www.citizens.lk: Government wants two nude photos of every citizen for security purposes
Posted by Ajith on January 10, 2009
The confusing SMS received today from nowhere requesting registration at http://www.citizens.lk was first taken as a hoax or joke by many. (Interestingly, the text I received misspelled the URL as http://www.citizen.lk. There is no such site.) The approach was so atypical for government of Sri Lanka. Our brown sahibs were never known for announcing e-government services by SMS. A quick check at Sri Lanka domain registry http://www.nic.lk verifies the URL is indeed registered to Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order. Will anyone risk playing a hoax at that level?
The site, unfortunately, further confuses a visitor. It makes one think more along the hoax idea. There is no logo; no photo; no link to the official site of Ministry of Defence (or any other government site, for that matter); no telephone number; no email – well, the list is long.
Do not take it personal guys, but http://www.citizens.lk is the most stupid site I have seen. Defence.lk is not always known to expressing the truth, but at least its design is decent. Compared to that, this looks as if designed by the same guys who did hedging deal. An online discussion has already begun to talk about its security loopholes.
Assuming this is genuine (I am still not sure) it raises so many questions.
Does government expect all citizens to register through Internet? Does the Defence Ministry babus are so stupid to assume that every citizen has Internet access or knows English? (There is only an English version) What guarantee the government has that everyone enters right information? Cannot somebody enter false information under the name of an ex-lover from a cyber café? How government knows that everyone has completed the process?
The type of the information expected include the ‘Date of Arrival’ and ‘Expected date of Departure’. Well, filling the first is cool. It is the birthday for most of us. How the hell we know the ‘Expected Date of Departure?’ Are we soothsayers? I am sure astrologers will have good business. Predicting the death of 19 million is no small task.
Then, the most important question.
The government already has all this information in multiple places. Ask Grama Niladharis or Election Commissioner. They know all about us. Why does the Defence Ministry need them again? Isn’t it simpler to obtain it from Grama Niladharis?
Further, the government is already is in the process of building a Population Registry under the World Bank funded e-SriLanka program. It takes time because it is complex. Computerising the information of 19 million is not easy. If somebody thinks setting up a web site – that too only in English – can achieve it, we have a big problem there, guys. Just imagine the trouble we had registering 10 million or so mobile phones.
Anyway forget Orwellian possibilities (1984 and BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU!) Big Brother has to be smart. These idiots cannot play Big Brother even if they want to. All they will have is an incomplete database with unverifiable information. What can anyone do with that?
About the nude photos? – Well forget it. I added it to make news more sensational. (Naughty me!) At least they are not up to that – not yet. Still it is a possibility. As long as we have enough gullibles who would do hesitate to drop their pants upon hearing the words ‘National Security’, I will not be surprised if government actually asks for them.