back to article Manchester journo gets first ID card - late

A Manchester Evening News hack claims to be the first member of the public to get an ID card in the government's pilot, despite her application almost being scuppered by an accident with a roast potato. Angela Epstein was offered the first appointment at the City's ID central office, after covering the scheme in her column in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Nothing to hide

    I have nothing to hide either, but I prefer to walk around with my trousers on

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Britards Reunited

    "They included name of first pet, favourite song and best subject at school."

    Has British society now reached the point where life after school is one big nostalgia trip for everyone's schooldays, somewhat like the American obsession for replaying/reliving high school until retirement age? They'll be making *everyone* wear a ridiculous uniform soon with a name tag (plus badges for important societal roles at or above the "house rugby team captain" level) in order to provide "foolproof ID".

    As for Chadderton, I imagine that job creation has to take place in the old British Aerospace heartlands what with BAE Systems being so effective at shuffling those jobs around the world and still demanding corporate welfare.

  3. Sir Runcible Spoon

    Oh really?

    "I personally can’t see what there is to lose if you’re a law abiding citizen with nothing to hide"

    How about your privacy and your freedom?

  4. Tom Chiverton 1

    Congrats !

    Well done that women ! She now had to keep the govt. updated on a range of personal details, for the rest of her life, at her own cost. The govt., can, of course, leave these on a train as often as they like.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so err

    Wait, how did she prove she was who she said she was? And what stops her from getting another ID card saying she's someone else tommorow? Now that would be exciting, see how many identities you can get in a year. Also what happens if you have no hands? Sad amputes can have no identity :c(

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      She proves who she is by taking along her passport. Silly innit.

  6. TimBiller

    This person is a journalist?

    "Of course, Epstein understands some people have reservations about the ID card. "As I’ve said before I understand why people have their reservations, but I personally can’t see what there is to lose if you’re a law abiding citizen with nothing to hide."

    Having nothing to hide is NOT the same as it being NONE of the government's business!

    I give up, truly.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes TimBiller

      What do you expect from a journo? I wouldn't trust the date printed at the top of a paper nowadays unless it was corroborated by an independent 3rd party.

      Having worked for a major paper in the past, this is unfortunately typical.

    2. david bates

      An this woman

      passes as a journalist....

      Words fail me.

  7. Dark Ian

    Nothing to hide

    This gang represent the biggest problem. When their prints or DNA turn up on a fag packet carelessly dropped on a nondescript patch of woodland upon which, the following day, a gruesome murder takes place, they'll be dragged in and questioned for hours. True, they won't have 'anything to worry about' since they're innocent, but our authorities are becoming notoriously good at making peoples' lives difficult before even the intent to commit and offence has been committed.

    1. Nigel 11

      @Dark Ian - far worse than that

      DNA is far worse than you realize. Your DNA may well turn up on the knife sticking out of the victim.

      1. Because you handled it in the shop months earlier

      2. Because the murderer has decided to muddy the waters by wiping the knife's handle around the rim of a used pint glass purloined from a pub where you were drinking

      3. Because in 20 years' time the national DNA database will have "leaked" into the hands of organised crime, and DNA synthesizers will be available to the same criminals

      4. Like 3, except you are not a random DNA sample, but someone that they have it in for. A witness, maybe, so no alibi, and of course you would be claiming some other dude did it ....

      Fingerprints are even easier to plant, all you need is a fingerprint or copy thereof, plus some amateur photographer, electronics, and DIY kit. Photo to etched circuit board to silicone rubber on the fingertips of some rubber gloves in under an hour.

      Nothing to hide, nothing to fear ... NOT.

  8. David 105
    Big Brother

    Burnt fingers screw up readers

    I'll remember that should Labour get in next year and make it compulsory

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, where to start?

    >‘password’ questions from a list of 20

    Personally I just fill these with junk as I don't forget passwords. However if that's part of the security then the system needs looking at.

    >electronically recorded signature

    My signature is a scribble that is rarely the same twice, there is a reasonable explanation for this but I won't go into it suffice it to say that if a signature is part of the biometrci information then the system needs looking at.

    >what with there being no backlog.

    Ah, so they are planning on having a backlog already, if that's the case then the process needs looking at.

