‘Is This Really The Best Use Of Millions?’

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The then Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe at the launch of the Public Services Card in 2016

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is now informing the Irish public that to renew a driver licence we will need a public services card (PSC). The RSA also states that the PSC will be the only form of identification acceptable for this application. This, we are told by the Government, is for security purposes.

As my licence will soon be due for renewal, I will have to obtain a PSC. To obtain this PSC I will have to visit, at my own time and expense, a government office where I imagine I will have to prove my identity. Not having a PSC, I will have to offer my driver licence or passport as proof of my identity. The person taking my application will, I hope, accept my passport or driver licence as proof of my identity.

So the situation will soon be, that for security purposes, my passport will be good enough to get my PSC, but not good enough to renew my passport.

With all the problems that need to be addressed and that require large sums of money, is this really the best use of the millions that have been spent on this?

Or has the Government come up with an expensive solution to a problem that did not exist?

Trevor Troy,

Baile Átha Buí,

Co na Mí.

Public services card (The Irish Times letters page)

53 thoughts on “‘Is This Really The Best Use Of Millions?’

  1. ivan

    Short answer to final question asked?

    Yes. Yes they have. Far as I can tell, they got a joblot of those cards, and by Jesus, they were going to shift ’em one way or t’other. Starting with folk who have no option but to need it – social welfare recipients and Free travel people before forcing the rest of us to get one….

    1. Neilo

      As long as it doesn’t give Rialtas na hÉireann any notions about re-introducing voter machines, we’ll be fine.

    1. The Bad Ambassador

      In a country where public sector workers are rarely (if ever) held accountable for their screw ups or incompetence, there is no incentive for individual employees to be appropriately thorough and dilligent.

      When the government are trying to pass legislation to exempt public bodies from fines if they breach incoming GDPR legislation, there is no incentive for the senior management of our government departments to ensure all the private data they have access to is treated in the correct manner.

      I’m not suggesting that anybody would intentionally release private data but we do have a history in employing the kind of donkeys who contrive to leave hospital records strewn across the road in Drogheda (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/hospital-records-found-strewn-across-road-in-drogheda-1.2371173) or under the matress in a rented house in Wexford (http://www.thejournal.ie/medical-records-wexford-2910583-Aug2016/) or send bank details to the wrong customers (http://www.thejournal.ie/irish-water-data-breach-2-2399910-Oct2015/).

      In my eyes a SNAFU with PSC data is inevitable and that’s too high a price to pay to recoup €100k.

      1. Rob_G

        Not that I disagree with you as regards protection of data, but insofar as I can make out, everything on the card is data that the DSP has already, it will just be in the form of a photo ID for the first time(?)

        So yes, there will of course always be the risk of a data breach, but no more than before.

        “… that’s too high a price to pay to recoup €100k”

        – that’s just from one case of fraud – how much more money would this person have fraudulently claimed if she hadn’t been discovered thanks to the card? How many more cases will be uncovered/prevented thanks to the card?

        1. The Bad Ambassador

          Maybe – but why do I need one to renew a driving license/passport when I’ve already proven my identity to get the first one? How can I commit fraud with a document where I have proven my identity (using, by the way, the same documents I would need to get a PSC)?

          It stinks.

          1. Rob_G

            I can see that it will be a pain in the bum as they are rolling it out, but if it results in cutting out a decent chunk out of the €40m defrauded from the DSP each year, it will be worthwhile.

          2. anne

            Where’d you get 40 million from? I know that’s the early riser’s latest figure, but got any reliable source?

        2. Bella

          Yea use it for social welfare but why does anyone else NEED it except to be tracked any traced like a dog. Disgusting waste of our money and being forced on students and workers is a joke

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      Oh grow up, SW fraud is a mere drop in the bucket, and the majority of THAT is overpayment in error. Have the recent revelations of overpayment to Civil Servants escaped you attention? Has the fact that these overpayments are not expected to be repaid (unlike SW overpayments) also escaped your attention?

    1. realPolithicks

      You’ll be singing a different tune when the system is hacked and all of your data is stolen.

  2. Dhaughton99

    You can’t use the things for any form of valid ID other than social because they never put date of birth on them.

  3. Pat Harding

    Just wait until the make it a condition of opening a social network account. Governments want to control your online behaviour, especially when that behaviour involves exposing corruption and incompetence in the Government and the wider public service..

    Big Brother is watching you, or at least wants to, if given half the chance.

    1. anyone

      Can’t wait

      Social media is a paedophile’s playground and we can’t talk about that as a society and/or attack them, just like the priests of old.

  4. Joe

    So they are admitting it’s a National ID. It’ll be a legal requirement to have it on your person at all times soon.

    1. Joxer

      Bort…i just renewed mine yesterday…. get the renewal form , fill it out, collate your necessary documents and go to the NDLS website and you can book a meeting time there. or just walk into the office in CityWest (or whatever is nearer to your gaff) and you will be seen in about an hour…. much better than the old system….

