Tag Archives: police state

ContactPoint – the UK State is creating a database of all children

Along with many other parents across the UK, I have recently received a letter from one of my children’s schools informing me that legislation has just been passed “requiring Local Authorities to set up and run a nationwide database, known as ContactPoint, which will contain basic details about every child and young person under the age of 18 who is ordinarily resident in England”.

Why should this legislation have been passed?  Why is it compulsory?  Why should everyone have to be registered? In effect, as young people grow older, this database will eventually record information about everyone “normally resident” in the UK. It will provide yet another means through which the State collects private information about individuals, thereby enabling it to impose greater control over its citizens.

The ContactPoint website claims that ” ContactPoint will be the quick way for a practitioner to find out who else is working with the same child or young person, making it easier to deliver more coordinated support. ContactPoint is an online directory, available to authorised staff who need it to do their jobs, enabling the delivery of coordinated support for children and young people. It is also a vital tool to help safeguard children, helping to ensure that the right agencies are involved at the right time and children do not slip through the net”.

But does this require details on EVERY child in the UK to be recorded on a central database?  The passing of this legislation on 26th January gives rise to very great concern:

  1. Why should every child need to be registered?  Why does the state need to gain information about the name, address, date of birth, and contact details of all parents to be registered centrally?
  2. Given the inability of  the UK government to keep such data secure in the past, there are high risks that this personal information will become accessible to a wide range of people in the future.  Children will therefore be put at risk.
  3. There is no evidence that such a database will make any difference to early interventions when  children really do need the State to intervene to protect them
  4. Who really benefits from this?  Is it not the companies who have persuaded the Government to introduce such very expensive digital systems?
  5. What gives the State any right at all to collect such individual private information.

We must resist this ever great control by the state over its citizens – just because digital technologies enable us to do this, does not mean it is right.

Tim

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Is the UK becoming a police state?

The Sunday Times published a front page report today noting that: ‘THE government is building a secret database to track and hold the international travel records of all 60m Britons. The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250m passenger movements in and out of the UK each year. The computerised pattern of every individual’s travel history will be stored for up to 10 years, the Home Office admits. The government says the new database, to be housed in an industrial estate in Wythenshawe, near Manchester, is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism. However, opposition MPs, privacy campaigners and some government officials fear it is a significant step towards a total surveillance society.’

This is yet another example of the ways in which the state is using technology to gain unprecedented information about its citizens.  What right does it have to do so?

Even those who believe that the state can legitimately gather such information should be careful –  given the dismal failure of the state so far to keep such information from being ‘lost’ or ‘falling into the wrong hands’, what reassurances do we have that these data will be secure?

We need to encourgae a vigorous and participatory debate about these issues.

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