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Australians to Get Compulsory Photo ID Smartcard 548

Posted by samzenpus
from the your-life-in-plastic dept.
syousef writes "The Sydney morning herald reports that a new national ID card will be issued in Australia."From 2010 people will not be able to receive government health and welfare payments without a card. People may choose to have other information stored on the card, such as health and emergency contact details which, for example, ambulance officers could use.". Your papers please."
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Australians to Get Compulsory Photo ID Smartcard

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  • Fritz Lang's M (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:07AM (#15211078) Journal
    Your papers please.
    I'm not sure what emotion the author is trying to evoke with the above statement but that phrase carries a lot of baggage. The most memorable association I have with it is that of Germany around the first half of the 20th century.

    If you've ever seen the famous German film M [imdb.com] (which is made by Fritz Lang--the same director of Metropolis fame), you would recall the scenes in which people are asked for their papers and arrested if they don't have them or they are suspected to be fake. This is in an attempt to crack down on a child molester/murderer.

    Why do I pick M and not some modern day movie that reflects this? Because as I watched M, I realized that Fritz Lang was probably commenting on the futility of that system of law enforcement although his audience probably watched it with a "that's just the way it works" attitude. How profound it was to see an act of injustice only to realize that when and where this movie was made it was not at all out of the norm.

    I was born in 1982 so I'm sure I don't know the half of how 'papers' work but I do know that I have a social security card, two birth certificates (state and county) and a driver's license. Are these my papers? Maybe they could be construed as such but I highly doubt I would be arrested should I lack any of them. You will, of course, argue with me and tell me I would be considered an illegal alien without the birth certificates. I know this is true most places and I do fear for my country, the United States of America.

    The article was very concerned with how much this would cost versus save the Australian government. The article was also very concerned about whether this would crack down on identity theft or make it easier to steal an identity. What I'm concerned about is what happens when you're a suspect of a crime that happened in proximity to you and you don't have your ID card? I'm also very concerned to see whether or not the Aboriginal peoples [hreoc.gov.au] of Australia will be forced to carry this card.

    Are the laws surrounding this card being mandated such that it would be very easy for law enforcement to abuse it? Will this give them an excuse to arrest whom ever they so choose? Identification is easily abused by both the identifiers and those being identified.
    • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KDan (90353) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:18AM (#15211118) Homepage
      I think you're over-concerned. We've had ID cards for many years in Switzerland, and if they're anything, that's extremely convenient. Whenever you need to provide ID for age verification (e.g. to buy alcohol or go into a club), instead of lugging a passport with you or some other less adequate item (e.g. driver's licence - if you have one. I don't), you just show your ID card, which is like a credit-card sized passport, essentially. It also allows me to go to most european countries without having my passport with me. Basically it's very handy as a passport substitute, and just because it exists doesn't mean the police are constantly asking for it.

      Please note that Swiss ID cards do not have biometric nonsense attached to them. They are just ID cards. ID cards are useful.

      Daniel
      • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:19AM (#15211124) Homepage Journal
        We've had ID cards for many years in Switzerland, and if they're anything, that's extremely convenient.
        Be quiet, you'll break the groupthink.
      • I think you're over-concerned.

        Well, if you're from Switzerland then I'm sure the ID card is minted and upheld by a different government (the Swiss government namely). I'm interested in what the law of Australia states. Would it be possible for someone to be arrested simply because they don't have their ID card? I don't see any specifics on this side of the story and that's why it worries me. It might not be discussed but once it's passed, what if police start using it to arrest whoever looks at them

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:51AM (#15211304)
          I'm interested in what the law of Australia states. Would it be possible for someone to be arrested simply because they don't have their ID card?

          Maybe if you had read the linked article, instead of frantically going for an apparently well thought out first post, you'd have read that it is NOT compulsory to carry the ID card in question at all times. In other words, you'll carry it when you expect you'll need it. I always carry my Medicare card and I will probably also always carry this ID card.

          I am not worried about what the Australian government or police will do with this opportunity. I am however worried about the design and implementation of the technology. Regardless of whether the government develops the card and support system in-house or with contractors, they have a tendancy to fuck things like this up, with beurocratic bullshit getting in the way of proper design and implementation. Which I suppose is mostly typical of governments around the World.

          I would really like to get my hands on one with some known details on the card to check it for myself. Hopefully the format of the data stored on the cards will be version numbered to allow automatic updates when needed at trusted points of use (hospitals, post offices, etc), so that the cards details can be updated to reflect critical changes in the back-end systems.
          • by AGMW (594303) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:06AM (#15211378) Homepage
            ... you'd have read that it is NOT compulsory to carry the ID card in question at all times.

