Labour’s bureaucratic, un-necessary ID cards

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

“I welcome this debate this afternoon. It is the first opportunity that we have had in the new year not just to discuss the potential impact of any ID scheme on public services and members of the public more widely in Wales, but to examine the impact of the loss of information and data that we experienced at the end of the last calendar year.

Would the public in Wales and across the UK now be satisfied with the UK Government pursuing an ID card scheme and holding so much more additional data that would also be at risk of being lost? That is why we have tabled our amendments, noting

‘the incompetence of the UK Government in ensuring the security of individuals’ personal data’, and calling on, ‘the current Assembly Government to urge the UK Government to drop plans for compulsory ID cards’.

In the Assembly, as we represent the millions of people who live throughout this nation, we are right to question the competence of the UK Government and the variety of Government agencies that, at the end of last year, were exposed as having lost so much personal data.

For some reason, it all happened in November and December and we do not know if such data has been lost on a regular basis over the past 10 or 20 years–I suspect that it probably has been–but the losses have certainly now been exposed, with much criticism and scandal.

We must be wary of any Government scheme that promotes the concept of an ID card, because I do not think that the public will be satisfied for more of their personal data to be handed over to central Government agencies that could then be extremely lax in the way that they look after the security of that data.

Millions of records were lost, containing people’s individual data on things like benefits and family tax credits; pension details were lost in Cardiff at the Inland Revenue; data was lost from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea; and a laptop being used by the retinopathy service was stolen when on a visit in Newport.

The fact that all those facets of Government organisations and bodies–organisations that were commissioned by a variety of Government agencies to provide services–have lost millions of data records demonstrates how difficult it is for Government agencies, and UK Government and Welsh Government departments generally, to ensure the security of individuals’ data.

I have never believed in an ID card scheme; I have never believed that it would reduce terrorism or crime. It would be an absolute waste of £20 billion of taxpayers’ money, just for the UK Government to keep more and more data on individuals.

We are certainly going back a while if we are trudging back 11 years–that is a third of my life. We could all stand here and say, ‘You said this 10 years ago’ and ‘You said that 20 years ago’, but the fact of the matter is that I have never been a supporter of ID cards.

I made that perfectly clear in the campaign that I ran in Merthyr Tydfil. Thank you for raising that. I do not think that my party was right to suggest that as an option back then. We have become extremely wary of the possibility of ID cards, and you will know that the leader of the opposition at Westminster has suggested that the money should be put towards a border police force, to ensure that we have proper immigration controls. That is far more sensible than spending money on some ID card scheme.

The point raised by Peter Black about accessing public services is extremely valuable. If you have visited accident and emergency departments in our major hospitals, you will know that they are very chaotic organisations, so the thought that they, or any other part of the NHS, should act as some sort of information gateway to ensure that people have the right documentation on them to prove who they are and where they live, or whether the photograph matches the name that has been given, is ridiculous. I do not think that we should allow that to happen.

The Assembly should be confirming that it is happy with the view that it took some months ago, and I hope that Leanne Wood and her Plaid colleagues will support this motion and the amendments this afternoon.

I do not believe that the Welsh people will accept that an ID card scheme will work, I do not believe that they want it, and, given all the mishaps with lost data and lost information, I do not believe that they will tolerate it. As the organisation responsible for delivering public services in Wales, we should not tolerate the idea that an ID card scheme be used by people accessing public services.

You doubted my consistency, Leanne, over the period since the election campaign more than 10 years ago, but I suspect that you voted in favour of the motion that stated that the Assembly Government should not allow ID card schemes to be used for people to access public services. I hope that you, too, will be consistent and support this motion and the amendments today.”

“Croesawaf y ddadl hon y prynhawn yma. Dyma’r cyfle cyntaf inni ei gael yn y flwyddyn newydd nid dim ond i drafod effaith bosibl unrhyw gynllun cardiau adnabod ar wasanaethau cyhoeddus ac ar aelodau’r cyhoedd yn ehangach yng Nghymru, ond i archwilio effaith colli gwybodaeth a data fel y gwelsom ddiwedd y flwyddyn galendr ddiwethaf.A fyddai’r cyhoedd yng Nghymru a ledled y DU yn fodlon yn awr i Lywodraeth y DU fwrw ymlaen â chynllun cerdyn adnabod gan gadw cymaint mwy o ddata ychwanegol, a pherygl i’r rheiny fynd ar goll hefyd? Dyna pam yr ydym wedi cyflwyno ein gwelliannau,

‘yn nodi anallu Llywodraeth y DU i sicrhau diogelwch data personol unigolion’ ac yn galw ar, ‘Lywodraeth y Cynulliad cyfredol i annog Llywodraeth y DU i roi’r gorau i gynlluniau ar gyfer cardiau adnabod gorfodol’.

Yn y Cynulliad, gan ein bod yn cynrychioli’r miliynau o bobl sy’n byw ym mhob cwr o’r wlad hon, yr ydym yn iawn i amau gallu Llywodraeth y DU a’r amrywiaeth o asiantaethau’r Llywodraeth y datgelwyd iddynt ddiwedd y flwyddyn diwethaf golli cymaint o ddata personol.

Am ryw reswm, digwyddodd hynny i gyd ym mis Tachwedd ac ym mis Rhagfyr ac ni wyddom a oes data fel hyn wedi mynd ar goll yn rheolaidd dros y 10 neu’r 20 mlynedd diwethaf–mae’n debyg gennyf eu bod–ond mae’r colledion hynny’n sicr wedi’u datgelu yn awr, a hynny’n destun cryn feirniadaeth a sgandal.

