Identity, State Control And You

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From top: Joan Burton; Regina Doherty; Public Service card sample; TJ McIntyre

This morning.

TJ McIntyre, chairman of Digital Rights Ireland and former Minister for Social protection  Joan Burton appeared on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Seán O’Rourke to discuss the Public Service Card.

Mr McIntrye believes the PSC is being rolled out as a national ID card by stealth while current social protection minister Regina Doherty described the card as “Mandatory not compulsory”.

Sean O’Rourke: “The Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has given assurances about the security and operation of the Public Services Card. Mrs Doherty said she wanted to encourage all users of public sector services to apply for the card and explained the benefits of having one.”

[plays recording of Regina Doherty]

“We want to make access to the services more efficient so that you don’t have to give all the information again to the HSE or the Department of Education or whoever else it is that you are providing your data to so that once you’ve authenticated who you are, that you are who you are, that you shouldn’t ever have to go through that process ever again.”

O’Rourke: “On the line now, TJ McIntyre from Digital Rights Ireland, and Labour TD for Dublin West Joan Burton herself a former Social Protection Minister and I think, Joan Burton, it was you as Minister for Social Protection who introduced this card in the first place?”

Burton:
“Absolutely, Seán and it has actually been extremely successful, if you were to talk to a lot of pensioners who when they reached the age of 66 they can get a card and they use it for instance for the free travel, if people who are over 66 have a look at their card they can see a little “FT” and if they have a spouse who would also claim the free travel being with them they’ll see a little S beside it, so in fact the card, which is now held I think by 2.8 million people, has been enormously successful.

But, and there is a but, the government has to respect that this is people’s personal data and they have to be able to assure people that their data is being treated absolutely with respect and that it’s not unwittingly passed on to any other agency or any other organisation and really the government have to tell people about it.

When we were rolling it out, when I was rolling it out we wrote to everybody, we invited them to come in, I think if other departments are going to actually get involved they need to do the same and equally to train the civil servants that this is people’s personal private data and they must respect their privacy.”

O’Rourke:
“There seems to be uncertainty, for instance, as to whether farmers applying for grants, particularly EU payments, will have to use this card. Should we be told, well I suppose we’ll be told eventually, is there any reason why they shouldn’t have to?”

Burton:
“Well, you could say, the main reason nowadays if you think about the use, if people at home think about the use of their phones and their iPads and so on, there’s a great deal of exchange of information electronically, but the holding of information by the government or indeed by public bodies or by any other body of people’s personal private data has to be treated in a very respectful, very careful and very safe way.

Now already, in terms of the card for instance, its widely used and I think pretty popular among, for instance, people who have free travel, I think it’s also popular among the companies, you know, like CIE, the trains, the buses and the Luas because it allows them for instance to cut down on inappropriate use, where that might be happening, in a small number of cases.

We really actually also need to have to look at it very strongly from an individual’s, citizen’s rights point of view and, you know, civil servants, you know, can’t as it were just run away with themselves on it and say, look we will bring you better services which definitely is a product of using IT properly, but we need to tell people about it.

You’d be a bit concerned at the moment that the Government has gone for, if you like in principle, some expansion of the service, which is fine, but they have to bring the public and citizens along with this and explain it to them in detail. I know some people going for a driving licence, for instance, for the driver theory test, have been quite surprised as to why they have to give, have to have a card, now again, I think young people who are about to get a driver’s licence, they’ll be happy to get it, I don’t think there’s any difficulty about that, but it needs to be explained to them and what then it might be used for.”

O’Rourke:
“Stay with us Joan Burton, because I want to go now to TJ McIntyre, as I say he’s Chair of Digital Rights Ireland also lecturer at the UCD Sutherland School of Law, good morning to you and thank you for joining us, what are your misgivings about this, I mean is it just a question of it being properly explained?”

McIntyre:
“No, not at all, I mean most fundamentally the legal basis isn’t there for this type of widespread data sharing. You have to remember of course that an ID card isn’t just a card, it’s also about an underlying database. It’s about how information is shared within government, about how many civil servants, how many people in different agencies, all have access to your private information.

