An ad in the New Statesman was headlined I work on the Identity Card system for the UK Government. Below, text stated >The "National Identity Register" is the most detailed citizen database of its kind in the world. I am
security cleared, which means I can get anything I want, on any UK resident. Address, heath info, financial records, criminal records, whatever. >It's all meant to be stored securely but anyone who works on the project knows it can't be.
Better yet, I have a contact who works for a mobile telephone company, so sometimes I can cross-match a person to their geographical location for the last six months or more. I know exactly who they speak to. And when their mother calls. And
where she lives, too. >I sell information, if the price is right. Trade is good at the moment. It's mostly private investigators and newspapers, but I get some unusual stuff too. I don't ask questions. It's nothing personal; it's just
business. >I am God :o). Text below read The Government wants state management of personal identity. It isn't simple. Or safe. NO2ID is a non-partisan campaign to stop it. Join us. www.no2id.net.
A complainant objected that the ad:
misleadingly exaggerated the information that would be held on the National Identity Register and how staff would be able to access it
was offensive to those who worked for the National Identity Register and implied they were corrupt.
1. Not upheld
We noted the National Identity Register was not yet in existence, but that under current proposals, the database would not contain health, financial or criminal records. We considered, however, that readers of the New Statesman would understand
that NO2ID was a lobby group opposed to the ID card scheme and that the ad used an illustrative fictionalised account to set out their view that the ID card system was a threat to personal privacy and that a national database system might be
vulnerable to abuse. We noted that the issues relating to the National Identity Register and ID card scheme, including the information the database was likely to hold, had been well documented in the press, and considered people would recognise
the ad was deliberately controversial, to encourage discussion on a sensitive political issue. We concluded that the ad was not misleading.
2. Not upheld
We did not consider that most people would interpret the ad to mean that all those who might work for the National Identity Register, or a similar database scheme, were corrupt and likely to sell confidential information or abuse their position.
We considered people would understand that the ad was highlighting a lobbying group's opinion that a database containing personal information might be vulnerable to abuse by a minority of those who worked with it. We concluded therefore that the
ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Government proposals to expand the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) will pave the way for a national ID register in Scotland. The proposals have been made public in a little-known consultation that closes at the end of February.
Digital rights campaigners, the Open Rights Group (ORG) believe that the consultation is flawed, misleading and could fundamentally change the relationship between citizen and state.
Open Rights Group Executive Director, Jim Killock said:
Government proposals that jeopardise our right to privacy need proper consideration. The SNP rejected a national ID register when the UK government tried to introduce ID cards. These proposals could pave the way for a similar scheme in Scotland
and are being introduced without a proper debate by the public or MSPs.
Most Scottish citizens already have a unique identity number in the NHS system. This plan is to share this unique identifier with up to 120 other Scottish public bodies - including Glasgow Airport, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Caledonian
Maritime Assets Ltd. Scottish residents could then be tracked across all their interactions with public bodies, including your benefits, bus pass travel or library usage.
ORG believes that this is building an ID card system in Scotland and that any such changes should be introduced as primary legislation, which would allow a proper public and parliamentary debate.
ORG has published its
response to the consultation.
Policy Exchange is a think tank that describes itself as:
The UK's leading think tank. As an educational charity our mission is to develop and promote new policy ideas which deliver better public services, a stronger society and a more dynamic economy.
And now it has been considering post Brexit visa arrangements and has taken the opportunity to call fro the revival of ID cards, or at least an ID number that can be used for to identify everybody in official and unofficial databases throughout
the world. Policy Exchange writes:
As national borders are being transformed by new technologies and new thinking about how to manage flows of goods and people as quickly and safely as possible, the UK border needs continuing innovation and reform.
The report's main recommendations include:
Roll out ID system for EU citizens . A unique digital reference for interactions with the state is being developed for the 3.6m EU citizens settled here after Brexit. This experiment with a unique number system should be a trial run for
an initially voluntary system for UK citizens.