National ID cards and the surveillance society
www.realnightmare.org - ACLU website against "Real ID" act, which mandates a digital de facto National ID card in 2008
Maine rejects Real ID Act
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: January 25, 2007, 2:33 PM PST
Last modified: January 25, 2007, 6:10 PM PST
Maine overwhelmingly rejected federal requirements for national identification cards on Thursday, marking the first formal state opposition to controversial legislation scheduled to go in effect for Americans next year. ....
The Real ID Act says that, starting around May 2008, Americans will need a federally approved ID card--a U.S. passport will also qualify--to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments or take advantage of nearly any government service. States will have to conduct checks of their citizens' identification papers, and driver's licenses likely will be reissued to comply with Homeland Security requirements.
In addition, the national ID cards must be "machine-readable," with details left up to Homeland Security, which hasn't yet released final regulations. That could end up being a magnetic strip, an enhanced bar code or radio frequency identification (RFID) chips.
The votes in Maine on the resolution were nonpartisan. It was approved by a 34-to-0 vote in the state Senate and by a 137-to-4 vote in the House of Representatives.
Other states are debating similar measures. Bills pending in Georgia, Massachusetts, Montana and Washington state express varying degrees of opposition to the Real ID Act.
www.stopidcards.org - Stop ID Cards campaign in England - opposing the proposed totalitarian surveillance system of the national computerized ID card, a system that would be more intrusive than the identity cards used by subjects of the Third Reich
Everything you never wanted to know about the UK ID card
The Progressive Review, February 10, 2005
MANDATORY ADDRESS REGISTRATION PLANNED
BOB ELLIS - Not only are the feds creating a national ID card; they are introducing nationwide mandatory residential address registration. These developments do not bode will for our country. Residential address registries are used by many governments to restrict and control where people can live and travel. In many countries, the police can stop anyone without cause and demand their papers.
(Mandatory residential registration, combined with the requirement to carry one's ID -- "papers" back then -- is what enabled the Nazis to round up Jews and others so efficiently.)
Such practices as residential registrations and "papers," so I thought, are totally at odds with everything America stands for.
That appears to be changing now. The Supreme Court has recently ruled (in the Hiibel case) that the police can demand ID for no reason. And now this.
Mandatory verification of residential addresses will do absolutely nothing to increase security: The law will be evaded by those who desire to do so, and in any event there is nothing (as yet) to stop a person from moving to a different address the day after the license is issued.
The requirement is just more mindless collection of data, one more mindless invasion of privacy, and one more way that this administration is reducing "freedom" to an Orwellian slogan.
last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
ID card trials to start next week
An opinion poll suggests most people back an ID scheme
Trials of identity cards are to be launched next week, the BBC has learnt.
The pilot will involve 10,000 volunteers and be run from the Passport Office in London and three other centres around Britain.
The government hopes the pilot scheme will pave the way for compulsory identity cards for everyone within the next decade.
Ministers are due to set out details of plans for a nationwide identity database on Monday.
They will publish draft legislation and Home Secretary David Blunkett says he wants a Bill paving the way for the scheme to be passed before the next general election.
Carrying false identity papers is also to be made a specific offence for the first time under the plans, with offenders facing up to 10 years in jail, say government sources.
The new ID cards will hold biometric details - facial dimensions, an iris scan or fingerprints.
The pilot scheme will try to assess which of the three options works best.
Neil Fisher, from QinetiQ - one of the companies developing the new technology, said the public would want to be able to prove their identity to show they were not a risk.
He told the BBC's 10 O'Clock News: "You will want this to be part of your life.
"You will want, in what's fast becoming a digital society, to be able to authenticate your identity almost for any transaction that you do, be it going to the bank, going to the shops, going to the airport."
News of the pilot follows an opinion poll suggesting 80% of people backed a national ID card scheme.
But most of the 1,000 people questioned by MORI expressed doubts the cards could be introduced without problems.
Nothing to fear?
Almost half those surveyed said they would not want to pay for the cards. A £35 fee has been proposed.
Are the public happy with the new ID scheme?In pictures
From 2007-08 all new passports and driving licences will include biometric data and there will be separate identity cards for those who do not drive or have passports.
By 2012, it is estimated that 80% of workers will have the card or a combined driving licence or passport.
The Home Office hopes the scheme will be compulsory by 2014.
The plans are designed to tackle identity fraud, which costs Britain an estimated £1.3bn each year.
