Citizen Data Sharing System Abandoned

The government has decided not to go ahead with established plans to create a database containing the personal records of every UK citizen.

It would have contained information taken from the UK National Identity Card scheme, which the government scrapped in May this year.

The shutting down of the plans were effected by admissions from technical designers that they were unable to find a cost-effective way of implementing the system, plans to turn the Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP) and Customer Information System (CIS) into the data sharing tool, known as CISx, which have all been shelved because of costs.

The tool was being developed jointly by DWP and the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), to support the National Identity Service (NIS), part of which included the plans to require all UK citizens to own identity cards. The government recently announced that it has decided to close the NIS programme, with which CISx was linked.

A spokesperson from the DWP told "It was decided that it would be easier and better value for money for the UK border agencies to work on their own database rather than provide a centralised system. The decision not to implement CISx was made in March, prior to the announcement that the NIS would not go ahead."

The DWP went on to explain that contrary to many media reports, CISx was designed to be a part of the NIS programme, rather than to provide cross-government access to personal citizen records.

"The existing CIS system is already used cross-government," the spokesperson added. "HMRC [HM Revenue and Customs] and local authorities already have access to CIS," she said, explaining that no additional functionality was required, as other departments do not have a requirement to access the information.

"CISx never got past the development stage," the spokesperson concluded.

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