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The Earl of Erroll: The Minister has now greatly confused me. If one of the main purposes of this card is the prevention and detection of crime, surely you really do need that number on the card. That would allow a policeman stopping someone in the street to look up and find out from his ID card that they had some sort of record that needed looking at. It may be an innocuous recordit may just be that they were found speeding or something. But it is does seem that the PNC number is necessary for that purpose and is in the interest of national security.
If those are the purposes of the Bill, why is this number excluded? Otherwise what purpose does the card have? At the moment only the great and the good are going to get it for the first 10 years and it looks like what we really need is a biometric index to the police national computer in order to do anything about purposes A and B of the card.
Lord Lucas: On a different issue, how does this subsection tie in with subsection (5)(h)? Suppose we are living in a world where the identity card is well used and supports a lot of commercial transactions. Suppose that I attend a Conservative Party conference and that fact gets into the register under subsection (5)(h) because my identity is checked at the door; then my political allegiance is on file. Suppose I visit a VD clinic and it similarly wants my identity as I go in. Suppose I am a Muslim and I buy something from a vintner. That again seems to be sensitive personal information. How are we going to exclude that kind of sensitive personal information from the register in any practical way?
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I assure the noble Lord that the information that he has just referred to is not going to be a registrable fact so it is likely to be excluded. But the noble Lord is likely to show an identity card on the occasions that he has just indicated for the purpose of allowing those people to verify that he is who he appears to be. It is unlikely that that fact will be recorded anywhere but it is going to be a useful way in which identity can be confirmed.
I turn now to the PNC issue. The police do have a total facility to look at the information captured on the PNC and to verify whether anyone who they stop or have reason to have under observationor any matters of that sortactually appears on it. It is wholly unnecessary to have that number on the card.
Lord Phillips of Sudbury: I want to clarify something that is obviously very important and central to the Bill. The explanation given by the Minister was extremely
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helpful and clear but am I not right in saying that sensitive personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998 does not cover data under paragraph (9) of Schedule 1? That is what many people in lay language would call sensitive personal data and some of it is the sort of information referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas.
Lord Lucas: Yes, indeed. The noble Minister says that these matters will not be registered but they must be. If someone has checked my identity, that fact is entered on the register. Presumably who has checked my identity is entered on the registerif it is Victoria Wine then I am done.
The Earl of Northesk: In addition to the occasions alluded to by my noble friend Lord Lucas, one fundamental aspect of the register is that the audit trail for the benefit of the individual card holder should be robust and complete. But if I understand the Minister correctly, she is saying that there is no way that the audit trail will be robust and complete.
Lord Selsdon: I had not intended to intervene in this debate but, because I have a great interest in identity and in winethe wine that we produce is certainly better than that which my noble friend may be acquiringI thought that I would take the opportunity to read to your Lordships a ministerial interview:
"Is big brother watching you? To be more precise, did you know that government is building up a dossier on you? It's called by the harmless sounding name of National Integrated Database. What it means is that at the press of a button any civil servant can inspect just about every detail of your life, your tax, your medical record, periods of unemployment, children's school records, the lot! And that civil servant may happen to be your next door neighbour! Well recently there has been mounting concern over this powerful, even totalitarian, weapon that the computer revolution has put into the government's hand and the man who wields the weapon is the Minister for Administrative Affairs . . . Now minister, are you laying foundations for a police state?".
As your Lordships will be aware, that was Minister Hacker in "Yes Minister" many years ago. It was sent to me the other day and I had forgotten all about it, but I have received other letters asking whether the Minister can give an assurance that this measure will not form the basis for a police state.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I am very happy to give that reassurance. I understand why a number of noble Lords are concerned, so I shall try to deal with the matter as clearly as I can. In response to the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, I should say that subsection (6) applies only to numbers under Clause 1(5)(g); it does not apply to the rest of the information on the register, which may disclose sensitive personal data. So there is no direct link between paragraphs (g) and (h). Subsection (6) limits only the information set out in paragraph (g)that is, numbers allocated for identification purposes.
It would be impractical to extend subsection (6) to paragraph (h) or any other part of subsection (5). The subsection was inserted in the other place because of the particular sensitivity of criminal and medical
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records. That was highlighted as an area where information might be given when it would not properly have been admitted in any other way. Therefore, I think that I can reassure the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, that the information contained in the register will be dealt with appropriately and, as I said earlier, the information contained on the PNC will be available in the ordinary way to the police. So, with the combination of those two, we are responding to the issue of numbers. The provision deals with numbers and does not seep into any other part.
Lord Peyton of Yeovil: It would be churlish and ungracious on my part if I did not say to the noble Baroness how grateful I am, as I am sure are other noble Lords, for the courteous and patient way in which she has steered us through some of the undergrowth of the Bill in the direction of understanding. I hope that I shall not embarrass her if I say that the way in which she handles such points is a lesson to her colleagues, and I hope it is one from which they will profit.
I remind the noble Baroness that it was never my intention to leave out these words but merely to call attention to the fact that they are not immediately comprehensible. If she would be kind enough to say that she will take another look at this subsection between now and Report, I shall be very happy to withdraw the amendment.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I am happy to say that we will look at the subsection again, although we think that it is fit for the purpose. But I am happy to do that and, if we can make any improvements, we will come back with them. However, we think that it is sound.
The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 39, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 82, 83 and 84. The purpose of these amendments is to ask the Government to set out clearly the number of names we will be required to register on the national identity register. As my noble friend Lord Peyton has rightly said, the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, is trying to help us find our way through the undergrowth of this Bill. The difficulty we find in debating it arises because so much of this Bill is left to statutory instrument, because it is a skeletonan enabling Bill. It means that we often have to write in parts of the Bill in order to get an answer from the Government about what will happen next.
The difficulty, I find, is in knowing just what kind of information the Government are trying to capture and what guidance there will be for applicants about how extensive a list of names they should supply. For example, in my life I have been known by my maiden name, my married name, and am currently known by my name in this House, Baroness Anelay of St Johnsand perhaps something not so polite on occasion. In my amendment I want to direct attention to the name by which I am legally known, and ask whether that should not be the basis for registration.
I notice that sometimes in this Bill the Government seem to ask us to register information of which we simply will have no knowledge. For example, what if I am known by a name about which I know nothing? It might be a very nice nickname. Some people know their nicknames very well; what about the Deputy Prime Minister? Does he have to register "Two Jags" in the national identity register? Perhaps he does. Also, we may commonly be called by names by those who simply misunderstand our names. I am the victim of that. The noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, is always absolutely correct in her pronunciation, but I am more commonly known around the House as "Lady Annaly". Those who have been here since before 1999 will know that that was the name of a gentleman who is very different from me, and who had to leave this House in 1999 because of this Government's changes. When I came to this House I was not allowed straightforwardly to call myself Lady Anelay, because Garter told me that people might confuse me with Luke Annaly. I could not believe that he was right, but he is. I do not want to have that confusion on the national identity register, if and when my identity has to be declared. This looks like a light-hearted amendment, but it tries to get to the kernel of what kind of guidance the Government will give us in establishing our identity. I beg to move.
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