There has been much talk abut identity cards recently here in Ireland.
It all kicked off when it came to light that a pensioner had been refused her pension allowance because she refused to accept a Public Services Card.
I have tried to discover exactly what information is held on this card but they seem to be quite cagey about it. The information visible on the card is a person’s photograph, signature, PPS number [a sort of car registration number for people] and an expiry date. What they don’t advertise too widely is that the card also contains a “standard identity set which we have always used” including a date of birth, place of birth, gender, nationality, and if applicable, a former surname.
Now I don’t have any problem with this. I know my name, I was born in Dublin on the 19th February 1950, I am male [for the time being – who knows these days?] and I am Irish. There. Now you all know. And I might point out that that represents more information than you’ll get from my Farcebook profile which is probably more than can be said about the vast majority of those who are complaining?
What people are worried about though is that the card will be extended to include a load of extra information. Currently it is only generally used by Social Welfare recipients and the like but how long before a) a ton of additional personal information [health records for example?] is added and b) how long before it becomes compulsory?
Interestingly the gubmint is going to great pains to reassure us that it is not a National Identity Card by stealth and that it isn’t compulsory. Call me a cynic but that reassurance convinces me that it is indeed an identity card by stealth and that it will indeed be compulsory.
I have one of those cards. I got it around eighteen months ago and it has been stuck in my wallet ever since. The photograph is crap, faded and useless [I had to remove my glasses which gives a hint at the duplicity – facial recognition!] and they spelt my name wrong anyway.
If they ever want to add additional information, they are going to have to physically add it which would involve my cooperation. They can go fuck themselves with that idea.
I did actually use it once. Just for the laugh. Just to see if it worked. [It did].
So now somewhere in the bowels of some computer system somewhere is the staggering information that I once travelled a mile on a bus, as the card also acts as my free travel pass.
They’re welcome to that fascinating nugget of information.