Big Brother is Back – ID Cards Were Nothing Compared to This Government’s Snooping Plans

Iain Duncan Smith’s new database, quietly being built in India, is set to be the most expansive data-mining operation every carried out by any Government against it’s citizens.

The Universal Credit system will contain an unprecedented amount of information on all aspects of our lives, much of which will be controlled by private companies.  In a chilling development it appears that the database will use ‘voice biometrics’ as part of it’s security protocols.

The new system, which is due to be launched in 2013, will dwarf the plans for a National Identity Register which was dropped by Labour after storms of protest.  With the advent of smart phone and hand held readers this new system could easily become an effective, electronic National Identity Card.

Universal Credit is the Government’s policy to replace all benefits and tax credits with one unified benefit.  The database set up to manage it will be built into the tax system and rely on the ‘real time reporting’ system for tax payments which is currently in development.  It is therefore likely that everyone,with or without a job, will find themselves on the database.

Under Real Time Reporting, the Government will require self-employed tax-payers and PAYE employers to submit monthly figures on earnings.  The Government will know where you are on a month to month basis, unlike the current system which only relies on annual returns.  This will create a huge amount of additional work and bureaucracy for self employed people and small firms alike. Like many aspects of the plans, this is something the Government hasn’t been particularly forthcoming about.

Like the current tax database it will also contain details of whether you are married, your basic details such as name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number, along with details of your children.  To accommodate the changes to child benefit, the database will also need details of whether you live with a partner even if you aren’t married.  Presumably this data will need to be updated ‘in real time’.  If you split up with your partner, be sure to tell the Government as soon as possible.

Should you ever claim a benefit such as Housing Benefit, sick pay or Employment Support Allowance, the database will be even more intrusive.  At present Housing Benefit data is largely collected locally, and requires a huge amount of information, ostensibly to prevent fraud.  Claimants are required to provide full financial details, bank statements, tenancy agreements, details of anyone who may live with them, even housemates, plus information about the type of property, how many rooms it contains etc.  All this information will now be held by central Government, quite likely along with information claimed to be for ensuring ‘equal opportunity’ such as details of ethnicity, religion and sexuality.

Should you fall sick and need disability benefits then the database will also contain full details of your health condition.  It will probably also have all the results of the planned regular health checks to be carried out by private companies like Atos and security companies like G4S.  As Job Seekers Allowance is also to be built into the system,it is likely the database will include details of criminal records, job search activity, educational achievements and even your CV.

No Government before has ever attempted to collate such a huge amount of data on their citizens all in one place.  It is not yet even known whether the system will have scope for further information retention as the project is shrouded in secrecy.  Iain Duncan Smith has refused to say how the system will manage any child care payments or whether Council Tax is also to be built into the new software which IT insiders have nicknamed ‘The Beast’.

Universal Credit is set to be ‘digital by default’ meaning people will only be able to input information online.  People without online access at home will be required to use insecure internet cafes and, if they can still find one, libraries, should they need to report in personal information changes to the Government.

It is the voice recognition system however which will be of most concern to civil liberties campaigners.  Known as ‘voice biometrics’ this relies on the fact that everyone has a unique ‘voice print’ which can be used to identify them.  Whilst it has never been tested on such a huge scale, the DWP are trialling voice recognition technology right now in the hope of building it into the new system.  This has the potential to become an ID Card by default.  Whilst coppers will not be able to demand to see your papers they will only need a sample of your voice to access your extensive government file.  You have the right to remain silent.

By far the most chilling aspect of the plans however will be the ability of spooks everywhere to track and access your phone calls.  The US Echelon satellite famously hoovers up all digital information flying through the air which includes telephone conversations.  If they have access to your voice print, they will be able to immediately identify and record any telephone call you make from any phone in the world.

If big brother UK isn’t listening to you then the CIA may well be.  Not to be outdone however are this countries leading eaves-droppers GCHQ.  With well founded fears of fraud and hacking being voiced, it is GCHQ who are being brought in to try and prevent this. 

Iain Duncan Smith said recently:  “We are talking to everybody from the private sector right the way through to GCHQ about how and what is the best point at which you protect that information.”

So private companies and spooks alike are set to have access to your  Government file.

