28 May 2008
This evening a BBC report showed how a plausible forgery of Jacqui Smith’s identity documents, including a driving license and utility bills, could be bought off the internet for a few pounds. NO2ID  says that this is just a hint of the chaos that lies ahead if the government proceeds with the nationalisation and centralisation of all personal identification in the Home Office.
Only three weeks ago an independent panel of experts heavily criticised the lack of security planning and basic responsibility in handling personal information (“data governance”) at the heart of the National Identity Scheme, and warned of the fundamental dangers of collecting information together. The ‘Independent Scheme Assurance Panel Annual Report for 2007′  said (p9):
“The panel advised that the Scheme would benefit from a robust and transparent operational data governance regime and a clear data architecture. These must recognise the value of data and the risks associated with inappropriate access to and use of data. The panel advises there would be benefits to the programme in clearly setting out a rigorous analysis of these risks and the strategies and plans to address them.” [emphasised in original]
“There are also areas of risks associated with the operation of the Scheme which the Panel suggests should receive more analysis. For example, based on the likelihood that the Scheme will aggregate a lot of valuable data, there is the risk that its trusted administrators will make improper use of this data.”
This endorses the clearer warnings of critics as far back as 2005 about “massive identity fraud on a scale beyond anything we have seen before.” (Jerry Fishenden of Microsoft) .
Guy Herbert, General Secretary of NO2ID said:
The obsession with identity is beginning to eat itself. The Government has been warned time and again by experts that its megalomaniac desire to stack every personal fact about everyone in Britain onto a Home Office hard disc is madness. It carries on with its eyes shut and its ears stopped.
“Who but a minister could fail to grasp that, far from preventing fraud, nationalising identity will make the consequences of ‘identity
theft’ far worse. The more we have to rely on official documents, and the more data about us that is collected for them, the more powerful
fraudsters and forgers become. Real chaos is on the way unless the National Identity Scheme is stopped.
Notes for editors
1) ‘Probe exposes fraudulent ID trade’ BBC News 28 May 2008
2) 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.
3) The panel consists of top IT experts from large commercial concerns such as Tesco:
See also NO2ID press release: “Buried news: Government advisors savage ID scheme” 7 May 2008 – for more discussion
4) Microsofts UK NTO writing in the Scotsman 18 November 2005