August 2010 Archives

ID Wars: the slaughter of the not so innocents

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I welcome the cull of public sector ID systems and the plans to merge the many Whitehall working parties to one, focussed on rationalising the systems used to identify those working in the public sector and its supply chains, including defence contractors. I am much more cautious about plans to couple this to the US drive for a common NATO approach, lest the limited applicatiblity of this approach is much better recognised but its proponents than currently appears to be the case.

 

There is a massive gulf between Central Government approaches to ID and the private sector (especially finance). The former are intended primarily to support national security, taxation, conscription and border control. The latter have several millennia of experience (over a century electronic) into keeping the transactions safe from local warlords (alias National Governments). Meanwhile Local Government is concerned mainly with local services to local voters.

 

Use Experian et al to improve service not just cut fraud

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Today we see a headline story on long overdue plans to use the services of the credit reference agencies to reduce benefit fraud. What is still missing is a plan to routinely use their services to improve service. When you go into a major store and ask for credit it takes minutes for them to agree, having checked that you are unlikely to be a fraudster. The same should apply with regard to applications for benefit. Only if you if you are unknown or flagged as a risk should you have to pass through all the hoops and delays. Why has this not happened? Fear that a more efficient system would result in higher claims? Or fear that it would expose the true scale and nature of benefit  fraud?

FIPR Alert: Indonesia Finds Banning Pornography Is Difficult

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I find the FIPR alert service invaluable. It looks as though Indonesia may be about to practice what we Westerners preach: state the political objective and leave industry to work out how to deliver it. I assume the intention is that those local ISPs who fail to block pornography during Ramadan comply will have their operations taken down by "religious volunteers" with no need for the government to actually do anything. I looks to me like a nice mix of "self governance" and "community action" from which we might all be able to learn. We might not agree on what it is that we will have learned - but that is life.

 

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