So in 2014, the outgoing Information Commissioner Billy Hawkes said about the Department of Social Protection in particular, that, he singled it out for criticism, that he was entirely unsatisfied with the arrangements in place for the oversight of personal data in that Department.

My problem initially is that I don’t think that things have necessarily improved since then. We have a massive unified database, which takes information from other State agencies, bringing it all within the reach of people in the Department of Social Protection, without any safeguards being in place.”

O’Rourke: “What kind of safeguards, and we should tell our listeners for instance, we’re speaking with you on Skype, there may be a slight delay in our exchanges, but what kind of safeguards should be introduced or built into the system in your view?”

McIntyre: “Well European law is very clear on this, if you want to take personal information from people if you want to share private information between government departments, there has to be a legal basis. There needs to be primary legislation passed by the Oireachtas, it needs to say what private information can be acquired, who can acquire this information.

The law as it stands doesn’t do this, the law as it stands deals solely with the social welfare context, it doesn’t say use of personal data, the use of an ID card is a requirement for sitting a driver theory test and the main problem I have with this is that de facto this has become a compulsory item, this is something you have to have to function in society.

Now Regina Doherty has said that this is mandatory but not compulsory which is a type of Jesuitical hairsplitting that is a credit to her understanding of philosophy, but I think for the rest of us it doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation which is that if you can’t recover your pension without it if you can’t get a driving licence without it, if you can’t get a passport without it it is effectively compulsory .

It is booming an national ID card without any legal basis sidestepping any oversight by the Oireachtas and we need to have a public debate about that.”

O’Rourke: “But isn’t there great merit in just having the convenience of being able to establish who you are with such a range of authorities who can dispense a service be it a passport or a pension or whatever what’s wrong with the idea if the necessary legislation is put in place.

TJ McIntyre: “I love the idea Seán but that’s not the reality. So you mentioned passports for instance, wouldn’t it be great if you could just show your public services card to get a passport. in fact the Department of Foreign Affairs even though it insists on you having a Public Services card to get a passport doesn’t trust a Public Services card, you have to go in front of the Garda and verify your identity on the old fashioned way.

What’s happened here is that the Public Services card has become a sort of window dressing layered on top of the existing process you still have to fill lout paper forms you still have to take the old fashioned passport photographs, you still have to go into the Garda Station there’s no streamlining here, it’s just an additional cost.

This is something which has cost 60 million Euros or thereabouts to date and we really haven’t seen a return on that investment in efficiency or in terms of for instance the prevention of fraud.”

O’Rourke:
“And coming back I should say to you Joan Burton, this notion that there’s no legal basis for people taking, say the driver theory test, surely that is a hiatus or at least a legal oversight or something which should have been put through the Dail properly?”

Burton: “I think, Sean, that what TJ is saying makes an awful lot of sense in terms of the protection of citizens’ rights and citizens’ privacy and I certainly know that the Commissioner that he’s referring to, there have been and they have been widely publicised in the papers over the last decade,.

Maybe ten or so more years ago there were a number of cases which involved people using, in some cases the cases are in the public domain, the media, in some cases people like insurance investigators having wrong access to social welfare information and utilising that in addition  to adjudicating on instance claims.

Now any use like that is completely wrong and actually it’s also illegal and if that is what TJ is concerned about he’s right to be concerned about it because as Minister I was also concerned about it and when i was Minister for Social Protection there was a widespread system of training people in the significant importance of privacy of people’s personal data. Now to some extent this is to some degree a cultural change in Ireland, you’re giving your information as a citizen in order to allow the State to provide you services more quickly and more efficiently and an lawful lot of that has actually happened.

It doesn’t mean that there is no problem in people accessing services, far from it, but what I do accept is that if it is being rolled out more widely it would be wise of the current government to look further at having a further development of charters in relation to citizen’s rights, having a look at European law and seeing there if there is potential for Citizen’s Charters in Ireland but the corollary of that, and it’s just as important, is that the public servants who use the info must be trained and must be heavily penalised if they infringe on social data.”

O’Rourke:
“What do you say Joan Burton, as a former Minister for Social Protection, about the case of an elderly woman as reported being denied her pension because she just wouldn’t, she wasn’t prepared to sign up for that card.

