A £1,000 reward has been posted for the fingerprints of Prime Minster Gordon Brown and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, both of whom, claim perpetrators No2ID and Privacy International, are "wanted identity felons". In a campaign Wanted Poster the campaign groups claim that their plan to "steal the fingerprints of the entire British population... will be the identity theft crime of the century."
Any fingerprints submitted should, say the groups, be lawfully obtained and provided with corroborating evidence; beer glasses, doorknobs or any object with a hard surface will however be accepted as entries. Should they manage to get hold of the pair's fingerprints, the two groups intend to make them publicly available, following the example of the Chaos Computer Club, which recently open sourced the German interior minister's fingerprints.
Are No2ID and Privacy International doing anything illegal? PI Director Simon Davies was philosophical, telling The Register, "I'm sure they can cook up something if they want to." But he warned of the dangers inherent in the Government's plans: "The government is blindingly ignorant that biometrics in the future will be crucial to personal security. It seems to believe that personal security equates only to the personal security that government offers. Unless government can come up with a framework for secure biometric revocation, it's criminally irresponsible to demand fingerprints. And it would be folly for us to give them away to government without a fight."
No2ID National Coordinator Phil Booth meanwhile challenged Smith and
Jones Brown to turn themselves in for the good of the country: "If they truly believe that the ID scheme will 'secure' their personal identities, the best thing Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith could do would be to surrender their OWN fingerprints and get us to donate the grand to a charity of their choice. Failing to surrender their fingerprints could be seen as tacit acknowledgement that they have no real faith in their own scheme."
The posters are intended to be used in a marketing campaign, and so long as they are widely distributed (various formats downloadable here), we should soon be seeing pictures of Smith and
Jones Brown wearing gloves indoors and looking nervous. Kebab shops in particular should be on the alert, while Browns fingerprints are thought to be all over the 2008 Budget. ®