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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 just want to give you some information about our database. We first campaigned for the Data Protection Act in 1970. As you will know, we did not have such an Act in this country until 1984, so we campaigned for quite a long time for that to be put in place. It stands to reason that we take our obligations under the Act extremely seriously. I cannot say when the current software that we use for our membership and contact database was put in, but they are not connected to the internet, so it is not possible for people to hack in. You cannot, of course, prevent the fact that someone might break into your offices. A basic point that we made to the Home Affairs Committee inquiry on the surveillance state was that if you have something that is electronically accessible from a number of different points, you increase the risk of the likelihood that people will be able to access it. Nothing is perfectly secure in this world, but the problem with large-scale Government databases is that they tend to be more vulnerable because they have to be accessed from a greater number of points.