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Identity Documents Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:43 am on 29th June 2010.

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Eric Metcalfe: I agree with that, once again. I think a basic point to make is that the larger any biometric database—the more material you store and the more individuals’ data you store—the more liable it is to be in interference with the right to privacy and the more likely it is that any breach of that database will have results on a larger scale. If you have a database that only records the data of, say, 200 people, and someone hacks into it—which happens—then 200 people have had their information interfered with. If you have a database with 20 million people’s biometric information and you are storing a large amount of biometric information—not just, say, someone’s signature, but also their eye colour, or a retinal scan or DNA sample—when that database is compromised the interference with privacy is so much greater. So there are sound practical reasons to restrain the size of any database, particularly a public one.