When the ID Card row first blew up under Labour many campaigners warned it was the database planned to be behind the system which was of most concern.  The Lib Dems were one of those voices that shouted loudest about infringement of civil liberties and privacy.  Yet here they are supported a national identity database far in excess of anything that Tony Blair dared to dream up.  Barely any consultation on the power that this will give the Government, or the implications for privacy, has been carried out. Iain Duncan Smith is launching it by stealth, pretending it’s only benefit claimants who will be subject to it.  The Government is hoping no-one notices that by benefit claimants they mean everyone who claims, or has claimed, Tax Credits, Child Benefit, Housing Benefit, Statutory Sick Pay, Disability living Allowance or a state pension.

In fact as the DWP and HMRC databases are due to be merged it is likely that the Government plans for everyone to be on the new database.  They are hardly likely to continue to run the old HMRC database when this one does the exact same thing.  Again this is not something which has been adequately explained by a Government which promised Civil Liberties. It is of little wonder that Iain Duncan Smith has been so evasive about the details of the DWP’s flagship scheme.

Big Brother would blush at this vast state intrusion of privacy.  He may not always be watching, but very soon he could be listening to every phone call you ever make.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

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81 responses to “Big Brother is Back – ID Cards Were Nothing Compared to This Government’s Snooping Plans

  1. Good post and one of the areas most people overlook because of all the other crap they are trying to deal with on a regular basis.

    My first question is this must be against the law of citizen privacy rights, EHR, data protection? as surely we must have some rights left somewhere?

    They will be fucking bar coding and chipping next (over my dead body which I am certain can be arranged as I am already dying with stress and anxiety at becoming a robot in a fascist society)

    My last question is why, what the hell is it or for because it certainly is not for terrorists?

    • This makes Orwell look like Enid Blyton!
      You can imagine, when you ring up to make your benefit claim over the smartphone, that, as you state your objection to giving voice biometrics to some complete stranger in Mumbai that they have already pressed record!

      This cannot work. This has got to be put into the public domain. Surely when people start hearing about this they are going to go fucking nuts!

      I say that of course in the knowledge that most people are so inured by right wing propaganda they will think it’s another great way to deal with scroungers and muslim terrorists.

    • The DPA, is the reason behind this new database, if all the info, is in one place, the DPA, in relation to different departments does not apply, I think this is another of the reasons behind the introduction of ESA, if you are entered into a big new shiny database, with wider operating parameters, there will be less need for nippy DPA issues.

      However, on the plus side, the government has a laughable record at setting up new databases and it will swallow up a few billion before it is written off

  2. This is ridiculous on so many levels.

    For starters, the 50p tax cut was hailed as encouragement for business to set up here. What does it say to business if even the DWP won’t employ British people to work in call centres but outsources it to India?

    The baseline used for the ATOS test is centred on whether a person could work in a call centre. So, they are testing thousands of people, signing them as fit to work, yet sending all the potential jobs, they see them as being able to do, overseas.

    This is a minefield with cross border data protection laws being completely different.
    Not to mention Indian call centre workers were only recently found to be SELLING client information.

    The very poorest in society, who will most need the benefits, are the least likely to have access to a computer. On JSA the first thing to have to go is usually the internet connection and even the phone line.

    What happens if you live alone but allow a friend of the opposite sex to use your computer? Will they assume that is proof of a relationship and you are in fact co-habiting?

    This is the largest IT project ever. No other big government IT project has ever worked. So what happens when it all goes wrong and thousands of people do not receive their payments on time or at all?

    What happens if your computer breaks down and you cannot afford to repair it? Or just the time it takes for repairs. When mine broke down recently it was a month before I got it back again. What about the housbeound who cannot access internet cafes or libraries? Or rural areas where they don’t exist?

    I thought the Budget was meant to make employing people easier? How is having to input all this data on a monthly basis going to go down? Do employers, self employed even know about it? Who the hell has the time?

    This will not, can not work and must not be allowed to happen. Where does the Data Protection Act say I have to give my medical details to a call centre in India? The whole basis of seeing a GP is that what you tell them is CONFIDENTIAL.

