Cards of Identity

In November personal information of 25 million people was “lost” by the Government. Since then there have been many cases of personal information being lost. The most recent case involves the personal information of 600,000 people, which has been lost by the Ministry of Defence. 

As well as the loss of data, stored in computer readable format, there have been cases of personal paperwork being dumped or lost in public places and found by people. Hundreds of documents relating to benefit claims have been dumped at a roundabout near Exeter airport in Devon, not once but twice, and found by the same person each time. Medical files have also been dumped and found.

It is necessary to provide personal information from time to time and it is necessary for those who receive it to store it, analyse it and use it. In most cases the information is used for the benefit of those who provide it, such as with medical records.No one really likes to have strangers know personal things about them. You expect when you provide personal information to your doctor or your lawyer then it will be kept safely and securely, and if the police come asking for it they will not disclose it without your permission or in extreme cases without the supervision of a Judge to ensue that the information is actually properly required.

Despite all these cases of confidential information working its way into the public domain, the Government still seems still intent of building an overly expensive database in order to create a system if identity cards. They argue that identity cards will make us all safer, somehow, but I fail to understand how.

I can see the need to check people you come into the country, to hold unique data about their identities for the benefit of the security of the state, but I fail to see how holding such data for those of us born here will help public safety, unless it is to cow us all, and to make us all think twice about putting our heads above the parapet.If the government explains how identity cards will make us all safer can they explain how they can devise a secure system?

The Government’s record of holding confidential data securely is appalling. Giving them control of a database of the whole of the United Kingdom’s population’s confidential information is a bit like asking a politician to answer a straight question. It cannot be done..

The Government goes to great lengths to preserve their own confidentiality and the confidentiality of their own affairs. All governments in the United Kingdom have prosecuted people for disclosing “secrets” where there was no element of state security involved. There main motivation in some cases is pure spite. 

Governments are careless with our secrets though, and that is rank hypocrisy. Perhaps the Government should be concentrating on more important matters. Yesterday in the south of England it was the warmest January day on record. That might be indicative of a problem worth looking at.