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Scots urged to voice concerns about privacy

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has urged Scots to voice their opposition to what he claims are plans to expand access to a “super ID database”.

He said he wanted as many people as possible who are concerned about potential privacy breaches to contribute to a Scottish Government consultation on the issue before it closes tomorrow. (wed)

The Lib Dems claim the proposals will expand access to the NHS central register to 120 public bodies, assigning each individual with a unique citizen reference number to accompany data stored on a central database.

The party has started an online petition and about 800 signatures have been collected so far.

Lib Dem peer Lord Philips of Sudbury has claimed the scheme could lead to “ID cards by the back door” and Baroness Shirley Williams, also a Lib Dem peer, said the nation “must be careful not to sleepwalk into authoritarianism”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has insisted that the government fundamentally opposed ID cards and was not proposing to introduce any new national database.

A government spokesman has said the NHS central register had existed since the 1950s, and is already used by councils and health boards under strictly controlled arrangements to ensure they are dealing with the right individual and to prevent mistakes being made.

But Mr Rennie said: “People must shout loudly in their opposition to the SNP’s super ID database plans.

“The government’s ill-conceived proposals to expand access the NHS central register would pose a significant intrusion on our rights to privacy.

“The Scottish Government’s consultation closes this week.

“This will be the only opportunity for people to make their voice heard and I would urge them to do so.”

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