20. Sunday Herald, 11 Jan. 09 - School bosses tell pupils: no meals without an ID card, Mark Howarth
Move sparks fears over growth in surveillance
EDUCATION chiefs have been accused of trying to force secondary pupils to carry ID cards by refusing to serve school dinners to dissenters. Scottish Borders Council told parents children not carrying the electronic microchipped National Entitlement Card (NEC) will not be fed.
Campaigners fear the controversial tactics are part of a "back door" strategy to foist the Home Office's National Identity Register on Scots.
But the local authority's diktat is also in direct contravention of a Scottish government assurance to parliament last year. Finance minister John Swinney - keen to distance the NEC from Westminster's ID project - promised school meals would not be tied into the card.
The government warned councils may break the law if they do anything to discourage children from canteen eating.
A spokeswoman said: "Authorities and schools who use the card to access school meals must also provide an alternative method for those students who do not wish to carry a card.”...
She added: "The Scottish government does not support compulsory use of National Entitlement Cards for local public services."...
21. STV, 12 Jan. 09 - National entitlement card causes row over school meals
22. SecEd, 15 Jan. 09 - Council attacked over identity cards
A local authority that is refusing to serve school dinners to secondary pupils unless they are carrying identity cards might be breaking the law, the Scottish government has said.
Scottish Borders Council has told parents that children who fail to present the microchipped National Entitlement Card (NEC) will not be given meals.
Campaigners say the tactics are part of an attempt to foist the Home Office’s National Identity Register on Scots...
Dr Geraint Bevan of campaign group NO2ID said: “No Scot should be forced to carry an ID card. Children should be educated in a caring environment, not tracked like prisoners.”
23. Sunday Herald, 22 Feb. 09 - 'ID card' review condemned, Mark Howarth
[Scottish Government] ministers have been accused of a “whitewash” after an independent review of its controversial ‘back-door ID card’ scheme was farmed out to a company pioneering the Home Office’s National Identity Register...
Last night, critics condemned ministers’ decision to hire Atos. Dr Geraint Bevan of campaign group NO2ID said: "The involvement of this company is astonishing and means that the review is hopelessly compromised.
"Atos were entirely complicit in the design and creation of the UK National Identity Scheme.
"Asking them to conduct an independent assessment is like asking a doubleglazing salesman to evaluate the windows of your house...
He added: "We have a [Scottish] Government and a Parliament which have stated unequivocally on numerous occasions that they are opposed to ID cards.
"Yet this insidious system will now come on-stream without a single serious question having been posed...
Green Party leader Patrick Harvie... called for the [Citizen’s Account Service] to be scrapped. He said: “To commission a report from Atos, the ID card scheme's chief corporate cheerleaders, suggests a failure to live up to the spirit of Government commitments.
"What ministers clearly asked for was a whitewash, but even that cannot disguise the fact that the scheme is so full of loopholes and security failings that it is not fit to go ahead as planned."...
24. Scotland on Sunday - Letters, 22 Feb. 09 - A firmer stand on ID cards essential, Dr John Welford
THE Scottish Government is to be applauded for its firm commitment not to support the UK identity card scheme ('Ewing brands ID plan "unacceptable threat"', February 15).
Unfortunately, during the Holyrood debate on ID cards last November, there was an enormous elephant in the room, and this was the National Entitlement Card (NEC), first introduced in Scotland in 2006.
For, as many people are becoming aware, this card is a Trojan horse ID card. It was cleverly introduced into Scotland by the former administration as merely being a new kind of 'pensioner bus pass'...
However, the shocking truth is that the NEC card is actually a fully functioning ID card. Moreover, its properties are so intrusive that it would not be permitted in Germany and other countries, places which already use ID cards...
In my recent correspondence with the Scottish Government, I explained very clearly why the NEC card would not be permitted as an ID card in several other European countries. Most surprisingly, in their reply there was no attempt made to refute this, but merely a somewhat irrelevant comment about Germany's "unique political history".
So I now remain puzzled. Is the Scottish Government genuine in its opposition to ID cards? Or is it prepared to accept an ID card, cunningly introduced by the former administration, as long as it comes with a different label?
25. Herald, 23 Feb. 09 - No freedom without the freedom to say no, Dr Geraint Bevan
Nanny state or Big Brother? The question is often posed. There is no satisfactory answer. Caring nannies do not record every action of their charges, sharing private matters with all and sundry, or create files destined to haunt for life those whom they nurture....
We live in a surveillance society. It has developed ad hoc without justification. Ministers lurch from headline to headline, while backroom bureaucrats try to transform government into a shining monument of the digital age - a magnificent database state in which to immerse themselves, blissfully unaware of the horror caused in those they supposedly serve, oblivious to historical lessons...
Scottish pensioners are tracked every time they swipe their concessionary bus passes. Summaries of medical records have been uploaded to centralised databases, to be accessed by distant doctors and nurses across the land. School children are routinely fingerprinted in library and dinner queues. Local authorities insist that young Scots must carry smart cards, only offering an opt-out if parents ask...