Burton: “Well obviously, I think that particular case is a matter for the current minister and, I mean, it is for the Minister to address that but in all honesty…”

O’Rourke:
“No, hold on, you were the Minister in office who brought in this card which this woman objects to…”

Burton:
“Absolutely, and in fact we had nothing but co-operation from senior citizens by the way we also discovered and this is also important and I am sure TJ will agree with this, in the current development of IT, identity test is a very very serious….”

O’Rourke: “Hold on, you are going on a bit of a detour, can you deal with the woman who was refused her pension because she objected in principle to, wouldn’t sign up for, this card?”

Burton:
“That’s for the Minister to address.”

O’Rourke: “Well, how would you have handled it?”

Burton: “First of all, I don’t know the background in particular to this…”

O’Rourke:
“The woman wouldn’t sign up for the card. What would you do if you were the Minister?”

Burton: “I think you would have officials of the Department have a discussion with her, talk to her to see how the issues could be addressed, I don’t want to comment on the case because I don’t have the background detail but all I know from my experience as Minister for Social Protection is literally every case is different so I don’t want to make a general comment which could be in some way unfair to the Minister or unfair to the officials or indeed to the woman herself, they should sit down and talk to her…”

O’Rourke: “Yeah, but if she’s not prepared to do it you’re basically saying, make her do it…you seem to be taking a view that, look, you know, the civil servants will just find a way to make her sign up for it.”

Burton:
“Not particularly, I think whatever issues the woman has need to be examined and addressed.”

O’Rourke: “How would you address them?”

Burton:
“How? By literally finding out what the actual detailed situation was and what the facts in the case were.”

O’Rourke:
“The situation is that she doesn’t want to sign up for one of these cards.”

Burton:
“That’s for the woman herself to explain to the officials. I’m not going to make a judgment on it but what I would say is that a huge number of retired people have the card, they use it in particular in context of the free travel pass and it has been an enormous success.”

O’Rourke:
“Just to explain one thing, does it effectively remove the need for the free travel pass or does it entitle you to get the pass?”

Burton: “The old pass is no longer required. If you have free travel the public service card has an “FT” on it, there’s an “S” beside that which indicates where the spouse has an entitlement as well, it’s used up and down the country all the time when I’m on the train or on buses and so on people refer to it and I’d say for the vast majority of people it’s intensely useful.

The Department of Social Protection, Sean, you know, has a huge number of transactions with people at different stages of their life in every single corner of the country you’ll appreciate if I said John Murphy, Joan Murphy or Siobhan Murphy, we have multiple similar names in Ireland so you have standing numbers being used in the old days for tax and social insurance and these numbers then form the basis of your access to services but you do want, any Minister for Social Protection wants, to make sure that the right money goes to the right person but the other side of this is that having this information you really need to protect people’s privacy.”

O’Rourke:
“TJ McIntyre, is this a situation which may be fixed or to they need to scrap the card?”

TJ McIntyre:
“Well maybe I can go back a bit and talk about that case of the pensioner because it really illustrates a very significant problem. There’s two real concerns here one is that the legislation doesn’t say public service cards are mandatory to get benefits including pensions, the legislation says the Minister may use them to verify identity but it doesn’t say it’s the only way in which you may verify someone’s identity.

So if an elderly woman is being bullied into getting a Public Services card where there are other equally good ways of authenticating identity such as passport that is fundamentally unlawful. The Minister can’t adopt a blank policy, can’t fetter her discretion in this way by saying I’m only going to take one form of identification.”

O’Rourke:
“So you’re saying there is no legal basis for denying this lady in her 70s a pension on the basis of her refusal to sign up for the card?”

McIntyre:
“Where a Minister is given a discretion such as a discretion to verify identity in one way that’s a discretion that has to be exercised reasonably and proportionately and lawfully, and where a Minister has a discretion to use a different means of authentication such as a passport they can’t fetter their discretion, they can’t adopt a blanket policy which says we’re only going to take this card. That’s the first problem.

