Geraint Bevan | Government departments cannot be trusted to keep citizens’ personal data secure. It is not only in Italy that tax records are not as confidential as people might have expected.
Treasury minister Jane Kennedy has admitted that last year, 192 staff at HM Revenue & Customs were disciplined for inappropriate access to personal or sensitive data. This brings to 600 the number of staff facing disciplinary proceedings since 2005 when the agency was created; the same agency that managed to lose unencrypted copies of the entire child benefit database last November.
Despite six years and millions of pounds wasted on consultants, the government has still failed to make a convincing case for collecting even more personal data on a National Identity Register.
Home Office assurances that the data will be safe from prying eyes look increasing ludicrous as we learn more about the abysmal insecurity of existing databases.
The notion behind Transformational Government – that promiscuous data sharing is a good in its own right – is fundamentally flawed.
While the Prime Minister ponders the latest message from the electorate in England and Wales, he should halt the ID scheme and start considering how the government could better respect our privacy.