JOAN Ryan, minister for ID cards, would do well to read the Identity Cards Act herself - particularly Schedule 1 (It's on the cards, Readers' Letters, January 20).

Contrary to her assertion that the National Identity Register would contain only basic personal information such "name, nationality, age, address and gender", the NIR will also record data such as:

* biometric measurements (e.g. fingerprints, iris scans);* an audit trail recording verifications of identity, such as access to non-emergency medical services or clinics, applications for credit, opening of bank accounts, etc.;* every address at which a person has lived (here or abroad), with fines of £1,000 pounds for failure to notify the authorities of your future movements so that records can be updated;* and national insurance, passport, driver numbers and a wealth of other information that will be of use to fraudsters wishing to impersonate a person for criminal purposes.

Joan Ryan is wrong to say that the database will help us to protect our personal information from abuse. The best way of protecting our identities is to ensure that our personal details are not all collected and collated in one vast, vulnerable Stasi-like database.

Geraint Bevan Grovepark Gardens, Glasgow.