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back to article Government kids database under fire, again

The Government’s ContactPoint database - designed to keep tabs on children at risk of social exclusion - is in trouble again, coming under fire on two separate fronts. First is the vexed issue of “shielding”, identified as a source of concern by a recent article in the Guardian. More directly, the chairman of the Foundation for …

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Black Helicopters

Again, one more reason not to trust them...

the whole "one rule of us, and another for the proles" is getting very monotonous from the government.

Why are the kids of MPs so special? If they are that concerned about the database for their kids - then we shouldn't have ours on it either.

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Unhappy

Another vulnerability not mentioned

That Graniad article doesn't even mention one of the biggest dangers. Children of anyone who works in medical research will need shielding so they don't get tracked down and attacked by terrorists.

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Paris Hilton

Government IT = disaster

Yet again there is a fundamental inability for a policy to be developed with the knowledge and experience of the security-aware IT staff included before it is too late to avoid the oncoming train.

My children will have their details on this hopeless case of a system until they are in their mid-20s, and I suspect by then the whole thing will be wide open with information available to the highest black-market bidder.

Oh and it won't actually help at all in safeguarding children because the under-resourced people at the sharp end will still be unable to communicate properly because the system's main function will be broken at the same time it is leaking everywhere else.

Paris, because she isn't safe and we still know everything about her.

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Gadd

>at risk from paedophiles, celebrity stalkers

Watch out Gary Glitter's about..

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Huh ??

Why would an MP's child even be on the database ?? The database is for children likely to be excluded socially, so why should the children of a well paid public figure be excluded from society ?? The same for the children of famous people.

More importantly, of course, is why the government think it's their job to ensure that every child is included in society. I thought that was the job of the childs parents (initially and continuously), followed by the school system.

Therefore the only children on this should be those from "damaged" homes (e.g. drug abusing parents) or those side-lined through bullying at school*

More than anything, why should this information be kept beyond the age of maturity and why should such a wide range of people have access to this information ?? Outside social services, no access is required, especially not the police to be able to go on a fishing expedition.

* N.B. I hate this attitude. Bullying has always happened at school (happened to me) and it will happen in their adult life. The younger you laern to deal with it, the more able you'll be to cope when it happens later - and it will.

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Flame

the children of MPs

>shielding has already been put in place for the children of MPs

This is unbelievable on every... possible... level.

The first time I tried to type this comment an incoherent stream came out (no puns please)

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Nice! Really, really nice!

"Hence the idea of “shielding”. This is a process whereby details of especially vulnerable children are blocked off from ordinary user access – and a special order would be required to unblock them. It is understood that shielding has already been put in place for the children of MPs."

Nice of them, once again another fine example of this country's leaders attitude in it's full glory. We're alright Jack! Stuff you lot!

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Anonymous Coward

all kids should be shielded

How about if all parents go to the local authorities and request that the data of their kids are shielded. (Maybe next time it will be then the default, to avoid work.)

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Alert

Astonishing

What always amazes me is that no-one "higher up" ever thinks that there could be a paedophile, stalker or lunatic working for them in their service (read Civil Service). Trust me, THEY DO - I have encountered them. They need to think about this, as Machiavelli stated "Before all else, be armed".

Access will be given blindly to people from the 16 year-old YTS member right up to Chief Officer level with the potential for harm at every step. We do not benefit from databases of this type. If you concentrate information in one place it is much easier to track down than if only those who need to know, actually do.

Then again, there's a lot of money in selling them to the idiots in power.

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Black Helicopters

How to keep your kids off the database.

Make repeated reports to the Police that they are being stalked by someone. Even better if the description you give exactly fits Gordon Brown.

Because that database basically amounts to the Government stalking your kids, and I'm *far* more worried about what Brown and co will do than some vague concern about kiddy-fiddlers and stalkers.

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Black Helicopters

Media whizzing around the country...

The Government Connect programme is supposed to take care of this, by providing for secure connections from all Local Authorities to the Government Secure Intranet. In theory it should be in place by end September 2009 at the latest - and mostly in place by end March 2009.

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Dead Vulture

It is understood that shielding has already been put in place for the children of MPs.

And they're the ones who can afford personal security for themselves, if it's not already provided out of the taxpayers pockets.

This government is sick with it's OCD obsession on databases; ignoring their own commissioned reports and turning a deaf ear to people qualified to comment.