The second problem is why have they adopted this blanket policy? The reason here, and I think we’re only seeing it come to light now, the Government has signed up to a deal with the providers of the cards where there’s a target of three million cards to be issued by the end of the year,

If the Government doesn’t get three million out the door the Government has to pay for 3 million cards regardless and it appears to me that there is a mad push on at the moment to get people to sign up for as many cards as possible to hit that target without regard to the questions of proportionality or indeed the legality of doing so.”

O’Rourke: “Joan Burton, would you accept the argument that there’s no legal basis for insisting that this is the only way in which people scan prove their eligibility for a pension?”

Burton: “No I would say first of all and I just want to come back to an earlier point that TJ made when he said it was an ID card, the Public Services card is not an ID card, it’s a card for the use of obtaining public services in the first instance and what I was involved with for the purposes of social welfare entitlements and also there’s a long integration of tax information with social insurance information as I think everybody is aware of going back into when the social welfare system in Ireland broadly started in the 1950s.

Coming back, though, to the discretion of the Minister, obviously any Minister has to be aware of the different circumstances of different individuals and seek to address those as well as they can within the law but the law does specifically provide for the Department of Social Protection sharing information where it’s governed by law with other government departments.

Now what I am concerned about at the moment is that the Government is clearly intent on embarking an expansion on the use of the card and for utilising people’s card and social insurance numbers. What I am saying is that if this is happening people have to be advised and told about this and if law is required then that legislation has to be put into effect.”

O’Rourke:
“Right… a lot of confusion about this, TJ McIntyre, aside from the need for safeguards obviously to be built in, is there a need for fresh legislation if you say there is no legislative grounds for denying somebody a pension on the ground that he or she is refusing to sign up for one of these cards?”

McIntyre:
“I think you are absolutely right in this regard. There is no legal basis for a blanket policy which says we are going to deny people certain types of benefits for example if they don’t sign up for the card, that’s not what legislation says.

Equally, there’s a a need under European law for specific legislation about sharing this information with other State agencies, with the private sector in some cases, again we don’t have that at the moment but in a wider sense I think it’s important to step back a little bit and ask where is the public debate about this issue generally.

The reason we’re concerned about this is that it’s taken on the status of what is effectively an ID card, it’s taken on the nature of being effectively compulsory for everyone living in Ireland if you want to engage in day to day activities but without any public debate on the basis of a creeping expansion.

bear in mind that when the card was introduced first it was a simple piece of plastic, no chip, no photograph, it’s gradually acquired all these characteristics since and I think most fundamentally we’re saying that, if this has to be done we need a proper public debate about it,.

We need to discuss the experience of ID cards in other countries and the safeguards they have put in place, and this is something that has to be done by our elected representatives in the Oireachtas, not as a series of creeping administrative measures.”

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53 thoughts on “Identity, State Control And You

  1. Mourning Ireland

    Joan Burton well on her way to a Taoiseach nomination to the Seanad. Because her electoral days are over.

    1. Rob_G

      She is pushing 70, I’d be surprised if she decided to run again.

      And plenty of people had her electoral career dead and buried in the run-up to the last election, and she seemed to do ok.

        1. Rob_G

          It’s amazing what conspiracies can be unmasked by just reading several paragraphs in a freely-available newspaper…

  2. Harry Molloy

    I didn’t read the accompanying text first of all and am not fully aware of all that is proposed with the national id card, as a disclaimer. But I can see the necessity for one, it has been on my mind for a while as someone who has dealt with large efficient organisations and as a someone who sees the massive inefficiencies with regard to how the state operates.

     

    And I understand why civil liberties groups might oppose the creation of a national ID card, that is mandatory if you want to receive any public services from the State. It does sound a little Orwellian, are we reduced to serial numbers!?

     

    Leaving that aside for a moment though, and looking at the practicalities of a modern State today, the need for efficiency and efficacy requires a single source for a citizens data. The modern Sate is responsible for the provision of a whole host of services and protections for its citizens across multiple departments and agencies including social welfare, justice, foreign affairs, health, child protection agencies etc. That is a lot of responsibilities across multiple different roles and responsibilities and means there is a hell of a lot of data on each citizen.

