Thursday, 20 December 2007

UK National Identity Scheme

Mr Andrew Hooke, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Government Practice from the PA Consulting Group, sent this letter to the editor of the Financial Times, which makes a couple of good points in the debate about the UK National Identity Scheme.

Sir, Following the recent release of personal information from the UK's Revenue and Customs, some have speculated that the National Identity Scheme should be abandoned. They fear a similar release from the database supporting the scheme - the National Identity Register (NIR). This ignores the role that biometric technology plays in the scheme.
The biographic information recorded on the NIR is limited by law to basic identity information such as name, address, gender and date of birth. However, crucially, any attempt to steal an identity would need to be backed up by a matching identity card with associated biometric information (eg, fingerprints).
Here is the fraudster's problem - they may have obtained personal information about an individual but the identity already exists in the NIR, preventing them from obtaining a false identity card by this route. Any identity card obtained would be associated with a fundamental different identity because the biometric record would be different. The two identities - that of the fraudster and their target - would have diverged, with different NIR numbers, and the attempted fraud would have failed.
Biometric data need to be supported by a valid card and therefore are of little value to a fraudster. Any stolen card can be revoked.
Far from being a potential source of identity theft, the National Identity Scheme is a valuable tool for its prevention. It will go a long way towards reducing identity fraud and it will greatly simplify many transactions. The scheme never was about storing sensitive information on UK citizens. It is about reducing crime and making life simpler for everyone.

Andrew Hooke, Financial Times (October 2007)

I am completely in favour of the implementation of a UK National Identity Scheme. I support this scheme even though I will help to fund it (since I am a UK taxpayer) and I won't obtain direct benefits from it.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

English girls vs American girls

I once got to the end of a date in New York, pulled out my credit card to pay and the girl solemnly remarked: “A green American Express card? I didn’t know they still made them in that colour.”

Tad Safran, American beauty?, Timesonline (11/12/2007)

Gals, you should read this article and act in consequence... Boys, just have a laugh since most of you have already seen the best years (15-18) of the English girls of your age.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Islam's silent moderates

When a “moderate” Muslim’s sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Allah, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Islam will remain wishful thinking.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam’s Silent Moderates, New York Times (07/12/2007)

Why are the so-called moderate Islamists so silent when the extremists Islamists act?

One obvious difference between Christianism and Islamism is this one about compassion. Jesus Christ taught us that the Law (in this case, the Sabbath) was made for the Man, not the Man for the Law (Mk 2:27). Jesus Christ taught us to be compassive and forgiving and to show God's love. This attitude was a revolution from the Jewish "eye for eye" rule. Muhammad, however, when designed his theories drinking from the sources of the Christianism and Judaism, picked the tougher attitude, easier to be accepted by the Arabian patriarchs and maybe because Muhammad himself was full of resentment against Jews and Christians and was not exactly feeling compassive in that moment.

I strongly request every Muslim who call themselves moderate to stand up against cruelty in the name of Islam. I strongly request every Christian who call themselves moderate to stand up against cruelty in the name of Christianism.

Love and freedom.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

The Kid in Liverpool

P.- Se ha montado un debate: ¿a quién debe quitar Luis para ponerle a usted?
R.- Es lo de siempre. El día que aficionados, prensa y jugadores entendamos que, juegue quien juegue, juegan 11 españoles, y que si ganan ellos ganamos todos, entonces estaremos en el camino de hacer algo.

Interview to Fernando Torres, El Mundo (30/11/2007)

A sensible, happy guy, a Kid who has grown up. Welcome to England. Good luck with Liverpool. And let's be lucky with Spain's football national team.