Big Brother is Back – ID Cards Were Nothing Compared to This Government’s Snooping Plans

Note: I had been idly wondering when the evil of which ID cards are the public face would be rolled out again. Let’s hope this whole thing turns out to be a money pit, and that the money soon runs out. There will be no other brake to this. SIG

From The Void.


Iain Duncan Smith’s new database, quietly being built in India, is set to be the most expansive data-mining operation every carried out by any Government against it’s citizens.

The Universal Credit system will contain an unprecedented amount of information on all aspects of our lives, much of which will be controlled by private companies. In a chilling development it appears that the database will use ‘voice biometrics’ as part of it’s security protocols.

The new system, which is due to be launched in 2013, will dwarf the plans for a National Identity Register which was dropped by Labour after storms of protest. With the advent of smart phone and hand held readers this new system could easily become an effective, electronic National Identity Card.

Universal Credit is the Government’s policy to replace all benefits and tax credits with one unified benefit. The database set up to manage it will be built into the tax system and rely on the ‘real time reporting’ system for tax payments which is currently in development. It is therefore likely that everyone,with or without a job, will find themselves on the database.

Under Real Time Reporting, the Government will require self-employed tax-payers and PAYE employers to submit monthly figures on earnings. The Government will know where you are on a month to month basis, unlike the current system which only relies on annual returns. This will create a huge amount of additional work and bureaucracy for self employed people and small firms alike. Like many aspects of the plans, this is something the Government hasn’t been particularly forthcoming about.

Like the current tax database it will also contain details of whether you are married, your basic details such as name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number, along with details of your children. To accommodate the changes to child benefit, the database will also need details of whether you live with a partner even if you aren’t married. Presumably this data will need to be updated ‘in real time’. If you split up with your partner, be sure to tell the Government as soon as possible.

Should you ever claim a benefit such as Housing Benefit, sick pay or Employment Support Allowance, the database will be even more intrusive. At present Housing Benefit data is largely collected locally, and requires a huge amount of information, ostensibly to prevent fraud. Claimants are required to provide full financial details, bank statements, tenancy agreements, details of anyone who may live with them, even housemates, plus information about the type of property, how many rooms it contains etc. All this information will now be held by central Government, quite likely along with information claimed to be for ensuring ‘equal opportunity’ such as details of ethnicity, religion and sexuality.

Should you fall sick and need disability benefits then the database will also contain full details of your health condition. It will probably also have all the results of the planned regular health checks to be carried out by private companies like Atos and security companies like G4S. As Job Seekers Allowance is also to be built into the system,it is likely the database will include details of criminal records, job search activity, educational achievements and even your CV.

No Government before has ever attempted to collate such a huge amount of data on their citizens all in one place. It is not yet even known whether the system will have scope for further information retention as the project is shrouded in secrecy. Iain Duncan Smith has refused to say how the system will manage any child care payments or whether Council Tax is also to be built into the new software which IT insiders have nicknamed ‘The Beast’.

Universal Credit is set to be ‘digital by default’ meaning people will only be able to input information online. People without online access at home will be required to use insecure internet cafes and, if they can still find one, libraries, should they need to report in personal information changes to the Government.

It is the voice recognition system however which will be of most concern to civil liberties campaigners. Known as ‘voice biometrics’ this relies on the fact that everyone has a unique ‘voice print’ which can be used to identify them. Whilst it has never been tested on such a huge scale, the DWP are trialling voice recognition technology right now in the hope of building it into the new system. This has the potential to become an ID Card by default. Whilst coppers will not be able to demand to see your papers they will only need a sample of your voice to access your extensive government file. You have the right to remain silent.

By far the most chilling aspect of the plans however will be the ability of spooks everywhere to track and access your phone calls. The US Echelon satellite famously hoovers up all digital information flying through the air which includes telephone conversations. If they have access to your voice print, they will be able to immediately identify and record any telephone call you make from any phone in the world.

If big brother UK isn’t listening to you then the CIA may well be. Not to be outdone however are this countries leading eaves-droppers GCHQ. With well founded fears of fraud and hacking being voiced, it is GCHQ who are being brought in to try and prevent this.

Iain Duncan Smith said recently: “We are talking to everybody from the private sector right the way through to GCHQ about how and what is the best point at which you protect that information.”

So private companies and spooks alike are set to have access to your Government file.

When the ID Card row first blew up under Labour many campaigners warned it was the database planned to be behind the system which was of most concern. The Lib Dems were one of those voices that shouted loudest about infringement of civil liberties and privacy. Yet here they are supported a national identity database far in excess of anything that Tony Blair dared to dream up. Barely any consultation on the power that this will give the Government, or the implications for privacy, has been carried out. Iain Duncan Smith is launching it by stealth, pretending it’s only benefit claimants who will be subject to it. The Government is hoping no-one notices that by benefit claimants they mean everyone who claims, or has claimed, Tax Credits, Child Benefit, Housing Benefit, Statutory Sick Pay, Disability living Allowance or a state pension.

