John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, is facing calls to reveal details of the Scottish Government’s controversial plans for a ‘super ID’ database.
The database would retain data about Scottish citizens’ health and link it with other government bodies and opponents of the scheme say it could be part of a strategy to sneak in a national identity scheme via the back door.
Opposition parties and campaign groups fear the plans could be “kicked into the long grass” with almost a year having elapsed since a consultation closed into the proposals. While ministers say they are still considering the issue, Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group said a response is “long overdue” and called on the government to ditch the plans.
The Scotsman reports that under proposed amendments to the NHS Central Register (Scotland) Regulations 2006, access to the register would be expanded to 120 public bodies and every person in Scotland would be assigned a unique reference number.
The Deputy First Minister has admitted it would result in additional “verification” and data sharing from the register among public bodies. This would include HMRC for tax purposes.
Opening the door
Campaigners say it could be used to keep a record of a variety of information – from whether a person has been treated for cancer to whether they have signed up for membership of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden. Experts have added that the plans could breach data protection laws and open the door to ID cards.
Liberal Democrat North East MSP, Alison McInnes, is quoted by the newspaper as saying: “These plans would change fundamentally the way that the government and public agencies access our private information and they cannot be kicked into the long grass.
“We are now weeks away from the Scottish Parliament election. We need answers from the Deputy First Minister over whether he will act and scrap these dangerous plans.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “There is no such ID database planned. We are considering consultation responses and will set out the way forward in due course.”
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