June 8, 2008
Members of the Home Affairs Select Committee said it was concerned that the way the authorities use sensitive data gathered in the multi-billion pound programme could “creep” to include spying.
The all-party committee also urged ministers to make plans on how to deal with the theft of personal details from the National Identity Scheme, which will build a massive database on every person over 16 in Britain.
It accepted ministers’ assurances that surveillance was not part of current plans, but asked for a guarantee that no expansion would take place without MPs’ approval.
“We are concerned … about the potential for ‘function creep’ in terms of the surveillance potential of the National Identity Scheme,” the report said.
“Any ambiguity about the objectives of the scheme puts in jeopardy the public’s trust in the scheme itself and in the Government’s ability to run it.
“Whilst we accept the Government’s assurance that the scheme will not be used as a surveillance tool, we seek the further assurance that any initiative to broaden the scope of the scheme will only be proposed after consulting the Information Commissioner and on the basis that proposals will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny in draft form.”
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