Media Release: 23 November 2007: Democrats warn about Databases and Identity Theft

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ACT Democrats 2007

Media Release 23 November 2007

Democrats warn about Databases and Identity Theft

“How much personal data should the government be allowed to keep about people? Identity theft is a real concern and highlights the dangers of an Access Card” warns outspoken ID card/database opponent and Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser, Darren Churchill.

In July 2000 the Liberal government with the support of the Labor opposition set up Crimtrac, an agency supposedly to facilitate sharing of criminal information between states/territories. It also has access to information about minor traffic infringements and parking fines. And has recently been classified as an enforcement agency.

Last nights episode of Lateline, on ABC TV contained a report about two computer disks being stolen/missing from a government department in the United Kingdom due to an administrative bungle. The disks contained personal information about people receiving government benefits.

The Australian government plans to replace the Medicare Card with an Access Card (a national identity card with data storage and record keeping capabilities) by 2010.

“This shows why an identity card is such a ridiculous idea. Imagine what would happen with cards containing peoples’ personal information and able to be accessed by anyone with a scanner, being lost. Identity theft is allegedly the fastest growing white-collar crime in the UK. And the British had the sense not to go down the Identity Card line. But even that hasn’t avoided the loss of stored personal information.” Mr Churchill said.

“The questions that have to be answered are:

  • Does the government need to keep centralised personalised information?
  • How much information is allowed to be held about a person?
  • What right’s to challenge personal information held in databases (accuracy and whether the person wants that information held at all) are put in place?
  • How open, accountable transparent and available is a person’s right to know the information held about them?
  • And is there a limit on how long information can be held?”

We need answers to these questions!“ Mr Churchill insisted

“It is horrendous that the Liberals want to take us down this path. And that Labor won’t speak out against it.”

“We delude ourselves if we think large-scale identity theft can’t happen in Australia. Centralised databases and ID cards are a serious threat to privacy. We need safeguards to protect our personal financial, health and welfare information, and restriction on what is actually allowed to be held about people.” declared a concerned Mr Churchill.

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

Darren.Churchill@act.democrats.org.au

0412 196 473

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