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Identity Cards

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how citizens will be able to correct errors in the National Identity Register relating to their profile. (96405)

The implementation of the National Identity Scheme will include the introduction of measures to ensure that errors in an individual’s record are avoided on application and thereafter, any error can be easily noted and quickly corrected.

During the application process, a number of steps will help avoid errors. There will be:

(1) checks conducted on applicant information against information held on other databases which should enable errors to be highlighted. This is known as the biographical footprint check;

(2) an examination of relevant supporting documentation in advance or at the enrolment centre to ensure that it is valid and corresponds with information provided on the application form and the results from biographical footprint check;

(3) attendance in person to allow information to be clarified and checked with the applicant.

Once an individual is enrolled on the National Identity Register, there will be a number of methods for the individual to review what information is held on their record. An individual will continue to be entitled to request a subject access request under the Data Protection Act to review their record; in addition, the Government have indicated that they intend to introduce an online facility where, subject to secure remote authentication, an individual will be able to review their record and thus, ensure that it is accurate. Should an individual notice an error on their record, they will be able to contact the Identity and Passport Service through a number of different channels to rectify the error, subject to secure remote authentication. At present, the channels being considered include post, telephone and internet.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalty fine system will apply under the proposed national identity card scheme. (96411)

The Identity Cards Act 2006 provides for civil financial penalties, rather than fines, in the following areas: failure to comply with a requirement relating to compulsory registration (section 7), failure to notify changes affecting the accuracy of an entry in the Register (section 10) and failure to surrender an invalid ID card (section 11). Penalties relating to compulsory registration may only come into force after further primary legislation.

A fine–as well as a custodial sentence–may be imposed by a criminal court for criminal offences set out in sections 25 to 30 of the Act. These offences are related to the possession of false identity documents or are targeted at criminal activities which may be undertaken by people involved in administering the scheme. Offences in this latter category include unauthorised disclosure of information from the Register and tampering with the Register.