Disillusioned Discordian

Brown please now put the ID card scheme on hold.
November 22, 2007, 2:23 pm
Filed under: ID Cards / Surveillance

With speculation growing it will now be interesting to see if Gordon Brown does decide to review the ID card scheme. The information commissioner, Richard Thomas has asked for the amount of data collected in the scheme to be reviewed. Showing the signs of being under pressure Brown has drooped his opposition to plans which would allow the information commissioner to conduct spot checks on public organizations that hold data. Unfortunately the commissioner will still be refused from providing spot checks in the private sector. The database state is not something limited to the ‘democratic’ state. The large corporations over which we don’t even have the pretense of democratic control are free to collect information within the permissive framework of the data protection act. I wonder if a private company had lost disks like this if we would even have found out about it.

If anything this latest in a series of governmental scandals just goes to show why we need to totally review our data protection legalization and increase the powers of people such as Richard Thomas. Hopefully now Brown will concede that the ID card database scheme needs to be put on hold until a workable compromise such as biometric passports with limited information held on a secure isolated database system are considered.


4 Comments so far
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There is some talk now if the IC getting the power to do raids as a sort of government sop & a way of being seen to ‘do something’. So at least some good will come of it even if ID Cards do survive.

Comment by Geeklawyer

Yes true, Brown has had to concede on this point. It does beg the question now though as to why private companies have been made exempt from this measure to improve data security? With data handling increasingly being outsourced in attempts to cut civil service expenses, then the IC needs stronger legislative powers under a revised Data Protection Act. Being able to ‘swoop’ on the public sector is pretty meaningless if the Brown/Blarite privatization reforms (sorry I mean modernizing reforms) continue. The IC lacks any real bite, and a cynic like myself might even suspect that part of it’s original intention was to rule in favor of Government refusals to release information under FOA. Problem (for HM Gov PLC) is that this IC actually seems to be developing a bit of a backbone.

Comment by moon23

I’m much more worried about the private sector too. I imagine it’s the usual crap about ‘not wanting to get in the way of business’.

Comment by Geeklawyer

Yes, what scares me the most is the way credit reference agencies. Not only in the breadth of information they retain, but the power their abritarty alghotrithmns have over the ability of indivduals to particpate in econmonimc activites. Certianly it seems the DPA is weak on this area of automated decision making. For instance take the adverse effect an indivdual can face for now having a lack of ‘credit history’. If ID cards are brought in but not made complusory, it will be interesting to see if those ‘refusniks’ of ID cards credit rating’s are adversely effected, simply on the basis that the credit history won’t show the audit trail that ID cards would enable.

There is also the issue of the way in which incorrect information is corrected. On one’s credit file you can only make a note that you contest the data. I also think the fee for requesting your own private information should be dropped.

Comment by moon23

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