WE ARE hearing a lot of warnings about identity theft at the moment.
We are being made aware of the vast amount of information being accumulated about us and of the fact that it is capable of being lost and stolen.
It should not be such a great surprise. The BBC has been telling us for years that they have all our names and addresses and will soon be after us for TV licences. Did we think this was mere bluff?
The latest mind boggling scandal from the Tax Department (HMRC) has highlighted that much work needs to be done on encryption and other security measures.
Whoever thought any carrier could be trusted always to deliver? Loss and damage is endemic in an industry full of low paid disinterested shift workers.
Plenty of us have experienced both incompetence and arrogance from both HMRC and carriers’ employees but this effort really takes the biscuit. Heads should roll.
However, there can be no going back. Information will always exist and be capable of being stolen by a bad employee. There is no point in having information if it cannot be accessed, and if it can be accessed it can be stolen, though hopefully not in batches of 25 million.
There are lots of amoral young men in the IT industry and like it or not, and I for one don’t like it, the data is in their hands. No matter what security measures are devised the guys who devise them will know how to circumvent them. We are all vulnerable and there are no bolts or bars we can buy to protect ourselves.
Contrary to what many people seem to think, the only hope of preventing ID theft is a robust biometric ID system.
People will not be able to take driving tests on behalf of their friends. Fraudsters will not be able to claim benefits (ie steal taxpayers’ money) in umpteen different names.
When the time comes I will be very happy to pay for an ID card. It may never be fool proof, nor a panacea for all ills, but it will certainly provide the best insurance against ID theft and many other problems in our increasingly immoral and disparate society.