[LINK] SMH: 'Backlash fear sparks ID card rethink'
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
THE Federal Government has swiftly bowed to a Senate committee report
critical of the proposed national smart card and agreed to rethink
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 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
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 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
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 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/
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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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