NO2ID ADVISORY NOTE - 28 January 2008
Ministerial statements about the security of the planned National Identity Scheme are now revealed as a charade. Recently leaked Identity and Passport Service (IPS) documents were so dense that press and political commentators have missed a vital point: they prove recent Government statements about biometric security are worthless.
The leaked documents   reveal that the IPS does not intend to collect fingerprints for every group to which it issues ID cards. That it has even considered issuing an ID card without taking fingerprints, clearly demonstrates two things:
1. Fingerprinting cannot prevent multiple enrolment as ministers have claimed from the start that it will  – nor can it prevent identity fraud using the ID scheme itself – if fingerprints are not actually used, every time, and all the time.
2. Leaving aside that it is “a fairy-tale view of the technology” , biometrics cannot be the essential solution to data insecurity that ministers and the Prime Minister  have painted them to be over the weeks since the HMRC benefits records debacle.
If the IPS is even considering issuing an ID card without taking fingerprints then biometric identification is clearly not the purpose of the scheme. The goal is to build a National Identity Register for official convenience . The leaked documents drop the pretence of security and concentrate on identifying who can be targeted for inclusion first, and how readily they can be “coerced” into taking the irreversible step of joining the Register.
Phil Booth, NO2ID’s  National Coordinator, said:
The whole biometric charade is over. That reveals what was intended all along – the creation of the database state. While ministers try to bamboozle
the public with fairytales about fingerprints, officials are plotting how to dupe and bully the population into surrendering control of their own identities.
Biometric ID cards are a sham; a magician’s flourish to cover the biggest identity fraud there has ever been.
Notes for editors
1) http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,2247530,00.html – the
document leaked to the Observer, 27/1/08, says: “We should test for each group we enrol whether the cost of fingerprints is justified by the use to which they will be put.”
2) The document leaked to the Sunday People, 27/1/08, says: “Enrolment of fingerprints on the Inclusion product would depend on the availability of an
affordable and convenient (ideally market-based) enrolment solution. This might be in later phases, with the initial inclusion product using biographic data.”
3) Launching the scheme on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, 11/11/03, as Home Secretary, David Blunkett said biometric identifiers on ID “will make
identity theft and multiple identity impossible… not nearly impossible, impossible.”
On 19/2/07, Tony Blair responded to e-Petitioners calling for the scheme to
be scrapped that: “…I think it would be foolish to ignore the opportunity
to use biometrics such as fingerprints to secure our identities.” –
4) See the security experts’ letter to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (26/11/07) reproduced in full by one of its authors here:
5) Following the HMRC Child Benefit data breach, both the Chancellor and Prime Minister (falsely) claimed that biometrics were needed to protect personal information:
“The key thing about identity cards is, of course, that information is protected by personal biometric information. The problem at present is that,
because we do not have that protection, information is much more vulnerable than it should be.” – Alistair Darling, Hansard Column 1106, 20 Nov 2007
“What we must ensure is that identity fraud is avoided, and the way to avoid identity fraud is to say that for passport information we will have the biometric support that is necessary, so that people can feel confident that their identity is protected.” – Gordon Brown, Hansard Column 1181, 21 Nov
6) The central position of the National Identity Register in the long-term “Transformational Government” strategy for the database state is available in public documents, though they are often written in impenetrable management jargon.
“If you want to know the potential for the amount of information that could be collated and cross-referenced with the use of the national identity
register and your unique ID number, it is necessary to fit together the pieces of a complex jigsaw puzzle found in documents published by the
Treasury, the Home Office, the Office for National Statistics, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Constitutional Affairs and the DWP.” – Steve
Boggan, The Guardian 27/2/07
7) NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate.php for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing.
8 ) Please, please, please: If you seek a quote from the Home Office or government make sure you don’t fall for the line that they “aren’t collecting that much more information than is gathered for a passport”. The 50 categories of information that will be held on each person can be found in Schedule 1 of the Identity Cards Act 2006: