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Friday, April 28, 2006

The Card: Don't leave home without it

The Federal Government’s announcement about the introduction of an access card (not a national ID card, and not compulsory except for your dealings with the Government on benefits including Medicare) has had a mixed reception. The Federal Privacy Commissioner and others have been quick to ensure that the privacy issues are flagged. The Government’s announcement said that a decision had been made “in principle” so this may still have a long way to run.

There isn’t much emphasis in the announcement on the card’s potential contribution to security and the proposal now seems strongly relating to an unreleased cost benefit survey by KPMG. Today’s Australian Financial Review and the Daily Telegraph report that Adrian McCullaugh of the Information Security Institute Qld University of Technology says that the initial estimate of costs of $1 billion may prove to be well wide of the mark. He suggests we will probably need to double it.

The NSW Premier Morris Iemma says the idea is ok as long as there are adequate privacy protections. Civil liberties groups including the Australian Privacy Foundation and the Australian Council of Civil Liberties are critical.

Will we see the card linked to the provision of state government services?

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