A message from the Home Office as ID roll out begins...

As ID cards are made available in Manchester this week at the start of a national roll-out of the scheme, the following message arrives in OurKingdom's inbox from an anonymous Home Office email account...
Guy Aitchison
1 December 2009

As ID cards are made available in Manchester this week at the start of the national roll-out of the scheme, the following message arrives in OurKingdom's inbox from an anonymous Home Office email account...

Dear OK readers,

I write confident that those of you in the Manchester area will have been leap frogging down to the Identity and Passport Service's registration centre this week to join the excited queues registering for one of the eagerly awaited ID cards.

Those that haven't already snapped up this wonderful new accessory, de rigeur for the modern Mancuanian about town, may want to consider the many benefits of the scheme, such as [DELETE -->> combating terrorism, securing your identity, managing immigration<<--]... busting open Yale locks, clearing the ice off your wind-screen on a cold day and playing swingers’ ID shuffle with a group of close friends.

Mancunians should of course ignore the likes of Dave Page of NOID who has been advising people against submitting to “the largest state database system in the western world” (surely a reason for pride?) which will track you until death, impose “fines for not keeping your information up to date” (when we say “voluntary” we mean until you’re on the database, Ok?) and make your personal information vulnerable to a “vast numbers of faceless bureaucrats” (we prefer the more PC term, “soulless functionaries”) who are unable to keep it “secure” (I can personally vouch for my 300,000 colleagues and the government’s record in data management).

People like Dave are apparently still clinging to the quaint 20th century notion of “privacy” unaware that like its cousins, “innocent until proven guilty” and “the right to silence”, it is an outdated concept which has no place in the brave new omniscient hi-tech state that We, your wise and beneficent rulers at the Home Office, are preparing for you.

Anyone tempted to give credence to the claims made by scurrilous campaigners like Dave, backed up as they are by meticulous research and expert opinion, should instead focus their attention on the following propaganda pieces we have put together for the Manchester campaign:



(image via Mazdotnu)

See? A fun little finger-print man? Biometric identity systems are cool and exciting and totally non-threatening.

So next time you have doubts about the threat the £230,000 a day scheme poses to your civil liberties, just think of this cuddly little chap:

And remember what a pain that ice can be to shift in the morning….

Yours insatiably,

The Home Office

Mordor, SW1



Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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