code generators for use with the cards and the cards are used for everything including on-line voting. Fraud is a fraction of the UK level.

    Only the guilty have anything to fear. Count me in.

  16. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Let's be honest here

    No, let's be accurate. The bank does not care who you are. It only needs to know that the person authorising each transaction (despodit or withdrawal) is the same as the person who opened the account. Now, if it gets this wrong, it could lose an *unlimited* amount of money. Banks will not use an authentication system that is controlled by a third party with the track record of

    You suggest a photograph and biometric coding, but a fundamental requirement of a real world ID system is that when (not if) the system fails it must be possible to revoke credentials and re-issue new ones. Have you tried "revoking" your face recently?

    You are correct in one respect. Most of us do already have several forms of ID. However, "strength in depth" beats "all eggs in one basket" every time. Keep them separate.

  17. EnricoSuarve

    Re: Are we really in a position to decide?

    "The ID database and ID card is a European project and not a British one. I doubt we are in a position to decide which system to pick. The database will be EU-wide and therefore it'll be a single system."

    The best lies always have some element of the truth in them and that's why the one above, which I have no doubt you honestly believe, is swallowed by so many.

    Yes the EU has put forward directives on the standards for any such databases and cards, but at no point has it ever said "you must have one". Most of the directives are more akin to technical standards documents than they are to policy ones. i.e. "all travel documents must be readable by this system" not "all travel documents must include DNA and a photo of the traveller bending over".

    The British government has chosen to enforce these directives in the most draconian way possible then blamed the EU, they do this a lot (it beats telling your electorate "we have decided we own you"). Another example of this sort of thing would be the EU Directive to spy on citizens internet traffic, while our politicians tell us "it's all the evil EU", guess whose presidency it was introduced under and which government pressed for it to be passed? Our lapdog in chief Mr Tony Blair's that's who.

    Don't get me wrong, I have no particular love of the EU and it's bureaucracy either - the simple fact remains that this sort of crap should not be *able* to make it into EU law, but it pisses me off that out leaders use it to push unpopular policy down our throats all the time and no one calls them out for it.

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