I may very well be alone here.
But I have absolutely no problem with the Public Services Card.
I don’t have a problem with what the state knows about me through the card and I don’t have a problem with it being required as identification for other state services.
So what does the state know about me that’s so worrying?
My name? My address? My PPS number? The fact that I’ve been ill and in hospital on many occasions? That I drive? What kind of car I have and how old it is? That I have a tv? That I have a house and pay property tax? That I have a passport? That I am married and have a child? How much I earn? How much I pay in health insurance?
So far, I can’t see what’s to be worried about.
Indeed, if they know my height, weight and taste in music, I’m still not bothered.
They may very well know that I’m a member of a library and to what destinations I’ve travelled in recent years.
I really don’t care.
I’d say Mark Zuckerberg – if he’s interested – could find out a great deal more about me than the information the state, through its various agencies, already has.
The state doesn’t know what I like to drink or how much of it I drink. It doesn’t know what I watch on tv or what movies I see. It doesn’t know what I think of Leo Varadkar though, if it checked Twitter or Facebook it would know what I think of our “hard” left and the Shinners, wouldn’t it Mark?
And do you know what? Even if the state knew those things it wouldn’t bother me. Some people are being triumphant about the trouble the PSC has caused for the government. There are the “told you so” crew and the “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we’re free at last’ brigade. Free what what, I’m not sure. But it might just be efficiency.
I have seen Data Protection used by some to avoid answering hard questions. It briefly resulted in the removal of visitors’ books from some tourist attractions as GDPR panic struck.
Are petitions, online and otherwise, to be banned? Books at the back of a church or hall for a mourner to sign? Birthday requests to Ronan Collins without first someone from the DPC office calling around to make sure the person whose birthday is being celebrated is ok with it being mentioned on the radio?
The Public Services Card made the provision of state services more efficient. Aside altogether from the cost of restricting its use and deleting data, obrtaining some state services may now become more cumbersome.
But sure, isn’t that grand as long as the state doesn’t know too much about you?
And who’s rejoicing?
Conmen and cheats. This will make cheating the system that little bit easier.
When I read George Orwell’s 1984 I was, of course, frightened by the prospect of Big Brother.
But then I thought, I have three big brothers and each one is brilliant. I couldn’t have chosen better if I’d had the choice.
So the notion that Big Brother is always bad is wrong.
Anyway, I presume the Data Commissioner will now destroy all the data which prompted her office to condemn the PSC.
It’s only logical.