In fact as the DWP and HMRC databases are due to be merged it is likely that the Government plans for everyone to be on the new database. They are hardly likely to continue to run the old HMRC database when this one does the exact same thing. Again this is not something which has been adequately explained by a Government which promised Civil Liberties. It is of little wonder that Iain Duncan Smith has been so evasive about the details of the DWP’s flagship scheme.

Big Brother would blush at this vast state intrusion of privacy. He may not always be watching, but very soon he could be listening to every phone call you ever make.

14 responses to “Big Brother is Back – ID Cards Were Nothing Compared to This Government’s Snooping Plans

  1. “Don’t vote for the Tories,” I said, “they won’t be any better,” I said, “they’re part of the same paradigm,” I said, “they are run by the same special interests,” I said.

    “They won’t be as bad as the Labours,” you said, “we have to get rid of the Labours,” you said, “the descent into tyranny won’t be as fast,” you said, “at least they’ll get rid of ID cards,” you said. “anything’s better than the Labours,” you said.


    The Blog-fuhrer replies:-

    Yes, we did. We did say that. I remember publishing that at least twice in 2009 and early 2010.
    (We don’t hide behind socialist nonsense here in the LA, like saying “we have been misquoted”.)

    The point is, time is all we (might or might not) have. And StaliNazi control-bullies and equalitifreaks have been known, occasionally, to trip up on banana-skins. It’s also quite probable, although not totally to be assumed, that Linp-Dim-ToriNazis are likely to be less competent and less focussed about installing the Panopticon, since it’s new to them. They’ve just got back into power and find all this bright shiny half-completed death-machinery in place, but not working, so theyve decided to design a complete new ground-up-equivalent. It could still take some time, and anything might happen.

  2. i won’t voluntarily give a voiceprint or answer questions on sexuality I’m afraid… Most of the other info they can find on some state database already and so there is a limit to how far to take non-compliance, but some of this stuff calls for a principled boycott.

  3. The monthly earnings reportage is profound. It seems that (if this description is correct) then, to all intents and purposes, the last distinction between public and private sectors is to be abolished, as private and public income are rolled into one. This is a paradigmatic shift.

    It’s almost secondary to also note the astonishingly high level of accounting overhead this will burden small businesses with.

  4. The description of this Orwellian nightmare appears to be corroborated by this Tele article-

  5. Ian – Very well, you were right and I was wrong. The last excuse for helping vote Labour out has just fallen away.

  6. Well, I was wrong too, looking back. Even I didn’t think they’d be this bad. I did actually think the descent into hell would be slower. Not faster.

  7. IDS was marketed as right-wing, but was a disaster as leader of the party – he immediately trod on the Monday club, and then it was downhill from there. He has no presentational skills, but didn’t even try to promote populist policies. In many ways Hague was better than IDS – so I’m not surprised to see IDS managing this database project. His madcap universal credit amounts to an INCREASE in welfare spending, justified as a way of making work pay.

  8. I remember making some noises as well about IDS (sorry for all this “told you so” stuff) and that his inveiglement with the “Third Sector” was the most dangerous part of Cameron’s Tory-In-Name-Only policy suite.

  9. First of all lets verify how much of this is true and how much is hype. The record of collosal expensive failure of uk govt IT is legendary already. 20 million dwp records are wrong to begin with and this Universal Credit will be a disaster. How well do you think universal snooping is going to work?

    The main danger would seem to be the possibility of computer programs doing the collating of info and flagging up God knows what for the attention of moronic human snoopers.The programs will do what they are written to do (they will be inferior programs at premuim prices you can be sure of that) but the human follow up will be useless and there will be all kinds of ways of stacking results to avoid notice or create embarassing-for-them false positives.Anyway–who is going to do all the snooping etc–they are shedding staff and already have far more to do than they can cope with.

    Start writing to these shites rather than playing “ain’t it awful” on blogs. Lets get No2ID involved–enough publicity can hurt these tory scum badly–these snoop systems aren’t going to work but will help to bankrupt their empire of shite even more quickly then it is already happening.

  10. We need to get a campaign organised-Standard letter to our MPs, On-line petition, questions asked on the radio-Sean!

  11. “Whilst it has never been tested on such a huge scale,”

    If it’s anything like the one used on Nintendo’s infamous “brain trainer” game (which doesn’t understand me half of the time, and judging from the reviews in Amazon, I’m definitely not alone), it’s going to be a barrel of laughs.

  12. Pingback: The Death Rattle Of The Private Sector – Counting Cats in Zanzibar

  13. Iain Duncan Smith is just a diabolical human being.

  14. It is unfortunate that the conservative element of the Conservative Party was persuaded to hive off and form UKIP instead of holding onto whatever reins they had within the Conservative Party.
    The left wing of the CP, which had been at continual war with Thatcher and those with her, were then able to take over and destroy the conservative element within the party.
    And then compromise themselves sufficiently to have to form an alliance with the LibDems, and begin to completely destroy the credibility of the supposedly conservative party by backing down on Europe, high profile attacks on the sacred NHS, making lots of noise about cuts that are not cuts, and now being stupid about petrol and panic.
    They are simply not the conservative party.
    They are the wrecking crew.