Sunday, July 25, 2004

Govt plans detailed database on every child (and their family)

Times Online - Newspaper Edition reports that the government plans to set up a national database containing confidential details about every child in Britain.

Each child under 18 years will be assigned a unique identifiying number and a central electronic register will hold information on a child's school achievements, GP and hospital visits, police and social services records and home address. The record will also include information about their families such as whether parents are separated or divorced and will identify problem relatives, including aunts and uncles who have a history of alcoholism or drug misuse.

Anyone who has access to this database will thus have considerable power over the lives of the children and (extended) families that are on it.

The database will also become a target for those who would like to use this information themselves, I predict a lucrative black market arising whereby corrupt officials and hackers will obtain such information for people for a fee.

It is also worth noting that once you have this database setup with childrens' details on it, you only need to wait 18 years (whilst keeping it up to date) and you'll have this information available for a large chunk of the adult population.

The government will thus have 2 routes on the go for creating detailed databases of everyone in the country, the national identity register associated with the national ID cards and the children's database.

And the criminal classes will get creative in thinking about how to get hold of and exploit the information now that it is stored neatly in one central location.

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