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.
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
Leave a comment
Leave a comment