Civilian ID cards ‘will not thwart terrorists’

Claims that identity cards will protect against terrorism are ‘absolute bunkum’ – says an expert at the government’s intelligence agency. 

JOHN HIGGINSON 

The £4billion card scheme is really part of Labour’s agenda to cut costs and bureaucracy by ensuring public bodies can share information, said Harvey Mattinson, a senior consultant at spy station GCHQ.

‘You cannot share information without identity authentication,’ he told the Society of IT Management’s annual conference. ‘We have got to get this right because it is stopping us doing our business.

‘We need biometric as well as biographical data. We will have to build up the information on the chip.’ Mr Mattinson was addressing repeated claims by home secretary Jacqui Smith that ID cards would help thwart terror attacks by making it harder for criminals to acquire multiple aliases.

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: ‘Far from strengthening our security, ID cards are an expensive white elephant that risk making us less – not more – safe.’

The cards are to be introduced for foreign nationals from next month before a general roll-out.