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Friday, June 10, 2005

Looking out of the well

For readers of Korean:

Oh My News has a very detailed article on the ID card system that the New Labour government is planning to introduce here in the UK. Particularly interesting to me was the table noting that neither Japan or the US have such systems. This is clearly a massive attack on our civil liberties, but a lot of people say "well other European countries have ID cards and you don't see them complaining". To be honest, I didn't find it a major problem to carry an ID card when I was living in Korea. But then ID cards in Korea and European countries don't hold every kind of information under the sun, they're not biometric, they're not fitted with chips that can be scanned from a distance (which may happen with our ones), they don't cost the user hundreds of pounds and in general they're unlikely to be used to target certain parts of the population because of the colour of their skin (as they will be in the UK). You can check out the anti-ID campaign here.

Meanwhile, the latest issue (no. 24) of leftwing journal Radical Review (진보평론) publishes a translation of an article on the Brazilian Workers' Party by one of my fellow SOASians, Alfredo Saad-Filho. "Shattered Dreams: Lula, Neoliberalism and the Twilight of the Brazilian Workers' Party" looks at the decline of the PT as a radical force for change both before and since Lula's election in 2002. Hopefully they'll put the text up on their site at some stage. I think it should be important reading matter for activists in Korea as there are some interesting parallels with the Korean Democratic Labour Party (민노당).


At June 13, 2005 10:34 AM, Anonymous Nomadism said...

Um, well, I do believe you know that the Korean ID card has quite a lot of information, easily recognizable with numbers.

The first 6 numbers are the birth year, date and day, and as for the first number of the latter part, 1 means male, and 2 means femals (actually, 3 means male born after the year 2000, an 4 for females). The next numbers are coded, but they indicate the place of you or our parents birth.

At June 13, 2005 10:36 AM, Blogger nomadism의 역사 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At June 13, 2005 10:37 AM, Anonymous Nomadism said...

Actually, I think most Koreans don't realize that they are exposing so much information just with their ID numbers...maybe they are too accustomed to it. But, I don't see any reasone that UK should try to "follow" this "wrong system", in a much more intensified manner.

P.S. I came here by full chance via

Would you mind if I add you on one of my favorites?

At June 13, 2005 11:04 AM, Blogger kotaji said...

Thanks for your comments and please feel free to add me to your favourites.

I think the main difference between the Korean system (and many others internationally) and the new system to be introduced here is that it will include more biometric information: fingerprints and an iris scan. But as the NO2ID campaign points out it is not actually the card itself that will hold vast amounts of information about individuals but the database behind it, which will of course be accessible from the info on the card. All kinds of stuff could be on this database including medical information, educational history, political affiliations etc. Once the government have such a system they can pretty much use it for whatever they like, which is why the campaigners are saying that their campaign is against ID Cards AND the 'database state'.


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