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The Reason We Should Never Have Id Cards

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Governments cannot be trusted, this is damming evidence that under no circumstances should we ever accept ID cards

Revealed: The cash-for-fake-ID scandal at the heart of the Government

Civil servants have sold the personal details of hundreds of thousands of people to criminal gangs

By Francis Elliott and Sophie Goodchild

Published: 14 May 2006

An internal investigation at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has found that civil servants are colluding with organised criminals to steal personal identities on "an industrial scale".

Ministers have been privately warned that the investigation will show that hundreds of thousands of stolen personal details have been ripped off from official databases, often with inside help. Key personal details such as national insurance numbers can be used to commit benefit fraud, set up false bank accounts and obtain official documents such as passports.

The ID theft from DWP and Revenue and Customs databases is currently the subject of an internal investigation, codenamed Trident, carried out in conjunction with the Government's official data-protection watchdog.

One government figure said: "We have been told that DWP staff have been colluding with organised criminals to commit identity theft on an industrial scale. It is far wider than just tax credits and reaches right across Whitehall."

A minister confirmed that the issue was causing panic in the office of John Hutton, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and a key ally of Tony Blair. "It's clear it's pretty serious," she said.

The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, told The Independent on Sunday that there are "widespread concerns" that poorly paid staff in tax and benefits offices are "open to temptation".

Ironically, the true scale of identity thefts from the DWP came to light only when its own civil servants were the victims of an audacious attack on the Government's tax credits. The personal details of 13,000 staff were passed to gangsters who used them to steal an estimated £15m in benefits.

Today, however, it can be revealed that the scam is just one of 25 incidents of "significant organised fraud" so far uncovered. The DWP refuses to comment, saying only that there is an "ongoing investigation".

Mr Hutton's nervousness could be explained by the fact that official statistics are now overdue on how much tax credit was paid through error or fraud in 2003-04. Ministers already admit that an initial sum of £430m will have to be revised sharply upwards.

Richard Bacon, the MP who exposed the foreign prisoner débâcle, has now written to the Government's spending watchdog asking him to investigate.

"It is clear that the security of individuals' personal details has been far more severely compromised than has been admitted thus far by ministers. I have written to Sir John Bourn, the Comptroller and Auditor General, asking him to investigate urgently this failure by the Government to protect our IDs from fraudsters."

One senior Whitehall figure said that civil servants were being unwittingly duped into giving away personal identities in most cases. Figures published last week show there were 100,000 offences under the Data Protection Act in the DWP and Revenue and Customs between 2000 and 2004. Neither department will release the figures for Trident, set up in 2004.

Mr Thomas, who this week called on the Government to stiffen penalties for releasing personal information from a fine to a two-year prison sentence, said: "There are widespread concerns that lowly paid staff can be open to temptation," he said. "They [officials] need to say to their staff this [illegal selling of data] is a very serious matter and from time to time they do say this. I've seen newsletters from Customs and DWP reminders to staff that this is a very serious matter. It is a disciplinary matter and you could be exposed to a fine. If they could say in future you could be exposed to a prison sentence that is really going to be a wake-up call."

Union officials say Revenue and Customs investigators believe they know from which DWP office at least some of the information has been stolen but have so far been unable to narrow the search further.

Staff appraisal records, containing names, dates of birth and NI numbers, were removed some time last year, investigators believe. The information was enough for an organised criminal gang to claim millions of pounds in tax credits by making thousands of fraudulent claims for the credits, a means-tested top-up for low- income families.

Charles Law of the Public and Commercial Services Union says it could hardly have been made easier for the fraudsters to use stolen NI numbers to make bogus applications for tax credits online. "People applying online for tax credits were supposed to receive a telephone call to confirm their ID but, of course, there were too few staff to make the calls and they didn't happen."

Mr Law told the IoS that the fraudsters who targeted JobCentre staff almost certainly had inside help. "Staff have access to the ID details of pretty much the whole country and so there is always going to be a risk."

The sheer scale of the potential abuse was underlined by a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which found that government departments hand out state support to 2.1 million lone parents - even though the best estimate is that Britain has just 1.9 million single-parent households.

Mike Brewer of the IFS has said that the 200,000 "phantom" lone parents shows just how successful the ID fraudsters have become.

STOLEN LIVES

STEP 1 Fraudsters are passed details of national insurance numbers by civil servants with access to the Revenue and Customs database.

STEP 2 The details are used to receive utility bills bearing the names and details of the IDs stolen from the database, which records every man and woman in the UK.

STEP 3 The criminals can use utility bills to open fake bank accounts, providing themselves with a crucial element for the new identity.

STEP 4 An internet search by the fraudsters helps them to apply for a replacement birth certificate.

STEP 5 The fraudsters apply for replacement passports, which can be sold togangmasters for people smuggling.

