UK Liberty

Most ID checks won’t involve National Identity Register

Posted in ID Cards, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on November 19, 2008

Remember all that talk about how the National Identity Register (NIR) would be the gold standard of identity verification, and how it and the ID card scheme will stop illegal immigration and identity theft etc?

Another great question from Lynne Jones MP:

Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak, Labour) | Hansard source

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of records against which each biometric taken for the purpose of enrolment in the identity card scheme will need to be checked when the scheme is fully rolled out.

Meg Hillier (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Identity), Home Office; Hackney South & Shoreditch, Labour) | Hansard source

Verification checks of biometrics identifiers will be made against the card in most cases using the biometrics stored in the chip, for example if the facial image or fingerprint biometrics are verified as part of an immigration check at the border.

Only in specific circumstances, for example if an ID card has been lost, would verification of identity take place against the biometrics held on the National Identity Register.

Such checks will provide a very secure and reliable means of proving identity.

Provided of course that someone hasn’t tampered with the card / made their own.

I think the issue here is once again the inconsistency of government rhetoric. We have been sold a scheme that is supposed to be the gold standard of identity verification – because it involves the National Identity Register. 

ID cards will be forged and tampered with. There is a vulnerability if the NIR is not checked on presentation of a card or passport. This risk might be acceptable when picking up a parcel but I fail to see how it is acceptable at the border.  And then of course they have lost some of the functionality of the system  – recording details of transactions involving identity checks, such as border crossing.

(hat-tip Kable)

Of course, as Andrew Watson points out in this thread on the NO2ID forum, the LSE came up with a rather more practical and privacy-friendly method some years ago, which the Government was vehemently against, to the extent of making personal attacks on those involved with it.  As Andrew points out, it’s interesting how the Government’s proposals are being forced to comply with reality.

Essentially, the ID card scheme won’t work as advertised.


One Response

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  1. 69 MSPs do good « UK Liberty said, on November 19, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    […] Most ID checks won’t involve National Identity Register […]

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