Scottish Government drops controversial ID database proposals

Open Rights Group welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to drop proposals that would have paved the way for a national ID register in Scotland.

Executive Director Jim Killock said:

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government has listened to the concerns of Open Rights Group and our supporters. If these plans had gone ahead, Scotland would have introduced a national ID database that would have tracked Scottish citizens through the public services they use. This would have fundamentally changed the relationship between Scottish citizens and the state. 

“We are very keen to work with the Scottish Government on any future plans to allow Scottish citizens to make accessing services online easier. Privacy must be at the heart of such a system.

“The Scottish Entitlement Card scheme which also links people’s behaviour through the UCRN remains in place and both should be included in the future review.“

The 2015 consultation

The Scottish Government announced the original plans in a consultation that took place in early 2015. The proposal was to use the NHS Central Register to verify personal details as people started to use “myaccount” online government services, and to tie people’s details to the single identifiers in the NHS system as well as the Scottish UCRN (Unique Citizen Reference Number).

If the proposals had been adopted, the UCRN would tie people’s data across 120 other Scottish public bodies – including Glasgow Airport, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd. Scottish residents could then be tracked across all their interactions with public bodies, including your benefits, bus pass travel or library usage.

After ORG raised awareness of the proposals, over 200 of our supporters made submissions to the consultation. Liberal Democrat and Green MSPs also voiced their concerns and asked questions of the Scottish Government in relation to the proposals.

Notes to Editors

The Scottish Government’s announcement about the dropping of the proposals is here

ORG’s response to the consultation is here.