UK to Introduce National ID Scheme Using Mobile Phones and Social Media Profiles

Click image to enlarge / credit: Independent

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

Early in 2012, I wrote an article regarding India’s implementation of the Unique Identification (UID) Program for all of its 1.2 billion residents entitled, “Cashless Society: India Implements First Biometric ID Program Despite Growing Concern,” where I detailed the history, mechanisms and ultimate goals of the program. I followed this report by an article entitled, “Japan Proposes Next Phase of Centralized Surveillance,” dealing with the new Japanese UID with a similar analysis. But, while news of India and Japan’s massive National ID program was met with much surprise by many even in the alternative media, it may once again come as a surprise that yet another push for a National ID push is on the way – this time, in the UK.

Like the Indian and Japanese ice-breaker, the UK program is being developed in concert and collusion between the UK government and international corporations.

To be clear, the English version of the National ID is not the same as the Indian program. Biometrics have yet to enter into the equation.

In fact, at this point, the UK is only attempting to implement a “virtual ID” under the Identity Assurance Programme. Yet, the scheme is still raising some ire amidst privacy advocates and those still conscious enough to be aware that they are passengers on a train headed for a system of total surveillance and control if the engine is not soon shut off.

Others, of course, simply recognize the “public/private partnership” required to develop this type of system as a threat to their personal data and a potential source of unprecedented identity theft.

Nevertheless, the new back-door National ID scheme is being ushered in to the UK using similar justifications as that used by the Indian government when the UID program began – i.e. that the new program will improve and streamline the process of requesting, granting, receiving, and distributing government benefits and/or aid.

While India argued that the UID would cut down on fraud, the UK suggests that the program will free up an already-clogged system (due to a ravaged economy) and allow for a smoother and more streamlined process of distribution.

As Ian Burrell of The Independent writes:

The Government will announce details this month of a controversial national identity scheme which will allow people to use their mobile phones and social media profiles as official identification documents for accessing public services. 

People wishing to apply for services ranging from tax credits to fishing licences and passports will be asked to choose from a list of familiar online log-ins, including those they already use on social media sites, banks, and large retailers such as supermarkets, to prove their identity.

Once they have logged in correctly by computer or mobile phone, the site will send a message to the government agency authenticating that user’s identity.

It has been reported that the Cabinet Office has held talks with agencies and organizations such as the “Post Office, high street banks, mobile phone companies and technology giants ranging from Facebook and Microsoft to Google, PayPal and BT.”

The system is supposed to be rolled out for trial in April when the Department of Work & Pensions introduces the system overhaul known as the Universal Credit Scheme.

Essentially, government “services” are being grouped together on one website, Gov.uk, which will be accessible via mobile phone. Those wishing to access the services will able to login with their already-established login IDs set-up with private companies.

The government claims that the ID systems and procedures “have been subjected to security testing before being awarded their ‘Identity Provider (IDP) kitemark, meaning that they have made the list of between five and 20 approved organizations that will be announced on 22 October.”

Those using the new virtual ID program will be asked to identify themselves by picking their preferred corporation from the NASCAR screen, the name of the logo-filled directory on the website.

As Ian Burrell describes:

Major web sites are able to recognise individuals by their patterns of use, the device they are accessing from and its location. Facebook, for example, asks users who sign on from an unusual location to take a series of security questions including identifying friends in photographs.

Much like the Japanese version of the Indian UID, the Basic Resident Register, the IAP is given the perception of being decentralized. For instance, the Cabinet Office has consistently stated that the data provided through accessing the IAP will not be held centrally by any government agency.

However, like the Japanese Juki-net, the fact is that the data will be included inside a centralized database. There is simply no way around it.

Thus, while the Cabinet Office states that the various corporations involved in the program will not know which government agency is requesting information, both the agencies and the Corporations are themselves a part of a centralized database, the very least of which being the Gov.uk website where individuals will go to access their services.

With this in mind, are we really to believe that such information will sit eternally unmolested by the UK central government? The Japanese made the mistake of resting with this assumption early on with the Basic Resident Register and the My Number Bill as well. Unfortunately for them, it was just a few years before the “localized” database became openly centralized.