            Much like the UK ID Card coming soon. The Gov said it would be optional to have one, then tried to rail-road anyone getting a passport (new or renewal) into having one. Luckily, the Lords put a stop to that, and initially at least it will be optional for you to take the ID Card when you get your next passport. Of course, you will still be charged for it, and all the information will still be logged into the central database whether you take the card or not.

            I renewed my passport this year so I won't be forced into having an ID Card for 10 years! I'd strongly suggest that you consider doing the same [renewforfreedom.org]!

            Of course, first it's optional to have one, or too many people would object! The next step is obviously to make it a legal requirement to own such a card, but it would never be mandatory to carry it. Give it a couple of years however, and a new law WILL make it an offence not to carry your ID Card.

            It's common sense (for the Gov!). There's no point having ID Cards unless everyone has them, and there's no point having them unless everyone carries the damn things. Of course, what's the point in carrying them if no one ever asks to see them ...

            Papers please

            It won't help the public with their normal everyday lives, but it will help the Gov. control you.
            Just Say NO!

            • the information will still be logged into the central database whether you take the card or not.

              I renewed my passport this year so I won't be forced into having an ID Card for 10 years! I'd strongly suggest that you consider doing the same!


              Non-sequitor.
      • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sacrilicious (316896)
        I think you're over-concerned. We've had ID cards for many years in Switzerland, and if they're anything, that's extremely convenient.

        I don't know much about the government of Switzerland, but in the US we've now established quite clearly that the government intends to abuse the populace and the common good, hence the constant and rapid erosion of the civil liberties of its citizens. So more tools for such a government (like this card) can rightfully be taken to be of concern. If the government was ben

        • but in the US we've now established quite clearly that the government intends to abuse the populace and the common good, hence the constant and rapid erosion of the civil liberties of its citizens.

          The McCarthy era is a prime example of how bad things can get - from state sanctioned censorship to people accusing people of being communists.

          And the Dubya era of randomly imprisoning people without due process, and unlawful, unconstitutional wire taps is also a sign of the same erosion.

          Some where between the vot
      • It depends. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by babbling (952366)
        It depends on how they're going to be used. Like most things, they could be used for good or evil. It seems like the Australian one might end up being harmless, since it doesn't really contain any more information than our drivers licenses currently do. It is a waste of money, though, since we already have the drivers licenses, and special identity cards for people who do not drive.

        The other thing to keep in mind with all of these cards is that if they're convenient for you, they're probably also convenient
      • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pete (2228)

        Please note that Swiss ID cards do not have biometric nonsense attached to them. They are just ID cards. ID cards are useful.

        How useful are they if you (a) don't care about getting into pubs/clubs, or (b) are well past the age where anyone could think you underage? :)

        Answer to mostly-rhetorical question - not very, except when it comes to doing other things for which you shouldn't have to "prove" an age/identity anyway. But when you've grown up in a society with rules, most people adapt to the rules

      • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ari_j (90255) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:27AM (#15212563)
        The fear in the USA is more related to a strong national government taking full control. We have, for longer than our federal government has even existed, taken great pleasure in being a confederation of states and not a single government with political subdivisions called "states." I don't know how Australian federalism (if such a thing exists there) works, so I don't know if the same fear makes sense there. Remember, our nation's constitution was strongly opposed at first and nearly was not ratified because of exactly the same fear.

        Most Americans proudly carry an ID card issued by their state of residence, and are happy that full faith and credit must be given to it in other states within the USA. However, many of us dislike one or more of the following:

        1. Mandatory carrying of identification documents and mandatory production of them to police when the police have no probable cause to make an arrest. See the Hiibel case that was decided in our Supreme Court not that long ago - a Nevada man was arrested for refusing to identify himself under a Nevada state law requiring him to do so when the policeman made what is known as a Terry stop, meaning one where you have reasonable suspicion (but not probable cause) that a crime is being committed and can confront the suspect about it to give him a chance to either dispel your suspicion or confirm it. The Supreme Court basically said that the law was just fine, but largely because it allowed you to identify yourself just by stating your name to the officer and not producing any documentation of who you are.
        2. National ID. The US Constitution does not provide for this. I can see an argument for the federal spending power to allow Congress to condition certain expenditures on the condition that the recipients have a national ID card, but even that argument is on shaky ground.
        3. Biometric information on ID cards. A photo and a signature, plus a holograph to show that it's state-issued, is all we want.
        4. RFID and the like in ID cards. We do not want our ID to be "visible" to the government without us showing it to them. It's not that we have an evil government - it's that things like this make it easy for an evil government to thrive if it comes to exist.
        • 2. The Constitution doesn't provide for this in much the way it doesn't provide for Social Security. However, like all bad things (such as SS) it will begin as voluntary and just become a de facto requirement. SSNs aren't REQUIRED to live and work in the USA if you're not an alien worker. I know, I don't have one. However, try actually living a reasonable life once you've "opted out" of the system.

