We trust you <Insert straight face here>
April 18, 2007
I’ve written before about the proposed Australian health and welfare smart-card. For a while it t looked as though privacy concerns had at least being acknowledged and would potentially be addressed. And then came this from the Australian:
PHOTOGRAPH, signature and personal number will be retained as key elements of the Howard Government’s new Access Card, despite backbench protests that this will make it a de facto identity card.
Human Services Minister Chris Ellison, who shelved legislation delivering the card last month pending further consultation, told The Australian yesterday that the concerns raised by his colleagues did not reflect community views.
His comments came despite a report by the Senate’s finance and public administration committee in which Coalition senators joined the Opposition to call for a delay and reconsideration of the plan.
Have you ever noticed that politicians tend to say things like “Option-A-which-I support/Option-B-which-I-oppose does/doesn’t reflect community views” without providing evidence of polling to support their assertion. I’d hate to think that such bold statements were being made on the basis of anecdotal evidence. Surely not.
But Senator Ellison said he would not budge. “The photo and the signature and the number are issues that go to the very strength of the card’s robust nature as a means of establishing identity,” he said.
Excuse me? Why on earth does the card need to establish identity?
We currently have several (presumably robust) forms of identification, making it necessary and sufficient for the card to provide information for cross referencing the existing document (say a driver’s licence).
“If you don’t have a photo on the card, KPMG have said they would have to revise their assessment of how much fraud would be saved.
On the other hand, this would create a single point of failure, greatly increasing the severity of any fraud if the card is cracked.
The Government has pledged that the Access Card, which from next year will replace 17 government health and welfare cards, will not be allowed to be used as an identity card.
Oh, in that case it’s okay then. I’m sure we can trust you.