The Registrar General for Scotland has new powers to compile lists of any personal information about anyone in Scotland (Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services Scotland Act), while the Scottish Government builds a population register ready for the Home Secretary to seize...
Absent from all this is consent. Fully informed, uncoerced, revokable consent, actionable in courts of law. Without the freedom to say "no" we have no freedom; no privacy; no dignity.
Our consent is presumed. Surveillance is endemic. And control has been taken out of our hands. Belatedly, the sustained assault on precious liberties is being recognised. It is time to redress the balance...
26. Scottish Daily Mail, 10 Mar. 09 - Security fears over ID cards Executive wants us all to have, Graham Grant and Mark Howarth
'BIG Brother' ID cards that store personal details are being introduced in Scotland despite a security blunder that puts millions at risk of identity fraud. About 1.4 million Scots have already been issued with the microchipped National Entitlement Card, which carries their name and photograph ...
The cards are being introduced despite evidence that they can be ‘cloned’, allowing fraudsters to steal identities ...
Last night, Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said: 'It is irresponsible for [Scottish Government] ministers to introduce a system they know to be insecure and use it as a framework for sharing people's private information.'
The Scottish Daily Mail has found that the cards were branded a 'risk' four months ago when it emerged they can be reproduced in just two minutes. But ministers chose not to warn the public and, in January, a report announced the system was watertight ...
27. Herald, 2 Apr. 09 - It’s not what you know, it’s who else knows it too, Anne Johnstone
... The Scottish Government appears to be on the side of the angels in this debate, having rejected the whole notion of ID cards and a huge police DNA database. But beware "function creep": the growing exploitation of increasingly overlapping databases that are designed to protect us but are used to spy on us. Could Scotland's beloved pensioners' free bus pass become a wolf in sheep's clothing, an ID card through the back door? There's already talk of "entitlement cards", based on a personally unique number for use in communicating with all state agencies ...
28. Herald - Letters, 3 Apr. 09 - Gross invasion of privacy, Dr Geraint Bevan
Anne Johnstone is absolutely right to highlight the dangers of data sharing and the associated cost to privacy ("It's not what you know, it's who else knows it too", The Herald, April 2). Unfortunately, the potential "wolf in sheep's clothing" - the pensioners' free bus pass - is already well on the way to becoming a sinister national identity card. The cards, also issued to children as Young Scot cards, are a privacy disaster.
The cards' radio frequency identification chips transmit personally identifying information (including the unique citizen's reference number to which Anne Johnstone refers) whenever the card is scanned on a bus. Thus, bus companies have records of journeys made by each passenger; records which are then passed to the government for auditing.
When was there ever a debate in Scotland about whether pensioners and schoolchildren should have their journeys tracked routinely by government?
How have officials managed to design and implement such a surveillance system without parliamentary oversight? ...
Implemented well, simple entitlement cards could be of benefit to Scots without invading privacy. The scheme has not been designed or implemented well. The Scottish Government still has a long way to go before it can claim to be on the side of the angels.
29. Herald - Letters, 5 June 09 - Take the pledge, Dr Geraint Bevan
Dr Ken Macdonald's call for organisations to make a commitment to the Personal Information Promise is one that chief executives should heed (Letters, June 4). Noticeably absent from the list of signatories to the promise are both the UK and Scottish Governments.
Clearly, the UK Government could not sign the pledge in good faith until the Home Office reverses its entire philosophy and loses its obsession with hoarding our personal data.
The Scottish Government is in a better position, but changes to certain policies would be required. For example, logging individuals' bus journeys is not compatible with keeping personal information "to the minimum necessary". Recording such data may be convenient for bureaucrats administering the concessionary travel scheme, but it is certainly not necessary.
The Scottish Government should lead the way and bring itself into compliance with the principles of the Personal Information Promise as a matter of urgency.
30. Big Issue (Scotland) - Letters, 26 Oct. 09 - A case of stolen identity?, Dr John Welford
Among his arguments for encouraging us all to vote Labour, Kevin Hutchens [prospective Labour candidate for Angus] includes free bus passes for pensioners (Your Issue, 756). As a pensioner myself, the issue of free bus passes represents a most compelling argument for never voting for Labour again.
For whether Hutchens realises it or not, Labour has disgracefully used pensioner bus passes (and also the Young Scot card for school students) to test and advance its controversial ID cards agenda in Scotland. And to do this by stealth. The approved name for the pensioner bus pass is in fact the National Entitlement Card.
But in truth the proper name for such a card is National Identity Card. Indeed, the intrusive properties of Scotland’s so-called “bus pass” are so advanced that these cards would not be permitted as ID cards in other European countries, such as Germany.
The other Holyrood parties (apart from the Greens), seem to be little concerned about the gross deception of the Scottish people that has been taking place. But given that Labour no longer holds power at Holyrood, it really is about time that all the other Scottish parties worked together to rid us of these Trojan Horse ID cards.
While they all claim to be strongly anti-ID card, they are sitting on their hands and doing absolutely nothing.