An internal investigation at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has found that civil servants are colluding with organised criminals to steal personal identities on "an industrial scale".

Ministers have been privately warned that the investigation will show that hundreds of thousands of stolen personal details have been ripped off from official databases, often with inside help. Key personal details such as national insurance numbers can be used to commit benefit fraud, set up false bank accounts and obtain official documents such as passports.

The ID theft from DWP and Revenue and Customs databases is currently the subject of an internal investigation, codenamed Trident, carried out in conjunction with the Government's official data-protection watchdog.

One government figure said: "We have been told that DWP staff have been colluding with organised criminals to commit identity theft on an industrial scale. It is far wider than just tax credits and reaches right across Whitehall."

A minister confirmed that the issue was causing panic in the office of John Hutton, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and a key ally of Tony Blair. "It's clear it's pretty serious," she said.

The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, told The Independent on Sunday that there are "widespread concerns" that poorly paid staff in tax and benefits offices are "open to temptation".

Ironically, the true scale of identity thefts from the DWP came to light only when its own civil servants were the victims of an audacious attack on the Government's tax credits. The personal details of 13,000 staff were passed to gangsters who used them to steal an estimated £15m in benefits.

Today, however, it can be revealed that the scam is just one of 25 incidents of "significant organised fraud" so far uncovered. The DWP refuses to comment, saying only that there is an "ongoing investigation".

Mr Hutton's nervousness could be explained by the fact that official statistics are now overdue on how much tax credit was paid through error or fraud in 2003-04. Ministers already admit that an initial sum of £430m will have to be revised sharply upwards.

Richard Bacon, the MP who exposed the foreign prisoner débâcle, has now written to the Government's spending watchdog asking him to investigate.

"It is clear that the security of individuals' personal details has been far more severely compromised than has been admitted thus far by ministers. I have written to Sir John Bourn, the Comptroller and Auditor General, asking him to investigate urgently this failure by the Government to protect our IDs from fraudsters."

One senior Whitehall figure said that civil servants were being unwittingly duped into giving away personal identities in most cases. Figures published last week show there were 100,000 offences under the Data Protection Act in the DWP and Revenue and Customs between 2000 and 2004. Neither department will release the figures for Trident, set up in 2004.

Mr Thomas, who this week called on the Government to stiffen penalties for releasing personal information from a fine to a two-year prison sentence, said: "There are widespread concerns that lowly paid staff can be open to temptation," he said. "They [officials] need to say to their staff this [illegal selling of data] is a very serious matter and from time to time they do say this. I've seen newsletters from Customs and DWP reminders to staff that this is a very serious matter. It is a disciplinary matter and you could be exposed to a fine. If they could say in future you could be exposed to a prison sentence that is really going to be a wake-up call."

Union officials say Revenue and Customs investigators believe they know from which DWP office at least some of the information has been stolen but have so far been unable to narrow the search further.

Staff appraisal records, containing names, dates of birth and NI numbers, were removed some time last year, investigators believe. The information was enough for an organised criminal gang to claim millions of pounds in tax credits by making thousands of fraudulent claims for the credits, a means-tested top-up for low- income families.

Charles Law of the Public and Commercial Services Union says it could hardly have been made easier for the fraudsters to use stolen NI numbers to make bogus applications for tax credits online. "People applying online for tax credits were supposed to receive a telephone call to confirm their ID but, of course, there were too few staff to make the calls and they didn't happen."

Mr Law told the IoS that the fraudsters who targeted JobCentre staff almost certainly had inside help. "Staff have access to the ID details of pretty much the whole country and so there is always going to be a risk."

The sheer scale of the potential abuse was underlined by a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which found that government departments hand out state support to 2.1 million lone parents - even though the best estimate is that Britain has just 1.9 million single-parent households.

Mike Brewer of the IFS has said that the 200,000 "phantom" lone parents shows just how successful the ID fraudsters have become.

STOLEN LIVES

STEP 1 Fraudsters are passed details of national insurance numbers by civil servants with access to the Revenue and Customs database.

STEP 2 The details are used to receive utility bills bearing the names and details of the IDs stolen from the database, which records every man and woman in the UK.

STEP 3 The criminals can use utility bills to open fake bank accounts, providing themselves with a crucial element for the new identity.

STEP 4 An internet search by the fraudsters helps them to apply for a replacement birth certificate.

STEP 5 The fraudsters apply for replacement passports, which can be sold togangmasters for people smuggling.

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Yeah but, no but,

The money Nu Labour are going to make off the cards will prop the Miracle Economy up for awhile longer--so they think. These are, after all, socialists and the more government control there is the better. IN a state that is drifting toward national socialism it is to be expected. Spies in the sky to watch our driving, ID cards to monitor our spending and movements, cameras on every street corner to watch us going about our business, creation of debt through HPI to enslave us :o

Time for a radical chnage of government after TB steps down in 2010.