A new government website giving the public advice on how to avoid identity theft is also expected to be set up this summer.
On Thursday, Mr Blunkett said the ID cards would probably be free for young people and there would be concessions for the elderly and those on low incomes.
He said the biometric system proposed would end multiple identities and give a boost to the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
"What has anybody to worry about having their true identity known?" he said.
2008: 80% of economically active population will carry some form of biometric identity document
Estimated cost of £3.1bn
Consortium of companies in UKPS trials led by SchlumbergerSema include NEC, Identix, Iridian
Source: Home Office
"They have got everything to fear from someone stealing and misusing it."
The government has said it sees ID cards as a weapon against terrorism.
But civil liberties groups are opposed to the plans, claiming that having a number of means of identification, such as a passport, driving licence or benefit card, was still the safest option.
They also predict the cards could worsen race discrimination, particularly as foreign nationals will have to carry the cards before Britons do.
Readying for the National ID and the Cashless Society: Pupils "get
smart"with clocking-in card
Scotland on Sunday
April 18, 2004
THE dreary ritual of taking the class register will be consigned to the education history books by a Scottish school later this year.
St Thomas of Aquin's High School in Edinburgh will become the first in the country to replace the age-old Biro ticks on graph paper with a sophisticated new clocking-in system based on ID swipe cards.
Education chiefs say the system will allow them to monitor truancy rates much more effectively, as well as freeing up precious time for teachers. If it proves successful, pupils across Scotland will be clocking-in to lessons within a few years.
However, civil rights organisations have criticised this latest development in the use of ID technology as just another step down the road towards compulsory identity cards for all.
Several schools have already issued pupils with electronic photocards which can be used for a range of services from paying for food in the canteen to taking out library books.
But Edinburgh is the first Scottish council to use the cards to register pupils' attendance at every class during the day.
The One Edinburgh Card is currently being distributed to 21,000 pupils at all but one of the city's 24 secondary schools to be used for cashless catering.
St Thomas of Aquin's is going a step further with electronic registration because its pupils have been using cashless catering for two years and are used to carrying ‘plastic'.
Under the scheme, wall-mounted scanning panels will be installed in the doorways of virtually all classrooms in the school and pupils will have to pass their cards over them as they enter the room.
Teachers will monitor the entry of pupils as they come into the classroom through laptop computers on their desks. As each pupil scans his card, a thumbnail picture of the student appears on the teachers' screens, allowing them to verify that pupils used their own cards and automatically keeping a tally of pupils.
At the moment, registration takes place in the morning and in the afternoon in most schools, but the technology would provide class-by-class information on individual attendance.
The system gives schools a potentially massive amount of very detailed information about pupils' attendance patterns, allowing repeated truancy to be quickly identified. The council refused to say how much the system had cost to install.
Councillor Ewan Aitken, Edinburgh's education convener, denied any suggestions that the registration scheme was Orwellian and would be used to control children. He insisted it would make them more responsible.
"It is because the young folk are up to speed with the cards and the technology that we are introducing it," he said. "One of the things pupils say is their experience of school is totally different to the rest of their lives.
"They use passes throughout their lives to get on a bus or to borrow a book, but they don't at school, and when they go on to work they will also probably use them to get in and out of their building."
East Renfrewshire Council, Highland Council and West Lothian Council are among the councils that have expressed an interest in using smart cards for registration in the future.
In the past two years, 13 Scottish councils have introduced cashless catering schemes for secondary schools and a number are now looking at using the system to monitor attendance.
But civil rights campaigners expressed worries about the implications for children's rights. Marion Pagani, chairman of the Glasgow children's panel, said: "Although parents may find it useful to know where their children are, some people will ask whether there are human rights problems about monitoring children."
Some parents' groups were dubious about whether the new technology would actually give teachers more time to spend on lessons.
Eleanor Coner, convener of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said she was concerned about over-reliance on an automated system. "Where there is technology there is also room for fiddling things and also things breaking down."
Fiona Hyslop, SNP education spokeswoman, said swipe cards could improve attendance by making pupils take responsibility for their own registration.
"The issue is how it would work in practice and how effective it would be. It depends on pupils bringing their cards into school and using them.
"The big danger is that it is seen as a Big Brother scenario, but quite frankly parents now expect teachers to know where their children are at all times and it is not necessarily an authoritarian thing."
Schools have been encouraged to introduce cards for cashless catering after an Executive report claimed it would reduce the stigma faced by those receiving free school meals and could also be used to run healthy eating schemes.
