Home Secretary Launches ID Cards Response to Consultation

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, is currently hosting a press conference to launch the National Identity Scheme Delivery Plan 2008: Response to Consultation.

The response comprises two documents: a formal response to the consultation, and a ‘lay-readable’ document entitled “Introducing the National Identity Scheme”. In addition, the Identity and Passport Service is publishing a Front Office Services Prospectus for creating a market in application and enrolment services.

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Some of the key points that are raised in the response include:

– IPS recognise the importance of communicating information about the NIS, and of addressing the information needs of businesses and individuals alike.

– the NIS will be supported by an Identity Scheme Charter setting out rights and responsibilities of both individuals and government. The Charter will be developed by a new Identity Scheme Public Panel, which will in turn be supported by an Expert Group of privacy, identity, equalities and other experts. EPG is in discussion with IPS about ideas on how this might work.

– IPS will commit that the National Identity Register Number (NIRNO) will not appear on the face of the ID Card or within its chip, thus reducing the risk of it being used as an index or for aggregation purposes.

– there will be further consultation on the secondary legislation.

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Are we being deceived again? It's this aggregation of sensitive data from the ID database, the passport database, the DVLA numberplate tracking database and the police DNA database* which is the main threat to our freedom. If we are not free to speak and act without leaving ourselves open to abuse by future govts, officials, hackers, insurance companies etc, then Britain will clearly become a horrific snooper/police state. Anything which can link one-to-one our ID cards with our ID database records can also be used to aggregate data from all these other databases. So either the IPS are deceiving us or the ID database is not being consulted during verification and is thus a completely unnecessary tool of oppression. * list shortened for readability. Should also include the Children's Index, the medical records database, the upcoming email & phone calls database, our bank and credit card records, the CRB database, census data etc
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That penultimate point on the bulleted list is surely just complete and utter bunkum. The risk that I am concerned about is that the government will be able to use the NIRNO as a means to index and aggregate information about my activities. One of the key, if not the key, objectives of the NIS is to verify identity. If I present the card to a party that wants to verify my identity then there must be some means of linking the card to an entry on the NIR. When this happens, the record retrieved will have the NIRNO enabling it to be linked and aggregated at the back end - and will generate an audit log entry that xyz institution verified the identity NIRNO abcdefg on a particular date etc. Jacqui is trying to pull the wool over our eyes methinks - or she's admitting that the ID cards are simply disconnected tokens and the NIR is redundant.
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