Errors prompt call for end to ID card plans

By ROBERT BROOKS

A CATALOGUE of errors involving sensitive personal data has led MP Alan Beith to back calls for the Government to scrap its identity card plans.

He says the law to make carrying a card compulsory will become a “bureaucratic nightmare”, which won’t prevent illegal working or help stop crime or terrorism

As chairman of the House of Commons’ Justice Committee, Mr Beith has heard a great deal of evidence on the protection of data and its safe storage and retrieval.

He welcomed Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s publication of figures showing that 37 million pieces of personal information on UK citizens were lost in 2007, mostly by the Government.

Mr Beith said: “The expensive identity cards scheme is based on the Government storing large amounts of information about each one of us on a central database. But in 2007 the Government stumbled from one data loss crisis to another.

“The worst example came in November when the Government lost the personal details of all 25 million families with children.

“That has put the privacy of every family in Alnwick at risk.

“The dangers of putting so much information about every citizen in the UK into one central database are clear to everyone except, it seems, the Government.”

He added: “”I am very pleased that new Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg is leading the battle to end the ID cards scheme. Liberal Democrats in Alnwick are right behind him.

“The plan to make everyone carry a piece of plastic should be buried before it ends up as another expensive Government fiasco.”