Local MP Jo Swinson has called on the SNP Government to halt plans to develop a national identity register of every person in Scotland.
Jo made the call after anti-ID card campaigners flagged up the dangers of a current SNP Government proposal to build a database from health records and share the information with all other government bodies.
Under the plans every person in Scotland will be given a unique number to allow the government to check their use of government services. The population database will be used for everything from whether a person has been treated for cancer to when they want to sign up to membership of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
A similar population register was scrapped when Labour’s controversial and expensive plans for ID cards were scrapped in 2010 by the Liberal Democrats.
“People hate the idea of ID cards in this country. They would be intrusive, expensive and increase the power of the over-mighty state. They were rightly scrapped in the rest of the UK. It’s a big concern that the SNP Government is building the skeleton of a national identity register in Scotland.
“It shows how much people need the Liberal Democrats to stand up for civil liberties. The Conservatives are campaigning to restart the Snoopers’ Charter at a UK level and are being restrained by the Liberal Democrats. Now in Scotland, the SNP are constructing a national identity register by the back door. It's one step away from ID cards and SNP Ministers must halt the roll-out of this super ID database.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie’s call for action echoes concerns expressed by the anti-ID car blogger Amberhawk. The campaigner expressed concern that the seemingly innocuous Scottish Government consultation includes “wide ranging powers that allow personal data to be obtained or disclosed; powers which are subject to minimal scrutiny. The blogger goes on to express concern that the plan could breach the Human Rights Act right to privacy, the Data Protection Act’s requirement that data needs to be “necessary” for it to be retained and the lack of a business case to show the costs of increasing the NHSCR from 30% of the population to 100%.
2. The Scottish Government is consulting on an extension of the NHS Central Register. Under the proposals information held by the NHS would be shared with 120 other Scottish agencies and organisations – from Quality Meat Scotland to Cairngorms National Park Authority. In return, these agencies must agree to inform the NHSCR of information they gather about people. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0046/00464862.pdf
3. The start of the list of organisations who will be able to access data here:
4. Following a request from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Parliament’s SPICe contacted the National Records of Scotland who replied that a privacy impact assessment will only be produced after the consultation is finished
5. The Scottish Government admits that their plan amounts to the collection of new data on individuals (Annex A of the Privacy Impact Assessment for the related myaccount project).
The Scottish Government has identified ten risks to privacy that could arise from its proposals.
The UK Government has specifically ruled out a national database on the five separate grounds including fears of national surveillance and risks to the security of a single database.