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Time for a radical chnage of government after TB steps down in 2010.

Yes, but will the British public be daft enough to elect them again having been fleeced and not much to show for it?

I would like to think the Tories could do better but they can't. Bunch of spineless t*ssers just bend over and let Labour do whatever they want. They're so desperate for power Cameron will say anything. Where have to ideas of low taxes, small government and personal responsibilty gone? The British have been systematically conned into thinking the government can and should have solutions to all their problems.

And that concludes Sunday's rant.

:lol:

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Yep - agree with most of the above.

Labour are about finished in my book.

The Conservatives - no chance - a spineless nerk who will return to type & true blue (thatcherite) policies when elected?

Liberals - well their only policy that I can see is that they like sniffing each others bottoms.

So when the next election does come what to vote, abstain as I don't believe in any of them anymore?

Vote for a looney or extreme party to register what is effectivly a protest vote?

There is quite a cosy poiltical consensus between lab and tory - something needs to shake it up and bring some politics back into politics.

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i know your a festering tory lauriejohn, but this is one issue i share your views on.

BUT - i think the tories would have loved this policy if they were in power.

i already have an ID card. its called a passport.

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One of my main objections to ID cards is who could ultimately be in charge of the system.

I don't like Nu-Labour at all, but at this point in time I don't believe even they would have that malignant a use for ID cards. However, once the system is in place anybody could one day be elected and then you have your problem. A national database would be a godsend to the likes of the BNP. It is for this reason that all powers if government must be restricted (within reason).

There is also this false belief in the infallibility of the technology. We have already seen with Chip and Pin (though to be fair the recent breaches are simply old-fashioned card skimming) that infallible technology is fallible. The scary thing though is that those that have been caught in this scam have been treated as criminals by the banks and have even been accused of collusion simply because the banks employees falsely believe the technology is infallible. How long before the same happens with ID cards?

NDL

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ID cards won't solve crime they'll probably make it easier for bigger problems to happen...

Just read this elsewhere:

Q: Why is John Prescott like an IKEA flatpack?

A: A few screws in the wrong place and the cabinet falls apart.

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A friend once said, "There'll be an outcry......people will go....tut "

I'm just wondering, do you think the government could get away with almost any policy in this country, no matter how bonkers, sinister or unfair? What do you think they'd have to do to in order to stir the sheeple into action, eg: into going on general strike?

Edited by izzy

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Guest muttley

Just read this elsewhere:

Q: Why is John Prescott like an IKEA flatpack?

A: A few screws in the wrong place and the cabinet falls apart.

:lol::lol::lol:

Excellent!

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The future looks scary

Centralised computer systems examining every part of your life, GPS tracking systems watching your every movement and I've heard that something called CODEX is going to control what you eat as well

It's going to be like living in a big open prison for the majority whilst the criminal gangs walk around unmonitored (can't imagine they'd even register on most of the systems)

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The future looks scary

Centralised computer systems examining every part of your life, GPS tracking systems watching your every movement and I've heard that something called CODEX is going to control what you eat as well

It's going to be like living in a big open prison for the majority whilst the criminal gangs walk around unmonitored (can't imagine they'd even register on most of the systems)

You are thinking like them already. Just because you don't register you are a criminal.

If you are against the Iraq war you are a terrorist.

This is the wrong way to think. You are quite correct that criminals woill likely not register, but the fact you have not registered does not mean you are a criminal.

I fully intend to avoid as many of these measures as possible for as long as possible. If that means voting Tory which is something I never thought I would ever do, I will. This is that important an issue to me.

NDL

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I fully intend to avoid as many of these measures as possible for as long as possible. If that means voting Tory which is something I never thought I would ever do, I will. This is that important an issue to me.

NDL

One of the things we can all do is renew our passports before they start forcing people to attend processing centres, and that buys another ten years of freedom. There is currently a campaign, sponsered by the national NO2ID campaign to do this during the month of May. See http://www.renewforfreedom.org/ for more details.

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One of the things we can all do is renew our passports before they start forcing people to attend processing centres, and that buys another ten years of freedom. There is currently a campaign, sponsered by the national NO2ID campaign to do this during the month of May. See http://www.renewforfreedom.org/ for more details.

Thanks for the heads up, but I'm onto that already. I've picked up my form from the post office. Just need to get a couple of photos now and it'll be sent off.

Do you still get your old passport back with your new one?

NDL

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Do you still get your old passport back with your new one?

No, you get a tick placed next to your name 'To be investigated'. Be prepared a full internal exam next time you use it.