     

    Anyone who has worked with large amounts of data, (any IT people out there?), understand the need for a common ‘key’ to link all of this information together. We see this in banks already with the attempted creation of a central credit register the point of which is to understand the credit that each citizen has been exposed to ensure that they are not overexposed as during the celtic tiger. These projects are running into great difficulties within each bank as they can have a customer with multiple accounts and facilities using different name spellings, English spellings, Irish spellings, maiden names, different addresses etc and it’s hard to link them all together.

     

    The same problem exists in the public sector when you have citizens interacting with various departments who historically have not spoken to each other like they should, multiple unlinked records in such departments, and an inability to get the complete picture on a citizen and their needs.  There exists no single source of data for all citizens and citizens rightly get annoyed when departments are seemingly unwilling to talk to each other. A modern and well organised system means that you could enter in a ‘customer’ (let’s pretend the citizen is a customer) reference number and pull up all of the data you need to know about them. No sending them elsewhere with a form to be completed in triplicate or any of that kind of craic or social services being blind to the history or health of those its responsible for. It can provide for a more streamlined and efficient method for the citizen to deal with the state. It can be about building something that actually works. And that can be a good thing. And I think the Scandinavians are already doing this.

     

    Maybe opposition to this is because of who is proposing it. That’s kind of understandable too for those who simply dislike the current administration. And some people are sensitive to sharing personal data because.. they’re sensitive about change mainly. But try to look beyond that and look at the practicalities. And ask yourself sincerely, if your favoured party was proposing this as a measure to increase efficiency across a massively bloated an ineffective public sector, would you support it then?

     

    Why are we opposed to this again?

    1. Harry Molloy

      sorry for the length BTW, not often I bother typing something on the laptop for this place but I’ve been thinking about this one for a while

      1. jusayinlike

        Yea get everyone on a single database and give it to our overlords in Brussels, sounds great..

    2. Increasing Displacement

      ” the need for efficiency and efficacy requires a single source for a citizens data” – this statement is incorrect. you merely need access to pertinent data, does not have to be a single source.

      “inability to get the complete picture on a citizen” – thats a good thing, a very good thing.

      1. Harry Molloy

        OK, substitute single source for single reference point. And name and dob doesn’t cut it in the modern world.

        1. ivan

          What set me off against it?

          I got a letter from the social welfare office asking me to nip in for 15 minutes and get sorted with a card. i was all ready to go in and then noticed at the bottom that they wanted me to bring my phone so they could ‘marry’ that up to my ID.

          At that point the red mist descended; whilst what you outline, Harry, might be OK if I trusted any of our government agencies to take Data protection seriously (and I don’t), the connection of ones phone is just a bridge too far. And yes, I know, I could have said I didn’t have one, or I could have brought a burner phone if i really wanted to make a point.

          In any event, I’m lucky enough to be workign in full time employment and don’t need the card right now. I think that until we’re given a full explanation of how this is to work, and what safeguards there’ll be in relation to Data Protection, it behoves any of us who don’t need the card, to not take it up.

          Right now, it seems to be that a few consultants rocked up to Govt HQ in the early 2000s and the civil servants have just got this idea that a Big Computer will solve all our problems.

          1. Harry Molloy

            I’d sympathize with all of that, I don’t know all the ins and outs of what is proposed, but as part of a big picture I’d be for such a card. if done right.

          2. Cian

            Wait what? they wanted your phone number? And when you appeared in person they wanted to send you a text message and confirm that you got this message?

            Do you realise this is so if you want to access online information they can send you a confirmation password by text message? Which makes your data more secure. Why do you have a problem with this?

          3. ivan

            we have zero track record of doing things like this ‘right’; there’ve been numerous stories in the papers of Gardai looking up Pulse and DSP staff looking up celebrities records just for the fuppin’ craic.

            we’re too small a country – and i know how daft that sounds – to be able to have a system like this that can work unless breaches of Data Protection law lead to dismissals.

            i was onto a friend only yesterday who was reporting a crime to the Gardai and the Detective said that back in the good old days, he’d have looked up the alleged perpetrator on PULSE. He said they can’t do that anymore, that all lookups are flagged. That’s progress but those safeguards need to be in place across the board.