  3. I…

    If I had read this anywhere else I’d have thought the likes of David Ike were behind this.
    if this goes through, I’m done with life in this society. This is so far beyond the pale that it makes the Mad Hatters Tea party look sane.
    It’s bad enough that, hypocritically, Universal Credit is being outsourced to India. But even that was never going to launch smoothly.
    But this?
    Fucking hell.

  4. I would say the vast majority of people don’t have a microphone on the PC they’re using and setting one up can be difficult. Nor do I think smartphones will be a required method for accessing this service. So I think that aspect of this article is hysteria. There will be some other way to log in.

  5. There has been nothing whatsoever in the news about this, just as there was nothing about the thirty-odd NHS hospitals that are already being sold off let alone any news about doctors and patients alike that protested against the changes.

    One could be forgiven for thinking News Blackout.

    By the same token, the question here must be What else are they not telling us about this?

    Our only hope is that British governments seem incapable of implementing large scale IT projects.

    Should it actually happen, in order to keep anything nasty running in the background, the smart money is on using Firefox for the web and install the following privacy and security add-ons : Noscript, Better Privacy, Adblock Plus and Element Hiding Helper. Google ‘mozilla’ plus the name of each add-on and you will get straight to the relevant add-on page. (And yes, nasty stuff can be hidden in adverts. This is how most people get spyware).

    While we can and should kick up a fuss about this, we would ultimately have to live with it, but, anything extra tagged on and not announced can be circumvented or even blocked this way.

  6. I am afraid, this is only the start, the EHCR (European Court of Human Rights) which we keep being told by 1 lot is ‘great’ and another is ‘crap’ wont offer you any protection here, read the law NOW, the government don’t have any duty to hand anything over to the ‘citizen’ they showed this recently via the Risk Registrar

    “Noscript, Better Privacy, Adblock Plus and Element Hiding Helper. Google ‘mozilla’ plus the name of each add-on and you will get straight to the relevant add-on page. (And yes, nasty stuff can be hidden in adverts”

    These are good for personal security, no doubt however in dealing with Gov Data these will not offer any use, it’s now at the stage where should you ‘choose’ not to offer the information, you will simply be giving permission for Government to disavow them selves of the ‘rights’ you are apparently entitled to. A real world example that applies at the moment:

    I would suggest 99% of people would agree with this statement.. “A homeless person should receive any benefits to which they are entitled”

    homeless to most people means “of no fixed abode” if you cannot show you have a ‘permanent’ fixed address you are NOT entitled to benefits, that’s it. That is law not a ‘choice’

    There are ways around this but it’s made difficult (very difficult)

  7. I tried to tell people way back middle of last year about the DWP ID when the WRB was just going through second reading. People thought it was fine and just for Welfare claimants little realising that you’ll be entered on to the database from birth to death through your National Insurance Number.

    “Oh it’s just the benefit scrounging scum aint it..?” No. It’s everyone of us and not just welfare either. The whole of the service we get from the “now defunct” NHS is dependant on our NI number too.

    Thanks for higlighting this so that people finally get it JV. Mindfull that all this IT work is being outsourced by the IT companies concerned I realise the whole system is a load of bollocks and as secure as childrens milk teeth.

    • Services from the NHS depend on our NHS number (we all have one, whether we know it or not), not NI.

      A small, but important, difference.

  8. I wonder how the liberty-loving Lib Dems will rationalized their support for the Coalition in face of this unprecedented and draconian intrusion of Big Government into private lives.

  9. Also Kids… remember that India is NOT (strangely) part of the EU so any Data Protection legislation, rights (sic) do NOT APPLY…. only local law.

    Little info too, the NINO (National Insurance Database) holds approx (2007) 85 million NI numbers for a population of 65 million and is over 20 years old now… so all those who screamed ‘fraud’ ‘benefit scum’ etc thats what you are now getting given, do not for 1 minute think ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ it may surprise some of you that you can already be sent to prison for up to 2 years for not ‘volunteering’ to hand the police or security services your encryption key, so private communication is already illegal (in a legal sense), don’t believe me? That’s up to you :)

    Top Tip: Make new friends with Bob, Alice and Eve

    • ‘Little info too, the NINO (National Insurance Database) holds approx (2007) 85 million NI numbers for a population of 65 million’,

      they only ever used 60 % of each batch of numbers, so there was always going to be an excess

  10. Anyone else notice how many private businesses funded by gubment now ask for your NIN as standard these days?

  11. oh yes, if they are using the database here, it does not matter where it physically is, the DPA applies

  12. fu%k da bastards

  13. wen r da ppl gona wake up an fight, fight for FREEDOM.
    This new system coupled with making everything privatised is all working towards us the people being controlled and manipulated to make money for the private money junkies. If we dont break these shackles now, we will forever be enslaved.

