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Re Stuart H and "Today’s interesting silicon.com article" above:
We should, I suppose, be grateful to the Home Office for at least being honest about its intention to spread the use of the Identity Registration Number (IRN) to all our other national personal records. Unfortunately, herein lies the supreme threat to our privacy. This is how I summed it up in a brief letter I had published in the Observer on 17 July:
“David Hunt (Letters, last week) assumes that people's concerns about ID cards revolve around carrying a card. This is not so. The primary worry for many is with the proposed National Identity Register (NIR) and the associated unique identification number to be allocated to each UK citizen. Once the numbers have been created, it becomes a relatively simple administrative task to 'migrate' these to other nationally held personal records: medical, welfare, police, criminal etc.
At a stroke, this would create a vast, integrated database of personal information, with the NIR at its hub. It would put enormous power in the hands of the state, which represents the future Orwellian nightmare at the heart of the ID card proposals.”John Welford, 12 years ago.