Criminals will target ID cards as the ”gold standard” of identity theft, a police chief said yesterday.
The assumption that they are foolproof will make them more enticing for forgers, said Colin Langham-Fitt, acting chief constable of Suffolk.
He also questioned the erosion of individual liberties and privacy.
“There should be a debate about the ongoing erosion of civil liberties in the name of the fight against terrorism and crime,” he said.
“Are we all happy to have our cards monitored wherever we go, to be on CCTV and to have our shopping tracked?”
Mr Langham-Fitt added: “With all this surveillance available, the question needs to be asked – are we happy with that? Does it make us feel better and safer?
“I haven’t got the answers but I would welcome the debate beyond the cliched response of, ‘If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about’.”
His comments undermine Government claims that the police support ID cards and other surveillance measures.
Mr Langham-Fitt, in an interview with the East Anglian Daily Times, said the cards could become “the gold standard of ID crime” and “it could raise the standards and stakes for those who wish to clone them or subvert the system”.
A Suffolk police spokesman said Mr Langham-Fitt was not representing the views of the force but expressing “personal” opinions.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government recognises that some people are concerned about the scheme infringing their civil liberties – that is why there are stringent safeguards built into the Identity Cards Act.”
Further questions were raised over the security of confidential information with the disclosure that the personal details of Indians applying for British visas could be obtained via the Foreign Office website. Channel 4 News reported that an identity thief or a terrorist could obtain sensitive information that could be used to apply for an ID card.
Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, said: “This is yet another IT shambles from the Government with serious implications for security.”
Mr Green added: “This Government cannot even run a simple online visa application system without betraying all the sensitive information.
“What hope has it got of protecting the integrity of the National Identity Card Register?”
I choked on my Espresso when I read this.
When the police come out against something like this you can bet that it is in serious trouble.
He may be expressing his ‘personal opinions’ but it is clear that Mr. Langham-Fitt understands PERFECTLY what the NIR and the ID Card scheme means to ‘The British way of life®’. It means its end.
It is heartening that someone in the police is bucking the current mania for ‘security’ (which in the case of ID Cards is actually Security Theatre) and is actually THINKING about what is really happening. He cannot be the only one. I certainly hope that pieces like the Frances Stonor-Saunders email have been circulated amongst his colleagues. If the police come out against it, it cannot EVER possibly work.
Gordon Brown…BACK DOWN!
You read that phrase here first!