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‘Security safeguards needed’ for new photo ID cards

Resource type: News

Irish Independent |

Original Source by Fiach Kelly CIVIL liberties groups and opposition politicians yesterday said that adequate safeguards should be put in place for a new photo ID card. The Department of Social and Family Affairs has confirmed that it is developing a card “that acts as a key for access to public services in general” which would also be used to identify and authenticate individuals “where appropriate”. In a statement, the department said that the “Public Service Card (PSC) is designed to carry only identity data required to access public services. No decision to include other data has been made”. It is envisaged that the PSC will eventually replace current cards used for accessing social welfare, revenue, health, education, agriculture services and local government and will lead to the phasing out of other cards such as the garda age card, EU health card and drugs repayment card. The PSC will contain personal details like a photograph, signature, name, address and medical card and will also have a chip with other information about the user. A report released last week by the Data Protection Commissioner of an audit carried out in the department said that the initial issue of the public service card will be related to free travel and will carry integrated ticketing functions. A department spokesperson yesterday maintained that no contracts had yet been signed for the development of the cards, even though a preferred bidder had been identified. Technological difficulties are also holding the scheme up. Privacy The Irish Council for Civil Liberties yesterday said that proper safeguards were “essential” for the introduction of the PSC. “We have very piecemeal privacy and data protection laws in Ireland and we want to know what safeguards are being put in place for the operation of this new Public Service Card system,” said the ICCL’s Tanya Ward. “Who will have access to this information and how will it be used?” Labour’s Human Rights spokesman Joe Costello also said that safeguards were needed to ensure that any information contained on such a card was not used for any other purpose apart from access to public services.