“Why do you think it’s called a net or a web? Because it’s a trap!” – Alan Parker: The Urban Warrior
The UK Government is set to use already existing online profiles as a means of officially verifying the identity of Her Majesty’s subjects, reports The Independent :
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.
The Cabinet Office is understood to have held discussions with the Post Office, high street banks, mobile phone companies and technology giants ranging from Facebook and Microsoft to Google, PayPal and BT.
FULL STORY HERE: The Independent
Strangely this idea appears to have its originated within the bowels of “opposition” party New Labour. They suggested a slightly clunkier version of it in 2010 as a replacement for their hated national ID card scheme which they promised would all be in place by 2014. In 2010 Gordon Brown made a series of chilling speeches demanding everyone be given their own Facebook style page:
The Telegraph March 2010
Every citizen to have personal webpage
Everyone in the country is to be given a personalised webpage for accessing Government services within a year as part of a plan to save billions of pounds by putting all public services online, Gordon Brown is to announce.
Despite Labour losing that year’s general election and the “opposition” Conservative party standing on a platform which included the pledge to end the so called “database state” it appears a revised version of the idea is to go ahead after all.
The comments sections of newspapers reporting this “new idea” reveal a level of cynicism about its “voluntary” nature. It appears people remember how the UK’s previous Labour Government lied about their National Identification Card scheme (upon which these subsequent ideas have clearly been built):
Secret paper reveals Labour’s lies over ID cards
The Government faces damaging claims of misleading voters over ID cards after documents revealed it always planned to make the controversial scheme compulsory.
[Daily Mail 2007]
I wonder what the current Government’s “secret papers” say regarding this, ahem, “new” scheme and where it might lead? In the age of the internet it’s likely to be only a matter of time until we find out.
As always Disinfo welcomes your thoughts in the comments section…
PS: Anyone with a sense of humour may enjoy this old (2009) page direct from The Conservative Party website which promises to clamp down on exactly the sort of scheme they are now proposing.
I write on Disinfo for fun, I've been a fan of the company for years.
In the real world I'm a freelance TV/radio presenter. I've worked for LBC, Kerrang Radio, The Bay, Edge Media TV, Hallam FM and The BBC.
My podcast is here: http://thecultofnick.libsyn.com/
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