UK News: Private Credit Data to be used by Govn

So the UK govn. will soon be able to have a peek at UK'ers finances, eh? Strike another nail in the coffin of privacy if you will please.

The government is planning to use databases of personal information from government departments and the private sector to carry out background checks on UK passport holders and applicants.

The Passport Service plans to link with credit reference agencies, whose databases contain details of the names and ages of residents at all UK addresses, phone numbers, county court judgements and addresses of employers. Other identity systems will compare photographs of passport holders against photographs contained in watch-lists of suspected criminals and "high-risk individuals". These initiatives will pave the way for the introduction of biometric ID cards in 2007.

The plans are part of a crackdown on criminals and terrorists trying to obtain passports and driving licenses under false identities and will mean an expansion in government data sharing. The measures taken by the Passport Service will be introduced across other government departments, said Bernard Herdan, chief executive of the Passport Service.

Passport Service documents show that the government plans to give it new powers to carry out computerised background checks on passport applicants. The powers will form part of the draft Identity Cards Bill, which is due out later this year. The Passport Service plans to work with a private sector partner to create an identity verification service using commercial databases that will be made available to other government departments.

The verification service will provide rapid automatic checks into the address details and "social footprint" of people applying for passports and driving licences.

News source: ComputerWeekly

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