They have supped from the chalice of power and now they are totally insane; Nero-esque in fact - implementing policies designed to render this country impotent and unable to function, before they're voted out; like an adolescent who wrecks a room because they have not got their way.

It makes me so sick I want to vomit blood, and guts - and offal. And even my feet. Yeah - it's that bad I want to vomit myself inside out.

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Flame

Inverted priorities

Nobody's records should be "shielded" - if the system isn't secure enough for the vulnerable or notorious, it isn't secure enough for anybody.

The children of those responsible in government should be the *first* to have their records put into the system, with no special treatment, in order to show that the system is secure enough for my children.

The very idea that a government minister is saying "Your child's details will go onto this system, but my child's will get special treatment because we don't think it's secure" is obnoxious. A far cry from John Gummer demonstrating his faith in British beef by publicly feeding his daughter a burger.

Another example of knee jerk government reaction: Victoria Climbie's death was a tragedy, but it has been followed by the usual cycle of logic (sic): "Something must be done, this is something, this must be done", and of course "if you're not for this, you're for the paedophiles, think of the children".

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Flame

Absolute insanity

So 330,000 people will have access to data about my son (bet I won't have it myself unless I pay a fee) and there's nothing I can do about it? I'm not a pop star or an MP (thank God on both counts, I hear you say) so I just get to have my family's kimono opened in public? And exactly what good is this going to do me?

So MPs and other "important" people will get their children "shielded"? And this will be done by local government, that famously cash-rich and IT literate branch of the government? And will they have extra resources to do this? Or will they just cut some other useful service instead in order to find the resources to do it? Or will they just put my poll tax up again? As an exercise in central government blame-management, it's first class. The result will, however, be a first-class fuck-up.

I'm tempted to say Never Mind, if something bad happens to an MP's child then it'll serve the useless bastards right; but as a parent myself I couldn't wish harm on any child just to score a political point.

Never had to use the steam-coming-out-of-my-ears icon before.

Pete

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Black Helicopters

Its's *all* children!

@EvilGav

Doesn't matter who you are, your children will be included on this database. 100% coverage and 100% of the adult population will be labelled as potential abusers.

Do you like East Germany? I hear it was less repressive there in the past.

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Stop

Oh when oh when oh when??

Ok that's it, enough.

Really.

I can't take anymore of this so-called government.

When will Gordon the Moron throw in the towel and give the electorate the chance to vote those bozos out!

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Anonymous Coward

@EvilGav

School and work are very diffrent things with bullying.

I have been bullyed twice at work. Once I went to my boss and it was sorted. Once my boss did f all so I left (Diffrent jobs)

I was bullyed at school. School did fuck all and I couldent do anything. They are very diffrent things. And saying "grow up and deal with it" realy dose not help a child.

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Anonymous Coward

this database includes *every* child

This database is not just for "children likely to be excluded", it is for *every* child in the UK (now does that mean born in the UK, brought up in the UK, visiting the UK, or what...).

Anyway, the Junior ID NotCard scheme website says: "ContactPoint will only hold the following basic information for all children in England (up until their 18th birthday)

* Name, address, gender, date of birth and a unique identifying number.

* Name and contact details for a child's parent or carer.

* Contact details for services working with a child: as a minimum, educational setting (e.g. school) and GP practice, but also other services where appropriate."

http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/deliveringservices/contactpoint/about/

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Just another excuse...

...to get everyone onto a national ID database before they even realise it.

Just what is the point of this? How does a database like this stop paedophiles? If they just put a stop to all of the PC nonsense and allowed people that worked with children to get on with their jobs, this wouldn't be an issue! We need LESS bureaucracy and fewer busybodies. The government has proven over and over again that they and their 'servants' cannot be trusted with our data and are far too incompetent to even run large projects like this.

Use the taxpayers money to get better support for children and build more basic(!) prisons for criminals that commit crime. Stop wasting it on pointless research and schemes for pushing other hidden agenda!

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Unhappy

Think of the children

Currently, I can think of very few people who have access to the info on the children in my family, Doctors, NHS, child benefit people.

This database will increase that number from under 50 to 300,000 and they will have access to all the info. That makes them much more vulnerable.