          4. It's not that we have an evil government now? Have you ever watched an IRS related "trial?" If the general p
    • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bromskloss (750445) <[auxiliary.addre ... [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:29AM (#15211175)
      the famous German film M
      The film (original version from 1931) can be downloaded from our friends at archive.org.

      So put the lights out...
      M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder [archive.org]
    • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tom (822) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:33AM (#15211199) Homepage Journal
      I don't know the half of how 'papers' work

      Most european nations have had what you americans would call "ID cards" for decades if not centuries. Actually, they are not called ID cards, but passports. That's a bit confusing because you probably consider a passport something for travel, whereas in most of europe, you have a second (and slightly different) passport for that.

      Most europeans don't consider national ID cards (let's stick to that terminology) evil in any way and wonder why you americans make such a big issue of it. We've had them for as long as anyone can remember.

      And yes, in some european countries it is mandatory to have your ID card with you when you leave the house. I don't think you'll be arrested for not having it, at least I've never heard of that happening after WW2.
      • I don't think you'll be arrested for not having it...
        I'm sorry, but "don't think" doesn't suffice for me. What I'm looking for is "will not" be arrested for lack of having it and the article and clause of the law that said statement appears in.
      • And yes, in some european countries it is mandatory to have your ID card with you when you leave the house. I don't think you'll be arrested for not having it, at least I've never heard of that happening after WW2.

        You see, this is part of the issue. While there is no such thing as a national ID card, there is no possibility of a law which mandates that you carry it on your person at all times. I may trust the current government not to be too egregiously abusive of this card and the leverage it provides

      • Here in Venezuela we've had ID cards since forever too and I don't really see how it has impacted freedom in any way either. You can't be arrested for not having it on you (heck, with the latest reforms on the ID law you can't even get arrested for having a fake ID card). You can even get one as a foreigner living in Venezuela, the only real difference is that it uses a separate numbering and the paper is yellow instead of white. I don't see it too different from the way it is now (from what I've seen in mo
      • Most europeans don't consider national ID cards (let's stick to that terminology) evil in any way and wonder why you americans make such a big issue of it. We've had them for as long as anyone can remember.

        It's precisely because we're Americans and have a long history of independence, not just in creating our nation, but in thought as well. You hear a lot in this country about the sacrifices of our forefathers and Lincoln's "new birth of freedom" and it becomes clear that Americans don't like restrictions

        • It's precisely because we're Americans and have a long history of independence, not just in creating our nation, but in thought as well

          I don't argue with your beliefs, but this is not restricted to Americans. Australians, Canadians and especially the English also feel very strongly about individual freedoms. The UK government has proposed a number of national id cards, each being shot down. (This happened in Australia, they must have gotten one through) I am not sure what this says about the differ
      • I don't think you'll be arrested for not having it, at least I've never heard of that happening after WW2.

        Well then, allow me to enlighten you: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2005/11/ rocky_mountain_news_local/ [outsidethebeltway.com]
      • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JonnyCalcutta (524825) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:33AM (#15211548)
        And this is the confusion that the Governments in the UK and Australia want to continue. The problem a lot of people have is not with an ID Card, it is with the national identity database that is coming with it. If I could go to the local post office with my some proof of who I am (utility bills, birth certificate) and get the card based equivalent of an SSL certificate to use in banking, voting, health care, maybe even online, then I wouldn't be so bothered (although I still don't like it). But the card is a miniscule part, of the UK Governments plans at least. A central tracking database is a fundamental shift in our relationship with the Government - they are now tracking, monitoring and verifying us every where we go and with everything we do. It is not for our convenience; we no longer feel they are working for us, but rather they will be authenticating us. It is our country, not the Governments - this has the effect of altering that balance.
      • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:3, Interesting)

        by npsimons (32752)


        Most europeans don't consider national ID cards (let's stick to that terminology) evil in any way and wonder why you americans make such a big issue of it. We've had them for as long as anyone can remember.

        I think the concern is that once ID cards are mandated, they will be abused, and not having one on you at all times will make you a suspect in the eyes of many. In America, you can't (yet) be arrested for refusing to identify yourself, and this makes sense. If I am out walking my dog, or riding my bic

    • Re:Fritz Lang's M (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bhima (46039) <Bhima,Pandava&gmail,com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:37AM (#15211222) Journal
      I moved from Australia to the US in 1978, in that year in both countries it was extremely unlikely that a law enforcement officer would approach you for no particular reason and ask for identification.
      However this very much was not the case in Eastern Europe (where I was born) and presumably the redder portions of South East Asia as well. Also at the time you did not need written permission to live, work, or just be at any certain place. So the "paper's please" thing became a jibe from the armchair anticommunists as sort of a short form of our country is so much better than yours. Indeed my own father, a staunch Anti-Communist, took us for a car trip both around Australia and across the United States in a prolonged state of rapture caused by the fact that we could go all these places and see all these things and not only not present papers to anyone of authority but not go through inspections or checkpoints (even at state lines!).

