Feeds

Commissioner 'increasingly alarmed' by ID card scheme

Thomas gives evidence

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

David Blunkett's ID card draft bill came under fire yesterday from Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, who told the Home Affairs Committee ID cards inquiry that his views on the subject had changed from healthy scepticism to "increasing alarm." Thomas, who intends to publish a critique of the draft next month, attacked the draft for lack of clarity or any clear statement of purpose, and pointed out that the real issue was not the individual's ability to identify themself with a piece of plastic, but the nature of the information to be held on the central ID register.

The Home Office, astoundingly, responded that Thomas was engaging in a "bit of grandstanding", expressing surprise that he hadn't raised his concerns directly with Home Secretary Blunkett.

Thomas did in fact submit a 30 page document and a summary of his views to the Home Office as part of the entitlement cards consultation exercise. In the latter, he said: "I am not satisfied that the current proposals would lead to establishing a data compliant scheme. A much more focused proposal needs to be brought forward with greater safeguards in relation to the quality, amount, and adequacy in relation to those narrower purposes. However, and most significantly, any new proposals need to have much more reliable safeguards against function creep over time, with strict legislation and independent and independent control being crucial features.... Should government decide to take forward its proposals I would be happy to work with the government to help ensure that only a scheme that is fully compliant with data protection legislation is developed."

So what part of that was it that the Home Office didn't understand? The draft bill is the next generation proposal, and given that is is even less focused and more multi-purpose than its predecessor, Thomas liking it any more would seem improbable.

But as he said to the Committee, he now likes it even less, and draws attention to its Sir Humphrey/Yes Minister statement of statutory purposes of the register. Clause one subsection two, for example, defines one purpose as being to provide "a record of registrable facts about individuals in the United Kingdom." That is the purpose of the register is to be a register, which is possibly not a great deal of help.

He declined to state absolutely that the draft bill was taking us into 1984 territory, but the Committee chairman responded that the Committee could draw its own conclusions on this. ®

Related stories

ID card backlash: is the poll tax effect kicking in?
Biometric ID card trials kick off in Glasgow
Everything you never wanted to know about the UK ID card

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.