Feeds

Commissioner 'increasingly alarmed' by ID card scheme

Thomas gives evidence

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.