The Fine Gael led backdoor introduction of a ‘national I.D. card’ – officially called public services card (PSC) in Ireland – is already considered by some, to be possible legally unconstitutional. This has been the case already in other countries (see: LINK).
The sales pitch being pushed by Fine Gael and co through government departments today is: “The public services card (PSC) will act as a key for access to public services in general, identifying and authenticating individuals as appropriate and where required, will make things more efficient and minimise fraud and error.”
Previously however, other long common forms of I.D. have been used and still accepted, such as a passport, driving license and more.
The cost of rolling out these national I.D. cards is also proving to be expensive. The total capital cost of the programme is previously estimated to be €24m excluding VAT (2014). The subsequent additional costs up to the end of September 2015 was another €17.47m. The Fine Gael government claims it’s getting a discount on the cost if they ever get around to forcing a definite number, three million, of people to have them.
The Department of Social Protection has previously stated: “All new applicants for a PPS Number as well as all new and existing social welfare claimants are statutorily obliged to satisfy the Department as to their identity.”
Intreo staff have previously gone on record as stating “it is an ID card in all but name“.
The Data Aspect.
The Fine Gael card agenda was launched in February 2011 by former Minister for Social Protection Éamon Ó Cuív. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties public called it “a costly political stunt”.
Civil rights lobby group Privacy International said that once a national ID card is introduced, citizens’ rights will be steadily eroded. “In Greece and Argentina, for example, being caught card-less could land you at the local police station, where your identity will be established using other means, such as fingerprinting,” the group warned.
Tanya Ward, an ICCL director, pointed out at the time: “Nobody is going to raise an issue about a bus pass. And when it eventually doubles as your medical card, or as Garda proof of age ID, it will seem very convenient. But the more information linked to the card, the more possibility there is for function creep – when data collected for one reason is used for another – or for information to be shared between agencies, however trustworthy they may be.”
Therein for many, who are more aware of current Fine Gael antics, lies the rub! Fine Gael and those still willing to prop it up, are still allowing to this day, the transfer of people’s personal data not only to other state bodies but also to outside private companies. Some of these private companies such as Seetec (a state operation that also bullies people into signing private contracts or their benefits would be cut) are also foreign imported.
The data collected by the state, also connected to these cards, is then exported from the state departments, to others and as UnitedPeople can prove, actually outside the Ireland state to foreign servers. This also means additionally that Irish Data protection law is avoided which is supposed to help protect its citizens – but is exposed as both being still seriously flawed and currently being abused by Fine Gael and co. After a 2015 European Court of Justice Bara case ruing, the Irish government has been ignoring that ruling. Subsequently, they continue to break European law in regards to people’s personal data, which is also attached to these cards.
Other countries have tried to introduce a similar setup. many have cancelled such plans as they too have found that the cards themselves, have been found to be unconstitutional.
Besides the legal constitutional question – there is five other aspects to these ‘national identity cards’.
1. The cards in many cases will not reduce forms of crime or even lower acts opf possible terrorism. Why? The professional criminal will continue to be able to obtain — by legal and illegal means — the documents needed to get a government ID, such as birth certificates. With these documents (some possible forged also), they will have data like digital fingerprints on them also but that won’t prove real identity. It will be forgery to obtain another forgery.
2. An ID card system is a slippery road of surveillance and monitoring citizens. The national ID card system would not protect Ireland from many things – but it would create a system that would significantly diminish the freedom and privacy of law-abiding citizens.
Once put in place, it is very unlikely that such a system would be restricted to its original purpose. Indeed, the Fine Gael state has gone on record as saying: “Demand for the PSC will [then] be driven by other public services as SAFE registration becomes a requirement to avail of certain public services.”
Social Security numbers, for example, originally intended to be used only to administer one program, will then be expanded. A national ID system, other states have found, threatens the privacy they have previously enjoyed. More heavy jackboot style, state control has been found to become imposed as government and business would then wield even more power down on everyday citizens.
3. A national ID card system would require creation of a database of all Irish citizens. This may exist already in a number of locations. The Fine Gael government is not telling. What we do know however, is that the data from such a collection of personal information, is ALREADY being given away without legal authorisation of the people involved!
Employers, landlords, credit agencies, mortgage brokers, direct mailers, landlords, private investigators, civil litigants, etc, with the right amount of money, influence or internal connections, would further be able to take advantage of the situation. This already has been found to happen time and again with previous mass databases, in Ireland and beyond it.
4. In certain circumstances, the ID cards would function as “internal passports” that monitor citizens’ movements. bus or train travel, where you then have to produce the cards, would be a way of tracking your movement. Going to a national protest? Going to even a local one? Your presence there could be officially claimed – your time there will be logged (as you then travel back and the time stamped also).
Think this won’t happen? Some bus services have already adopted using the cards. The end result could be a nation where citizens’ movements inside their own country are monitored and recorded through these “internal passports.” All it will take is for a scanning of your card by a state figure – such as a Garda into an I.T. system. Big brother has arrived quietly by the back-door. Fine Gael and co, of course, is not telling you this advantageous aspect either.
5. ID cards would foster new forms of discrimination and harassment
Rather than eliminating discrimination, as some have claimed, a national identity card would foster new forms of discrimination and harassment of anyone perceived as looking or sounding “foreign.” That is what happened in America – after its Congress passed “Employer Sanctions provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1985”.
The result was widespread discrimination against foreign-looking American workers, especially Asians and Hispanics. A 1990 General Accounting Office study found almost 20 percent of employers engaged in such practices.
A national ID card could have the same effect here in Ireland as our multi-culture population continues to grow with the EU open door policy. Failure to carry such an I.D. card could likely become viewed as a reason for search or even possible detention (when someone objects and there could be a claim later of unruly or uncooperative behaviour, etc, by the state). The stigma and humiliation of constantly having to prove that a person is in fact Irish, just because they are also ‘foreign looking’ could weigh heavily on minority groups. Civil rights organisations around the world have increasingly become very alarmed about this very aspect alone.
A Question You Should Be Really Asking!
In conclusion, the Fine Gael national I.D. card in everything but name, has been previously heavy questioned the world over, when tried elsewhere. As well as its legality, it can and most likely will be a costly burden on the state – but citizens too will be hit also. They will be eventually hit not also with the bill (paying through their taxes) of having this new system shoved down their throats but in possible loss of rights and loss of personal data.
Fine Gael and those that are continuing to prop them up however, are also deliberate not mentioning any of this to the people of Ireland. You should be seriously asking why!