Furthermore, simply setting up minuscule barriers, such as using the selected corporations as filters for inquiries and distribution of information, is largely meaningless in a world where such a small number of large corporations, banks, and other industry giants essentially own the government.

Again, the question must be asked: Are we really to believe that information sharing between such powerful corporations and governments will not occur due to the high ethical standards of either one? If the answer to this question is affirmative, surely, they jest.

Nevertheless, one must wonder how long it will be before the UK database becomes openly centralized like the Japanese Juki-net and Basic Resident Register program. One must also wonder how long the system will exist before reports of illegal information sharing begin to circulate within the media, subsequently culminating in the confirmation of such information sharing out in the open with no legal repercussions. How long will it be before the information sharing process is then codified into law?

If you think it sounds like the above questions are more a list of predictions than possibilities, you would be right. That’s because, using recent history as a guide, whether it be the Japanese Basic Resident Register, India, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Spain, Peru, or Italy, the same roadmap is almost always followed with the same results almost always being achieved – the establishment of a massive, all-encompassing (biometric) database containing information gleaned from every aspect of life by corporations, government, and other sources.

Of course, government databases and control are not the only concerns arising out of the new UK program.

As 21st Century Fix reports, there is also the issue of the commercial sale of the personal information submitted by the individual accessing his government services by the corporations facilitating that transaction. The report states:

I would, however, add a third reason not to proceed: I simply, frankly, don’t want to access government services using a privately contracted device I use in the rest of my life. That is to say, for me the real issue is the privatization of a virtual ID card system. That companies such as, for example, Facebook – with all its manifest privacy issues – should seriously be considered a partner in such a scheme is indicative of why so many social media sites now want us to use real identities. For there’s real money in them thar hills for owners of real-identity databases. 

The really long-term business plan becomes evermore clear, doesn’t it? 

Information creep was bad enough when governments suggested real-time Internet snooping. Knowing the efficiency of the private sector in extracting personal data from us to generate private profit, the Lord only knows what might happen when corporations get officially involved – and what’s more, with the full force of the law behind them in their every act and deed.

But while the concerns centered around the privatization of a virtual database are very real, as are those regarding identity theft, hacking, and centralization, the reality of the situation is much more grave than many of the opponents of the UK virtual ID are letting on. The true nature of the virtual ID scheme is rooted in the ultimate goal of creating an all-encompassing, top-down, cashless society combined with a Total Information Awareness network which includes every aspect of individual life.

While a “decentralized” voluntary virtual ID with allegedly built-in protections may seem like a far cry from a forced omnipotent surveillance state or a national ID, the fact is that the new scheme is merely one more step in that direction.

Obviously, the program will not be voluntary for long. As I have discussed in previous articles, the introduction of a program such as a national ID card, biometric data, or cashless payment technologies is always followed by the program becoming mandatory. The ultimate goal of an all-encompassing cashless surveillance program with no opt-out provisions is always introduced by stealth and the Gradualist Technique.

At first, the program is introduced as a way to speed up transactions, increase efficiency, and provide convenience. Soon, however, governments and businesses begin to transition out of the older methods of payment and identification and focus more on the new technology. Identification using the traditional methods remain as an option, but become viewed as cumbersome. Eventually, the alternative methods are phased out completely and mandates replace what was once a personal choice.

In the end, the statements and reassurances issued by the UK government (or any other government for that matter) should hold very little water with the English people. In terms of the development of virtual and/or biometric databases, government agencies have a track record of 0% when it comes to both honesty and integrity or having the best interests of their people at heart.

What governments cannot accomplish out in the open, they will accomplish by the backdoor as any American who has had experience with programs such as IDENT, NGI, and S-COMM can attest to.

History and experience both have shown that government cannot be trusted to tell the truth regarding potentially dangerous technologies and surveillance policies – much less be trusted to operate these programs with responsibility. It is for this reason that the English people must view the new virtual ID scheme with more than just a healthy dose of skepticism.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over one hundred articles dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville is available for podcast, radio, and TV interviews. Please contact us at activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

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