Call to scrap ID cards plan

A critical report today should be the last nail in the coffin of the government’s proposed ID cards, said Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central.

The report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, comes as details, released through the Freedom of Information Act revealed how many of those departments lack basic systems to comply with the Data Protection Act.

A survey of 14 departments by the British Computer Society published today shower that none of them had statistics of how many errors were on their database, nor had a budget to correct them.

The loss of 25m child benefit records by the HM Revenue & Customs last year when computer discs were mislaid has hugely dented trust in the government’s ability to look after personal data.

The Ministry of Defence has admitted that more than 11,000 military ID cards have been lost or stolen in the past two years.

Defence minister Bob Ainsworth admitted that 4,433 ID cards disappeared in 2006 and a further 6,812 went missing from July 2006 to December 2007.

Commenting on today’s Joint Committee on Human Rights critical report
into ‘Data Protection and Human Rights’, Ms Willott sid: “This report should be the last nail in the coffin for ID cards. Why should the public trust this Government with the quantity of personal data they would load on to the ID card system, when it has utterly failed to protect far less?

“Over the last 10 years, the Labour government has combined a drive to gather up ever more information on the public with a cavalier attitude to people’s basic human right for their personal data to be properly

“Why has it taken the loss of data affecting 1 in every 3 people for the Government to look again at their security procedures? Whatever the outcome of the ongoing review into personal information safeguards, the Government will have to do the miraculous to convince anyone that they know how to fix this systematic problem.”

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