Brown's ID card claims 'absolute bunkum' says Government electronic security expert from GCHQ
By James Slack
Last updated at 1:24 AM on 30th October 2008
Gordon Brown's claims for the £4.5billion ID cards project have been disputed by one of the Government's own electronic security experts.
The Prime Minister and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith have repeatedly said that ID cards will help thwart terror attacks.
Mr Brown said a national ID card scheme could 'disrupt terrorists' while Miss Smith has claimed ID cards will be a 'robust defence' against terrorists using false identities.
But Harvey Mattinson, a senior consultant at the IT security arm of GCHQ, the Government's listening station, said the claims were 'absolute bunkum'.
Mr Mattinson, who works for CESG - formerly the Communications-
Electronics Security Group - said their usefulness would be primarily sharing information between government departments.
ID cards are to be introduced for foreign nationals from next month.
From late 2009 they will be rolled out to those employed in sensitive roles or locations, such as airports.
From 2010 they will be available on a voluntary basis to the young.
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said ID cards were an ' expensive white elephant'.
He added: 'This is yet more damning evidence that ID cards are incapable of doing what ministers claim. One by one, Government claims for ID cards have been refuted by security experts.
'Far from strengthening our security, ID cards are an expensive white elephant that risk making us less - not more - safe.'
Phil Booth, of the NO2ID campaign, said: 'Top experts fighting terrorism have rubbished ministers' favourite excuse for ID cards, making it clear that the real reason for the scheme is to tag and record ordinary people.'
A Home Office spokesman said: 'No one has ever claimed ID cards are the complete answer to terrorism or crime, but they will help tackle illegal working, money laundering and benefit fraud, and terrorist activity.
'Al Qaeda's own training manual requires operatives to acquire false identities to hide their terrorist activities. Criminals and terrorists are known to use multiple identities to avoid detection.
'ID cards will make it much harder to use false or multiple identities by securely linking a person's unique identity to national identity register using biometrics.'
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