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      I’ve just had a look at the RSA website. No appointments for weeks where I live and no Saturdays either. Are they stopping issuing licences deliberately until you’ve no option but to get the Public Scam Card? Mine will be going in the wash as soon as I get it. It’s going to have scorch marks on the picture and a hole through the chip.

      1. Rob_G

        I do hope that you won’t need to claim any entitlements from the DSP any time soon – would you hand out the farmers if they brought in their herd numbers and whatnot and they were all messed up?

  5. GiggidyGoo

    Yep. And it’ll match your PPS number to your bank account. And then, legislation will follow giving various arms of The State, currently FG and their contributors access to your funds.

    1. Rob_G

      I am pretty sure that they lodge social welfare payments to people’s accounts nowadays, so chances are that they have this information already if you are claiming any sort of payment.

    2. anyone

      Brilliant

      people like the spoofers mentioned here for example

      Over 450 have welfare suspended for not registering for public services card
      Department officials appear before Oireachtas committee
      11 minutes ago
      Elaine Edwards
      The Oireachtas Committee on Employment and Social Protection was told about 4,000 people had failed to go through the registration process and had their free travel withdrawn. Photograph: Brian O’Brien
      The Oireachtas Committee on Employment and Social Protection was told about 4,000 people had failed to go through the registration process and had their free travel withdrawn. Photograph: Brian O’Brien

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      Over 450 people have had welfare payments suspended after they failed to go through an identity registration process for the public services card (PSC).

      Officials from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection appeared before an Oireachtas committee on Thursday in relation to the PSC project and its linked, digital identity service MyGovID.

      They told the committee three quarters of the adult population of the State, or 2.65 million people, now has a public services card. Some 3.14 million had been issued as of Thursday.

      There was a greater number of cards than people holding one for a number of reasons, including that people’s entitlements may have changed or a card may have been damaged and replaced. In some cases, cards initially issued for a five-year period had expired.

      Concerns have been raised by civil liberties groups and privacy campaigners about the database underpinning the card scheme. One woman in her 70s had her pension suspended for 18 months because she refused to go through the process to get the card. It was later restored on appeal.

      Tim Duggan of the department told the Oireachtas Committee on Employment and Social Protection “quite a bit” of the commentary on the card scheme had not been entirely correct and this had led to “some degree of confusion”.

      He said the point of the project was not about the card itself, but about the requirement to ensure people verified their identity to a “substantial level of assurance” through the so-called ‘SAFE’ registration process.

      It was “not a national ID card” and there was “no intention” for it to be such, Mr Duggan said.

      Public bodies needed to ensure they were providing services to the right person and to ensure the person was not pretending to be someone else.

      ‘Effectively disappeared’
      Mr Duggan said in the “vast majority” of cases where payments had been suspended, it was not because people had objected to the card or where they did not believe there was a legislative basis for it.

      He said about 4,000 people had failed to go through the SAFE registration process and had had their free travel withdrawn. However, he indicated many of these cases related to elderly people who might no longer be using their entitlement to free public transport.

      Mr Duggan said there were about “450-odd” cases where people’s payments had been suspended and in the vast majority of those cases the individuals had “effectively disappeared from our system”.

      “The vast majority, we think, have gone abroad,” he said. There were very few cases where people had refused to engage with the registration process, he said.

      Senator Alice Mary Higgins said the concern about the project was about the ‘single customer view’ database underpinning it.

      She said the Government was asking people to have their information put into a database which could then be put to other uses.

      Ms Higgins claimed the legal basis for the project had not yet been illustrated satisfactorily.

      She also said it was not about people who are “pro or anti-digital” and that some of those who were most concerned were those who were most keen to get the data protection aspects of the project right.

      Barry Lowry, the chief government information officer, told the committee the MyGovID digital identity being rolled out by the Government was “the only viable approach that can underpin future citizen interaction with a digital Europe”.

      If Ireland was to be recognised as a progressive, digital state within Europe then we needed to have a state electronic ID, which was safe, secure and verifiable.

      The Government last week issued a new request for tenders for the production and distribution of the public services card.

    3. anyone

      How can it be ‘your’ funds if your income is derived solely from the state or illegally claimed benefits?

      Such reactionary nonsense, get a fupping grip!

  6. Barbarian Slav

    I am not afraid of ID cards and I actually have this PSC one because I had to take it when coming to work here in Ireland.
    Many moons ago I lived in an actual police state, ID cards were mandatory and you had to take it with you when you went out from your home.
    Having mandatory ID cards and Orwellian levels of citizen monitoring did not prevent an incompetent government to destroy a country and for the society to fall apart.
    Today as an EU national, I am still using it instead of a passport because it is more convenient, and it is less likely that someone will try to steal it.
    But what I do not like with this PSC is half-arsed way they are trying to implement it.
    And there are some not-quite-clear issues in regards to data protection.
    Btw. Irish passport is biometric from year 2006., and it contains a RFID chip that holds biometric information in encrypted digital format.

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