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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Home Office Minister responsible for Identity adds more power to her arm

    And yes that mouthful really is Home Office Minister Meg Hillier's full title.

    This blog has constantly warned against the dangers of ID Cards with biometrics, the National Identity Register (NIR) and the sharing of data by government departments. Now you know why!

    The Register, today in an article entitled "UK ID card service mounts birth, marriage, death landgrab: A big hello to whole-life logging" announced that:
    The UK Identity & Passport Service (IPS) has staged an identity landgrab on birth, marriage and death records. From April 2008 the General Register Office, which is responsible for recording these matters and is currently a directorate of the Office of National Statistics, is to become part of IPS, meaning that IPS will be logging you from the moment you're born until the moment you die.

    The logic of the move is chilling. The UK ID card scheme itself only requires registration for an ID card from age 16...
    but whole-life records - as well as biometrics - will all be accessible to, and looked after by, one directorate. The neat government spin is that
    "In order to... fully realise the benefits of combining registration of life events in England and Wales and the issuing of passports, it is sensible that the IPS and GRO should be part of the same organisation"
    which makes no reference to the negative (well, it wouldn't would it?) aspects. Like mis-matches, or the increased and increasing chances of error migration that go with sharing data. Now - or at least from early next year - we shall all be tracked from birth to death (those of us already born find ourselves that one small step ahead of the system!), and I wonder how long it will be before those nice little subcutaneous RFID tags they use for pets cross the Minister's mind?

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