Feeds

Transcript disappears minister's 'hack-proof' ID register claim

So who hacked Hansard?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

At the end of February Home Office minister Meg Hillier explained the UK ID scheme security system to the Home Affairs Committee. "The National Identity Register, essentially," she said, "will be a secure database; ...hack-proof, not connected to the Internet... not be accessible online; any links with any other agency will be down encrypted links."

Except she didn't, apparently, because by the time the Committee session transcript was published, here, Hillier words had become: "The National Identity Register, essentially, will be a secure database; it will not be accessible online; any links with any other agency will

be down encrypted links."

Spooky? We are indebted to William Heath's Ideal Government blog for spotting the difference between what was actually said (noted at the time by an eyewitness) and what appeared in the official record. We should also explain at this point that Hansard, the UK parliamentary record system, is not intended to function as an entirely verbatim transcript of proceedings. It is largely verbatim, but includes some facility for publishing what the speaker meant to say, or perhaps even what they ought to have said.

Ordinarily, however, changes amount to little more than polishing and seldom materially affect the meaning. Ordinarily...

In this case, the removal of "hack-proof, not connected to the Internet" goes some way beyond minor polishing. Do we understand from this that Hillier's officials think it unwise (which, of course, it is) to claim that the NIR is hack-proof? And are they keen to leave wiggle-room on Internet connectivity? A database that is "not accessible online" is not necessarily the same thing as a database that is not connected to the Internet, depending on what you might mean by "not accessible".

Hillier is relatively new to the ID card brief at the Home Office, and has come up with several improbable and/or unfortunate claims in recent months (e.g., "we should see an identity card, like a passport, in country"). At the Committee session, Ideal Government reports that "the officials present were passing notes to try to get her back on message", which we would guess is just the sort of thing that's likely to prompt the acute observer to take especially careful notes. It's a tough job minding some people. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.