back to article Transcript disappears minister's 'hack-proof' ID register claim

At the end of February Home Office minister Meg Hillier explained the UK ID scheme security system to the Home Affairs Committee. "The National Identity Register, essentially," she said, "will be a secure database; ...hack-proof, not connected to the Internet... not be accessible online; any links with any other agency will be …


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  1. Eponymous Cowherd
    Black Helicopters

    Misitstry of Truth strikes again.

    Editing Big Brother's utterances to fit the truth.

    Scary, isn't it?

  2. Stewart Knight

    Even So.....

    does this mean that ONLY computers on the internet can be hacked??

  3. James

    I'd never have believed it

    The government, editing a transcript to put themselves in a better light. narrgh, no way, they wouldn't stoop so low. This government understands it security fantastically well and no way would they have made such a big gaffe. The new transcript must be accurate. Everyone knows we have an honest government, one we can trust to keep our best interests at hear.


    Sorry, nearly got hit by a trotter, damn pigs swooping down too low again.

  4. Funky Dennis

    This isn't the first time

    Check out

    Falling slowly, indeed.

  5. Sceptical Bastard

    From masterminds to morons

    Quote: "Hillier is relatively new to the ID card brief ..."

    And new to IT as well by the sound of it.

    Quote: "...officials present were passing notes to try to get her back on message"

    Ministers appearing before Commons committees are always accompanied by civil servants and these officials almost always pass briefing notes to them. No surprise there, then.

    Very few ministers are both on top of their brief and good extempore speakers (Robin Cook and William Hague are two who spring to mind). Most politicians, however, are ill-informed inarticulate drones with the attention span of goldfish. And a minority are complete idiots who shouldn't be let loose unless heavily sedated.

    Where does Jacqui Smith fit in that pantheon? You decide.

  6. Pete Silver badge

    That's what I like to see

    re-writing history before it's even happened.

    Now if only I could do that with my (losing) bet on the Grand National last weekend: I wouldn't care what this, or any other government got up to - I'd buy my own.

  7. Wayland Sothcott
    IT Angle

    'hack-proof' = 'Hack-Me'

    It should not have been described as Hack-Proof in the first place. Removing 'hack-proof' from the transcript might go a little way to making it more secure.

    Saying a network is not connected to the Internet is likely to be wrong. If the national database is accessable from a PC rather than a dedicated terminal then it will be connected to the Internet whether that was the intention or not. It would only take one PC with Internet and National ID to form a bridge or route to the Internet. If that PC is pwn'd then the hacker can spend months or years working on a way into the National Database.

  8. Steve Evans

    @Sceptical Bastard

    Let's face it, have you ever seen any sign of a Govn dept, or their advisers, that had the faintest clue about anything IT related?

    Every time they open their mouths and say something about IT related stuff it's a laugh a minute. It's like trying to bluff that you speak fluent Polish to your plumber... He's gonna spot you're full of sh*t the moment you open your mouth.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    You really must keep up!

    How can you possibly dream that such material alterations could have taken place in the record for Hansard, never mind attempt to scurrilously create such misleading confusion in the sheople. Clearly, the words were never spoken and you people have, with malice, attempted to corrupt the true message of calm and safety this Government promotes. There will be no peace for you when we have your details on our un-hackable isolated database.

  10. Ash

    Winston would be proud

    Transcript TruePerson ListFile UnPhrase "hack-proof".

  11. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Not new, of course...

    But under this government, particularly with Martin in the speaker's chair (and on the committee that oversees the handling of the transcripts), Hansard has reached Pravda-levels of "truthiness".

    This is what happens when you put people into positions of apparent power with very few actual responsibilities and little consequent oversight, as is the case with most of the national legislatures within the EU. They become corrupt. They focus on the few areas where they do have power and they micromanage them to death, they project their "power" onto everything they can and they become completely, utterly corrupt. It's no wonder Private Eye nicknamed this lot Zanu Labour... but, then, even the Zanu PF are probably less corrupt at this point. At least they have to run a country. Our lot just sit back and pretend they're running it whilst padding out their wages and pensions and waiting for their retirement.

    And, consequently, uninformed idiots become the norm rather than the exception.

  12. paulc

    independent records

    the debates etc. should be streamed live so that independent organisations can record and archive them. The House of Commons and House of Lords should also be charged with recording and archiving the debates and hearings and these recordings should be "tamper proof". Any attempt to have them edited to fit later wishes should be viewed as contempt of the House involved.

  13. dervheid


    how much more has been 'polished' out of the 'records'.

    And who approves the polish / final issue?

    So much for "Open and Transparent" government!

    Sorry, slipping into fantasyland again.

    Still, it goes to prove that you CAN polish a turd!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I wonder if the government keeps an audio record of utterances in the Commons. Presumably the typists at Hansard work from recordings of the debates - if they were typed directly in real time, there would be no way to replay muffled sections - and I wonder what happens to the recordings. A year's worth of mono compressed audio wouldn't take up very much space, perhaps they could put it up on the internet version of Hansard as a "click here to listen" thing.

