Posted by rantingkraut on July 29, 2009
The title of this post comes straight from Ross Clark’s book on the surveillance society: “The Road to Southend Pier”. In many ways, this is a worthwhile book, showing how the surveillance state –frighteningly omnipresent in theory- is in reality breathtakingly inefficient at takling crime in the conventional sense while creating new, spurious offences.
One passage seems ill thought through though: “For those Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Books, Civil Liberties, ID Cards, surveillance, UK politics | Tagged: rfid | Comments Off on The more Big brother watches us, the less he seems to see
Posted by rantingkraut on December 8, 2008
No news from the Kraut today, just a short anti ID card clip: Take Jane
Posted in Civil Liberties, ID Cards, UK politics | Comments Off on A Clip from No2ID
Posted by rantingkraut on October 19, 2008
“More Light! –let the Party know everything”
In yet another surveillance initiative, the government plans to register all users of mobile phones. To buy one, you will need a passport (or in future maybe an ID card!). Of course, given that increasing amounts of information are available to more and more people and organisations, limiting government power by controlling its access to information becomes less and less viable. This particular point is an exception though, since it could in principle allow the government real time tracking of citizens. This and the fact that just about any activity can be criminalised under some of the many, often arbitrary offenses introduced by the Blair and Brown regimes could make this law a good reason not to use mobile phones in the future.
Posted in Civil Liberties, ID Cards, surveillance | 1 Comment »
Posted by rantingkraut on August 27, 2008
“Sensitive legal documents relating to a major drugs prosecution in Liverpool have been found on a tip in Lancashire.
The files, which were meant to be destroyed, relate to Operation Montrose, which saw 59 men jailed over drug dealing in 2005.” (Source)
Another masterpiece from the government that will protect you from identity theft by forcing your personal details onto a central register.
Posted in Civil Liberties, ID Cards, In The News | Comments Off on Losing data, again!
Posted by rantingkraut on June 6, 2008
“I don’t believe that sacrifice of due process can be justified. If we are seen to defend our own values in a manner that does violence to them, then we run the risk of losing those values. Even worse, if our own standards fall, it will serve to recruit terrorists more effectively than their own propaganda could ever hope to.”
Read the whole thing here.
Posted in Civil Liberties, ID Cards, Justice System, quotes | Tagged: John Major | Comments Off on John Major on Civil Liberties
Posted by rantingkraut on June 9, 2007
The Spanish authorities are investigating a number of cases of alleged police brutality. One of them should be of particular interest with respect to the current British plans for a national ID card:
“Leaving the house without an ID card. The most recent case is the one of Marc V.C. a young man who submitted his complaint against the police on account of the events of the morning of the 8 April 2007. He was in the Gràcia district and did not carry his ID card. He reports that the police then took him to the ‘Les Corts’ police station for identification purposes. In the cell, “at least seven officers” started kicking and punching him. He left with several haematomas, bruises and cranial trauma. The day before yesterday the four accused officers said they did not remember these events and attributed the observed facts to the possibility that the victim could have inflicted the injuries upon himself.” (Source)
Of course, the British police would never do anything like this, would they? Just remember: when ID cards become compulsory, sooner or later it will be possible to arrest you for not carrying one of them. When this happens to you, you may just end up hitting yourself out of frustration over your failure to be a good citizen.
Posted in Civil Liberties, ID Cards | Comments Off on Leaving the house without ID card
Posted by rantingkraut on November 24, 2006
There is a new book out called “How to Label a Goat”. As the title suggests clearly enough, it deals with silly and superfluous rules and regulations in New Labour Britain. This book is amusing and annoying at once –although it might just be amusing if you live in the US. The following detail on P.37 caught my eye:
“10,000 civil servants were recently found to have had their identities stolen by gangs fraudulently trying to claim tax credits.”
The cost of that fraud is annoying enough, but not particularly unusual when it comes to government spending. What is interesting is that it does not seem to be a major problem to steal the identities of thousands of civil servants in one of the departments the government presumably cares most about.
Just dwell on this for a moment and consider what it means for ID cards: the same organisation which is planning to force you to hand over all kinds of information about yourself can’t stop identity theft from its key employees. Just imagine how much fun those gangs could have had with all the information on a central identity register. Well, at least someone will benefit from ID cards.
“How to Label a Goat: The Silly Rules and Regulations That Are Strangling Britain”
Harriman House Publishing, 2006
Posted in Books, ID Cards | Comments Off on Stealing the taxman’s identity
Posted by rantingkraut on November 6, 2006
The telegraph today printed a commentary by Tony Blair, spinning his standard routine in support of ID cards. Among all this we find the following:
“… in a world in which we daily provide information to a whole host of companies and organisations and willingly carry a variety of cards to identify us, I don’t think the civil liberties argument carries much weight.”
This attitude is hardly surprising. After all, it comes from the man who dismissed the idea of liberty as nonsense a long time ago. Yet, little of what Blair has said since then sums up his authoritarian instinct more neatly than this.
To a civilised person , the question of whether information is provided willingly or extracted by force makes all the difference. To the Stalinist planner, only the aggregate outcome matters: people end up providing information. Whether this happens as a result of voluntary agreement or government coercion is unimportant to him.
This, in effect, is how Tony Blair sees the interaction of government and citizen generally. The statement “I don’t think the civil liberties argument carries much weight” could serve as a motto for just about any policy he has ever been involved with.
 If calling Tony Blair uncivilised is to be more than a slur this needs to be justified. The justification required may be wordy, but it is easy to provide: A civilised society demands that people live by rules which are generally acceptable, thus minimising the need for using force. To be generally acceptable, the rules adopted should protect individual rights against group interests. Such rules therefore must require that each citizen respect the liberty of all others. A person who does not accept this basic principle and instead aims to impose his own preferences by force puts himself in conflict with such an order. He may either be put in his place by the society that surrounds him or could be successful in imposing his will on others. In the latter case, he is called a criminal when operating on a small scale, a tyrant when subduing society as a whole. In any case, tyranny and civilisation are mutually exclusive.
Posted in Civil Liberties, ID Cards | Comments Off on Tony Blair on ID cards
Posted by rantingkraut on August 4, 2006
New Labour seems to be experiencing some difficulties in implementing their compulsory ID card project. Blair reportedly made some interesting remarks on the topic:
“Although the Prime Minister reaffirmed his confidence in ID cards, despite recent delays to the project, he indicated that the Government believed it needed a new mandate from the voters to press ahead with a compulsory scheme.”
This sounds like an implicit admission that they have so far pressed ahead with a compulsory scheme without such a mandate.
Announcements of re-scheduling are followed by the usual promises of combating organised crime and illegal immigration, though terror seems to be off the list. Talking about organised crime, doesn’t Italy have ID cards? Surely organised crime can’t be much of a problem there then.
Posted in Civil Liberties, ID Cards | Comments Off on Compulsory ID cards and the next election
Posted by rantingkraut on March 28, 2006
From the Guardian:
“Whether the campaign is about rape, TV licences or filling in your tax form, there is always a we-know-where-you-live edge to the message, a sense that this government is dividing the nation into suspects and informers.
Reading the Identity Cards Bill, as it pinged between the House of Commons and the Lords last week, I wondered about the type of campaign that will be used to persuade us to comply with the new ID card law.
The 7 July bombers would not have been deterred by a piece of plastic. And it is clear that the claim about protecting your identity is also rubbish because chip-and-pin technology has already been compromised by organised criminals. What remains is the ceaseless monitoring of people’s lives. That is what the government is forcing on us.”
Posted in ID Cards, quotes | Comments Off on Some good observations on ID cards