Home Office ID Fraud / ID Cards disinformation

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Using a cross cut shredder to obfuscate the personal details sent to you on junk mail and on utility bills, credit card statements etc. before you throw them away. is excellent advice.

However to conflate such common sense advice against so called "Identity Fraud" (a term which is not covered by any one single criminal offence) with propaganda claiming that the NuLabour ID Card and centralised biometric database scheme is somehow going to have any effect on such fraud, is rubbish, and the Home Office civil servants must be deeply embarassed by it.

It seems that the NuLabour political commissars and spin doctors are at it again, in the run up to the new session of Parliament:


Reference: 136/2005 - Date: 7 Sep 2005 12:16

A leaflet to advise the public on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and what action to take if you have been a victim was launched today by Home Office Minister Andy Burnham."

"More than 100,000 people are affected by this crime every year in the UK. It occurs when personal information is obtained by someone else without the owner's knowledge. It may support criminal activity including fraud, deception, or obtaining benefits and services in the victim's name."

Is this "more than 100,000 people" figure based on crimes reported to the Police, or on the British Crime Survey ? Is it based on up to date Home Office sponsored quantitative research ? Does this magic figure separate out "online credit card fraud" from "identity document impersonation fraud" ? No - it is just a headline guess by the spinmeisters.

"Shredding personal documents such as bills, receipts and bank statements is one way people can reduce the risk of falling victim to fraudsters and an estimated one million personal shredders are sold each year as a result of public concern about identity fraud. This is a dramatic increase on previous years and other organisations are being encouraged to reinforce the message that simple steps can help the public protect themselves from identity fraud.

Andy Burnham said:

"Identity fraud is a growing crime, costing the country more than £1.3 billion a year. I am pleased that public and private sector organisations have worked closely to develop this leaflet which will help people reduce the chance of becoming a victim of identity fraud and make life more difficult for fraudsters."

No it does not !! This really is Joseph Goebbels style propaganda - keep repeating a big lie until you believe it yourself, and hope that other people will also fall for it. How many times, and in how many ways does this spurious claim about £1.3 billion a year, need to be debunked ? e.g.

Evening Standard: Andrew Gilligan demolishes the £1.3 billion identity fraud hype

Identity Fraud" does NOT "cost the UK £1.3 billion a year"

If "Identity fraud" , so called, really does "cost the UK £1.3 billion a year", then, since that figure was based on circa 2002 or earlier guesstimates, the Governmnet spin doctors are actually giving the impression that the NuLabour policies in this area, over the last three and a half years, have been an utter failure.

How does Andy Burnham know that it is really a "growing crime", when he, as the junior Home Office Minister responsible for Home Office research and science, has not bothered or not dared, to publish any up to date quantitative research in to this area of crime, and it is not recorded in the British Crime Survey, or in the Police crime statistics ?

How can the public, or even the NuLabour Government themselves, actually judge the effectiveness, or lack of effectiveness of the policies and initiatives in this area, without any real facts ?

""Criminals can use stolen personal details to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, loans, state benefits and other documents in your name - and if your identity is stolen it can take a long time to put your records and your life straight.

"The Government's plans to introduce a National Identity Cards scheme will help individuals to prove their identity and protect it from being misused or stolen by criminals."

Paul Marsh, Director of Cards and Fraud Control Division at APACS and deputy chair of the Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee, said:

"Consumers are the front line defence from the risks of identity theft and fraud, and by following the advice provided in this new publication they can significantly reduce the chance of being a victim.

"This coordinated campaign through the Home Office Identity Fraud Consumer Awareness Group is another good example of the public and private sectors working together to provide a unified front against the menace of identity fraud."

The leaflet advises that you may be at risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud if you:

lose or have had important documents stolen such as passports or driving licences;

don't receive post that you expect to, for example from a bank.
Indicators that you might have had your identity stolen include:

  • items appearing on your bank or credit-card statements that you do not recognise;

  • applying for a state benefit and being told that you are already claiming;

Far, far more State Benefits fraud is committed by people who are not hiding their real identities, they are claiming for things which they are not entiled to e.g. uneployment benefit whilst working, or invalidity benefit when they are fit for work etc.

It is almost unheard of for you to be told that "you are already claiming", due to "identity fraud" rather than the usual "blame it on the computer system" type cock up !

The few instances of "identity impersonation" used by benefit fraudsters involve assuming the identity of someone who is almost certainly not claiming any state benefits whatsoever !

See the CIFAS study quotes below.

  • receiving bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods or services you haven't asked for;

  • being refused a financial service, such as a credit card or loan, despite having a good credit history;

  • having a mobile-phone contract set up in your name without your knowledge; or

  • receiving letters from solicitors or debt collectors for debts that aren't yours.

The leaflets will be available in main police stations, libraries, Citizen's Advice Bureaux, UK Passport Service regional offices and local DVLA offices."