          4. ivan

            @cian

            that may well be the case, but if i sign up for the card at the DSP office, and give my phone number, I don’t have any guarantee that my details won’t be shared across any and all other govt departments. If I go and apply for a drivers license, I’ve to bring my card to that office, which is run by Prometric, a US firm. Where do they store my data? What’s their data protection policy?

            on the face of it, no more than a community CCTV system it’s all grand and innocuous until it’s abused. The time to call for a reasoned explanation for what’s happening is *before* implementation, not after when you’re trying to query a fait accompli.

          5. Cian

            @ivan. It’s your phone number. if you order a pizza – you need to enter a phone number.

            If you apply for a Driver’s Licence, guess what – you need to enter a phone number. So Prometric are going to know your phone number either way.

            I’m guessing here – but I don’t think that the Drivers Licence people will be able to see your social welfare details – nor will Prometric.

          6. ivan

            “I’m guessing here – but I don’t think that the Drivers Licence people will be able to see your social welfare details – nor will Prometric.”

            And most people are seeking is confirmation, clarity and reassurances that their personal data will be kept safe.

            There’s good stuff on the Tweet machine from Simon McGarr about this. The mechanisms utilised by the State in any endeavour, if they impinge on the rights of citizens, need a degree of proportionality.

            Why the need for a ‘smart’ card that contains biometric data? What assurances have we that *that* info is kept secure?

            ID cards as a concept aren’t bad Cian, and i’m not lambasting the concept. I’ve a problem with the execution, the lack of detail and the lack of debate.

            This is more than ordering a fuppin’ pizza.

    3. Sheik Yahbouti

      We ARE described as “customers” in the information already, Harry. I prefer being a citizen. I would also prefer that any bored civil servant (or Tom, Dick or Harry) would not be able to peruse my personal information for their own purposes. Further, I have tried to ascertain PRECISELY what information is embedded in the card and have been unable to obtain an answer.

    4. gepo the great

      you opened up with “i didn’t read this .. but” .. which negates anything you say thereafter

  3. ollie

    A few points:

    1. NI residents don’t need this card to get a passport yet ROI residents do
    2. What’s to stop anyone reading the data on the SIM and using this for identify theft?
    3. Why is taxpayer’s money being spent on these cards to protect LUAS operator’s revenue? In fact, why ids a private company allowed to ask for these cards to be displayed as what is a source of identity, basically an I D card?
    4. Who won the contract to print the cards?

    Finally, all those who have no objections to this card, please reply to this post with the following information:

    Your Name
    signature
    PPS number
    date of birth
    place of birth
    gender
    nationality

    1. Cian

      1. NI residents don’t have this card, so you can’t ask them
      2. The SIM is encrypted
      3. huh? Luas/trains/busses need to identify who has free travel. They ask you to produce a ‘free travel’ card of some type. Rather than have to show the driver a paper form it has been integrated into the Leap Card system. This is joint-up-thinking. Want to get onto the Dart platform through the turnstile? look this card is integrated into DART systems and it just works. It’s brilliant.
      4. Biometric Card Services, part of the Smurfit Kappa Group

      You first. I assume all these details are in your wallet. so if you lose your wallet these are publically available

    2. AssPants

      Fupping brilliant Ollie; Let’s see all the “Customers” document their details above…….

      There are so many people posting on this forum and other similar forum about how innocent all this card crap is. I bet when I scroll down the page there will be millions of “Customers” details below. millions; as one comment suggest “you use your phone to order a pizza”……

    1. Harry Molloy

      threats of doxxing now along with being called a shill.
      the quality of discourse from the enlightened here is ever improving.

      1. JIMMYJAMES

        In that case you have no rational for attempting to engage in further debate here. It appears a chore now, not even entertaining at this stage never mind intellectually challenging for you.
        You can sling your hook for now as we have concluded you have no vested interest in continuing to defend the PSC.

  4. rotide

    The handwringing about data is fairly ironic considering everyone replying here happily provides masses of financially valuable data to a collection of multinationals every day and recieves nothing in return

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Yeah, it’s just a bunch of children who just want to rebel against authority or the sake of it. If only they just did what they were told, like you.