I know our kids should not be on that database as they are not "at risk" but I also have heard of "mission creep". From "At-risk / vulnerable" to "all kids" to "when they are 18 lets transfer the data to an adults version and leave it on a laptop on the train"

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Unhappy

I can still hear it

If you listen very, very carefully you will, too. Listen...it's the orchestra on the Titanic still playing that same old delightful tune.

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Ian
Unhappy

re: Huh??

It will contain details of ALL children in England. See the following from http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/deliveringservices/contactpoint/about/

ContactPoint will only hold the following basic information for all children in England (up until their 18th birthday)

* Name, address, gender, date of birth and a unique identifying number.

* Name and contact details for a child's parent or carer.

* Contact details for services working with a child: as a minimum, educational setting (e.g. school) and GP practice, but also other services where appropriate.

* A means to indicate whether a practitioner is a lead professional and if they have undertaken an assessment under the Common Assessment Framework.

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The Baroness Miller...

...she seems a right canny ol' bird.

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Paris Hilton

the policitians kids are sheilded

But they will still be vulnerable. Just to a better more highly paid class of perpetrator.

This will not save or protect any children. The only way to protect children is to CARE. A radical idea I agree but children are in danger because nobody cares. And you can add every scrap of data about children into as many computers that you like but unless you CARE what happens these children then it won't matter one bit!

Paris because her grandfather cares so much he disinherited her. Sometimes you got to be cruel to be kind

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Madly Deeply

I don't hold much hope for the Baroness's sanity if shes trying to take on the Goverment about IT projects

Goverment IT Projects > everyone else

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Anonymous Coward

a new tactic against the database state?

Usually paedophilia is used (along with terrorism) as a reason to introduce draconian surveillance laws. It would be nice if it could be used for good, not only against ContactPoint, but against the government's other nasty proposed databases. Remember, every time they propose to collect information about you, they're also proposing to collect information on kids, which could potentially be used by paedophiles.

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Anonymous Coward

Sometimes they get it right

I got a CD the other day from a local authority that was encrypted.

I could comment on a lot of the bits of this article, but I'd like to keep my job. Without going into details, there is quite a lot of effort going into making the system secure.

Whether the system should even exist is however a different matter.

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Unhappy

Ach, yet more monitoring

I already feel like I'm being watched all the time. Which I am, because I live in London. Every day it seems there's an announcement about a new database to keep track of who we are, where we go, what we do there and now this - a database to keep track of whether our children are fitting into society.

I am fed up to the back teeth with this government. We really need a full reset, a full legal review of all the laws on the books, all the public sector and all the programs and monitoring. Get government back to what it's supposed to do - serve and support the public. Not leech from and spy on the public.

The balance of power in this country is all wrong.

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@Another vulnerability not mentioned

Not to mention

> the children of bank managers so they are not held ransom for access to the cash

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Anonymous Coward

How to tell if your Home Secretary is part of a gang

Does your Home Secretary have gang colours? Gang members typically identify themselves by their colours, bright primary colours, RED, or BLUE are typical. Look for bandanas, logos or flags.

Does your Home Secretary have homies? A single small group of buddies that your Home Secretary typically hangs out with is a sure sign of gangs. Doubly so if they think their 'homies' are always right and other people's homies are always wrong.

Do they collect in one place? If your Home Secretary keeps visiting a 'den' regularly with their homies for fights, that's a sure sign.

Do they have a new nickname? Has Jacqui become 'Wacky'? Again, that's a sign of gang membership.

What to do:

Do you know where your Home Secretary is? The best defence against gangs is to keep close track of your home secretary at all time.

Smother her in caring, get involved in every aspect of your Home Secretaries life, teach her about resisting peer pressure, teach her how to deal with conflict without locking up 2/3rds of the population.

Set limits and boundaries, demand compliance with the fundamental human rights legislation, insist she sticks to logic and reasoning, not hormonal raging knee jerk reactionaryism.

Teach them that their actions result in consequences, like unelectability, lost byelections, sacking.

Limit access to alcohol, especially cheap subsidised alcohol in the bars in Parliament.

Remember it's the *GANG* in *GANG CRIME* that is the problem, take out the GANG and the problem is gone!

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Anonymous Coward

honestly

I'm much more concerned about the government using information to extort more money from us (that's the main reason for better records - just look at the central purpose of the doomsday records - tax em all baby.)

The police are going to use this to profile adolesents, and use the information within to create cases out of privilaged information.

