UK Liberty

David Davis on databases

Posted in database state, ID Cards, politicians on liberty, surveillance society by ukliberty on January 4, 2008

In the Times:

If Gordon Brown picks one failure from his first six months to learn from, it should be the loss of 25m people’s personal details. If he makes one resolution for 2008, it should be to scrap his reckless plan to introduce compulsory ID cards.

“Discgate” was the result of ministerial incompetence, but also flawed policy. As chancellor, Brown relentlessly pursued his forlorn vision of a “joined-up identity management regime” across public services. As prime minister, he continues this vain search, like an obsessed alchemist, for a giant database that his closest advisers ominously refer to as a “single source of truth”.

This fixation has not revolutionised public services. It has led to disaster. Brown’s approach combines three flaws: the ruthless pursuit of “identity management”; a naive faith in computerised solutions; and sheer recklessness in managing the integrity of systems to which he is devoted. This has delivered a massively overcentralised government and a surveillance society.

the government is not a reluctant player in this European Union agenda. It is the pioneer, piloting Project Stork, the codename for a scheme to make all EU electronic identity networks “interoperable” within three years. It does not augur well that the home secretary had not even heard of Project Stork when questioned in parliament last month.

Instead of treating our personal details and private life as though they were the property of the state, it is about time ministers understood that this information is held on trust. We need serious restrictions on the transfer and sharing of such information. The current casual and careless practice is intolerable.

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