Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Home Secretary 3:31 pm, 28th June 2005

I shall make some progress and then give way.

In the information society in which we live, identity cards will be a means of helping to control it rather than adding to it. I want to give full particulars, dealing with personal protection, access to private companies, the role of the police and the position of ethnic minorities. All those points have been raised with me.

I shall deal first with personal protection. I want to make it explicitly clear that, under the Data Protection Act 1998, everyone has the right, without qualification, to check the record that is held on them. Moreover, the same right to check who has accessed the database that currently exists in data protection legislation will apply to the identity database in the Bill. I know that many of my hon. Friends in particular have been worried about those aspects. I therefore take the opportunity not only to set that out clearly and openly but to state that, in Committee, I am prepared to consider amendments that might make it more explicit.

I acknowledge that people have concerns because the matter involves the Data Protection Act and they are worried about what might be perceived as a potentially secretive database. I am keen to draw that out.