How can they get it so wrong?
Public key cryptography (like PGP) has demonstrated that we can implement digital identifiers that don't leak, and that aren't controlled by any Big Brother. Why accept - let alone mandate - worse?
India's Supreme Court has ruled that the nation's constitution gives its citizens a right to privacy, a decision that clouds the future of the country's Aadhaar biometric identification scheme. Aadhaar will see every Indian citizen identified by a 12-digit number after a process that sees their faces photographed, along with a …
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For example I believe Estonia has a secure ID/E-gov scheme, even open to citizens of other countries. I've also been told by a Brit resident in Denmark that everything he does can be seen by just about everyone, for example he bought a TV and the person in the shop could check his address, credit rating, that there was a licence etc, and apparently this sort of thing is pervasive, regarded as normal. From the UK I've not read much about whether or not this is a good or bad thing in the view of the locals.
I recall the fuss over the UK's proposed "entitlement" cards (No2ID) some time back, about which I felt conflicted, but it would be interesting to see if some kind of manifesto could be put together with the best practices from all the different schemes taken into account, including ways to safeguard citizens from misuse which in the UK at least seems to be raised as a recurring concern.
I think the issue is not so much the creation of the ID and how it is secured but the aggregation of the data from the different locations in which it is used.
To be a valid form of ID it just needs to be possible to do a lookup to check against the master record and this is very simple to secure and set up audit trails for. What every Governments tries to do as soon as a digital ID is discussed is try to link every element of government, plus open doors to large corporations, for data sharing to 'improve the quality of the data'. This is where it all goes wrong amazingly enough
Don't be silly. The British Government has a track record of never, ever looking to see what other countries have done before implementing a major change in the worst possible way. Examples of this are the introduction of decimal currency, metrication and the several failed attempts at introducing a national identifier.
Since the Estonian approach seems to be pretty much best of breed and that the New Zealand seems to work pretty well to is a cast-iron guarantee that the British Government will do something entirely different and/or stupid such as privatising it.
Why give a shop assistance a way to view credit history, address and other personal date just by buying a TV? Do the citizens of Denmark not care about their own privacy and allow anyone whom has access to the system the ability to view such personal and intrusive information, information that, in the wrong hands could trash a person's reputation and land them in hot water?
I find this level of personal information access disturbing too. In my (East-European) country, you can walk into a supermarket, pick up a TV set, pay with cash, and just leave (as far as I know - didn't try to buy one lately though). If you actually want warranty as well, you're expected to walk over to a counter - of your own accord, nobody should be forcing you - where your name and address will be recorded on the warranty papers, but there will be no checks of it against anything (at least not there and then).
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