There were a bunch of news stories last week ridiculing the Government’s ID card strategy by revealing that, though 50,000 cards will have been issued by April, no official (or unofficial) organisation is yet capable of reading them. No card readers have been issued and the back-end systems aren’t ready yet either. Ministers say they’ve delegated the responsibility of deciding when to “invest” in ID card infrastructure to the myriad public and private bodies who will be allowed to demand them, all of whom in turn complain that the Government isn’t providing them with sufficient information. It all looks like a less-than-joined-up mess.
Which is a good story for selling newspapers however I think it misses the point.
Anti-ID campaigners know that the cards are only the tip of the iceberg. The database into which the cards are an index – the National Identity Register (NIR) – is the really scary part of the scheme. Looking at this story from the point of view of the NIR, it becomes clear why the Government doesn’t care whether the police, councils, employers and banks can’t access the data on the cards themselves: 50,000 cards issued means 50,000 people’s identities under the control of the database state.
The government doesn’t give two hoots about the plastic in your pocket or whether anyone can read it. The cards are just a means to an end. What they really want is to control your life through their database.