Here is a transcript of some of the GMTV interview with Sir Ian Blair (SIB), the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, broadcast on Sunday 6th February 2005. The interviewer is Cathy somebody or other - the ITV and GMTV websites are pathetic compared with, for example the BBC
"Cathy: One of the, one of the big issues you've got coming is, erm, Identity Cards. Are you convinced of the, the case for Identity Cards ?
SIB: Yes I am. I wasn't. A few years ago I really was not convinced. Err, two things have changed that. One is that that the technology has got better, so if we are really into iris recognition, which I think we are, as far as I can see, that appears to be technologically unforgeable."
Compromised Biometric Scanners ? Iris printed contact lenses ? Why the need for fingerprints and facial recognition as well, if Iris Scans are better ? Why a Central Database Target instead of a distributed system with the biometric identifiers only stored on an individual SmartCard and Digitally Signed ?
"But the second point is that Identity Theft itself, is becoming a a serious problem"
So there are Metroplitan Police Statistics on Identity Theft which show the extent of the problem are there ? Or is this just speculation ? There are no such statistics, as there is no one crime of "Identity Fraud", and most Credit Card Fraud is not Identity Fraud either.
"Always, criminals adapt to a new market, and the, just as an example, the Chip and PIN technology, we are going to see an awful lot less credit Card Fraud that way, and an increasing amount of Credit Card Fraud on the Internet, becuase you don't the Chip and PIN
SIB: at that point"
Exactly the same is true of Identity Cards - they will do nothing to stop Credit Card Fraud because a) they are not Chip and PIN compatible, and b) they rely on Biometrics etc which cannot be trusted over the Internet.
So how is this a justification for Identity Cards ?
"In the old days, a Forged Passport, was sort of done in a basement with a press, I could give you your passport now
Cathy: [smile, sigh]
SIB: Literally. And it would be absolutely identical to the one that you carry
No, no, nobody could. The only difference is one wold be Authorised and one's Unauthorised."
So no special ultraviolet inks then ?
"And I think this this issue about not knowing who somebody is, at all, and, er, some of the arrests that we've had recently in connection with terrorism, they've had multiple identities, and nobody's sure who they are."
Multiple British Identities ??? Even with a perfect UK Identity Card scheme, how can this affect people with multiple foreign identities ?
"Cathy: I was going to ask you, you seem clear the the, er, that ID cards will help in the fight against crime, but what about terrorism ? You, you're, con, convinced as well that they really will have an impact there ?
SIB: Yeah, I am, because I mean, I don't think people should distinguish Crime and Terrorism too easily, The networks, the logistics, of terrorism, are based, a lot of them, around fraud,
SIB: money lauundering, and so on, and that, of course, is the Identity Fraud area, and nobody really knows who some of the people we've actually got in custody are. We have lots of names that they have, but who they actually are, is a question that, we've, as yet unanswered."
So how does a compulsory National Identity Register make any difference in these cases ? You managed to catch these fraudsters without knowing their "True Names". Why wouldn't professional fraudsters have at least one UK ID Card with their own Biometrics on it ? You still won't know their "True Name"! Why does it matter, they can still be sent to jail under one of their false aliases anyway.
"Cathy: But, do you really think that is a balance, when you are talking about ditching, habeus corpus , effectively"
[she did say habeus rather than habeas]
"SIB: Well let's, I, I think we're looking at some sort of form of 21st Century "House Arrest", I don't use the term "House Arrest""Detention without trial is detention without trial, even if you do not want to use the term "House Arrest"
SIB: I think this is a set of "Control Orders", that will prohibit, and prevent, as far as we possibly can, individuals from becoming involved in activities, that we know are Dangerous to the State, and I think that's very important.
Cathy: You're talking "tagging" rather than ...
SIB: Yeah, we're talking all sorts of things, I, I mean there , I'm afraid before the Bill comes out, I think it would be a bit unwise of me to speculate about what would, might be in it."
We cannot seee how electronic tagging technology is appropriate for any criminals who are highly motivated to offend. If these terrorist suspects or their friends and families are not dangerous enough to sentence and lock away in prison, then why should we trust such easily foiled technology as electronic tagging ?