100 signatures reached
To: Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Stop the Public Services Card!
Stop making the Public Services Card a requirement for essential services.
Why is this important?
Here are three fundamental problems with the Public Services Card:
• The card may be illegal under European law.
• The card targets economically vulnerable people, such as those in receipt of social welfare, pension, child benefit or State grants.
• It has cost an estimated €60 million to roll out, with savings of only €2.5million in welfare fraud, according to the Department of Social Welfare.
Here are some more problems:
• It collects and stores more data than necessary for the Government’s purpose of “streamlining services”.
There is no independent body overseeing the use, sharing, storage and security of this data. As always with mass storage of data, there is a high risk of a security breach.
• The Data Protection Commissioner has been formally investigating the card’s legality since October 2017.
• The government has said it is not collecting extremely sensitive biometric data, yet the card does require a photo which is subject to analysis by an arithmetic template.
• It contradicts the State’s position on privacy at the EU. The Minister for Foreign Affairs is looking for an opt-out of proposed EU ID card biometrics, yet the Department of Social Protection is insisting on PSC biometrics.
• Both the state and the Data Protection Commissioner have refused to publicise information regarding the ongoing investigation. The Department of Social Protection flat-out refused to provide an interim report via our freedom of information request to them. Similarly, the Data Protection Officer will not share any of their reports on the matter - only ‘high level findings’.
But it’s necessary in order to prevent welfare cheats, isn’t it?
• Welfare fraud is far less common than the State would like you to believe. White-collar crime robs the taxpayer of much more every year.
• There are better, less invasive ways to achieve this aim.
• It doesn’t appear the card is saving the state money in this regard. (See above: fundamental problems).
In summary, the Public Services Card is an infringement on your right to privacy and it has to be stopped!!