The Scottish Government has proposed to resurrect the centralised National Identity Register. The proposal is contained within a seemingly anodyne consultation entitled “proposed amendments to the National Health Service Central Register (Scotland) Regulations 2006”. In effect the proposals set out within the consultation would transform the Scottish NHS register (NHSCR) into a full scale population register accessible to over 120 Scottish authorities, and once on this population register every citizen would be assigned a Unique Citizen Reference Number (“UCRN”). An excellent analysis of what is being proposed has been provided on the Hawktalk blog.
The parallels this scheme has to the UK wide National Identity Scheme strongly debated over a decade ago are uncanny. The 2006 Identity Cards Act that was repealed by the coalition government also allowed any public authority access to the National Identity Register “for the purpose of securing the efficient and effective provision of public services”. The National Identity Scheme also involved the creation of a unique identifying number that could be used to index various databases together. It is clear the ‘database state’ is very much alive north of the border, and along with it the tendency to try to use computers to manage society by watching people.
Furthermore we must not forget that Scotland already has the Identity Card aspect of the repealed UK wide Identity Cards Act. The Scottish ‘National Entitlement Card is run by National Records Scotland which maintain the National Health Service Central Register. The terms and conditions of these cards clearly explain that when you sign up to one of these cards your are prescribed a Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN). If these proposals go ahead this same UCRN could be used to link the entitlement card usage to the new population database they are proposing to build.
NO2ID can not overstate the seriousness of these proposals. Despite a public outcry against Identity Cards and the National Identity Scheme the Scottish Government has been working to recreate something almost exactly the same north of the border. We urgently need people to become aware of what is being proposed and take immediate political action to oppose these plans. Plans that will increase surveillance, damage privacy and the freedoms of all Scottish citizens.