Blow up your smart card
Wednesday April 26th 2006, 10:01 pm

Howard has approved ‘smart cards‘ for access to government services like Medicare, pension benefits, etc. Howard claims that the new ID cards will not be mandatory, yet he also says some services will be unavailable without the electronic card. Sounds like “compulsory,” once the sound bite is translated out of Howard doublespeak.

I’m with Terry O’Gorman, who says the new ‘smart card’ is simply a de-facto Australia card. The combination of various data represents a very real privacy risk to users. Build an information system- and someone will find a way to break into it.

The present arrangement has your details spread out over several information systems, causing information theft to be much more difficult as several systems must be broken to obtain all your details. Moreover, the card user cannot be assured of what data actually resides on the card nor how that information is used. With a paper based system as used with the present Medicare card, a record trail is established which could be accessed with Freedom of Information requests.

I’m a disabled pensioner. I have a Medicare card and a pension card. My wallet will get 1.6 grams lighter if I only have to carry one card. Yippee. That’ll sort out the excess stress on my knees. I can’t think of any other valid purpose for the new ID cards. What’s wrong with the present system?

The most disappointing part is that it will be those who can least afford to protest the new ID card system- pensioners, single mums and the unemployed- who will be compulsorily obligated to use it.

poooooof!In actual fact, the ‘smart card’ itself probably won’t contain much data, likely only a number which a database will use to pull up your records.

If you’re curious about what data is on a ‘smart card’ and are handy with a soldering iron, you can construct this interface circuit to connect the ‘smart card’ to your PC. You can then use common terminal emulation software to see the card’s contents.

Or, if you’re so inclined, you can fry the actual chip within a ‘smart card’ by connecting a 12v DC source (i.e. car battery) to the contact pads as shown. A couple of 5 second bursts in a microwave oven would have a similar effect. Either method would disable the chip whilst leaving the card cosmetically undamaged. (edit: microwaving an old SIM card did kill it, but also melted the plastic surface of the card… not the best method to kill your smart card…)

The card itself isn’t the problem. It’s database in which your information is concentrated where the real privacy risk exists. Blowing up the card is fairly symbolic, though.

Down with Big Bother!


12 Comments so far
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Oh no!
Now they’ll build in anti-fryware in the spyware.

Comment by suki 04.26.06 @ 11:05 pm

Suki, there’s very few integrated circuits which could survive the abuses I’ve described. I might stress that the card should be allowed to cool between each 5 second trashing in the microwave.

I like the running 12v through it backwards trick the best, though. Assured destruction, plus the internal wiring of the ‘smart card’ will act like a fuse which ought to prevent it bursting into flames. 😀

Comment by weez 04.26.06 @ 11:13 pm

The Feds and the Firebrigade.
I wouldn’t want to live in your street.

Comment by suki 04.26.06 @ 11:35 pm

May have to reconsider the microwave method. It took six 5 second bursts in a 1000 watt microwave to kill an old phone SIM card. However, the plastic surface on the SIM card warped, failing the ‘no physical damage’ test.

Mal Brough and others are flogging the mysterious, invisible ‘welfare fraud’ warhorse again. The repetitive downward envy trip coming out of the Libs is getting very, very old.

Comment by weez 04.26.06 @ 11:40 pm

I’ve got a pair of scissors. Will they work?

Comment by Ed 04.27.06 @ 2:13 pm

Scissors will definitely work- but Herr Howard is claiming that some services won’t be accessible without the card. Trash the chip and keep the card intact- you beat Big Bother and still have the card per the specification.

Comment by weez 04.27.06 @ 7:12 pm

For the record I think it is a bad idea, I for one do not trust any government enough to responsibly use the power that a national id system would give them.

Comment by Swagy 04.28.06 @ 4:35 am

I’m in your boat, another who will have no choice in the matter, compulsury id for the poor.

Comment by Kieran 06.23.07 @ 12:13 pm

Most micro-chips are very brittle.

Has anybody tried using a hammer, to disable the Big Brother? I say a good old whack should do the trick.

Comment by Gynnaren 09.14.07 @ 5:14 pm

Gynnaren, the ID cards haven’t been issued yet and I’m fresh out of old SIM cards to test your (quite plausible) theory. I’m fairly confident that the resistance from within King John HoWARd’s own party has quite a lot to do with that- they obviously don’t give a shit about resistance from people who will be affected by the card but would have no choice but to have one, should such a scheme be implemented.

Since I published this bit, HoWARd has acquired a use-by date. The Labor Party looks set to win the upcoming election but their position on the ID card isn’t known at this juncture.

Comment by weez 09.16.07 @ 7:42 am

You said, in the first paragraph, “some services will be unavailable without the electronic card.” I read in a black book once, called the Bible, that this kind of thing was going to happen. Nobody believed it 20 years ago. Well, here we are. Christine

Comment by Christine 09.25.10 @ 9:43 am

Dear Christine, First, I’m amazed that a bible thumping nutjob like you can actually read. Second, the xian bible is the most widely published fictional novel in the world. Could you kindly point out, chapter and verse, of where in the babble jesus mentions electronics? If you believe any of the babble literally, I have a very nice Opera House for sale. Fifty bucks.

Comment by weez 09.25.10 @ 1:30 pm

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