Things to do in your lunch hour: Last chance to respond to Scottish Government’s ID Database consultation

A couple of weeks ago, James Baker told us why the proposals in Scotland to use the NHS identity database and use it effectively as a surveillance tool was wrong and dangerous:

One of the stated aims of the changes proposed is that it would make it easier to ‘trace people’, the examples given are tracing missing children or ‘health tourists’. This is a giveaway as to the increased surveillance capabilities the scheme would create. If it’s able to trace children through civic transactions recorded on the system then it will be able to trace political campaigners, people’s whose library books are overdue, potentially anyone who comes to the attention of the authorities.

The consultation is alarmingly lacking in detail as to how the new database system would work, and what safeguards would be put in place.  If implemented as suggested it would almost certainly raise the possibility of a legal challenge over the breach of people’s right to privacy, and additional  compliance issues with data protection laws. At the very least such a major change in people’s relationship to the state  should be the subject of a public debate, not rushed through by officials using changes in obscure regulations. If these changes are to occur they need to be done through the use of primary legislation not a change in regulations. This seems a request it would seem hard for any reasonable Scottish Parliamentarian to deny.

The Scottish Government is consulting on this and today is your last chance to make your views known. You can do so here. It is worth a few minutes of your time to ask the Scottish Government to think twice before introducing such a step.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats totally oppose this measure and have started a petition against it. Please sign it. The campaign has the support of Baroness Shirley Williams who warned against sleepwalking into authoritarianism:

We must be careful not to sleepwalk into authoritarianism and ensure that the public understands the ramifications, including the cost. People will question why the SNP is proceeding with such an intrusive 
system, which was widely rejected for that reason in the UK.

If we learnt anything from the debate over ID cards, it was that our 
society still places great value on civil liberties.

Willie Rennie said:

People must shout loudly in their opposition to the SNP’s super ID database plans. The SNP Government’s ill-conceived proposals to expand access the NHS Central Register would pose a significant intrusion on our rights to privacy. The establishment of one massive central database comes with its own risks to the security of our privacy.

The Scottish Government’s consultation close this week. This will be the only opportunity for people to make their voice heard and I would urge them to do so.

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