Feeds

Government keeps the secrets on ID scheme legal advice

'Trust us, it's OK on human rights'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

The Government is refusing to publish detailed legal advice on human rights and privacy aspects of the ID card scheme, according to a report in today's Guardian. The paper says that attorney general Lord Goldsmith has provided this to the Cabinet, but that it is not to be made public, nor will Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights be allowed direct access to the documents.

Immigration Minister and noted Home Office charmer Des Browne confirmed the story while claiming it was largely made up on BBC Radio 4's World at One today. Browne said that the Government had certified that the ID legislation was compatible with human rights law, that Goldsmith's advice was for internal use, and that there had never been any intention to publish it.

This line, however, merely confirms the Government's shameless approach to human rights in its legislation. One of the early moves of the Blair Government was to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into UK legislation in the Human Rights Act. This one might suppose would mean that the UK Government would be far more careful about human rights in its legislation, but instead of this it tends to be used as a kind of cloaking device. Instead of being accompanied by detailed assessments of human rights impact, UK legislation now tends to have just a one liner saying 'the provisions of this legislation are compatible with the European convention of human rights.' So, as Browne put it today, the Cabinet has advice on the impact prepared for it, and nobody else needs to see the advice because the legislation has been deemed to be compatible by the Cabinet. Trust us.

According to the Guardian, Goldsmith's advice considers whether people's rights would be infringed if they were denied access to public services, and covers access to personal details, medical records and financial data by the police, security services and other authorities. It's also broader than an assessment of privacy and human rights impact in that it would cover the strengths and weaknesses of the ID Bill.

An access request for the document by Chris Pounder, editor of Data Protection and Privacy Practice, was refused on the basis that its release "would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion." Pounder has lodged an appeal. ®

Related Stories:

Clarke takes charge of Blunkett's Fear Agenda
Need a job? Get a card - arresting ID pitch to business
ID scheme, IT the key to Blunkett's new terror laws

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?