[LINK] SMH: 'Backlash fear sparks ID card rethink'

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Fri Mar 16 08:35:49 AEDT 2007

[Ellison's stone-walling.  The *only* thing he's agreed to (so far) 
is to withdraw the Bill and combine the intended two or three 
tranches into a single Bill.  He's said nothing about fixing any of 
the parts that have been comprehensively shown to be broken.

[The fight goes on, to remove the many massively privacy-invasive 
aspects of this national ID scheme]

Backlash fear sparks ID card rethink
Date: March 16 2007
The Sydney Morning Herald
Mark Metherell

THE Federal Government has swiftly bowed to a Senate committee report 
critical of the proposed national smart card and agreed to rethink 
the legislation.

The report, by a Government-chaired committee, criticised legislation 
for the card, warning the scheme risked becoming a de facto identity 

Facing the prospect of a fiasco similar to that of the Australia 
Card, which sank an identity card scheme 20 years ago, the Government 
moved within two hours of the report's release to quell a backlash 
against the $1.1 billion plan.

It has promised to combine the legislation, which has passed the 
House of Representatives, with a second tranche containing privacy 
and other safeguards.
"Bringing both tranches of legislation together allows Š the public 
and other stakeholders to see the full detail of the access card at 
the same time and help dispel some of the misconceptions about the 
access card," the Human Services Minister, Senator Chris Ellison, 

The bipartisan Senate committee had concluded it was impossible to 
assess the proposed card system in the absence of safeguards and 
other measures and called for the legislation to be consolidated into 
a planned second bill "to allow proper consideration of the access 
card proposal".

The report also revealed an admission by the Department of Human 
Services that the $1.1 billion cost of the scheme would rise by $700 
million if the cards did not have a visible photograph on the 
surface. This was because of the need to upgrade 50,000 terminals 
held by doctors, pharmacists and other service providers so their 
computers would display the photograph in the card's chip.

Criticising the haste with which the Government approached the laws, 
the Liberal chairman, Brett Mason, said the committee was "put at a 
disadvantage" in not having details of the proposed legislation 
concerning privacy protection and governance.

"The committee is being asked to approve the implementation of the 
access card on blind faith Š This is inimical to good law-making," 
Senator Mason said.

The Government plans to introduce the card between next year and 
2010. Its main purpose is to streamline the payment of health and 
welfare benefits, and to reduce fraud.

But Senator Mason said the committee was concerned the inclusion of a 
biometric photograph and a signature on the face of the card "could 
trigger public concern about the access card becoming the preferred 
identity document of most Australians".

He also questioned whether access of police and security agencies to 
the databases would necessarily be compatible with the legislation's 
stated objectives.

Labor's spokeswoman on the card, Tanya Plibersek, said Coalition 
senators seldom made numerous criticisms of a government scheme.

"But the access card is so bad that they have swallowed their fears 
and spoken out," she said.

The Democrats' Natasha Stott Despoja said the committee had found the 
legislation, the card and its database "fundamentally flawed Š This 
legislation must be junked."

Senator Mason's recommendations were carried without formal dissent 
from the eight-person committee.

Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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