    Of course, audio can be erased and edited, and it might be that the ministers will subvert the process, perhaps by holding up pieces of paper with "multiply my figures by two" written on them etc. But it would at least give the appearance of veracity.

  15. Rob Elliott

    Ministry of Truth

    I sometimes think the current crop of muppets we have running this country see 1984 as a howto rather than a cautionary tale as I am sure it was intended.

  16. cor
    Black Helicopters

    It's simple really....

    “ ...this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that white is black, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. ”

    —Orwell, 1984

  17. Christian Cook
    Thumb Up

    We will certainly need secure IDs...

    Now that we've declared war on Oceania... sorry, I mean Eurasia. We are at war with Eurasia, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

    Thumbs up to say "Go BB! and all other glorious members of IngSoc."

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Ministry of Magic

    I'm sorry, strange disapearences, people being forced to say things they don't mean?

    The Death Eaters have hacked the Ministry of Magic and are bringing the Muggles to their knees, ready for HE Who Must Not be Named to come to power.

    It's the ONLY sensible conclusion, how else can anyone explain it?

    Skll and Cross-bones because thats whats coming people, thats whats coming....

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Secure database

    The government knows its security and IT. Of course the database will be secure.

    You people are being harsh/cynical/downright distrustful.

    It's the CDs in the post that get lost. Clear? The government takes security very seriously. Clear?

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Rob Clive

    How can the NIR....

    ...not be connected to the internet? Isn't it going to be composed of 3 already existing databases which are probably connected? A new database may be but one cobbled together out of dodgy bits, never

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Jason LoCascio

    Do you work nights? or did you mean PM?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Meg Hillier is my own MP, although I didn't vote for the moronic cow, but if you check her voting records she is a nothing more than another Gordy Brown groupie without an original though or idea in her head. Bring back Brian Sedgemore :(

    Is it any wonder she has no clue about IT, she's a career politician. 'Nuff said!

  24. John Imrie


    He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.

    Double plus good memory hole.

  25. Mad Jack

    So weak

    So "Zanu" Labour have nobbled Hansard (again)? This is becoming a habit.

    So what? It's hardly a first, Ed B*ll*s did it only the other week.

    I suppose they'll soon introduce a bill to ensure Hansard records are stored on a "secure, hack proof database, not connected to the Internet" - but then again it's only a matter of time before they go and lose some unencrypted CD's in transit to the NAO ;^)

  26. Luther Blissett

    "not accessible online"

    Is also ambiguous. Is it a database which is accessible but not online, e.g. because it is undergoing maintenance. Or a database which is not accessible but online, e.g. because of operational locks?

    I wouldn't bother asking the twerp of a minister.

  27. Paul


    They are at

  28. paulc

    limited archive

    "The material is then available from an on-demand archive for 28 days. All material parliamentary copyright © 2007-2008."

    so it can still disappear...

  29. tracemonkey

    don't worry about the internet connectivity

    Take one look at the figures that Geer and Conway came up with in their recent "Beware the ID s of March" paper and you soon realize that where the govt is concerned, issues relating to ID theft are far more likely to come from simple bumbling incompetence, such as leaving a laptop in a taxi, than they are to come from active hacks over the net.

  30. Geoff Mackenzie

    Not Accessible

    They mean it'll have a terrible user interface.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    No conspiracy here - move along now...

    There's no story here. Hansard has never been a verbatim transcript of what is said in Parliament. It often has to tidy up the messy grammar and incoherent ramblings that come out of the mouths of the Dear Leaders and their lackeys. So the intent of what was said gets recorded by Hansard rather than the actual words. Sometimes this is a near-impossible but essential public service: for instance translating fluent Prescott into English.

    Hansard's tried to do Ms. Hillier a favour by deleting "hack-proof" from the record because this is clearly a ridiculous and impossible assertion.

  32. NB


    I'm seriously beginning to wonder if there's any point in democracy in this country anymore. Why vote when all we get are more mindless partyline toeing drones?! Perhaps what we need is for any minister to actually have relevant and extensive experience in the field that is governed by their department.

    Can we not have judges overseeing legal proposals by govt? Doctors running the NHS, teachers running education and perhaps, just maybe, JUST MAYBE.. geeks running IT policy?

    But clearly this is all wishful thinking, Zanu Labour PF are so obviously utterly incompetent that all we'll get out of them is more tabloid pandering bollocks.

    Mine's the one with a one-way ticket to New Zealand in the top pocket.

  33. Jimmy


    First we have revisionist historians rewriting and airbrushing the documented facts about Hitler's Holocaust. Now we have policy-wonks (sorry, that should be 'special advisers') editing the parliamentary record of debates in the House. Does this fall under the writ of the Minister for Transformational Government, Tom Watson MP, and if so could he be persuaded to remind his proteges that they are not editing entries on Wikipedia.

    Back to the Wendy House for the hapless, clueless Ms Hillier.

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