Government loses 25m records – would you trust them with ID cards?

by Stephen Tall on November 20, 2007

Is there a Richter scale for cock-ups? If so, the Government has just been hit by at least a Factor 9:

Alistair Darling has blamed mistakes by junior officials at HM Revenue and Customs after details of 25 million child benefit recipients were lost. The Chancellor said information, including bank details of 7m families, had been sent on discs to the National Audit office by unrecorded delivery. Mr Darling said it was “an extremely serious failure”.

Of course mistakes happen: you cannot eliminate error, either human or machine. All you can do is minimize it. The Lib Dems have long attacked Labour’s ID card scheme not simply for the personal intrusion of having to carry a bit of plastic if you want to step outside – but because of the huge national database future governments will be building up on all citizens.

Today’s Treasury debacle is another reminder why Labour’s determination to create a database surveillance society in the UK is a privacy disaster waiting to happen.