Government opens up new risk to our personal data

The Government’s latest attempt to persuade us of the wonders of its ID cards scheme is Introducing the National Identity Scheme, a publication that sets out the claimed benefits of the scheme but which in fact makes clear that the scheme will open up even more personal data to the mercy of computer hackers.

Sensitive and personal information about you will be available via a simple online login despite the fact that, as even many banks and other financial institutions have discovered, opening up records to online access means hackers will sometimes also get in. As the old saying goes, the only secure computer system is one that is switched off. It may be through compromising the central system, or – increasingly – through planting malicious software on the punter’s system – but either way, records get seen by people who shouldn’t see them.

The document explains of the new National Identity Registry:

The biographical information that we will store here is similar to that stored on the passport database with the important addition of your National Insurance Number. Your information will be under your control – you will be able to check your core identity information at any time by logging on to a checking service via the internet. If you find any irregularities on your record you can contact us for help. On the checking service you will also be able to see a log of any activity against your personal information record (the ‘audit log’).

In other words, if a hacker compromises the system, they will have access to not only a wide range of personal data, which can then be misused in all sorts of different ways, but they can also discover details of your life from the record of previous checks: who has wanted to check your records and when can reveal an awful lot in some people’s cases.

Meanwhile, a sign of the increasing anxiety in the Government as it tries to persuade people about ID cards is this gem of an example from the document:

Clare is a British national who works for a multinational retailer and has to travel a lot for work. She used to carry her passport around with her all the time but it used to get dog-eared and messy. Now she keeps her identity card in her purse and only uses her passport when she is going outside Europe.

Yup, that’s right. Forget worries about cost! Forget worries about security! Forget worries about IT not working! It’s all ok because the card will be a bit smaller. Thank goodness for that.

You can sign the Liberal Democrat petition against ID cards at – and why not also email this address to five friends today?

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This entry was posted in News.

One Comment

  • Everyone opposed to ID cards should be involved in the nationwide, nonpartisan NO2ID campaign. There’s a list of local groups at

    There’s a lot of things Lib Dems can do within the party too – every Lib Dem council group should be trying to get motions which actively protect people from the scheme passed, samples at

    We should be writing in our FOCUS leaflets about the economic downturn and how we would save the country billions by scrapping the National Identity Scheme, but it’s worth throwing in a paragraph or two about the scale of the database, how it will track people for life, and how it will do nothing to prevent terrorism.

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