      Fast forward to 2006 and world is different place. Terrorism has replaced Communism and the many of those same armchair anticommunists are now demanding the very things that they derided during the cold war in communist countries. It's a bizarre thing that I cannot travel around the US without identification, Can I refuse to show a policeman identification anymore? (I don't think so, but it's been awhile since I've been back to the US). I can not walk down most US streets with a simple beer in my hand... But I can take train from where I live now to the place where I was born and I can pass the abandoned check point which I passed as a child in a box in the trunk of a car... drinking what ever I want and showing my passport once as I pass over the border into Czech Republic.

      I don't need papers in the place my parents ran from... but I need them in the place they ran to.

      So you're right "Papers Please" does have baggage... it should.
    • ...and a driver's license. Are these my papers? Maybe they could be construed as such but I highly doubt I would be arrested should I lack any of them.

      A while back I programmed my Yaesu VX-7R to scan the local 'public service' frequencies. I was surprised one evening to hear local law enforcement telling Central Dispatch that they were bringing an individual in to the jail because he had 'no identification on person.' Now, I don't know if there is a local ordinance, a State or Federal law requiring an i

  • Dumb. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:07AM (#15211081) Homepage Journal
    I'm not particularly opposed to ID cards (They've been compulsory for sometime where I am in Europe - with no loss to my freedom that I can discern). However, statements such as:
    The Prime Minister, John Howard, said the Government had considered a national identity card after last year's London bombings but in the end it "was not predisposed to adopt a national ID card".
    Are just plain stupid. Perhaps the Prime Minister, John Howard is unaware that the London Bombers were all British citizens and would have been eligible for identity cards had Britain been using them. More likely however he is a typical Western fear mongering politician.

    Oh - and the summary headline "Australians to Get Compulsory Photo ID Smartcard" seems to be incorrect. Quoting the linked article:
    From 2010 people will not be able to receive government health and welfare payments without a card.
    My understanding is that Australia does have a reasonable health & welfare system, so thats a big carrot (stick?) to wave. But it's still not compulsory.
    • Re:Dumb. (Score:2, Insightful)

      Without such a card you would be unable to access ANY medical services in Australia. So while it is not "compulsory" for a healthy person, if you were to fall sick you would have a perfectly free choice: get the card or die.
      • Re:Dumb. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:27AM (#15211163) Homepage Journal
        We much prefer the American system, where if you get sick, the choice is
        i) mortgage yourself in penury
        ii) or die.

        The funny thing is, can you imagine if passports were a new idea? Just think of the outraged slashdotters that would vent their fury on a scaremongering story entitled "New Compulsory Photo ID required just to leave the country".

        Or Driving Licenses: "New Compulsory Photo ID required just to operate vehicles!"

        Oh, The Huge Manatee!
        • No... passports are compulsory ID to ENTER a country.
        • The funny thing is, can you imagine if passports were a new idea?

          They are a relatively new idea, and people just have a short attention span. They were only introduced in WWI (to the horror of just about everyone) promises were made to eliminate the documents after the war (which weren't kept) and it wasn't until WW2 that you really needed one to travel worldwide. (Quite a lot of the immigrants to Ellis Island had not a piece of paper on em.)

          I cite the passport, and the ensuing cult of documentation to tra
        • Re:Dumb. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by npsimons (32752)


          The funny thing is, can you imagine if passports were a new idea? Just think of the outraged slashdotters that would vent their fury on a scaremongering story entitled "New Compulsory Photo ID required just to leave the country".

          This is something I've always wondered about: why do you need ID to leave the country? Or is it more acurrately described as needing ID to enter another country? In either case, I am still left wondering as to the purpose of passports. What crimes do they prevent? Who does it

      • Re:Dumb. (Score:3, Informative)

        by SQL Error (16383)
        No.

        You need the card to get government health and welfare benefits.

        If you have private health insurance or money, you don't need the card.

        If you don't like having to carry an ID card, don't rely on government benefits.
        • Re:Dumb. (Score:3, Informative)

          Currently private health insurance requires a medicare card, Its a pretty safe assumption that under the new system the new card will be needed in order to get insurance.
        • Re:Dumb. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JesseMcDonald (536341)
          You need the card to get government health and welfare benefits. . . . If you have private health insurance or money, you don't need the card.

