Mavis put through a call this morning. Normally I do not take calls on Monday morning. This is time I block out every week for strategic thinking - that and recovering from the weekend's excesses.
However, this was from the government, and I think Mavis thought it was Girdon Brawn offering me a job in the Newer-still Labour cabinet. Well, I do still have those photos of the "stag party" in Cowdenbeath in the early 80s.
It was not him though. Just some Whitehall lovie from the Department of Compromise and Loose Governance wanting to know if Bogcaster would help with a pilot for the national ID scheme.
My guard was down and I found myself saying yes.
A man arrived from the ID Implementation Organisation Team. He had with him a very large black box, which he said was an ultra-secure router that we needed to use to connect through to the prototype National Identity Computer Kernel Engine Database.
They plan eventually to have a web portal version for the citizen to use. This will use the same brand, prefixed by "Your" of course.
Anyway, Nicked was down today due to "technical problems". "Actually," he admitted, "it is down most days". I say "he" and "man" as he could not say what his name was.
"As soon as the system is up I should be able to tell you," he proffered, smiling sweetly.
The national ID system is still comatose today. You probably noticed a restless feeling of identity-confusion sweeping the country.
When Man went to lunch today, Dave lifted his black box. Man was distraught when he returned. Apparently he has already left one on a bus and another beside a bench in Green Park, and could not face yet another severe ticking off from his assistant secretary.
I explained we were merely testing it. "Oh you won't get far with that," Man said. "It is specially designed to withstand tampering and cannot be accessed without the token that is encrypted on the swipe-card I always carry around my neck."
"There does not appear to be anything round your neck."
"What? Damn and blast! Err sorry... won't be a minute. I am just going to pop back to that pub I went to for lunch."
Dave reported that the black box contains a perfectly ordinary server.
"About as secure as a whore's knickers" was the way he put it.
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