:ph34r:

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One of the things we can all do is renew our passports before they start forcing people to attend processing centres, and that buys another ten years of freedom. There is currently a campaign, sponsered by the national NO2ID campaign to do this during the month of May. See http://www.renewforfreedom.org/ for more details.

Mine expires in January 2015. I don't think it's going to be worth it for an extra 20 months. Otherwise I might do it.

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Mine expires in January 2015. I don't think it's going to be worth it for an extra 20 months. Otherwise I might do it.

I hear what you are saying, but a renewal is only £52 or there abouts. It'll stop you having to go to a processing centre for 20 months longer and who knows what else they'll have added on by 2015.

I think it's also possible to carry 9 months of your old validity, so that would bring you up to 29 months. Not too sure on this though.

NDL

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I hear what you are saying, but a renewal is only £52 or there abouts. It'll stop you having to go to a processing centre for 20 months longer and who knows what else they'll have added on by 2015.

I think it's also possible to carry 9 months of your old validity, so that would bring you up to 29 months. Not too sure on this though.

NDL

And why May 2006, If the cards dont come into action until 2008, why not wait until oct 2007?

the reason i ask is that my passport runs out in October 2008, so i want as much freedom as i can possible buy

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You are thinking like them already. Just because you don't register you are a criminal.

That thought didn't even enter my head - 'criminals' will always exist and I don't believe the Government cares about this.

ID cards and GPS tracking are simply ways to monitor/measure the population - once you can measure something you can control it - the fear of terrorism is simply a vehicle for pushing this technology to the masses

IMO, I think this control need for governments is about allocation of scarce 'resources' in the future rather than something more sinister - I think they know something we don't

Edited by dnd

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A friend once said, "There'll be an outcry......people will go....tut "

I'm just wondering, do you think the government could get away with almost any policy in this country, no matter how bonkers, sinister or unfair? What do you think they'd have to do to in order to stir the sheeple into action, eg: into going on general strike?

Let house prices drop by 10%, there would be a revolution!

:lol:

Seriously.

:unsure:

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In Oldham (and lots of other places) passport fraud is so high they make you have a 20 minute interview to prove who you are.

I have no idea what they'd ask you or how they ensure the data they currently use is accurate.

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And why May 2006, If the cards dont come into action until 2008, why not wait until oct 2007?

the reason i ask is that my passport runs out in October 2008, so i want as much freedom as i can possible buy

The problem with the Governments identity card scheme isn't the card at all - it's the Stazi-like database behind it that is the main problem. Although the scheme isn't due to go live until 2008, it is expected that you will have to have an interview and be fingerprinted and have your iris scanned from this October, and attend a processing centre to do so.

The Government were really quick on this, days after the bill being passed, the Passport Service became the Identity and Passport Service. If they do this from October, even though you won't have an identity card, all the information you will have to give for one will be collected, in addition to your (very fallible) biometrics in the form of fingerprints and iris scan. This also includes providing information such as everywhere you have ever lived (and in future you can be fined £2500 for not informing the Government of changes).

Having a new passport now, means that you won't have to give the information for the National Identity Register. You may or may not receive a passport with a chip in it, but even if you do, it will only contain a digitised copy of your passport photograph.

Later passports may well contain a great deal more information, the ones that are being sent out now only having the photograph on meet the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Authority. If you are concerned about the chip at all, 5 seconds in an 800 Watt microwave should about do it.

Edited by Mrliberty

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The problem with the Governments identity card scheme isn't the card at all - it's the Stazi-like database behind it that is the main problem. Although the scheme isn't due to go live until 2008, it is expected that you will have to have an interview and be fingerprinted and have your iris scanned from this October, and attend a processing centre to do so.

The Government were really quick on this, days after the bill being passed, the Passport Service became the Identity and Passport Service. If they do this from October, even though you won't have an identity card, all the information you will have to give for one will be collected, in addition to your (very fallible) biometrics in the form of fingerprints and iris scan. This also includes providing information such as everywhere you have ever lived (and in future you can be fined £2500 for not informing the Government of changes).

Having a new passport now, means that you won't have to give the information for the National Identity Register. You may or may not receive a passport with a chip in it, but even if you do, it will only contain a digitised copy of your passport photograph.

Later passports may well contain a great deal more information, the ones that are being sent out now only having the photograph on meet the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Authority. If you are concerned about the chip at all, 5 seconds in an 800 Watt microwave should about do it.

Thank for the reply

I shall renew my passport online..

5 seconds in an 800 Watt microwave should about do it. -- Should i do that with the passport i get in the next month?

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Mrliberty,

What happens when you have to renew the passport? If I remember right, they last for 10 years and then they are up for renewal. I have a nasty feeling that they will get you on the database regardless, they'll probably pass some stupid law forcing citizens to turn up for some sort of registration day.

Where are your papers?

:huh:

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