Galleries more

Videos more

Dictionary more

LALIT addresses students on dangers of the new ID cards


Below is a web-version of a leaflet distributed by four LALIT members at the University of Mauritius, warning of the dangers of centralizing biometric data for a whole population, including finger-prints. University students already seem very concerned about the dangers that the new ID card represent, for the future.

The two sides of the leaflet are reproduced here:


Dear students at the University of Mauritius,

LALIT is running a campaign against the new ID cards that will contain biometric information in a microchip that can store fingerprints and portrait-photo measurements. The centralized data-base in Ebene will provide the infrastructure for what can, in the future, become a dictatorship. The State will have inordinate information, and thus control, over ordinary law-abiding citizens.

The Government has called in young people first, banking on the fact that you are not as experienced, by definition, as the other age groups. But, young people can think! Perhaps the Government did not bank on this.

LALIT is also supporting the two Supreme Court injunctions against the State, both on the grounds that peoples’ Constitutional Rights are being infringed. The right to privacy and to free movement is certainly being curtailed by the proposed I.D. Cards. However, the real struggle is a political one, and depends on many, many people coming to understand in what way the new ID cards are a threat, and therefore acting together to prevent the implementation of the new provisions, and to get Government to back-pedal.

The Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolam, declared on 17 September, 2013 at Ebene that the new card is “modern, efficient and secure”. But, is this so?

Having to produce a card for the Authorities is hurling us back to the times of slavery and indenture. It is hardly modern to do this. The people of three quite “modern” countries, Australia, the USA and Britian, have risen up against their Governments and managed to stop biometric ID cards, even when they had begun to be introduced, as they are here now. They signed petitions, held meetings, put up YouTube messages, organized debates, and they were very slow to go and take up the cards. Eventually, so many people in these three countries opposed the biometric data centralization, that the respective Governments had to back-pedal and get the cards and database destroyed.

Efficient, for whom?
When Navin Ramgoolam says the new cards will be “efficient”, who in fact will they be efficient for? Pensioners already have perfectly good bus passes. Banks recognize signatures, cards and codes. The new ID cards are efficient only for one thing: for a State that intends to control and dominate its own people. Talking of efficiency, the price to you to replace the biometric ID Card is Rs350, the second time Rs700, and the third time Rs1,000. The present fee to replace a lost ID card is Rs 50, which is certainly more efficient for us, the users.

What “security” is the Prime Minister trying to convince us of when 800,000 citizens do not know who have access to personal data on them? Nor will we know what the data will be in the future. Government Ministers are until now vague about what data will be computerised in the database in the future. No wonder. The Civil Status (Amendment) Act 2001 itself has been amended in July 2013 to state that “such other particulars as may be prescribed” can be added. The Secret Services will certainly have access to this data, one way or another. Hackers as well will crack this system. Just last week, when Apple launched its’ latest iPod 5S touch 16GB, it challenged hackers to crack its “protective fingerprint” system and guess what? Only 3-4 days later the C.H.A.O.S hacker group in Germany via a You tube clip showed how they hacked the system. Here are the links for their little clip and a UK news item telling about it:

Government national advertisement to con us
There is a national campaign in the mass media, newspapers, MBC-TV, social networks and radio emphasizing empty slogans on “modernity, efficiency and security”, too. Isn’t this all just manipulating people by means of advertising techniques usually used for selling soap powder? What is fundamental is not being said. All these personal data, and more to be added continuosly, will be centralised in the State apparatus. For example, in 1997-8, when Parti Travayis for the first time come forward with the “Smart Card” project, the focus was on 3 aspects: medical records, electoral registers and fingerprints. This is why people have rightly remembered this explicit aim of the State.

Yours sincerely,

Cindy Clelie, for LALIT 2 October, 2013
153 Main Rd, GRNW, Port Louis.

Please contact us to give a hand in the campaign: 208 5551 or 208 2132.
Visit our web-site for background information:


* Until now, it is not compulsory to present an ID card to anyone. As from next year in October, 2014, according to the National ID Card Act 2013, you will have to present your card to anyone who, by law, can call on you to do so, or to “every” one else with reasonable authority. If you do not produce it on-the-spot, the person can “direct” you as to who to present it to, within what delay, and where. This means back to the times of indenture when you needed papers in order to leave the Sugar Estate you were assigned to. There goes our freedom of movement, won less than one hundred years ago.

* There will be an electronic chip inside the card bearing invisible personal information on you, including your finger prints. The law says that “such other particulars as may be prescribed” can be added to the Government On-Line Centre data-base and your card. This is an assault on privacy. What is more private than your own fingerprints?

* We will not even know, in the long run, what is on the card about ourselves. However, other people will know. A whole list of them: any number of Civil servants including police officers, any number of employees of the three Singapour firms setting the system up, and secret services like that of the USA. Probably hackers, too. Hackers recently took 3 days to hack the finger-print security in the new Apple i-phone. Big corporations (pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, for a start) will willingly bribe their way to this kind of data for their targeted marketing.

* The ID Card itself is like the tip of an ice-berg. The ice-berg is the huge on-line data-base that will be physically run from Ebene. Our biometric photographs and all 10 fingerprints will be there. Biometric photos are those that allow secret services to feed in a crowd shot, and get the names and addresses out in a few seconds, after matching against this data-base. This is why people call this new ID card system “Big Brother”.

* Say you and a friend stop at a stall somewhere after work and drink a fruit juice together. Being good citizens, you throw your empty plastic bottles into the bin on the spot. That night there’s a crime there. Next morning, the police cordon off the area, and pick up all the clues, including the two plastic bottles. In no time the centralized data-base comes up with your and your friend’s names and addresses. The presumption of innocence just evaporates. These are real dangers of this kind of centralized database.

* Information stored in the ID System falls under the Data Protection Act (DPA). This sounds very safe. But the Data Commissioner can delegate any of his powers to the Police. In this way, it is obviously an institution that is basically part of the police.

* Despite the DPA supposedly “protecting” data being manipulated all over the country, including the ID data that will be stored on-line, the law specifically exempts data on us from all manner of protection offered if it concerns any police enquiries, even prevention of crime, even tax, and obviously the country’s security, as defined by the regime of the moment.

* The smart cards we are being called up to produce, also act as tracking devices. People will know where we are as we access different machines, in banks, post offices, hospitals, government offices and so on.

* Even private sector bosses, like banks, will have machines to read invisible data on the ID cards.

* The Government has announced that anyone who needs to replace their ID card will foot the bill. It will cost Rs350 the first time your bag is stolen, then it will double, then triple. It is worth remembering that 300 people lose their present ID Cards every day. Young people are obviously at a high risk of losing their cards.

* The people of Britain, Australia and the U.S.A., in their wisdom, rose up against this type of Smart Card when their respective Governments introduced them. They knew the dangers for freedom of movement and the right to one’s privacy. They know the dangers of such centralized data systems. Adolf Hitler, for example, used the computerized data-base and I.D. card system installed in Germany in the 1930’s by IBM in its punch card computers, in order to procede towards the systematic extermination of millions of German people.

No to the new biometric ID Cards.

If you want to help in the campaign, contact us at or ring on 208 5551 or 208 2132.