Government proposals to expand the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) will pave the way for a national ID register in Scotland. The proposals have been made public in a little-known consultation that closes at the end of February. Digital rights campaigners, the Open Rights Group (ORG) believe that the consultation is flawed, misleading and could fundamentally change the relationship between citizen and state.
Open Rights Group Executive Director, Jim Killock said:
“Government proposals that jeopardise our right to privacy need proper consideration. The SNP rejected a national ID register when the UK government tried to introduce ID cards. These proposals could pave the way for a similar scheme in Scotland and are being introduced without a proper debate by the public or MSPs. ”
Most Scottish citizens already have a unique identity number in the NHS system. This plan is to share this unique identifier with up to 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.
ORG believes that this is building an ID card system in Scotland and that any such changes should be introduced as primary legislation, which would allow a proper public and parliamentary debate.
ORG has published its response to the consultation here: https://scotland.openrightsgroup.org/policy/2015/02/02/a-national-id-system-by-the-backdoor:-thenhscr-scotland-consultation/
ORG is also urging its supporters in Scotland to contact their MSPs about the proposals: https://scotland.openrightsgroup.org/campaigns/stop-scottish-id-database