          Fine by me -- as long as I don't have to pay for others to get those government health and welfare benefits as well.

          • In Australia all citizens (and more besides) are entitled to medical benefits. And everyone earning anything over minimum wage have to pay for it.
      • Not true. In fact, this won't be any different to the way it is now. Under the current system all Australian citizens have a card which entitles them to free/heavily subsidised medical treatment, and welfare recipients have another card which makes medical bills even cheaper.

        People do not have to use these cards if they don't want to, but then they have to find alternative means of funding their treatment.

        Other Government services have different types of identification as well. This new card (so we're being
    • But it's still not compulsory...

      I believe you are taking a rather narrow definition of compulsory. In the strictist sense of the word, you not required to have it. However, according to the Austrialian government [health.gov.au] only 11 percent of health care dollars in Australia come from private insurance. What reasonably sane person is going to cut themselves off from the government health care and refuse a national ID card?

    • My understanding is that Australia does have a reasonable health & welfare system, so thats a big carrot (stick?) to wave. But it's still not compulsory.

      Don't wave a carrot around. The bunnies might return and we all know how that went the first time.

      Jokes aside, if they considered it due to the London bombings, which were focused around transportation, then they will most likely add "transportation" to that list of needed systems.
    • John Howard is unaware that the London Bombers were all British citizens and would have been eligible for identity cards had Britain been using them.

      Now be fair. The Australian government has asked all suicide bombers to place their identity cards safely away from the blast area before they trigger their bombs.

      Anyway, identity cards are never any use in reducing crime or terrorism. The biggest problem for police is linking crimes to perpetrators rather than identifying individuals, and terrorists usuall

    • It is about being cheap.

      Take a country with no borders so you don't have to deal with foreigners for the following bit.

      If a country had a totally free healthcare system where each person gets the medical aid they need. What need would that country have of an ID system for medical care.

      That is right. None. The only ID system needed would be to identify a persons medical history but that can be anonymous. You could carry your medical history with you without it being tied in name to your person.

      There is a

  • by dohzer (867770) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:10AM (#15211091) Homepage
    ...implant it on the back of my hand? I don't want to have to remember to take it everywhere!
    • .. if you lose your hand. And that's exactly when they need your medical data..
      • by dohzer (867770)
        Well then implant it in my wang. If I loose that, I don't want them to stop me dying.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:15AM (#15211105)
    This card is not a full-blown id chip implant, but it is the first step.
    I would be weary of the tracking of these cards.
    You start people out on a mandatory ID card, then move to mandatory carrying of the card at all times, then you move to tracking the cards remotely, and then your actions/movements are no longer 'free.'
    • "You start people out on a mandatory ID card, then move to mandatory carrying of the card at all times, then you move to tracking the cards remotely, and then your actions/movements are no longer 'free.'"

      Actually your actions and movements are still free. Until the chip is actually capable of affecting your brain and that might not be for months yet.

    • Why does carrying a card stop you from doing what you want to do? How does it stop you from being 'free'? What does it disable, prevent or otherwise hinder you from doing?

      The only answer that comes to my mind is "Crime". And I'm all for a government cutting that down.

      Having a tag on you doesn't infringe your civil liberties. It may make you feel watched - but that doesn't prevent your freedom.
      • The only answer that comes to my mind is "Crime". And I'm all for a government cutting that down.

        Crime, really? Lets say someone "forgets" their tracking tag at home and goes on a killing spree. You, loyal citizen, take your tag to the grocery store to do some shopping and cross paths with the killer.

        I'm sure the cops will be spending the rest of the evening talking about how stupid criminals are these days, going around with their tracking tags and killing people.

        This is of course ignoring all the other
      • by cowbutt (21077) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:19AM (#15211448) Journal
        Why does carrying a card stop you from doing what you want to do? How does it stop you from being 'free'? What does it disable, prevent or otherwise hinder you from doing?

        The only answer that comes to my mind is "Crime". And I'm all for a government cutting that down.

        The French Resistance were 'criminals' under the laws of the Vichy regime during WWII.

        Nelson Mandela was a 'criminal' under the laws of Apartheid South Africa.

        Do I really need to go on?

    • living in Belgium were having your ID card on you all the time is mandatory, let me say this. It's better than having no ID at all. There are many situation where having an official ID card to prove who you are is very pratical, like when I go to the bank to open an account, when I buy a house, when the police stop me I produce my ID and don't have to go down to the station to prove who I am... Having a mandatory ID card is not an invasion of my privacy, there are more chances of spooks tracking my phone,
  • by El Cubano (631386) <roberto@conne[ ].com ['xer' in gap]> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:18AM (#15211120) Homepage

    From 2010 people will not be able to receive government health and welfare payments without a card.