  14. It is time that people got it through their thick fucking skulls that private companies whether they operate in welfare, healthcare or are fronted by thieving cunts like Richard fucking Branson exist for one reason only – to make as much fucking money as possible. Wake up you stupid, stupid cunts!!

  15. Pingback: Big Brother is Back – ID Cards Were Nothing Compared to This Government’s Snooping Plans | RevolutionRadio.org

  16. another great thing void, one that is a global threat to all. time to wake up ppl !

  17. What can be said about the British people for allowing this to happen unopposed?

  18. I shall just fuck up their data base by telling them the date they have on me is wrong! wrong name wrong digit can’t do voice recognition cos cannot talk

  19. the government will crumble in time and we will go back to trading… the government are pure evil, it should be demolished!!

  20. I keep saying it : I.D. Smith is the British Hitler…make no mistake about it. Everything that was done in Nazi Germany was done by ‘legal’ means by a party that was voted in. Smith is a Nazi…make no mistake about it.
    Our present ‘government’ is a Nazi govt. in utero.
    They haven’t even got started.
    Out of 100% of cuts already enshrined in law,only 15% approx. have been implemented.
    This cannot,must not,be allowed to continue & this prospective database must not be allowed to be created. The news blackout continues,and we are heading for a very very dark place.

  21. nees to find a derserted island out tere somewhere. big brother need fighting

  22. Kind of obvious what the CenSuS was all about now, filling that in was like signing your own death warrant for the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. What a goldmine for all those DWP “researchers” plotting to socially engineer the poor, sick and disabled out of existence. Welcome to the Fourth Reich!

  23. Martin Williams

    Why did this quote pop into my head.. Rev 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
    Rev 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name

  24. Beware the IDS of March (or any other month).

  25. Pingback: Attack the System » Blog Archive » Big Brother is Back – ID Cards Were Nothing Compared to This Government’s Snooping Plans

  26. The game is on folks you are at a juncture in history.
    Freedom or tyranny …. your choice.

    A nefarious and vicious criminal elite are engineering a totalitarian Marxist inspired feudal control system of governmental and corporate slavery with which to subjugate and exploit you and your descendants to their best advantage. The databases are just one element of a multifaceted plan.

    Total control of all resources, you are a “human resource”.

    Their dystopian dream is a virtual prison for you to live out your miserable impoverished lives providing of course that you comply. Think Stalin’s Soviet Union. He murdered at least 35 million people and blighted the lives of the survivors.

    At present we are a pathetic nation of ostriches hoping that it will all go away.

    It will not. YOU need to act NOW.

    These thieves, incompetents, nonces, and cut throats will determine your destiny only if you allow them to.

    There is at present a window of opportunity to defeat this enemy, we outnumber them thousands to one. Use your time wisely.

    Here are some clues to assist in identifying your oppressors.

    (oh no you don’t – jv)

  27. can we keep to facts or opinions please and not get into silly conspiracy shite

  28. Freedom is a myth that has been perpetrated by the powers that be to keep the masses happy for a very, very long time.

  29. Pingback: Big Brother is Back – ID Cards Were Nothing Compared to This Government’s Snooping Plans | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG

  30. And the scary part? Echelon isn’t just the US, Canada, UK, AU, Israel and South American Countries. It grows ever so large and I’m sure they are already all connected as one unit. This power will come to a grinding halt regardless of what anyone thinks though, it always works out that way whether we end up living in a 1984 society or not things will eventually collapse one way or another. The thing that sucked so much about 1984 was the fact that no matter who the person was eventually they committed thought crime, whether in their sleep, fantasizing about it, or unknowingly as we had those three examples from the novel.

