Brian Gladman's letter to the Prime Minister warning of the safety risks of the ID card scheme is below.
9 February 2006
The Rt Hon Tony Blair
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 1AA
Dear Prime Minister,
During Prime Ministers Questions in the House of Commons on 18 January you said that you thought that the report from the London School of Economics (LSE) on ID cards was authored by one person, a leading campaigner against identity cards. For reasons I will now explain, I am in a position to say definitively that you are wrong in this belief.
When this project was started it was realised that there was an important but highly specialised area in which the LSE did not have sufficient intramural expertise for proper coverage. The area concerned was that of information systems security. In consequence the LSE team asked if I would be prepared to write that part of the report that would consider this aspect of the proposed UK Identity Card programme. I accepted this task so I can easily confirm that: (a) I was the author of that part of the LSE report that deals with information security and safety matters, and (b) Simon Davies took no part in the writing or the peer review of this part of the report.
The reason I was approached is because of my background. From 1980 to 1990 I directed the research and development work on information security undertaken for the UK Ministry of Defence at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment. At the time this was the primary R&D work on information security within UK government and formed the technical basis for the safety and security of future computer based defence weapons systems. From 1988 to 1995 I directed the acquisition of secure defence communications and information systems. I also directed work to develop safety standards for computers in weapon systems as a part of my role as a member the Ordnance Board, the body that oversees the safety of defence armaments. Since retiring from defence in 1997 I have continued to work in the information security and safety fields where I have undertaken work for several US government agencies as well as major international companies involved in computing and software developments for use in secure systems.
That part of the LSE report written by me concluded that the UK ID card proposals, in their current form, would create safety and security risks for all those whose details are to be held on the system. In view of the seriousness of this conclusion, LSE were rightly concerned to have this work independently validated and it was hence peer reviewed by two independent information security experts, both of whom are internationally recognised for their expertise in this field.
My primary reason for writing to you is to ask that you correct your statement to the House of Commons about the authorship of the LSE report on Identity Cards. Should you doubt my word on my role in this report, I can supply a wealth of evidence to support this claim. Moreover, Michael Foster, the MP for Worcester, has a letter confirming my role, one that he received prior to your statement.
But I also think that you should reflect carefully on the fact that it is the considered view of internationally recognised experts in information systems security that the UK ID cards programme as now envisaged will create safety and security risks for those whose details are entered onto the system. Although I can afford to pay the fines to avoid these risks, it is shameful that those who are less well off will be forced to put themselves at serious risk for a system that serves no useful purpose that cannot be achieved in other, more effective and less costly ways. And, in case you think that I am an opponent of ID cards, I should point out that I support an irrevocably voluntary, self funded ID card scheme.
Please note that I am copying this letter to Mr Cameron and Sir Menzies Campbell.
Dr Brian Gladman, Worcester, UK.