Thursday, January 19, 2006

LSE Prof on ID cards

There are some great lines from Professor Ian Angell of the LSE in a Q&A with ZDNet yesterday:

"You obviously don't think the scheme will be a success then?
I feel ambivalent about it. As a taxpayer, I'm horrified. As a professor of information systems, I'd love them to implement the scheme, because a lot of work will come from this. It'll be like watching the Titanic from the drawing board to the iceberg. This is going to be a shambles.

Why do you think it'll be such a shambles?
To implement an information system, you need to have a clear set of objectives to reach and aims to address. What you have here is a moving target. The cards may be used for e-commerce authentication, but also as an ID card, like an Ahnenpass, which is what the police want.

An Ahnenpass?
An Ahnenpass is what the Nazis issued to the Jews to identify them. This is what the Muslims will see it as. White-boy organisations demanding searches, and charging taxpayers for it.

Some estimates put the cost of implementing the scheme at £300 per person. Will it really be that expensive?
The overall cost may not be £300 per person, because the government will generate income from the system, by selling the system and the expertise to run it to other governments. But the only governments that will take it are other disreputable ones. The scheme will not work. The social environment it will be dropped into will be so disruptive. It's not even clear if the scheme is legal under EU law.

Are there any other reasons why you believe the scheme won't work?

These people [the government] have obsessive-compulsive neuroses. Idiotic designers who think the world can be proscribed and ordered just so, when the world is non-linear. The flap of a butterfly's wing, and so on. This is a government of control freaks, who don't understand there's no such thing as control...

Final thoughts?
This will blow up in their faces, and it'll be a hugely expensive explosion."

It's a must read.

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