Feeds

Running queries on the HMRC database fiasco

Dis-information systems management

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.