Saturday, December 6, 2008
The Non-Disclosure agreement for companies working with the UK Government on the National identity card has been leaked on WikiLeaks. The document states, among other things, what rights the Government has to search the properties of companies involved and the obligations on the companies to keep information secret.
Section five of the document states that if a company fails to comply with the agreement, or in other cases at the “sole discretion” of the Home Office, the government may search the property, records and computers of the company. The anonymous individual who leaked the documents has stated that “no search warrant or judicial oversight would be required,” to carry out the search.
The leaker also states that individuals working for the company may have their computers searched “without any suspicion of a crime having been committed,” although the document does require that these searches may only take place “for the purposes of ensuring that all National Identity Scheme information and associated copies are secure in accordance with this agreement or have been destroyed permanently or removed from their possession.
Section two of the document requires that the document is secured in accordance with policy set out by the government, and requires that the information is only disclosed to those who need to have access as part of the identity card programme.
Section four of the document states that it shall be liable to the government for any breach of the agreement, and that, except for obligations required by the Official Secrets Act, the requirements shall no longer apply 25 years after the signing of the agreement, which took place in 2007.
The individual leaking the document has stated that he did so “to bring attention to the manner of construction of the ID scheme and the highly secretive approach being adopted by the UK government.”
Despite the criticism of the scheme, the Home Office has stated that the cards are required to “help protect people from identity fraud and theft,” and “disrupt the use of false and multiple identities by criminals and those involved in terrorist activity.”