Several august bodies have submitted their written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee Inquiry into ID Cards:
Liberty Human Rights:
Liberty's evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on the Government's Identity Card Proposals (.pdf)
The British Computer Society's response is reported by KableNet.
STAND are waiting for permission from the Clerk of the Committee to make their actual evidence available online (it is possible to re-iterate your arguements without their explicit permission)
Our modest contribution squeezed into 2000 words, and so could not cover all the contentious topics, but we did try to bring several issues to the attention of the Committee, hopefully so that they can scrutinise them more deeply:
- We pointed out that the UK Government's own experts on Biometrics, the UK Biometrics Working Group do not claim that the technology is "unforgeable" or that Biometric Identifiers are "unique", statements which often seem to be on the lips of Home Office Ministers and spokespeople. We also suggested that the Committee should enquire why no Biometric Technology has achieved Memorandum 28 status as being suitable for use by UK Government departments.
- We pointed out that the Committee should be asking the outgoing e-Envoy, just how a Biometric ID Card can be of any use in authenticating people for online internet or telephone call centre e-Government services, and wether the current Home Office plan could actually hinder the takeup of such services (and thereby lose the anticipated savings and benefits to the public).
- We also pointed out the lack of any mention of a Public Key Infrastructure to Digitally Sign the Biometric Identifiers which are supposed to be on the Smart Card. The International Civil Aviation Organisation's proposed standards for Machine Readable Travel Documents (including Biometric Passports) recognise the need for a PKI to prevent forgery of Biometric Identifiers, but also, realistically, consider that the problems of Cross Certification and Certificate Revocation for over 120 different countries is an impossible one. They are therefore proposing to use a customised PKI, solely for Biometric Passports, which is deliberately incompatible with any other systems i.e. completely scuppering the Home Office's vague hopes of a combined ID Card + Biometric Passport + Driving Licence.
- The whole concept of keeping Address information on either an ID card or on a central database or in a National Identity Register is extremely controversial, even the Home Office's own focus group research found that most people were worried by this aspect of their plans. If Address information is to be of any use in catching criminals, then it needs to be at least as intrusive as the Violent and Sexual Offender Register, when it comes to Change of Address Notification policies. Just like the British Computer Society, we pointed out the the decisions about wether or not to include Address information on the ID card need to made right at at the start of the "voluntary" scheme, or else there will be huge financial and logistical problems as the project progresses
Email us if you want a copy of our full submission to the Home Affairs Committee, which we will forward to you when we get permission or when the Home Affairs Committee reports.