    1. ivan

      Your clumsy sweeping generalisation aside, people have a *choice* to share that information.

      This card seems to be mandatory, and there’s considerable confusion as to how data held will be processed.

  5. eric cartman

    These should be mandatory for welfare recipients, people with criminal convictions and immigrants. Everyone else should be left off. Welfare should be paid onto it like a payment card that cant be used to buy cigarettes or alcohol under threat of a 5 day closure order.

  6. Truth in the News

    This card was introduced to gather intelligence and profile the holder
    1, How may the holder access and indeed the data retained on the card
    2. What legal right have any other Government Dept or Agency other than
    the Dept of Social Protection to ask you to produce the card or its number
    3. What is the capacity of the storage medium on the card and who has access
    to the information across all Government Dept’s and Agencies as they have
    to have prior knowledge as to who is the holder of a card in order to verify it.
    4. The card is also used for free public transport, is there a profile being compiled
    by the providers of public transport services on who uses their services, if this
    is happening, then details are being gathered on peoples whereabouts and
    their privacy.
    5. Joan Burton is the original author of the fiasco and what she implemented is
    is a National Identity System with no legal authority.
    6. What is the function of the Data Protection Commissioners in all of this…in the
    light of the constitutional right to privacy.

    1. Rob_G

      1. You can ask any govt agency for the info they are storing on you, if you wish. Many people do
      2. Not sure
      3. I do know that there are very strict rules across govt depts for sharing information – see Niamh’s comment on the inability of the DSP and Revenue to share information below
      4. I would imagine that the card would just have to be presented if you were asked by the driver to prove that you were an OAP or whatever. If you did have to swipe it, you would have a point. But I doubt that would be the case
      5. In what way did she lack legal authority?
      6. What section of the constitution do you feel ID cards would violate?

  7. Emah

    Guarantee ye they won’t make the card mandatory for you to be able to pay your taxes – they’ll get their whack out of you with or without a card but the citizen can be denied their services if they don’t have it. Plain as day…., the card is for the state’s benefit, not the citizens.

    1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      It has nothing to do with ‘the state..
      – That would be ridiculous.

      We sold the ‘state’ to Europe ages ago.
      They gave us a leaky canoe and no paddles.
      Get over it.

      This is an EU Directive.
      Stop fooling yourself.
      There are people PAID GOOD MONEY to fulfill that remit and colour it as as your benefit.
      Stop helping them.

      Soon it will feel ‘normal’.

      1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        PS.
        We’re better than this.
        We are NOT politicians.

        I like Birthday cards, Fathers’ Day cards, Leap cards, Credit cards, Christmas cards etc.

        I don’t like Government-issued cards.
        Nobody can change my mind.

        1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

          Joan Burton… who does she think she is?
          – She should’ve paid more attention during ‘Nigerian Prince’ classes.

          Maybe that’s where she was going, that time…
          …you remember that time…the one she lied through her teeth about and thinks we all forgot….

          Yeah, her.

  8. Niamh

    I have a card and I use it to get my jobseekers; it’s quite convenient. I never gave it much thought, but when they rolled it out, I presumed it was aimed at keeping a centralised record of who/when/how often people claim welfare, and what kind, to cut down on fraud or whatever. Maybe that was naive of me.

    I also used to work in data management for the government and, at shop-floor level, as it were, data protection and the prevention of unneccesary sharing were very big deals – there was no shared database, for example, between the DSP, Revenue, the Guards, or anything like that, and a lot of ideological resistance to ever having one. THAT SAID, this was, as I say, shop floor level – the people working with the data had no conscious Orwellian agenda, which doesn’t mean the top level did not. There was also an obvious, and disliked, sense that these databases were being primed for privatisation. The state should never, ever, ever be permitted to outsource any kind of data or HR management to outside parties – but it is, incognito, heading that way, IMO.

    1. A snowflake's chance in hell

      What Niamh says is true. Data protection is a big deal at state level and while abuses do occur there is a growing awareness of the importance of the subject at all levels.

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