The Guardian / Press Association version of the "terrorist with false UK passport" story includes a more significant item:
Instead of "47 registrable facts" as per Schedule 1 of the Identity Cards Act 2006, the Government bureaucrats are going to start off the new Passport / National Identity Register database with at least 200 for "face to face interview" applicants !
Al-Qaida terrorist among fraudulent passport applicants
James Sturcke and agencies
Tuesday March 20, 2007
Earlier, the Home Office minister, Joan Ryan, admitted that an estimated 10,000 British passports were granted after false applications were made over the 12-month period.
Ms Ryan said the IPS had received 16,500 fraudulent applications between October 2005 and September 2006. In a written ministerial statement, she said "almost half" the applications were stopped by existing safeguards, but the remainder had gone undetected.
"Our current estimate is, therefore, that the level of undetected fraud is about 0.5%, equivalent to 10,000 applications against the planned 6.6m passports issued per year," she said.
Note that these Home Offices guesstimates do not give any figures for Fake or Forged Passports, as opposed to genuine UK Passports which have been issued on the basis of False Applications or False or Fake supporting documentation.
The IPS executive director, Bernard Herdan, said applicants would be expected to know answers from a pool of around 200 questions about their ancestry, financial history and previous addresses.
"We will not ask questions to which we don't know the answers," he said. "Before the interview takes place, we will have cross-checked that individual against various databases in order to uncover information about them."
The questions are intended to ensure that applicants are the people they claim to be and uncover any cases of identity fraud, he added.
Applicants will be asked who lives with them, whether they have a mortgage, where and when their parents were born and which bank accounts they hold, and will also face questions about the counter-signatory to their passport application.
Even if the Answers to these 200 Questions are not all statically stored in your individual Passport / National Identity Register data record, the implication is that there will be a real time, or near to real time ability to send queries to other databases and search engines for any of the particular questions / answers to be checked against. so the effective loss of privacy and security for an individual, is the same.
There is no estimate from the Government about just how effective they expect these new measures to be in reducing the number of False Applications, so there can be no proper judgement about value for money.
Have they deluded themselves that they can somehow eliminate False Applications for Passports entirely ?
The "Day of the Jackal" type of scam, with applications in the names of dead infants, which the Home Office has reluctantly come around to checking after over 30 years, may have been tightened up. However this will still not prevent False Applications for Passports in the name of people who have not yet applied for theirs.
Have the Identity and Passport Service people actually read and understood the Principles of Data Protection as written into law by the Data Protection Act 1998 Schedule 1, and similar legislation around the civilised world ?
2. Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
3. Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.
5. Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.
This new rash of function creep and complexity, will still do nothing about people who Falsely Apply for a Passport in the name of an existing or mythical family member, about whom they know all the background "biographical footprint" details.
There are lots of people who have counter-signed Passport Applications who have not really known the applicants personally for at least 2 years as required by the regulations, and vice versa.
Are the Labour politicians now actually introducing, by stealth, the scheme of personal authentication and counter-signatories, which was proposed in the London School of Economics Identity Project Report, which they attacked during the Identity Cards Bill debates ?