Friday, August 29, 2008
Friday 29 August 2008
The Latest from NO2ID
The cost of the national census is being used as an excuse to use data-mining and sharing as a substitute it seems. The New Local Government Network’s (NLGN) report ‘Local Counts’ suggests that “£500 million could be wasted on the next census”. Just how many millions are being wasted on the vast data grid that is being created. The traditional census ensured privacy, their suggestion won’t.
Whenever talk of DNA databases arises the standard response from officialdom is that ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about’. Then why are DNA records of some 40,000 innocent children and one million innocent Britons continue to be held by the police, implying that they are criminals?
98% of Britain’s electoral officers have aired their opposition to junk mail companies having the ability to purchase names and addresses from the electoral register. Although provision is given on the annual voter registration form to disallow your name from being sold to direct marketing companies, the option box isn’t obvious and I must admit that I failed to check it before sending back my latest form. Again, like the petty fines being imposed on citizens dropping litter or using the wrong dustbin, this is just another intrusive and seedy way for local government to raise revenue.
With protection being the emotive reason, a flagship database intended to protect every child in the country will be used by police to hunt for evidence. Having used the Victoria Climbié case as a reason to push forward with the ContactPoint scheme, the database will list information on the children’s parents, their GPs, schools and social support workers. But latest information reveals that the police, council staff, head teachers, doctors and care workers will all have access to these records to search for any evidence of criminality or wrongdoing - presumably as trivial as putting your waste in the wrong bin or photographing your child in public and becoming listed as a ‘potential paedophile’!
The company responsible for having recently lost a memory stick containing the records of 84,000 prisoners, is a key contractor in the government’s controversial ID card scheme. The company, PA Consulting, has been paid almost £100 million over three years, that’s £1000 per day. How re-assuring!
The introduction of Youth ID Cards is to be delayed until 2011, a year later than originally envisaged. Although they are supposed to be only voluntary at first, they will be necessary to open a bank account or take out a student loan, so there’s going to be a pretty captive audience!
The tally of lost personal data by Whitehall has risen to 4 million items in just one year.
Government IT projects are usually a shambles. Apart from taking much longer to initiate, they usually end up costing far more than originally budgeted and invariably break down. The new NHS database goes one further in that it could also breach human rights!
Another black mark for the NHS has come in the form of dumping their old computers in Ghana, where hard drives are being mined of our personal information, while the health aspects of melting down the useful parts is being totally ignored, killing young children who are employed in the activity.