The Executive, which has been funding cashless canteen schemes, said that it had intended the cards to be used primarily for dinner halls and it was individual councils that had decided to use them for registration.
"They have been given the funding to take these things forward. It is up to them exactly the way they go ahead with it," a spokeswoman said.
Police will be able to order eye scans under ID card plan
London Independent | April 26 2004
Police will have powers to stop and check people against a national biometric database under plans for a compulsory identity card scheme to be unveiled today.
David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, confirmed that police would be able to compare people against national fingerprint or iris records even if they did not carry the controversial document.
The draft Bill will outline plans to introduce biometric data on passports in three years' time, with a compulsory scheme introduced by 2013.
Civil liberties campaigners expressed alarm at the proposals, but a defiant Mr Blunkett insisted that legislation would be put before Parliament by the autumn after consultation on technical issues are resolved. A pilot test of the equipment needed for the cards will be launched this week.
Mr Blunkett said: "This isn't some kind of fetish. This is about recognising the massive change that's taken place in the world around us."
Under the draft Bill, people renewing their passports from 2007 will have to be scanned for biometric data such as their irises and fingerprints. Driving licences could also include the data.
By 2013, when the scheme is expected to become compulsory, 80 per cent of people of working age are expected to be included. The cost of the scheme, estimated at £3.1bn, will be met by increasing the price of passports to around £73.
The Home Office confirmed that police would be able to ask people to undergo a scan to be compared with the national list of identities.
Mr Blunkett said: "Even if the person didn't carry the card, [the police] would be able to check their biometric automatically with the equipment. "It's more than simply having a card. This is about true identity, being known, being checkable, being used in order to ensure we know who is in the country, what they're entitled to and whether they're up to no good." Under the draft legislation, the scheme can become compulsory without fresh legislation. But Mr Blunkett promised a full debate in both Houses of Parliament before such a move was confirmed.
Tony Blair will attempt to counter fears about ID cards tomorrow in a speech to promote planned immigration. The Prime Minister will argue that planned immigration from Europe and beyond is good for the British economy at a time of economic growth. But civil liberties campaigners expressed alarm at the prospect of compulsory ID tests.
Shami Chakrabarti, a director of the pressure group Liberty, told GMTV: "He is too quick to offer various draconian measures as a magic bullet to whatever our fears are this week: terrorism, illegal immigration and so on. It does not actually solve these deep-seated problems we face."
David Winnick, the Labour MP for Walsall North and a member of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "David Blunkett says that the British card will be more sophisticated than the existing Spanish card, but where is the evidence that any type of ID card would have stopped the massacre in Madrid?
"This is a costly exercise which will not do what is claimed by the Home Secretary and other enthusiasts."
David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, said ID cards should be introduced without delay if civil liberties and technical objections could be overcome.
UK government wants cameras in every residential neighborhood
London Evening Standard | April 15 2004
Drivers are facing an explosion of speed cameras in London, a leaked Labour document reveals today.
Secret plans would see hundreds of cameras fitted in quiet streets around the capital.
They would replace speed humps, which are seen as an inconvenience for law-abiding motorists, and would be used to enforce a new lower speed limit of 20mph for all London residential zones. Extra cameras could also be installed along main roads.
The measures would raise thousands of pounds in extra fines. But motoring groups warned that cameras on side streets could be opposed by residents.
The proposals are set to form a central plank of Ken Livingstone's mayoral re-election manifesto after they were included in a policy paper prepared in private by Labour members of the London Assembly.
They fly in the face of government pol icy, which restricts cameras to proven accident blackspots.
However, there were separate reports this week that ministers may water down the rules by allowing some cameras to be installed on roads where there have been no serious accidents.
London already has 400 speed cameras, with more than 6,000 across Britain. Mr Livingstone called this year for more cameras "in every residential neighbourhood" to enforce speed limits.
The inclusion of the idea in the Labour Assembly group paper means it is almost certain to become party policy.
The document, Labour's Agenda 2004-2008, states: "The use of well designed and placed road humps remains a useful tool in improving road safety, but in the long term we support a move towards camera-based enforcement of speed limits.
"We will investigate the feasibility of introducing additional speed cameras on main roads and at junctions. Labour will support a reduction of the speed limit in residential areas, and around schools and hospitals, to 20mph."
Emergency services would welcome the removal of speed humps. However, motorists may feel the new cameras are a money-making scheme not linked to road safety.
