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.
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.
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.
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