Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has called on the Scottish Government to halt plans to develop a national identity register of every person in Scotland.
Mr Rennie made the call after anti-ID card campaigners flagged up the dangers of a current Scottish Government proposal to build a database from health records and share the information with all other government bodies.
Under Scottish Government plans, the NHS Central Register will be expanded. Every person in Scotland will be given a unique number to allow the government to check their use of government services. The population database will be used for everything from whether a person has been treated for cancer to when they want to sign up to membership of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
A similar population register was scrapped when the UK Labour Government’s controversial and expensive plans for ID cards were scrapped in 2010.
Mr Rennie said:
“People hate the idea of ID cards in this country. They would be intrusive, expensive and increase the power of the over-mighty state. They were rightly scrapped in the rest of the UK. It relied on a giant identity register keeping track on all of us. It’s a big concern that the Scottish Government is building the skeleton of a national identity register in Scotland. It's one skip away from a ID card and it needs to be stopped.
“They are planning to take information on people using the health service and allowing access to 120 other organisations.
“Despite the obvious risks to personal freedom, the Scottish Government is yet to conduct the necessary Privacy Impact Assessment. We have no information on how SNP minsters would propose to keep information safe when such a wide range of people would have access to the database. They’ve not even set out the estimate of the costs involved in this massive data expansion.
"The Scottish Government should call a halt to the new super ID database.
“It shows how much people need the Liberal Democrats to stand up for civil liberties. The Conservatives are campaigning to restart the Snoopers’ Charter at a UK level and are being restrained by the Liberal Democrats. In Scotland, the nationalists are constructing a national identity register by the back door. SNP ministers must halt the roll-out of this super ID database.”