  31. I don’t see why this is so concerning ? I have nothing to hide and why should anyone else need to hide such information unless they HAVE something to hide ?? I think this system will help prevent fraud and discourage the people who abuse these systems . I work my guts out for my place in life and if my details are on a computer somewhere n it help s the government organise everything then happy days ! I’m sure there r many advantages to this system

    • Lynn: there are too many vested interests in the civil service to have it all under one roof, running from a single database, if you could put one application in, with a few extra tick boxes, that would need seriously less civil servants and their inefficiency and incompotence would wither under the harsh light of day

      there would need to be clear guidelines on how the system worked, thus opening it up to FOI

      the only downside is, the government is incapable of ordering such a system and it will piss away a good few billion quid

  32. Pingback: Big Brother is Back – ID Cards Were Nothing Compared to This Government’s Snooping Plans « Stop Making Sense

  33. So he`s spoken to everyone who might make a profit out of this, asking what they think… yet he didn`t ask me, or anyone else this may effect, and today I got sent a letter saying I might earn too much to get tax credits and to phone up which I did – I had to undergo a series of “security” questions – name ,nin, how old child is, – these are along side an EXPERIAN credit check. When I asked why the government were using a private company to do checks, he did not know, however asked me if I had had any loans out, and who with – what for?!!! I phoned up about a tax matter and got the 3rd degree! Is that info going back to Experian? Finally I was informed to create a secure password by answering what is your favourite animal/ music/ food? My wife was laughing about it, I now find it sinister, I said to him, “so who`s going to want to break in to this account and pay my tax?”.-What is the real reason for it…?!?

  34. Time to fuck off to Ireland. They may be impoverished, but you are left alone there.

  35. for an explanation of what is going on, watch this:

    (really please don’t – jv)

  36. The thing about voice-prints for identification is the first part that is going to get scrapped. A voice spoken out loud is very different from a voice over the phone, because of how modern telephony works.

    All modern telephony now is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Data costs the telephone companies money to transmit, so to save on costs the VoIP phones throw away a lot of the high and low frequency components of voice, since it has been found that people don’t actually need it to understand speech. The signal is then compressed with a lossy algorithm which again loses some unnecessary components of speech.

    The net effect is you lose the bits of the voice that voiceprints are looking for, so the system doesn’t work over the phone.

  37. This sounds just as extensive, intensive, and ambitious as Tony Blair’s famous Universal NHS database.

    If you remember, that one was finally killed after absorbing some £12Bn and delivering nothing.

    The problems are not technogical, they are organisational: it simply isn’t feasible to build something of this complexity and depth, which actually works.

    It is just a pity they can’t waste their OWN money finding this out all over again.

    But whatever, it won’t work, so stop getting your tinfoil hats in a tangle about it.

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  50. “No Government before has ever attempted to collate such a huge amount of data on their citizens all in one place.”

    Not quite true. The CIA started a programme called TIA Total Information Awareness. The idea was to have all the sorts of details you mention (health, education, employment, tax, bank details, telephone records) plus
    - what library books you borrowed (anything on Islam – red flag!)
    - what purchases you made on your credit card (fertilizer when you live in a top floor flat – red flag)
    - what sites you visit on the Internet (US citizen reading socialist paper like the UK Guardian – red flag! – even if you’re only being rude.)
    - what toll roads your car has travelled along
    - which church has you on their roll

    and, of course, the content of every email you’ve ever written or received.

    This was set up in the aftermath of 9/11 and killed as soon as the worst of the panic died down because it was impractical.

    However, the NSA is building a massive server complex underneath a mountain in Utah, and it seems as though this project may now be closer to practical as the cost and speed of data storage and management come down.

    See
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1

  51. vicki – its difficult to assess whether you’re for or against such levels of data collection. I’m certainly against it on the grounds that it violates basic human rights. Big brother IS watching us it seems!

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  55. What about the mute? What happens if your voice subsequently changes due to larynx cancer or spasmodic dysphonia, or a myriad of other reasons? What if someone in the call centre fancies a new life in the UK, and adds their voice print to your NINO?

  56. I enjoy what you guys are up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

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