Thursday, 26 May 2011
A 1984 For Our Time
My local librarian suggested I may enjoy Henry Porter's The Dying Light and she was right. First published in 2009, it's set a near-future Britain where the tentacles of the surveillance state have been extending their reach throughout society.
I don't intend to disclose the plot but I it's worth mentioning - as the author does in his Afterword- that all the laws used and abused by his fictional government are already on the statute book.
The subject of this post isn't a book review but a serious issue. In 2009 ID cards were still on the statute book although the Tories loudly insisted, if they were elected, they would be scrapped. They were.
However, the coalition government isn't so vocal about the new national identity system - dubbed 'identity assurance' - which they intend to implement from August next year, with a prototype of the new system due to be in place as soon as October this year.
The new system 'will aim to reliably identify users of government websites' as part of plans to deliver more public services via the internet.
Visa is known to be involved in the plans and is conducting trials that would allow its customers to log in to the site using credit card details.
Of course the usual spin is being applied to this reintroduction of identity cards - 'more difficult for fraudsters to dupe the benefits and tax systems' and 'the shift will cut Whitehall administration costs' - but details have yet to be publicised.
The coalition government, with it's 'openness and transparency' wouldn't be turning opaque would it?
h/t Munguin's Republic