April 19, 2006 12:20 PM PDT

Britain to use ID card database as national register

The British government says its ID card database will become a national population register of basic personal information that its agencies can use to verify identity.

It has called for the development of a children's register as well.

The U.K. Treasury confirmed this week that the newly created Identity and Passport Service (IPS) will take over from the Office for National Statistics on work on the Citizen Information Project. The project is meant to create an adult population register containing a person's name, address, date of birth and a unique ID reference number.

"The IPS should be responsible for developing the national identity register as an adult population database. Over time, public sector systems, business processes and culture should be adapted to use the NIR as the definitive source of contact details in the longer term," Des Browne, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said in a statement to the U.K. parliament.

The British government's plan to introduce ID cards with biometric data has run into criticism from groups that oppose the creation of a national database of personal information. The House of Lords, the U.K. government's second chamber, put up resistance to an initial proposal that would have forced British citizens applying for a passport to also pay for an ID card and have their details added to the ID database. A compromise now allows people not to have to buy a card until 2010.

The NIR will only contain details of adults over the age of 16, but a national child population database could also be created.

"The Department for Education and Skills should also consider whether there is scope to realize further efficiency and effectiveness benefits through a child population register," Browne said.

Until the NIR is up and running, the Treasury said, it should be a priority for Revenue and Customs, and the Department for Work and Pensions, to look at short-term arrangements for wider use of the National Insurance number, the equivalent of a Social Security number. The two government departments should also find ways to better share the personal information they hold.

"There is significant value to both citizens and the public sector in greater sharing of contact details--name, address, date of birth, reference numbers--in a secure way across the public sector," Browne said.

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.

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British National ID
If the government is demanding the creation of this national data base, and is requiring that all adults be listed in it, why do the individuals have to pay for their own card? What happens if a person decides not to pay? Will the government attach his/her wages or take some other action to collect the funds? Also, the data base will contain the person's address. When the person moves, is s/he required to also inform the national register of an address change (maybe changing an address in the UK is different than in the US so maybe this would be automatic). Will they cross-reference deaths and name changes due to marriage/divorce to keep the registry up to date? Seems like there are too many simple ways for the registry to be screwed up. So there must be a lot of devious ways to seed bad information as well
Posted by rmludwig (7 comments )
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Personal integrity - the Swedish way
The Swedish solution:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.skatteverket.se/download/18.b7f2d0103e5e9ecb08000109/711b03.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://www.skatteverket.se/download/18.b7f2d0103e5e9ecb08000109/711b03.pdf</a>

"The personal identity number is also widely used
outside the public sector, for example in company
accounting procedures and the registers of insurance companies and banks. It is therefore common for the personal identity number to be used as a search code in computerized registers and as a link when collating more than one register. One such form of collation occurs when notification of change of address is forwarded from the population registry to other personal registers in the community."
Posted by karlafg (1 comment )
Link Flag
To reduce predictability of ID string
The following website presents a method of id string generation that does NOT reduce all individual rights concerns of this matter, but it does reduce predictability of identification string sequence for a specific individual.

Posted by RememberEZ (45 comments )
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