The strange progress of the roll-out of the UK’s National ID card scheme continues, ably tracked by The Register, with the latest wheeze being to target young people whose passports have expired with the promise that the ID card will help them to buy cigarettes and alcohol (which, of course, are otherwise considered as major social problems by New Labour…). However the ID cards don’t seem to be working as promised in many cases – for example, it was revealed a few days ago that many travel companies were refusing to accept the new cards in place of passports as they were supposed to. Of course, time may be running out for the scheme in any case with national elections due by the end of May…
http://www.identity-cards.net/ the national id cards website
This website contains a comprehensive listing of national ID cards by geographic region worldwide allowing users to study and compare specific national policies regarding identity cards, as well as a list of resources on the topic.
National identification systems have been proliferating in recent years as part of a concerted drive to find common identifiers for populations around the world. Whether the driving force is immigration control, anti-terrorism, electronic government or rising rates of identity theft, identity card systems are being developed, proposed or debated in most countries. However, there is no comprehensive database documenting the status of national identity card systems anywhere in the world, and this website has been designed in order to fill this gap.
We invite users to help compile this information. Go to ‘UPDATE ID INFORMATION’ and follow the steps to submit current information about national ID card systems globally.
This website has been developed under The New Transparency Project an MCRI project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The idea for the website comes from the book “Playing the Identity Card” recently edited by Colin Bennett and David Lyon, and published by Routledge (2008). The website is maintained and updated by a group of students and faculty from Queen’s University and the University of Victoria.
(Information from The New Transparency Project)
…the Brazilian driving licence is a goldmine of personal information…
I spent a little while over the last couple of days examining the actual material identity documents currently required in Brazil. Here are some pictures with a little explanation. There will be a lot more in the final article!
The first is the simplest but in many ways the most important to life-chances. This is the Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas (CPF) (Register of Physical (or Natural) Persons) card (or Taxpayer’s Card).
‘Pessoas Físicas’ is a a piece of legalese that is draws a distinction between humans and other ‘legal persons’, like corporations or governments. The CPF number is issued to all those who pay tax and is essential if one wants any formal work. The actual document is a blue plastic card like old-style credit cards, which also has a machine readable magnetic strip on the back.
The number is also required for many other government transactions, and it is, apparently a major disaster if you lose the card, or if for some reason, your CPF number is rescinded (which can happen if you don’t pay tax in Brazil for more than a year, for example if you are abroad, without explanation). Many people who live in the favelas, and who are involved in the shadow economy do not have a CPF, which is a severe obstacle to social inclusion.
The second document is the Registro Geral (General Registry) (ID) card, a double-sided piece of thick paper, just larger than a credit card. It is oriented vertically at the front and horizontally at the back.
As I noted in the first post I made on this subject, the RG card cross-references the CPF and also birth certification (it lists the full names of both mother and father and city and state of origin). This card is the one that is being replaced by the new RIC smartcard ID system.
Finally, we have the Carteira Nacional de Habilitação, the driving licence which, despite its name, is issued at state rather than national-level. The colour and format differs from state-to-state, however they all have pretty much the same level of information (a lot!) and cross-identification with other forms of ID. This one is from Paraná, which is a paper usually folded in half horizontally. It is specifically forbidden to laminate it.
The Brazilian driving licence is a goldmine of personal information. Partly this is because the licence had been intended to be a unifying piece of identification (a practice typical of ‘autocentric’ cultures!), containing all the information on both the CPF card and the RG card, and more. This will now not be the case following the issuing of the new RIC cards, so it will be interesting to see if the quantity of information on these licences will be reduced or, if not, what the justification will be for having this much visible personal information on one paper document.
There are more details of the new Brazilian ID card and system on Renato Siqueira’s Conversa Digital blog, including some informative images and photos. It seems that far from eliminating the various different numbers currently used, this new system will merely create a kind of overlay. And, not only that, but the CPF, RG and electoral number will be printed on the back. Unless every single transaction will actually require the taking of fingerprints or the verification of photos, this card will be even more of a convenient source of personal information to thieves and fraudsters than ever before. Plus the chip technology is the same standard format that has proved to easy to clone and access illicitly elsewhere…