Feeds

Aussies to get pseudo-ID Card

Monkey see, monkey do

Boost IT visibility and business value

It looks like an ID Card. It smells like an ID Card. Heck, it even spooks you like an ID Card. But, as Australia's carbon copy Commonwealth Prime Minister says, "it ain't no ID card".

The "homeland security" strategy in Australia appears to be slowly, slowly catchee monkey. Or rather, dupee monkey with platitudes, then nab 'im with a surveillance net.

Having declared that ID cards would not be imposed on Australians, Prime Minister John Howard announced a biometric "access card" in its place. Australians will be denied access to health and social services from 2010 unless they have one of these cards.

In avoiding calling the Aussie ID card an ID Card, Howard has been able to give the impression that he has "struck a balance" between state security and personal privacy, by changing only his rhetoric.

Opponents are calling it an "ID Card by stealth" and there are many more reasons why Howard's plan looks every bit like that of his UK counterpart.

For a start, the compulsory nature of the card is being shrouded in outrageous doublespeak.

"It will not be compulsory to have the card," the Australian newspapers quoted Howard saying today. But, "It will be necessary for everybody who needs a card to apply for one."

Like Britain's card, which is optional for anyone who doesn't carry a passport, the Aussie card is optional for anyone who doesn't get ill.

Again, like Britain's card, it will be biometric, but not too biometric at first. As in Britain, the limited biometrics are presented as a sop to borderline civil libertarians. Don't worry, says Howard, the card's chip will only hold your digital photograph, not your fingerprints. They fail to mention how unreliable biometric technology is. They couldn't get anything more sophisticated working in the jittery timescale they want to do it all in.

The important thing for the authorities is once they've handed the cards out and got the supporting infrastructure and databases in place, adding new biometrics will require only an upgrade.

Australia's biometric non-ID card will be used to replace 17 existing health and social service cards. It will also be backed up by the thing that makes an ID card an ID card - a massive database, shared across government departments.

It's almost being sold like an ID card. As it's not being called an ID card anymore, it can't be sold to punters as a panacea for terrorism. It's only being sold as a panacea for petty social ills. It will stop fraud and benefits cheats, and no doubt eradicate inequality of wealth and opportunity as well. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.