The UK’s double standards around data protection and Human (Privacy) Rights
I attended the cabinet office briefing on eID Identity Assurance and blogged about it here..
Obviously anything with the word identity is a political hot potato in the UK after the new Tory-LibDem coalition government literally ‘crushed’ Labour’s National eID card scheme. I still wonder why apparently it’s one of the deadliest of privacy sins in the UK to suggest using the same unique identifier in one’s dealings with different government departments. Just rename NI Number to ‘Citizen Service Number’ like the practical Dutch did with their SOFI number and Bob’s your uncle. Isn’t this what governments have been happily practicing in Sweden and most other EU countries for decades? In the UK it seems this is a ‘no-go’ area because of the implied impact on citizen’s privacy. God forbid that someone in the DWP’s Child Support Agency could easily trace a deadbeat father in a HM Treasury system and find out that he can easily support his children after all. Or god forbid that someone claiming housing benefit from his local council could be found out actually owning six properties in the next town. That kind of joined-up government ‘just wouldn’t be cricket’ in the UK.
Personally the only exception I would make is using a different unique Identifyer for anything to do with the National Health Service, but that is a situation quite unique to Britain.