Why is this leaflet not already available on the Home Office website www.homeoffice.gov.uk, or even on their www.identity-theft.org.uk website etc. as a series of web pages, or, failing that as a .doc or .pdf file ?

"Notes to Editors

1. The leaflet 'Identity Theft - Don't become a victim' gives simple, practical advice about how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, what to do if you think you might be a victim and details of where to go for help and support. The leaflet was produced by the Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee.

2. Guidance to prevent identity theft is also available at www.identity-theft.org.uk. The website was launched in July 2004.

3. Using data supplied by CIFAS, credit reference agency Experian identified those people most likely to be a victim of identity fraud. Key findings from the study included:

  • young professionals and "middle-aged families" living in central London with office and service jobs are twice as likely to be victims of identity fraud;

  • people who earn over £60,000 are almost three times more likely to be victims of identity fraud;

  • those with settled families, living in the suburbs and with well-paid corporate careers are four times more likely to be victims of identity fraud.

4. The Home Office set up the Identity Fraud Steering Committee (IFSC) to lead a cross public-private sector work programme to tackle identity theft and identity fraud and share details about new initiatives. The Committee is made up of representatives of: APACS; the Association of Chief Police Officers; the British Bankers Association; CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service; the Department for Constitutional Affairs; the Department of Work and Pensions/ Jobcentre Plus; the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; the Finance and Leasing Association; the Financial Services Authority; HM Revenue & Customs; the Home Office and the UK Passport Service.

5. The Identity Fraud Consumer Awareness Group is a sub-group of the IFSC. As well as representatives from the Home Office and law enforcement agencies, the group comprises members from: APACS; the British Bankers Association; CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service; the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; the Financial Services Authority; Royal Mail and the UK Passport Service.

6. As part of the Identity Cards programme, the Committee is involved in co-ordinating existing activity in the public and private sectors, and identifying new projects and initiatives to reduce identity fraud. It includes:

Improving the understanding of the level of identity fraud in this country and estimating its cost to the UK economy;

Establishing more systematically the interventions that will be most effective in countering ID fraud;

Identifying opportunities for combating ID fraud through data sharing;"

More data sharing can lead to more fraud, when relatively secure and private personal data is forced to be shared more widely and with organisations who are not heavily penalised for data privacy breaches.

"Improving the effectiveness of enforcement and prosecution actions and keeping the law under review;

Developing and sharing good practice including procedures for checking and issuing official documents, such as passports and driving licences;

Encouraging the development of new systems to counter ID fraud;

and Raising awareness of the risk of identity fraud and measures that can be taken to manage it.

None of the groups who make up this Quasi-Aautonomous Non-Governmental Organisation or Non-Ddepartmental Public Body, actually have the consumers interest at heart. The primeary focus of the industry groups is to prevent fraud losses to the financial industry companies themselves, not to the individual consumer.

Obviously missing from this mission statement is any talk of making the banks and credit car companies fully liable for losses due to "identity fraud".

Neither is there any plan for the Credit Reference Bureaux to be fined and to pay compensation to the victims of "identity fraud", who they have effectively been libelling and casting aspertions on the good financial reputation of the victims, when they fail to comply with even the most basic of checks, before selling their erroneous data to others.

"7. The previous Home Secretary, David Blunkett, announced the Government’s intention to introduce a compulsory national identity cards scheme on 11 November 2003 (Home Office press notice 307/2004), when the Home Office also published a summary of the proposals ('Identity Cards: the next steps', available at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/comrace/identitycards/publications.html)."

Which did not make out any case for how this would reduce "identity fraud" and by how much.

"8. A draft Identity Cards Bill was published on 26 April 2004(Home Office press notice 159/2004). The Home Affairs Select Committee published its pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Identity Cards Bill on 30 July 2004and the Government responded on 27 October 2004(Home Office press notice 331/2004)."

The Home Affairs Committee report heavily criticised this Bill, and it did not agree that it would be of any use in combatting "identity fraud".

"9. The previous Identity Cards Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 29 November 2004and received its second reading in the House of Lords on 21 March 2005. The Bill did not receive Royal Assent by the date when Parliament was dissolved on 11 April 2005.

10.The Identity Cards Bill was reintroduced in the House of Commons on 25 May 2005 and completed its Committee Stage on 21 July 2005. It is expected to have its Third Reading in the House of Commons in the Autumn."

The NuLabour Government curtailed debate on the detail of these Bills, and failed to show any evidence of how they would significantly reduce "identity fraud".

"11.Identity cards will help tackle the type of serious and organised crime which depends on being able to use false identities - terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud through ID theft, and illegal working and immigration."

As shown by Operation Maxim in London, the vast majority of the "false" or "forged" identity papers used by these criminals are foreign identity documents, which even a perfect UK ID Card and biometric database system would have no effect on whatsoever.

"12.For APACS enquiries call 020 7711 6259."


I think the government will face more opposition to identity cards than it expects, and I also predict that it won't know what to do with people who don't apply for one.