    I think they haven't quite thought things out as well as they could have.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    No surprise

    When you read her column this article refers to ( she says she was invited by the government pretty much because she has been using her column to say ID cards are the bees knees (

    Usual guff arguments including the fight against terrorism but mainly if your against it your one of the "Human rights howlers " which is bad, m'kay?

    Bit I loved was "But that’s the beauty of a voluntary scheme and a democratic society. You can choose to have one or not." Uh huh. Thats until the government start either make it very inconvenient to access certain services without one or just outright deny you them without a card (or if you just choose a job serving coffee in an airport).

    1. Dale Richards

      Re: No Surprise

      I'm not sure what's worse - being a Human Rights Howler or a Privacy Pirate... God help those of us who are both - we'll be shunned by society!

  11. Rob

    No criminal intention

    I have lots to hide from the government, not because I'm of the criminal fraternity but on the basis of the more I hide it's less for the government to lose or publish accidently for the world+dog to see.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge

    Stop it, just stop it !!!

    "As I’ve said before I understand why people have their reservations, but I personally can’t see what there is to lose if you’re a law abiding citizen with nothing to hide."

    Aarrrrrrrrrggghhh, if I hear that bullshite one more time, just ONE more time.....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Nothing to hide

    And my curtains closed at night

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I find it amusing to ask those intellectually retarded people who trot out the old "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" phrase whether in their house they have curtains or blinds.

    So far, they have always responded with one or the other.

    Then I ask why they have them, and sit back and enjoy the squirming.

  15. gerryg
    Big Brother

    add this to smart meters

    I despair of "nothing to hide", do these people have two brain cells to rub together or has nothing ever gone wrong in their lives, in spite of their best efforts.

    This together with e.g., smart meters (and whatever else is coming along) then with one database error (c.f. woman who had to leave the NHS system in order to regain control over her incorrectly maintained medical records) not only do you become a non-person but you'll be in the dark eating cold food to keep warm. It doesn't have to be about having done something notable. In fact you'll probably be in a better position if you have, because someone somewhere will have other information about you.

  16. TeeCee Gold badge

    Next week:

    Man shot while resisting arrest under Prevention of Terrorism provisions. A police spokesman said: "The suspect was in posession of roast potatoes and was obviously engaged in identity fraud".

    Other news: Ministry of Justice issues list of permissible seasonal vegetables, Mad Hatter appointed Home Secretary.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    She makes even the Daily Mail or The Sun look credible reporting centres....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What do you mean 'Joke Alert'?

      Its bloody true! must be dreaming...

  18. The BigYin

    Nothing to hide...

    ...nothing to fear, eh?

    How about..

    "Done nothing wrong, no need to look"?


    "Quite frankly, it's none of your sodding business"?

    I think all MPs, MSPs and senior civil servants should be forced to have these cards first. Nice, small population to test things out and see what happens.

    And if it's one lot of corrupt sods that need a close watch, it's that lot!

  19. The Mole 1

    Biometrics of a burnt finger

    Fantastic, her biometrics now include a burnt finger. All she needs to do in a few months time to prove that she is who she says she is in a few months time (once finger has healed) is to just burn it the exact same way so that the biometrics matches...

  20. Dave Murray


    Clearly a Stepford Journalist!

  21. Evil_Trev

    On the other hand

    I am not a law abiding citizen, and I have got some stuff to hide. Better work at it a little harder now. And sod having a I.D. card.

  22. /\/\j17

    Umm, hold on a sec...

    "I was then asked to choose five ‘password’ questions from a list of 20 which were unique to me and could subsequently prove who I was. They included name of first pet"

    OK. A fixed, historic piece of information.

    "best subject at school"

    OK. A little subjective and people may have more than one so say a different one in 5 years when asked for it but a reasonably fixed, historic piece of information.

    "favourite song"

    Is it just me or is this a variable piece of information that changes with time/mood/other outside factors?

    If I loose my ID and get 2/5 of my questions wrong do I cease to exist?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "favourite song"

      "Is it just me or is this a variable piece of information that changes with time/mood/other outside factors?"

      Good point, I missed that. What I would say it is is that her sort don't particularly care for music, so the "favourite song" is a part of her projected personality ID that defines, for her, who she is, without which (and the rest of it) _she_ ceases to exist. Or anyway that is what she's terrified of.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    20 questions to prove who I am?

    There's yet more proof that the scheme has been designed by clueless morons who don't understand security.

    And yes, my first pet's name was 64A#Y%*pDcqZWUvz and if your system can't take that, then it does not work. No, I don't care what you think my mom's maiden name was, I KNOW it was ThroatMango3withAHoverCraftFullOfDandelions

    I just don't get how these people who say "nothing to hide" can't even read the first paragaph of a search engine page and recoil in horror of what they're letting themselves in for. Are humans really that monumentally stupid?


    1. seanj

      Re: WTF?

      "20 questions to prove who I am?"

      1. Are you smaller than a bread box?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your mum

      Was your mum one of the Hampshire ThroatMango3withAHoverCraftFullOfDandelionses???

    3. John G Imrie

      littlte bobby tables

      My first pets name was عذراء and my faverate song is '; drop table address

      Parse that.

  24. David Adams
    Big Brother

    Please oh please oh please....

    Let someone manage to clone her identity!!!

    1. Dale Richards

      Re: Please oh please oh please....

      I thought she was brave posing with her card for a picture, but on closer inspection it's just a printout of the standard "Specimen" card. Fail.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What's the problem?

        She sounds like a _right_ specimen!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Oh yes !!!!

      Hopefully the same crowd that showed Jezza "Jeremy" Clarkson up when he challenged people to steal his identity will go to work here ...

      1. djack


        To give him his due, he stood up for what he believed and put his money where his mouth is (instead of giving specimen details) and when proved wrong, immediately recanted and admitted that he was dead wrong. No bluster, no ifs and buts.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As heard on R4 PM

    She was on the PM prog a couple of days ago ... she'd apparently written some pro-id pieces in the local newspaper and was, I think, approached to ask if she'd like to be first in the queue.

    From what I recall of what she said then the "roast potato" incident meant that the scan on that finger didn't work and rather than taking the plaster off she said on PM that a note was added to the records to explain the missing digit scan

  26. Andrew_F
    Thumb Down

    Wearing something on your finger hinders taking prints


    We need a "duh" icon, possibly featuring the absence of excrement.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Time for some creative answers

    "First pets' name?" 'DROP TABLE "Names"'

    With credit to With

    1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

      You need a statement separator there

      such as a semicolon, and comment characters to prevent the rest of the original SQL statement from executing. My first pet's name was, of course:

      Fluffy'); DROP TABLE USERS; --

      1. Anonymous Coward

        My dog was called :

        Tim'); system rm -rf /

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I am not a number; I am a free man!

    Sod the fucking ID cards. Sod this deceitful government of taxpayers'-money-wasting cnuts. Out with the lot of them! Feckless wankers.

  29. beast666

    Smart Meters, I'm so scared...

    You have a problem with one, then either hit it with a big hammer and join the connections with rubber gloves or put a Faraday cage around it and say its for protection from the neighbours WiFi. Of course tell them a burglar did it or something... what can they do, spesh after they won't have someone round for 5 years to see it at least... move house in the meantime... worked every time for me

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What's your salary? Have you ever cheated on your partner? Do you speed? Have you ever imbibed more that the government's recommended daily amount of alcohol? Have you ever smoked weed? Have you ever cheated on your expenses?

    Are you a law abiding citizen?

    Do you have anything to hide?

    Not that it matters, based on previous government data collection projects, the whole world will know what your best subject at school, etc was soon enough.

    Do you absolutely trust your government and all future incarnations of it for the rest of your life?

    You do? You're an idiot.

  31. Nomen Publicus

    MPs first please.

    Well, we all now know what to ask any prospective MPs during the next election, "Do you have an ID card? If not, why not?"

  32. Nigel 11
    Thumb Down

    Removing it ... not the finger

    She thinks she's joking?

    As soon as her finger is the key to anything of value, there will be people out there performing amputations. It's alreary happened in South Africa, where a businessman had his finger hacked off when the carjackers found out that his Merc was started by fingerprint not by key.

    (He was probably lucky it didn't start by retina scan)

    1. Anonymous Coward


      They also had to make some security devices look for a pulse, after some poor bastard in Americkyland got his hand cut off..

  33. TimLennon

    LOLs all round.

    If you can bother to go and look at the original article, one wag has pointed out that she's quite clearly waving an ID card with "specimen" over the centre of it. Her daughter is sure of a long, fruitful life, being brought up by such an incisive, inquiring mind.

    1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

      So the obvious question is

      Why is she not showing her ACTUAL ID card, if she has nothing to hide? What do you mean, 'lack of joined up thinking from a tabloid journo'?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      someone else has pointed out that even the specimen has been (poorly) photoshopped in.

      Look at the staircasing along the top edge of the card. I'm not one to cry "fake" but there can be no doubt that this story is written and paid for by the government.

  34. avatastic

    Does anyone know what the 20 questions are

    >‘password’ questions from a list of 20

    I feel a new facebook quiz coming on ...

    1. Martin 6 Silver badge

      >Does anyone know what the 20 questions are

      >What is your name ?

      Gordon PM of the Britons

      >What is your quest ?


      >What is your favourite colour?

      Blue - no Red - no Aaarghhhhhh........

  35. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    A note to Ms Epstein

    It is quite beautiful that in this day and age someone can remain as trusting and believing in the British government being a force for good in the land.

    Especialy in the face of evidence that whenever they are given the chance to show themselves as guardians of your nations privacy they prove themselves to be cack handed incompetants.

    I have known so few like you. I attended ones memorial service and anothers inquest already. My experience of the meek is they inherit the earth in 6 foot long plots.

    Thank you for letting us know the NIR is now up and running with live data (and not just of some politician), with live connections into it. There are many people in faraway places who are keen to know this. Perhaps in time you will get to know of them.

    1. Col

      And the ones who aren't incompetent

      are devious, duplicitous and down-right dishonest.

  36. Stu Pid
    Big Brother


    Why are the comments out of order? Makes reading witty replies very difficult.

    To those who ask how this "woman" passes as a journalist, she works for the MEN. One of the worst locals around.

    1. Andy ORourke

      Once you figure out.......

      That the new system jumps to the LAST page of comments (what a FUCKING brilliant idea!) you will just get used to clicking on the "1" to go back to the first page before commencing reading, much better than the old system of having all the comments on one page.

      I only figured it out after wondering why the "can I be the first to......." comments always seemed to be the very last posts i got to read!

      Dont get me started on the retarded thinking behind the idea of not allowing me to copy text (links to other stuff) off the comments page. or taking me to another page just because I want to "Upvote" a comment (WTF does that mean anyway! OK I know what it means but is it a perfectly cromulent word?) Is this the El Reg nanny state!!!!

      Fail for the fucked up comments section, not the original post

  37. Oldgroaner
    Thumb Down

    Nothing to hide

    German Jews had nothing to hide before 1933

    1. Sim
      Thumb Down

      comments in reverse

      why do I go to the last page of comments first?This is dumb, please fix it Reg Developer.

  38. NogginTheNog

    Too late?

    Surely if they're already issuing cards then the fucking Big Brother database already exists?? In which case Tory plans to scrap it and save billions must surely be so much guff..?!

  39. Jamie Kitson


    Wow, we reached Godwin's pretty fast today.

    btw Reg, your vote up/down interface sucks, I want to be taken directly back to where I was.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Basically if you're a law abiding citizen you've got nothing to hide"

    That is just simply one of the most retarded statements I've read. Where is the journalist in this woman? Where is the need to know, to enquire, to question, provoke and inform?

    This stupid woman has not only allowed the state to gather and index all her personal information for the rest of her life, she has apparently done so without questioning or it seems even attempting to understand how the data will be used.

    Like the title says : Idiot.

  41. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    I'm curious

    ms Epstein, are you Jewish?

    If your not then your ignorance of IBM Germany's behaviour is excusable.

    If you are then you are a *very* poor researcher.

    You should know that IBM (the same IBM who is a major contractor in the UK ID card system) was a key contractor of the 1933 German census.

    This included profiling down to the individual (rather than the household) level and introducing special features of the processing hardware (they were called tabulators. No one had a computer yet) to select certain specific groups of records for "special treatment."

    We now know what that special treatment was.

    Maybe you trust this Labour government will not misuse the information you have given (and which you will have to update for the rest of your life) to do any harm.

    But what about their successor? The one after that, and so on.

    It's no longer about what *you* think you are safe to tell the government. It's about what they *want* to know. And what they conceive as being an illegal.

    Perhaps you believe that nothing bad will (or can) come from the UK's ID card system.

    Lenin would have described you as one of the "Willing fools."

    I hope he was wrong.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch
      Big Brother

      don't need no steenkin badges

      > Lenin would have described you as one of the "Willing fools."

      I might be wrong, but wasn't the expression "useful idiot?"

  42. Mark Monaghan
    Black Helicopters

    Fuzzy Logic

    With a bit of luck she will be pulled in and questioned now.

    After all her fingerprints are going to be the closest (and only) match on the database.

  43. Bernie 2

    top notch security

    so how do these new cards work to identify me?

    "well we give you a list of 20 trivia questions to fill out, you know, in case you lose all your fingers and your face at the same time and you need to prove who you are to get into hospital, they can just ask you who your uncle is and Bob's your uncle they'll run a cross reference and let you through in about 15 to 20 minutes"


  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, er, nothing to worry about

    Well, we have ID cards over here in Hong Kong, and everyone has to have one, and to keep things consistent, I don't have any curtains in my apartment. On the negative side this means that my girlfriend keeps inadvertently flashing the people in the apartment opposite. On the (possibly) positive side, the guy down the street has taken to watering his windowsill plants in the nude, so there's some quid pro quo here. You see, you have ID cards and you get this happy, open, sharing society that everyone enjoys... fostered at least in part by members of the police installing some foxy filesharing software on their computers that keeps leaking confidential details out to anyone who wants to see them.

  45. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    PR fluff

    Nothing to see here, Ms Epstein's piece is just a standard PR puff-piece written especially for the Governments spin-department.

    Believe not a word.

    Avoid ID cards.

    Just say no.

  46. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    Willing Fool

    Ms Epstein ...

    Always remember ... they still have the plans of the gas chambers.

    At least we know where NOT to look for journalism.

  47. David Adams


    We should be able to work out quite a few answers to likely questions for her.

    For example:

    Favourite subject at school:

    One of the first results on Google is an article about her on the Manchester High School for Girls website saying how she always wanted to be a journalist and wrote for the school annual as well as having articles published in Just Seventeen and Mizz magazines.

    She did english language and literature at uni followed by a post graduate diploma in Journalism.

    I'd guess at English, but that's just a guess.

  48. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!

    aww bless

    She has faith that a corrupt government will never come to power, or has already...

  49. lawman

    ID cards coming soon to your local Post office

    A software developer friend of mine told me that he's currently working at various Post Offices around the country. Very soon you will be able to go in to your local Post Office, have your photo taken etc and receive your photo driving licence there and then.

    Phase two of the programme will enable you to have your fingerprints scanned.

    ID cards are still happening despite what the government may say. It's being introduced by subterfuge.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    What a strange women, why not have a number stamped to her arm maybe that too will make her happy.

  51. Alfonso Vespucci

    I don't like the new comments layout

    but here goes.

    Someone may already have mentioned this (see title) but that woman's ID card has been used for all the posters on the wall behind her. It must be a spoof article, surely.

  52. markp 1
    Black Helicopters


    The old "nothing to hide" argument bubbles out again. Just keep telling yourself that, then switch to "no place like home" and click your heels when the shit hits the fan and the definitions of what it is you "have to hide" start getting changed out of proportion.

    I could pull out the similarly old opposing arguments of wise sayings by Benjamin Franklin, the wearing of yellow stars, samizdats and all that stuff, but I'm as tired of having to make those point as I am listening to that fuzzy-minded overly optimistic hubris.

  53. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Given the very full details on an NIR entry

    The going rate for a record should be pretty good.

    I seem to recall the rate for CC details was about $5 a time. The NIR is smaller but the pickings will be *so* much juicer.

    IT contractors. I think having staff details put on the database one of the conditions to win the contract.

    Government Ministers (Al Johnson says he has one and I'm sure his collegues won't want to

    be without this *very* exclusive bit of plastic for long)

    MP's in general. As many MP's are former lawyers they tend to be pretty well healed.

    Journalists. Well at least one. Judging by her level of trust she won't be checking her CC statements too deeply. She'ss probably got a published email address so likely got for visit from the LfL.

    Civil Servants.

    Although the most valuable senior ones are probably smart enough to keep off it. Still plenty of lower hanging fruit to be plucked.

    We have gone from The only effective way to stop terrorism to it will ensure your right to get served alcohol in 4 years.

  54. lukewarmdog

    Nothing to See Here

    I don't have anything to hide, I just don't like sharing.

    Weird that this is trotted out and on the other side of the world The Google Guy is saying exactly the same thing. I bet the Chinese are loving it, it will be the only two news stories allowed in through The Great Firewall.

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