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A number of speakers in Tuesday’s parliamentary debate voiced their concerns that it wasn’t the ID card they were so much worried about, but rather the database behind it, i.e. the National Identity Register (NIR). But, as I recall, nobody referred explicitly to the threat behind the database, and that is the National Identity Registration Number (NIRN) which the scheme will allocate to all UK citizens. For it is this unique identification element which, I believe, poses the greatest threat to our individual privacy, whether or not we have ID cards.
Once the NIRNs have been created it then becomes a relatively simple administrative task to migrate these to all our other personal records in other databases: medical, educational, welfare, tax, police, criminal, etc. At a stroke this would create what in effect would become a vast distributed, integrated database of personal information, with the NIR at its hub. This is for me the ultimate future Orwellian nightmare at the heart of the government’s ID card scheme. And so even if Charles Clarke could be persuaded to cut down on the information fields within the NIR or reduce the number of biometric tests, this would not fundamentally reduce the deadly authoritarian threat which the scheme poses to our liberties.John Welford, 15 years ago.