As I indicated in previous blogs, Tony Blair is not the guy making the running with the ID
cards, nor is the Home Secretary (whoever that may be this week), but it is
being directed and driven in the UK by the Treasury.
They are the ones
who have been in discussions for the past 10 years at various levels in Europe, and it is they who will introduce the
first usage for the eID card, for financial transactions, cross border
taxation, VAT and lots of other banking regulations.
Now bearing in
mind that the primary driving force for eID in Europe is the European Commission, the biggest
authoritarian administrative body in the world, and is wholly unelected, but
it is they who are making the rules that all the member states will have to live by.
So who are these
people in Europe making the running in deciding on whether
you have an ID card or not. How is this decided, how is it regulated, what
technology is to be used. Will your data be safe?
The programme is
being co-ordinated primarily by 2 bodies. The decisions and recommendations of
these 2 bodies are then translated into National work groups and on to Member
The first group is IDABC.
IDABC is a
Community programme managed by the European Commission's Enterprise and Industry Directorate General.
January 2005 the
EU’s IDABC programme got under way, succeeding the IDA II programme which ended in 2004. IDABC
contributes to the eEurope objective of modernising the European public sector
by using state-of-the-art information and communication technologies,
developing common solutions and services and providing a platform for the
exchange of good practice between public administrations. Its particular
strength is in bridging the gap between the Public Administration and
eGovernment policy sectors.
Read more on
IDA/IDABC history at http://europa.eu.int/idabc/en/document/2586/10#When
IDABC projects are made by PEGSCO,
the Pan-European eGovernment Services Committee, and the PEGSCO Technical
Working Group, whose terms of reference can be seen here.
report to the European Parliament dated 24.10.2006 called Communication
from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – Evaluation of
the implementation of the IDABC programme /* COM/2006/0611 final */ and can be
Reference to the i2010 European Roadmap can be found in yesterday's blog.
In his 16
Explanatory Memorandum, the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office (Mr
Pat McFadden) finds it “encouraging that the UK is on the same path as the IDABC Programme
in achieving organisational interoperability across administrations and also to
assist in the drive for efficiency”.
The submission to
the Select Committee on European
Scrutiny, their decision was Not cleared; further information requested.
The publication can be viewed here. This is why this information is not generally
in the public domain, but I would draw readers attention to the Committee’s
comments at the end of the publication marked in bold. They could not find any
references to PEGSCO and neither can I in terms of who, what where and when,
other than what the name stands for.
Some of the
behind the scenes background research that has so far been undertaken is listed
including lots of other links.
There is an awful
lot of documentation to wade through, with reference to so many working groups
and sub groups, documents and directives, but the one thing that comes across
with the majority of the European Commission papers is that they want citizen
buy in, they want governments to clearly explain not only what the eID scheme
is all about, but how it will work, how it will affect you the citizen. They
want governments to use this to cut back on centralised government, to cut the
red tape and reduce the administrative burden on the taxpayers. The emphasis is on joined up government services to its citizens, not freely available personal data.
The UK’s response to this has been to increase
the civil service levels, increase the administrative levels, to increase big
centralised government, to tell the citizen from little to nothing, other than
to say you will do this, give us all your personal data, or we will not allow you to travel, interrogation centres, and we have lots
of punitive financial measures to make you do it.
The second group is called the Porvoo Group
As its name
suggests, the Porvoo Group was established in Porvoo, Finland. Following the joint initiative by one of
the eEurope Smart Card Charter chairmen and the Director General of the Finnish
Population Register Centre, the founding meeting took place at the Haikko Manor
in the spring of 2002 during the international conference held in conjunction
with the Public Identity Project of the Smart Card Charter operating under the
eEurope 2002 programme.
The Group consists of governmental representatives from European
countries; representatives from the private sector and from the European
Commission have also attended the seminars. The number of participating member
countries has steadily increased; at present, about 30 countries have
representatives in the Group. In the seminars the number of participants has
been even as high as about 100 persons.
The three joint-chairpersons of the Porvoo Group are Mr. Tapio Aaltonen,
the Director of Certificate Authority Services at the Finnish Population
Register Centre; Mr. Jan van Arkel, from the Netherlands, one of the
Porvoo Group founders and the former eEurope Smart Card Charter chairman; and
the Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the member country
hosting the next Porvoo Group seminar.
The last report
available was from the meeting of the Porvoo group called Porvoo 9: Ljubljana, Slovenia 11 – 12 May 2006, http://porvoo9.gov.si/ .
There has since
been a further meeting Porvoo 10: Porvoo, Finland 2 – 3 November 2006, but the outcome of
that meeting is not yet available
The Porvoo 11 meeting will tentatively be held in Spring 2007 in Portugal.
Two of the key
documents from Porvoo9 is the Thomas Myhr's report: Regulating an European eID (cut
and paste of an American report and Europeanised) and NIST Special Publication (The National
Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce, a truly
scary document), which has
now been accepted by IDABC as policy for them to present to PEGSCO.
The Porvoo 9
meeting was attended not
only by representatives from governments of the EU, including our own, but also
from the US dept of commerce and major manufacturing companies from Japan.
Who is PEGSCO?
What is PEGSCO? Apart from its name we know very little. We don’t know who its members are, what their
backgrounds are or what interests they hold.
We have no idea
of its agenda (hidden or public), nor do we know how it is funded or regulated.
What we do know
is they have developed the Blueprint that the UK government is working to, whether they
will admit this or not is another matter, but the documentary evidence is
I have written before
that the entire ID scheme (both ID cards and ePassports) was dreamt up by John
Poindexter when he set up for George Bush on August 2, 2002 the agency
known as the Information
Awareness Office, the IAO. The IAO project was about identifying, monitoring
and profiling every citizen in the Western world, ostensibly so that they could
identify potential terrorist suspects if they stepped outside of the recognised
Read his opening speech,
reference some of the projects that he had already undertaken for the US government, and see how and why the US is now influencing the European
Commission, not directly but via the Porvoo group, and why the EU is imposing
this on us.
With the Total Information Awareness programme, and all references to the
original IAO project website have been removed.
I still believe
that this programme is very much alive, living within the European Commission,
being sold to us as economic and security benefits, and being exercised to the
full in a very secretive and divisive way by the UK government.
“The further back you look, the further forward you can see.”