Other proposals likely to feature in the Mayor's manifesto include free bus travel for under-18s and cheap bus fares for jobseekers.
The congestion charge would be expanded westwards, but only "after full public consultation".
Big Brother to Watch Over Island
By Mark Baard | Also by this reporter Page 1 of 1
02:00 AM May. 04, 2004 PT
If you have ever seen the cult '60s British television program The Prisoner, in which captured Cold War spies live on an island under constant surveillance, you can imagine what life may soon be like on Ayers Island, on the Penobscot River near the University of Maine.
In coming years, visitors to Ayers Island, the site of an abandoned paper and textile mill in Orono, Maine, will be spied upon by a comprehensive network of video cameras, motion detectors and sensors. Lurking behind all of those sensors will be an artificial intelligence system that will decide who can be trusted and who is deserving of greater scrutiny.
The engineers, drawn largely from the nearby University of Maine, will use the network to test the reliability of new sensors. They will also attempt to demonstrate that AI, combined with ubiquitous sensors, may be able to provide civil authorities with comprehensive, real-time intelligence about the whereabouts of individuals and cars, and the status of buildings and other structures within a particular geographical area.
Ayers Island will be open to the public, who are expected to visit the island for its nature trails, amphitheater, sculpture garden and museum, all part of a planned renovation project for the island. A contemporary arts festival on Ayers Island is scheduled for this summer. Many cameras and motion detectors will be in place by that time, according to the company that owns the island, Ayers Island LLC.
The island's initial monitoring systems will be rudimentary, made from off-the-shelf parts and store-bought alarm systems.
But eventually, ubiquitous cameras and biometric readers, backed by a central computer, will recognize and record faces and license plates, and make it possible for someone sitting at a computer monitor to track individuals everywhere they go on the island, said George Markowsky, president of Ayers Island LLC.
"This is going to push the envelope on a lot of fronts," said Markowsky. "The goal is to detect anyone coming onto the island at any point, and to follow them if they exhibit suspicious behavior."
The central computer will pay special attention to individuals who seem to be trying to avoid detection, such as those slipping quietly onto the island in kayaks, for example. (The island is accessible via a one-lane bridge.)
The surveillance system will learn to recognize and trust regular visitors to Ayers Island, such as a woman who walks her dog on the island every morning, said Markowsky. "But if it sees three big guys it has never seen before, it will take notice," he said.
The system, called Intelligent Island, would also make Ayers Island less welcoming to visitors with nothing to hide, said a privacy lawyer who specializes in video tracking. Surveillance cameras put people on edge, and people learn to change their behaviors to avoid suspicion, or to conform to social norms, said Cedric Laurant, policy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C.
"People start fitting in to what they think is good social behavior," Laurant said. "And that leads to increased discrimination against those that don't conform to those norms."
Markowsky is aware that the Intelligent Island system evokes the Big Brother scenario. He said he hopes his project sparks more discussion about surveillance and privacy rights. The Intelligent Island system, while intrusive, may also serve as a deterrent to crime, he said.
"It cuts both ways," Markowsky said, of the concern many have about being constantly monitored. "Which is worse? Knowing that a computer is tracking your movements, or walking around looking over your shoulder, being afraid someone is going to attack you?"
The Intelligent Island system will do more than follow individuals: Sensors embedded inside Ayers Islands' renovated and new buildings will monitor their structural integrity and tell rescue workers in a disaster if any people are inside the buildings.
"Firemen risk their lives rushing into burning buildings, because they don't know if any people are in them," said Markowsky. "It would be nice to know that a building is actually empty."
Markowsky has used funds from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up Ayers Island and the old mill, which was shut down in the 1990s. His company is now seeking funds from the Department of Homeland Security to help pay for the Intelligent Island system.
Markowsky plans to make Ayers Island a showcase for homeland security technologies when he opens the island to public visitors and startup technology companies, which he hopes will rent office space on the island.
Ayers Island is already used for homeland security exercises by a Maine National Guard team specializing in nuclear, biological, chemical and explosive materials. The island will also be used this summer by scientists testing cargo-shipping containers from the Middle East and Asia for signs of tampering.
But Markowsky said participation by members of the public will be essential to the success of the Intelligent Island project. Signs will inform visitors they are being monitored.
"People everywhere are being watched a lot more than they realize," said Markowsky. "But here, there will be no doubt. This will be a huge surveillance project."