Rhaid inni ochel rhag unrhyw gynllun gan y Llywodraeth sy’n hyrwyddo cysyniad cerdyn adnabod, oherwydd ni chredaf y bydd y cyhoedd yn fodlon gweld rhagor o’u data personol yn cael eu trosglwyddo i asiantaethau’r Llywodraeth ganolog a’r rheiny wedyn o bosibl yn hynod o flêr yn y ffordd y maent yn gofalu am ddiogelwch y data hynny.

Collwyd miliynau o gofnodion, yn cynnwys data personol pobl am bethau megis budd-daliadau a chredydau treth teulu; collwyd manylion pensiynau yng Nghaerdydd yng Nghyllid y Wlad; collwyd data gan yr Asiantaeth Trwyddedu Gyrwyr a Cherbydau yn Abertawe; a dygwyd gliniadur a ddefnyddid gan y gwasanaeth retinopathi wrth i rywun ymweld â Chasnewydd.

Mae’r ffaith bod yr holl agweddau hynny ar sefydliadau a chyrff y Llywodraeth–sefydliadau a gomisiynwyd gan amrywiaeth o asiantaethau’r Llywodraeth i ddarparu gwasanaethau–wedi colli miliynau o gofnodion data yn dangos pa mor anodd ydyw i asiantaethau’r Llywodraeth, ac i adrannau Lywodraeth y DU a Llywodraeth Cymru’n gyffredinol, sicrhau diogelwch data unigolion.

Nid wyf erioed wedi bod o blaid cynllun cerdyn adnabod; nid wyf erioed wedi credu y byddai’n lleihau terfysgaeth na throseddu. Byddai’n wastraff llwyr ar £20 biliwn o arian trethdalwyr, dim ond i Lywodraeth y DU gadw mwy a mwy o ddata am unigolion.

Yr ydym yn sicr yn mynd yn ôl dipyn os ydym yn ymlwybro’n ôl 11 mlynedd–dyna draean fy mywyd. Gallem i gyd sefyll yma a dweud, ‘Dywedasoch hyn 10 mlynedd yn ôl’ a ‘Dywedasoch hynny 20 mlynedd yn ôl’, ond y gwir yw nad wyf erioed wedi cefnogi cardiau adnabod.

Gwneuthum hynny’n gwbl glir yn fy ymgyrch ym Merthyr Tudful. Diolch ichi am godi hynny. Ni chredaf fod fy mhlaid yn iawn i awgrymu hynny’n opsiwn bryd hynny. Erbyn hyn, yr ydym yn ochelgar iawn o bosibilrwydd cyflwyno cardiau adnabod, a gwyddoch fod arweinydd yr wrthblaid yn San Steffan wedi awgrymu y dylid defnyddio’r arian i sefydlu heddlu ar y ffin er mwyn sicrhau bod gennym drefn iawn i reoli mewnfudo. Mae hynny’n fwy synhwyrol o lawer na gwario arian ar ryw gynllun cardiau adnabod.

Mae’r pwynt a godwyd gan Peter Black ynghylch cael gafael ar wasanaethau cyhoeddus yn arbennig o werthfawr. Os ydych wedi ymweld ag adrannau damweiniau ac achosion brys yn ein hysbytai mwyaf, gwyddoch eu bod fel ffair, felly mae’r syniad y dylent hwy, neu unrhyw ran arall o’r GIG, fod yn rhyw fath o borth gwybodaeth er mwyn sicrhau bod gan bobl y dogfennau cywir arnynt i brofi pwy ydynt ac ymhle maent yn byw, neu a yw’r ffotograff yn cyfateb i’r enw a roddwyd, yn hurt. Ni chredaf y dylem adael i hynny ddigwydd.

Dylai’r Cynulliad hwn fod yn cadarnhau ei fod yn hapus â’r farn a fynegodd ychydig fisoedd yn ôl, a gobeithiaf y bydd Leanne Wood a’i chyd-Aelodau ym Mhlaid Cymru’n cefnogi’r cynnig hwn a’r gwelliannau y prynhawn yma. Ni chredaf y bydd pobl Cymru’n derbyn y bydd cynllun cerdyn adnabod yn gweithio, ni chredaf eu bod yn dymuno’i gael, ac, a chofio’r holl anffodion wrth golli data a cholli gwybodaeth, ni chredaf y byddant yn barod i’w oddef.

Gan mai ni yw’r corff sy’n gyfrifol am ddarparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yng Nghymru, ni ddylem oddef y syniad y dylai pobl sy’n defnyddio gwasanaethau cyhoeddus orfod defnyddio cynllun cerdyn adnabod. Yr oeddech yn amau fy nghysondeb, Leanne, dros y cyfnod ers yr ymgyrch etholiad fwy na 10 mlynedd yn ôl, ond yr wyf yn amau ichi bleidleisio o blaid y cynnig a ddywedai na ddylai Llywodraeth y Cynulliad ganiatáu defnyddio cynlluniau cardiau er mwyn i bobl gael gafael ar wasanaethau cyhoeddus. Gobeithiaf y byddwch chithau hefyd yn gyson ac yn cefnogi’r cynnig hwn a’r gwelliannau heddiw.”