Good to see this:
The Conservatives have demanded the immediate suspension of a new government electronic database containing personal details of all 11 million children in England.
Tim Loughton, Shadow Children’s Minister, has written to the Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes asking her to put the whole project on ice, amid fears about the security of the information.
But it’s not enough. The Conservatives have already said that they will scrap the ID card scheme. Now we need to hear them making the same commitment to scrapping the children’s ID scheme as well, because that’s all that Contactpoint is: it’s an identity management system.
It’s a list of basic personal information, plus public services used and the numbers that identify a child within each agency system. The details will be kept updated by feeds from the Child Benefit system, the NHS and the National Pupil Database (yes, yet another national database).
If the £multi-billion National Identity Register is unsafe for adults, then Contactpoint (with its measly little £224m budget) is not safe for children. Work has already begun on Contactpoint and by the end of 2008 the government intends to have every under-18 on it. The Conservatives need to make a decision fast about whether their stated opposition to this children’s identity register is merely rhetoric.
Recommended reading: Privacy and Data-Sharing, the way forward for public services. It’s not a difficult read, and by the end of it you will understand exactly how all the apparently different initiatives – the National Identity Register, NHS system, children’s services – link together and the rationale behind them.