    That's what they say now. But how long until people who decide they don't want gov't health and welfare benefits are singled out?

    "You don't have a national ID card? Why not?"

    "I don't want or need gov't health or welfare benefits."

    "Why? Do you have something to hide? Guards!"

    I know it's a kind of slippery slope argument. But seriously, has there ever been a government in this world that didn't screw up practically everything?

    • Well, the tax system in Australia already punishes high income users for using the public health care system, so I'd say everyone who gets private health care as a result would have the G-men banging down their doors if this were to happen.
  • See? See? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Max Threshold (540114) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:20AM (#15211126)
    This is what happens when you willingly give up your assault weapons!
  • by cowscows (103644)
    I'm not terribly sure how all of this works now, but do you not have to show some sort of identification for welfare and such already? In one way this isn't that much different than drivers licenses, it's just consistent across a whole country. The article says right at the beginning that citizens won't have to carry it at all times, so it's not like a cop will randomly stop you and demand it, and then ship you off to the gulag if you can't produce it on the spot.

    We're already issued identifications to hell
  • by NipsMG (656301) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:21AM (#15211136)
    Your papers please.


    This is a seriously rediculous statement. I understand the need for privacy, however I don't see how this is any more invasive than requiring a drivers license or a state ID or a passport to get certain benefits as well.

    There is good reason for requiring identification for certain benefits to ensure that people don't abuse the system. As of right now, the USA doesn't have a "national ID card", however a drivers license is close enough. Police from any state can take your license and request all of your information.

    This system not only simplifies that process, but allows you OPTIONALLY to put in more health and contact information to benefit you if you run into problems.

    Passports, State ID Cards, Licenses, are all essentially the same thing. What the hell is the problem?
    • No, what's ridiculous is that some people around here still think that you can redicule people.
    • by Drasil (580067)

      Passports, State ID Cards, Licenses, are all essentially the same thing.

      These are not the same thing. I don't have a Passport or a Driving Licence, that suits me fine as I'm not into the whole climate-change denial thing. Compulsary ID cards are not optional, if I want to breath the air of my homeland I must be registered and cataloged. I don't acknowledge the right of my government to impose such demands on me and I will not co-operate with their plans.

      I should point out that I am a native of the UK,

  • Where does this end? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VorpalRodent (964940) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:23AM (#15211147)
    I don't so much disagree with these in theory. But in practice, how many more problems are going to arise as a result of this?

    What happens when a wallet gets stolen? How many hoops do you have to jump through to prove that you are who you say you are, so that you can get a new card? If I lose my credit card, I make a phone call and they cancel it and send me a new one - surely it wouldn't be that easy with some form of national identification.

    And like the previous poster stated - how much longer before this really does turn into compulsory chipping (except in Wisconsin)? While I am not afraid of the government, and have nothing to hide, I'm not exactly enamoured by the idea of being required to have some form of absolute ID on me (or in me) at all times.

    Where does this all end? Gattica had the nifty system of checking DNA for everything...will the Police officer someday just ask for a strand of hair? I like my bodily fluids, and I don't want to give them away, especially not for something as mundane as identification...it would be okay to give them to the proverbial "female".

    • surely it wouldn't be that easy with some form of national identification.

      sure, why not? I cant really say im for the ID cards, but you've really got the blinkers on here. the card has your photo stored on it, why exactly would they make it more difficult to replace the ID card (it has your photo, among other details. its basically worthless to anyone but you) than replacing your credit card (john doe calls up and gets your credit card cancelled and a new one sent out. he fishes the new one out of your mai

  • So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:26AM (#15211159) Journal
    I've debated other Libertarians on this issue, and the main point they can not refute is, "So what?"

    In nearly all 50 of these United States, you are required to carry some form of ID, usually a driver's license. Once you cross state lines, your ID is no longer familiar to those who may want to look at it (airport ticket counter, liquor store cashier, hotel clerk, police officer, EMT) and thus becomes easier to forge. A national ID instead of 50 differnt state ID's could help prevent this sort of thing and make absolutely no difference people's lives, as we are all required to carry a state ID already.

    I've carried a state ID for over 20 years, and I've never had anyone ask to see my papers.
    • I think the "papers, please" line refers more to the Soviet Union, when people were locked down and travel between states was restricted. You needed official documentation to prove you had a reason to travel, even if just to visit family.

