Via Right to privacy broken by a quarter of UK’s public databases, says report | The Guardian, we learn that “Britain is now the most invasive surveillance state and the worst at protecting privacy of any western democracy”:

A quarter of all the largest public-sector database projects, including the ID cards register, are fundamentally flawed and clearly breach European data protection and rights laws, according to a report published today.

Claiming to be the most comprehensive map so far of Britain’s “database state”, the report says that 11 of the 46 biggest schemes, including the national DNA database and the Contactpoint index of all children in England, should be given a “red light” and immediately scrapped or redesigned.

The full report is available here. It uses somewhat stronger language:

Of the 46 databases assessed in this report only six are given the green light. That is, only six are found to have a proper legal basis for any privacy intrusions and are proportionate and necessary in a democratic society.

After working around government as a software consultant for several years, I particularly endorse this recommendation:

There should never again be a government IT project – merely projects for business change that may be supported by IT. Computer companies must never again drive policy.

Examining the arguments for the ID Card scheme and the National Identity Register provides a case in point.

ID Cards Fiction and FactLiberty Human Rights maintain a short leaflet, “ID Cards, Fiction and Fact” which explains:

  • The ID Card and National Identity Register schemes will cost us privacy and cash.
  • The government’s claims about the benefits of the program are fiction.
  • ID Cards will not protect us from terrorism.
  • ID Cards will not cut crime.
  • ID Cards will increase discrimination.
  • The Government will not keep our data private.
  • The scheme is expensive and of no use.

You can join Liberty here.

The Conservatives go further in their criticism of the scheme here, pledging to abolish it. You can join the Conservatives here.

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