Australia dumps national ID card?

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Posted by Cory Doctorow, December 25, 2007 1:13 PM | permalink
Australians got a wonderful xmas surprise this month — the new Labour government has scrapped the plan for a universal surveillance identity card.

Opponents of Australia’s controversial Access Card received an early Christmas present earlier this month when the incoming Rudd Labor Government finally axed the controversial ID program. Had it been implemented, the Access Card program would have required Australians to present the smart card anytime they dealt with certain federal departments, including Medicare, Centrelink, the Child Support Agency, or Veterans’ Affairs…

Encrypted information contained within the card’s RFID chip would have included a person’s legal name, date of birth, gender, address, signature, card number, card expiration date, and Medicare number. Provisions were also included that would allow additional information deemed to be necessary for either “the administration or purposes of the Act.”

Australians were unhappy about being forced to carry a unique ID card merely for the purpose of interacting with basic human and health services, and the proposal faced opposition from its very inception. The defeat of John Howard in the Australian polls was the last gasp of the Access Card program, which was killed off as one of the very first acts of the new Labor government, lead by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Update: Patrick Gray sez, “You posted an Ars Technica piece about the new Australian Government ditching the proposed Access Card. While that’s technically true, Labor’s being a tad loose with regard to its plans for a similar scheme. They have so far refused to rule out introducing their own ‘access card’. I’ve covered this all year on my security podcast.

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Clare Swinney

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