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Identity card not safe.
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DEMOCRATS MEDIA MONDAY 16 JANUARY 2006
SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS ATTORNEY-GENERALS AND PRIVACY SPOKESPERSON
IDENTITY CARD NOT SAFE The claim today by the Attorney-General that "a very large proportion of Australians have a national identity card now...” will come as a great surprise to many Australians, according to the Australian Democrats.
"The ownership of a passport - albeit one with biometric data - is not the same as a completely centralised database containing everything from taxation to health information, social security data to passport information," Democrats' Attorney-Generals Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.
"Storing such large amounts of sensitive information on individual cards will increase the risk of that information falling into the wrong hands and being abused.
"Only last year, Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison admitted a national identity card would give 'criminals or terrorists one nut to crack'. He went on to say a document verification system, also under consideration, was 'a more substantial way to verify identities than having one document of the Australia Card type, which could be more easily violated'.
"It is arrogant for the Attorney-General to suggest that this debate is not about whether or not we will have an identity card but what information is stored on it. For many Australians, the debate about whether or not to even consider a national identity card has not been resolved. There are many Australians wary of the centralisation of personal data by the Government and who would not accept the debate is over, even if the ALP and the National Party do.
"The notion that Australians already have their privacy invaded by big Government agencies is not an excuse to further erode privacy rights in this country. Our Government should be strengthening privacy laws, not weakening them.
"Australians have good reason to worry about their privacy rights. This Government appears cavalier in relation to respecting and protecting the privacy and security of the personal information of Australians.
"I initiated an inquiry into the Privacy Act which reported last year and found our privacy laws are inconsistent, confusing, full of exemptions and years behind technology.
"Until the Government addresses the myriad gaps in our current privacy regime, it should not even begin to debate a national identity card," Senator Stott Despoja said.
Media contact: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260