      I don't see a national ID as being in the same category. While the proverbial papers showed authorization for a specific activity, a national ID just reduces redundancy from a system. It does not add restrictions on behavior. That being said, I think it does make it easier

    • Re:So What? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by szembek (948327)
      Exactly. This isn't even slashdot related in my opinion. Everyone carries a drivers license. What would the difference be if you carried a national ID card instead or along with it. It just makes sense and there is nothing wrong with this. Some people take privacy paranoia to the extreme.
    • Yes, we all have driver's licenses. Yes we all have Social Security cards. And, yes, a lot of us have passports. But it's important to take a step back and re-examine ALL of these things when something like a national ID card card comes into play for another country, region, etc., because how it is implemented, what information is put on it, and how it is being used is very important. You'll get no argument from me about its potential convenience, but to shut your eyes to the potential abuse of power an
  • by xerxesdaphat (767728) <xerxesdaphat@gmaBOYSENil.com minus berry> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:28AM (#15211170)
    Excellent. After living in Australia for 6 years I've moved back to NZ. Whilst we do occasionally do ridiculous things wrt environmental issues, our general method of governance is much much `pre-9-11' (as people say ^_^). Maybe that's because we're an outdated backwater; but whatever the reason, at least we avoid lunacy like this. In case anybody doesn't know by now, we have also effectively banned any US ship from entering out waters (although how we do that is not something I agree with; we are `nuclear free' which, although prevents any US ship from visiting, also means we are nuclear free).

    NZ is sort of like Amiga OS (or perhaps I should say *BSD? ^_~)... secure and free mostly by obfuscation and isolation =^_^=.
    • NZ is sort of like Amiga OS (or perhaps I should say *BSD? ^_~)... secure and free mostly by obfuscation and isolation =^_^=.
       
      And also by not pissing anyone off. When's the last time New Zealand started a war, or joined in for that matter? Do you even have armed forces?

      Really you're somewhat like Canada. Considered "mostly harmless" compared to your big, insane, belligerent neighbor and left alone.
    • Maybe we should refer to ourselves as "land of the long smug cloud". At least you never mentioned "ahead of the curve...". Im starting to wish we had a military, if george clooney ever gets close to NZ we might have to shoot him down to avert a catastrophy.
    • Don't get too complacent, just yet [stuff.co.nz].

      Don't get me wrong; NZ is probably the freest english-speaking country there is right now. Please, make sure it stays that way.

  • by cffrost (885375) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:31AM (#15211187) Homepage

    "Mr. President! We must not allow a privacy-shaft gap!"
  • by simong (32944) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:31AM (#15211188) Homepage
    As has been repeatedly pointed out about the UK government's (well, a handful of senior members') insistence on introducing a 'voluntary' ID card, it's going to be a windfall for IT consultants if the debacle of the NHS patient database project is anything to go by. I'm polishing my golden wheelbarrow as I type. Quite fancy six months or so in Oz too.
    • You assume that the card idea came first, and the windfall is a consequence, like this:

      PM: We need an ID card.
      Cabinet: We'll have to give some of the taxpayers money to IT companies to implement it.

      It's just as likely that the windfall was the idea, and the card was the consequence, like this:

      PM: We need to give some of the taxpayers money to IT companies.
      Cabinet: We'll have to create a national ID card system to justify it.
  • Our prime minister has declared that its NOT an ID card, because its NOT compulsory. But if you want to access the health care system, you have to have it. So its not compulsory, but everyone has to have it.
  • opt-in required (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:36AM (#15211218) Homepage Journal
    The problem with these smartcards, RFID, etc. is actually quite simple:

    I can't choose not to provide a piece of info that's on it.

    If they had a way for me to control which information from them I want to reveal, there would be much less trouble, I'm sure. Then I could have a single ID card with all my financial, medical, etc. info on it, but you only get whatever I explicitly give you.

    And no, implementing that in the clients, say programming the doc's computer so it only reads the medical data, is not good enough.
  • by illtron (722358) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:40AM (#15211238) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it's because there's no better way to file this, but this seems to be less "Your Rights Online" and more "Your Rights in the Real World." Just an observation.
  • no GST, No ID Card (Score:4, Informative)

    by pbjones (315127) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:41AM (#15211245)
    This PM promised that there would never be a GST, so saying it's not an ID card does not suprise anyone in Oz. Just because he doesn't call it an ID card, doesn't mean that it doesn't function like one. An Election is due in a year so let the voters decide.
    • An Election is due in a year so let the voters decide.

      Gollem is going for a fourth term. And guess what, it will be on the voters request...

      (Yes, I'll be handing out how-to-vote-cards for the Greens again that election)
  • Undecided (Score:2, Insightful)

    by melonqueen (963023)
    I'm still quite undecided on this...

    On the one hand, it does seem like a convenient way to hold all our information in regards to medicare, concession cards etc.

