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Register backs Blunkett drive for trust in government

Bye then, David...

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Earlier today David Blunkett railed against the decline in the public's trust of government, lamenting the widespread view "that if a government is up to something, it must be about removing freedoms." We at The Register agree with David on very little, but we share (for slightly different reasons, we fear) his sadness over the prevalence of this view, and we do have a long-standing desire for a government that we could trust.

So to do our little bit, we'd like to help David get the message across about the ID scheme. We do understand that he wasn't able to do this fully this morning in the limited time he could spare in his busy schedule of spreading freedom, trust and inclusiveness, so we thought we'd just explain this little bit. The data that's going to be held about people. This morning, David just had time to tell us that "under the proposed scheme only very basic personal details such as name, address, date and place of birth will be held. Alongside this will be 'biometric' information such as the imprint of a finger or scan of an iris, which establish unique personal identity". We suppose that reading out long schedules from draft bills isn't ideal in a speech-making situation, so we understand.

But we don't have these constraints, because our readers can always go through it a little at a time, and break every now and again to pep themselves up by reading, say, the ingredients list off a cornflakes packet instead. So here we go with the contents list of the National Identity Register, as specified in Schedule 1 of the draft ID scheme bill, published in April 2004. We've shortened it a tad. Honest:
1, Personal information. Full name; date of birth; place of birth; gender; principal address in the UK; all other addresses in the UK.
2, Identifying information. Photograph; iris data; fingerprint.
3, Residential status. Nationality; entitlement to remain in UK; terms and conditions of entitlement.
4, Personal reference numbers. National identity number; number of any ID card; national insurance number; number of any immigration document related to subject; passport number (UK); passport number (non-UK); number of any other passport-type document; number of any non-UK ID card; any reference number connected with application to enter or stay in the UK; work permit number; number of any designated document not covered already; date of expiry or period of validity of such documents.
5, Record history. Information covered above that has been previously recorded in the register; particulars of changes affecting that information and changes made to entry in the register; date of death.
6, Registration history. Date of every application made for registration; date of every application for a modification of entry; date of every application confirming contents of entry; particulars of every ID card issued; whether such card is in force, and if not, why not; particulars of every individual who has countersigned an ID card or designated document application.
7, Validation information. Information provided in connection with every application to be entered in the register, for the modification of an entry, or for the issue of an ID card; information provided in connection with every application confirming entry in the register; steps taken in connection with verifying an application; steps taken to ensure entry is complete, up to date and accurate; particulars of notifications related to changes; particulars of notifications relating to loss or damage; particulars of any requirement by Secretary of State for individual to surrender card.
8, Security information. Personal identification number; password or code; security questions and answers.
9, Access records. Details of when a record was accessed and by whom; details of information on the individual disclosed; details of steps taken to modify entry, issue or cancel card, or requiring surrender of card; information for identifying any individual who took such steps.

Whew, that was good for us, we're sure of it. Good job they can keep all that on the database and not have to cram it on the card, isn't it?

Next in our quest to help David to become better understood, we hope to intercede on his behalf with Nectar. This morning David did appear to denounce store cards as being viciously invasive of personal privacy and prime candidates for locking up, er, regulation. And we understand he did wave a borrowed Nectar card. But we're sure he didn't mean it like that. And we're sure Nectar isn't going to sue the crap out of him. But we'll try to have a quiet word anyway, it's the least we can do. ®

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