We are all put at risk by identity scheme

The suggestion by James Hall that Project Stork (Letters, November 29) has nothing to do with the national identity scheme is risible. The roadmap for the project was presented on June 13 at this year’s European e-identity conference in Paris. Frank Leyman, manager for international relations at FEDICT (the Belgian public service responsible for e-government), described the project thus: “Implementation of an EU-wide interoperable system for recognition of electronic identification and authentication that will enable businesses, citizens and government employees to use their national electronic identities in any member state.”

Mr Leyman’s presentation placed identification at the heart of the project and explained how Belgian ID cards would link into the system. Although final project details were still to be formalised, the schedule showed the UK government taking responsibility for Work Package 4: identification, digital signatures, and association and provision of personal data. To suggest this is unrelated to the national identity scheme is beyond belief. Meanwhile, Mr Hall states that the national identity register will hold only “core identity information”. His notion of what constitutes core data will not be shared by most readers.

Few people would consider details of visits to clinics or applications for credit to be core identity data. Yet these will be recorded on the ID database. The Identity Cards Act specifies approximately 50 categories of information to be registered.

Fraudsters will find the database immeasurably more useful than child benefit records: it will contain everything the discerning conman could need to practise identity fraud. The biometric data will prove priceless for criminals. Unlike passwords, fingerprints cannot be changed after hackers gain access.

The register will store full names and details of all places of residence – a matter of concern to people who are trying not to be found by those who would do them harm, such as men and women fleeing domestic abuse. The government has demonstrated time and again that it cannot be trusted to look after our personal data. A degree of transparency and honesty from ministers and officials seeking to seize more data still would not go amiss.

Geraint Bevan, NO2ID Scotland, 3e Grovepark Gardens, Glasgow.