    On the other, I feel uneasy about having so much personal information about myself stored on one card. I mean no doubt, someone will find a way to gain access to this information if they steal someones card, and once they have, identity theft is bound to occur. Computer chips aren't foolproof. There's bound to be at least one person out there th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:45AM (#15211267)
    Bruce Schneier wrote an op-ed a couple years back on why a national ID doesn't offer any more security. Interesting reading, to say the least: http://www.schneier.com/essay-034.html [schneier.com]
  • So, what's the problem? I have a Social Security card in the US. It is government mandated "papers" I'm required to have. And with these papers, I have presented them all of 0 times in my life to a government official. I'm sure I have the card around somewhere, but it isn't asked for during any interaction with the government, and I certainly don't keep it on me. This card doesn't seem much different. It is *not* a universal government ID. It is documentation for services, just like a SS card in the
    • A Soscial Security Card is not comparable, because it contains so little information. And yet, despite having printed on it that it is not to be used for identification purposes it is used as such all the time. You might not have been asked to show the card but others have, or rather, since it's a readily memorizable number you've been asked that and provided it to people whom have no right to such information.

      Switching from a simple cheap cardstock printed card, to a whiz-bang digital card is even more i

  • by pubjames (468013) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:57AM (#15211343)
    As Slashdotters, you'll all be aware that one of the fundamental requirements of a secure transaction is to be able to validate someone is who they say they are. How can you do that without some kind of ID card? Get this - in the UK if you go to open a bank account, they ask you for a gas bill! You can phone up your gas company, ask them to add any name you want to the bill, and then take the resulting bill into a bank and use it as proof of address! Or if you want to claim social security benefits, you just need to take in your birth certificate. But the ink washes off old birth certificates, I kid you not. And yet many people in the UK have an almost rabid passion about their right not to have an official means to identify themselves. Sorry, but I just don't get it.
     
  • ... the Home Secretary, who continues to support the idea of an ID card and biometric database, has recently admitted that over a thousand criminals who are not UK citizens have been released from prison without being deported, and that he has no idea where most of them are.

    I offer this as a counter-argument to those who might suggest that if you're innocent, you have nothing to fear. Never, ever underestimate the ability of politicians and bureaucrats to f*ck things up.
  • Not an issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by houghi (78078) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:22AM (#15211464)
    I live in Belgium and I have with me my identity card and my "SIS" card. The first has been asked by me once when police where looking for somebody. It seemed they were looking for somebody who looked like me.

    Instead of taking me to the station and all the tests, they just chaecked my papers and all was well.

    The other I use if I am at a docter, or buy prescribed medicene. It is there so I get money back. Both are now with a chip set. Want to read what is on them? http://www.belgium.be/zip/eid_datacapture_fr.html [belgium.be] Indeed, source code is aailable.
  • by Knight2K (102749) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:26AM (#15211492) Homepage
    why not just create a Certificate Authority for the Federal Government? Then mandate that all driver's licenses and passports have a smart chip with a certificate signed by the government and your own personal public key, also signed by the government. A separate card could be issued with your private key on it. As a backup, encode the certificate for the ID card in a barcode on the back, so your ID can be verified even if the chip fails.

    If you want to get rid of the separate card for the private key, come up with an algorithm for hashing other biometric data to make a private key: retinal scan and/or thumbprint.

    If properly implemented, there would be two virtues to this system. The first is, after the initial check by the issuer that the issuee is who they say they are, no central database query is need to authenticate the ID. Each ID reader just needs a copy of the government's public key. After almost 10 years of Web Browser PKI experience, this system should be well-understood. The second virtue is, if every citizen has a public and private key pair, then check and credit card fraud could be eliminated. Those systems currently rely on insecure methods like written signatures, very short pins, or codes on the back of the physical cards. It would also be possible to easily encrypt e-mail, keep phone calls private, and transmit legally binding electronic documents.

    Bruce Schneier [schneier.com] points out that any ID card system will be flawed from the start because there is a human element in issuing and checking ID's. Biometrics and PKI would help, but perhaps not enough. At the very least, my proposal wouldn't be a worse ID system then we currently have, and actually provides two possible benefits we didn't have before. On the other hand, governments don't like strong encryption in the hands of citizens, so we would have to watch for backdoors in the system. There may also be a concern with the fact that your public key can now tie you to your various activities. Of course, this is pretty much the case now. Though, there are many virtues to a world where PKI is widely used.

  • by brdaaw (945330) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:36AM (#15211572)
    if you dont think that kind of thing goes on here in the USA, read this story about a women who was put in jail because she did not show her "papers" on a public bus while not breaking any laws... http://www.papersplease.org/davis/index1.html [papersplease.org]
  • by the_rev_matt (239420) <slashbot AT revmatt DOT com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:47AM (#15211649) Homepage
    This is a very specific plan to require people who are receiving government benefits to be able to demonstrate that they are who they claim to be. Don't like it? Don't participate. If you want the benefits, you have to play by the rules.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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