Feeds

Data watchdog slams ID card plans

Docile Brits too ready to accept Big Brother surveillance

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

Britain is at risk “sleepwalking into a surveillance society” because of David Blunkett’s identity card scheme and other UK government plans, according to the UK's Information Commissioner.

Richard Thomas also cited plans for a population register by the Office for National Statistics and a database on children, in warning of a slide towards a Big Brother-style system of ubiquitous surveillance in the UK. Thomas predicted Britain risks moving towards an East German Stasi-style snooping culture if current plans are followed through.

Thomas's comments came in an interview with The Times published today. He said: “My anxiety is that we don’t sleepwalk into a surveillance society where much more information is collected about people, accessible to far more people shared across many more boundaries than British society would feel comfortable with."

The Information Commissioner is not opposed to ID cards on principle. But he is concerned about what he sees as the Home Office's failure to clearly define a purpose for ID cards, the amount of information that would be held on any card and who might be able to access this information. Clamping down on benefit fraud, control illegal immigration and preventing terrorism have been cited as the main reason why Britain needs ID cards by the Home Office at one time or another.

The government proposed ID card scheme will involve the establishment of a national register of citizens’ personal details, widely accessible to government departments. This approach gives the UK's Information watchdog the fear.

In response to the Home Office’s consultation on identity cards, Thomas concludes “whilst I am not fundamentally opposed to the introduction of ID cards I do have significant concerns about the current proposals. The privacy implications of an extensive national identity register are, in many ways, of far greater concern for individuals. This aspect needs more of a public debate." ®

Related stories

CBI wishes for the ID scheme we're not getting
ID cards: a bad idea, but we'll do it anyway
Tag, track, watch, analyse- UK goes mad on crime and terror IT
Blunkett appoints development partner for ID card project
Glitches in ID card kit frustrate Blunkett's pod people
ID cards to use 'key database' of personal info
UK public wants ID cards, and thinks we'll screw up the IT
ID cards: a guide for technically-challenged PMs (special report)

Related links

Get your Blunkett-bashing NO2ID shirt here

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.