Feeds

Running queries on the HMRC database fiasco

Dis-information systems management

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Finally, the ID card thing

Chancellor Alistair Darling has been quoted as saying that the disaster actually strengthened arguments in favour of ID cards. OK, I’m game, let's think this through. One of the advantages of ID cards is that they make it easier to tie data from several disparate systems together. For example, it appears still to be possible for a person in this country to be drawing benefit while working. An ID card, complete with unique identifier, should make these anomalies much easier to spot.

So, on the surface, this argument sounds reasonable. The data was being shipped so that it could be cross-correlated between two systems. ID cards make cross-correlation easier. Therefore, this is an argument for ID cards. However, there is a glorious technical flaw in this argument.

ID cards may help to identify people more accurately but they don't, in any shape or form, help with the movement of the data. ID cards would have made no difference whatsoever to the fact that the data has to be moved. Indeed, had the ID data been included it would, presumably, have been one more piece of data to delight the bad guys.

I'm used to the fact that politicians don't understand technology, but it frightens me that, in the midst of one crisis, they can still find the time to misuse it to promote another unrelated political agenda.

Finally, of course, the fact that our government has demonstrated a complete lack of ability to protect our data is, for me, a strong argument against ID cards. But then, I'm not a politician.

Summary

Once again, it is fair to say that we aren't being told the technical details and neither should we be. However, these security concerns also provide a convenient smoke screen from which can emerge bland assurances like: "It would have been very expensive to do this", "this strengthens the arguments for ID cards". While we cannot directly gainsay these, if we make reasonable assumptions, it is clear that many of them are nonsense. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.