I'm sure that criminals will find all sorts of ways of beating the system, such as applying for a card with a false identity, reverse engineering the data on the card, hacking the central register or gaining access to machines which produce the cards. Claims about "fighting terrorism" are even more bogus, with all recent events having involved people with valid UK citizenship.

I also predict that the implementation of biometric identity cards will be fraught with problems (large government IT projects do not have a good track record of success) and that it will cost significantly more than estimated.

All good points, all of which have been put to the original Government "consultation, to the Home Afffairs Committee, compiled into the London School of Economics report, etc.

So far as we can tell, any such rational arguements have been simply ignored, and bogus claims like the "£1.3 billion a year" or that the scheme would somehow stop terrorists, continue to be repeated in the Government propaganda e.g. Charles Clarke's speech to the European Union Justice Ministers on Wednesday:


Join the cross party NO2ID Campaign - http://www.no2id.net

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About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and comments on, some of the current trends in ever cheaper and more widespread surveillance technology being deployed to satisfy the rapacious demand by state and corporate bureaucracies and criminals for your private details, and the technological ignorance of our politicians and civil servants who frame our legal systems.

The hope is that you the readers, will help to insist that strong safeguards for the privacy of the individual are implemented, especially in these times of increased alert over possible terrorist or criminal activity. If the systems which should help to protect us can be easily abused to supress our freedoms, then the terrorists will have won.

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

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Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

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Home Office Identity Cards website
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Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

Brit Watch - Public Surveillance in the UK - Web - Email - Databases - CCTV - Telephony - RFID - Banking - DNA


MySecured.com - smart mobile phone forensics, information security, computer security and digital forensics by a couple of Australian researchers

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Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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Big Brother State - "a small act of resistance" to the "sustained and systematic attack on our personal freedom, privacy and legal system"

HosReport - "Crisis. Conspiraciones. Enigmas. Conflictos. Espionaje." - Carlos Eduardo Hos (in Spanish)

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geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

PJC Journal - I am not a number, I am a free Man - The Prisoner

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Famous for 15 Megapixels

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The 4th Bomb: Tavistock Sq Daniel's 7:7 Revelations - Daniel Obachike

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Beau Bo D'Or blog by an increasingly famous digital political cartoonist.

Between Both Worlds - "Thoughts & Ideas that Reflect the Concerns of Our Conscious Evolution" - Kingsley Dennis

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Matt Wardman political blog analysis

Henry Porter on Liberty - a leading mainstream media commentator and opinion former who is doing more than most to help preserve our freedom and liberty.

HMRC is shite - "dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of the HMRC, who have to endure the monumental shambles that is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

Head of Legal - Carl Gardner a former legal advisor to the Government

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World's First Fascist Democracy - blog with link to a Google map - "This map is an attempt to take a UK wide, geographical view, of both the public and the personal effect of State sponsored fear and distrust as seen through the twisted technological lens of petty officials and would be bureaucrats nationwide."

Blogoir - Charles Crawford - former UK Ambassodor to Poland etc.

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

Lords of the Blog - group blog by half a dozen or so Peers sitting in the House of Lords.

notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society - blog by Dr. David Murakami Wood, editor of the online academic journal Surveillance and Society

Justin Wylie's political blog

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

Armed and Dangerous - Sex, software, politics, and firearms. Life’s simple pleasures… - by Open Source Software advocate Eric S. Raymond.

Georgetown Security Law Brief - group blog by the Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law , at Georgtown University, Washington D.C, USA.

Big Brother Watch - well connected with the mainstream media, this is a campaign blog by the TaxPayersAlliance, which thankfully does not seem to have spawned Yet Another Campaign Organisation as many Civil Liberties groups had feared.

Spy on Moseley - "Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense" - about 150 ANPR CCTV cameras funded by Home Office via the secretive Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) section of ACPO.

FitWatch blog - keeps an eye on the activities of some of the controversial Police Forward Intelligence Teams, who supposedly only target "known troublemakers" for photo and video surveillance, at otherwise legal, peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol over £1 per litre ! Protest !
Mayor of London Blog
London Olympics 2012 - NO !!!!

Cool Britannia


Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at http://nuclear-weapons.info

RIPA Consultations

RIPA Part III consultation blog - Government access to Encrypted Information and Encryption Keys.

RIPA Part I Chapter II consultation blog - Government access and disclosure of Communications Traffic Data

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Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests.

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence.gov.uk - Cabinet Office hosted portal website to various UK Intelligence Agencies and UK Government intelligence committees and Commissioners etc.

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protestClimate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

Serious Organised Crime Agency - have cut themselves off from direct contact with the public and businesses - no phone - no email

Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

netcu_logo_150.gif National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit
National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit - keeps a watch on animal extremists, genetically modified crop protesters, peace protesters etc.
(some people think that the word salad of acronyms means that NETCU is a spoof website)

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."


Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme