National Insurance Numbers – National Identity Registration Number to be entirely randomThursday, October 8th, 2009
Towards the end of 2009 and during 2010, the first national identity cards will be issued to the general public, first in Manchester and then across the North West. Following a consultation exercise in 2008, the Government has made a number of Regulations related to the issuing of these cards.
The Identity Cards Act 2006 (National Identity Registration Number) Regulations 2009, which comes into force on 20 October 2009, provide that
- the number allocated to each card in the National Identity Register will provide no information about the person other than that an entry appears in the Register and that the entry has been given a number, and
- the way in which the number is allocated will not be linked in any way to any other number or code allocated to the person.
The National Identity Registration Number (NIRN) is computer-generated and is not designed to provide any information about the person, e.g. to deduce information about a person’s age, gender or nationality. It will also not be possible, by reading any two NIRNs together to establish any connection between the two individuals concerned. The requirement also prevents sequential numbering being issued to individuals whose applications are made at the same time, e.g. family members, as has occurred in some circumstances with National Insurance numbers.
The NIRN must also not be generated by reference to any existing reference number or code assigned to the individual. For example, this would prevent a National Insurance Number or a driver number being used as the basis for the creation of a NIRN or such numbers themselves being used as the individual’s NIRN. In turn, this prevents any unintentional linkage, through the format of the NIRN, to information held about the individual which is accessed by means of other reference numbers or codes.
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