The data will also be mined by marketing(think tanks/research) companies.

Social services will abuse the information rehousing people who shouldn't be rehoused whilst leaving those in critical danger to die.

Peadophiles are pretty far down the list of my worries for the social effect of this database. Besides, peadophiles are more likely to be banging their own kids or kids already placed in their care, and that rarely turns up until decades after it's over, no matter how big your shitty database is.

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re: How to tell if your Home Secretary is part of a gang

"Do ya wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang"

Maybe we ought to put that song back in the charts. It would do a lot to remove the cachet from being "in" a gang.

All proceeds to go to children in need.

;-)

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Pirate

Passive resistance

Anyone wondering "What can I do?" - do you have kids?

If so I offer you the opportunity to take a stand now against our government and the ever encroaching database state

As far as I am aware this database has never been ratified by parliament, it has never been reviewed by our elected MPs. Therefore there is NO LAW stating you have to put your details in it nor can there be

(that's as far as I am aware)

Either way - I hereby promise to withhold my kids details from this database, I will not cooperate in any way shape or form with any requests for information for this database

Let them try to arrest me - for what?

If forced, I promise to supply incorrect data making it as wildly inaccurate as possible

I urge you to do the same

1 person (me) = nothing

1,000 people = a minor news item

10,000 people = a major embarrassment for our employees (as that's all they are)

more than that and the database would be more and more useless as far as I am aware

Even if they find a law to charge me with, I've not broken any since I was a teenager - the more I listen to the fascist morons running our country the more I feel like breaking a few

Don't stand alone - if this gets to the point where you are approached for information, pass around leaflets to other parents explaining why you refuse, encourage them to do the same - stand together

Hell it might even be fun!

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Re:Sometimes they get it right

***"Without going into details, there is quite a lot of effort going into making the system secure."***

I am currently putting *enormous* effort into decorating my house.

The trouble is, I'm so shite at DIY it will probably be a complete disaster.

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Black Helicopters

It's all there, just some of it is "hidden"

EVERY child will be on the National database, but not everybody will have access to the full data for every child - so your local authority should be able to call up ONLY details for children in their own area, and only then if those children are not a member of a "protected" group (children of, well anyone who could be 'threatened' by threats against their kids).

But then they shouldn't be able to lose CDs, memory sticks or laptops with child allowance records, Prisoner data or MoD "Top Secret" battleplans on, but they do...

And of course the other worrying thing is, how many sets of fingerprints and/or DNA do the Police still have for people they shouldn't? If the innocent cannot get their own data back when it is illegal for the Police to hold it, what chance that the Government will relinquish the children's data once they reach... whatever age the Government decides on for them to be adults instead of children?

I can see it now... "Well we've already got little Johnny's data so there's no harm in us keeping it now he's 60, is there? Besides, if he ever commits a crime then we'll already have his DNA and fingerprints on file so we will be able to catch him that much quicker, won't we? Now, since we've already got all this for the kids, the adults won't mind us having theirs too..."

['] I still have the greatest confidence in the mission, Dave...

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Dead Vulture

You Brits are great...

at complaining over a pint at the pub, but when will you get fed up enough to do something about it? Start a revolution or mass protest or something. Fill the basement of parliment with powder or something (oh, wait, you've already tried that). A bully only has the power that you give him. Fight back, spit in his eye and laugh at his attempts to hurt you even when your bleeding out of your mouth, the fear you see in his eyes at that point is worth the pain of getting to that point (that worked for me in school).

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@AC "you brits are great..."

"...at complaining over a pint at the pub, but when will you get fed up enough to do something about it? Start a revolution or mass protest or something."

What, like America did with GWB, you mean? No... wait...

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Alert

Database of children AND their parents and caregivers

This isn't just a database of children, it also has the name and contact details for every parent and carer.

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Joke

More details on this 'shielding'

Who wants to bet that this 'order' that will be needed to access these shielded records will be no more than a password field where the password is actually 'password'.

Sounds probable to me.

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Paris Hilton

Wait a minute...

How on Earth do they keep this system updated?

Parents move their children around all the time, wouldn't keeping tabs on all these children amount to nothing better than spying?

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RW
Coat

"Name, address, gender"

It amuses me to see "gender" used as a euphemism for "sex" once again. I wait with bated breath for someone whose first language uses a non-sexual gender system to reply on an official snoop-o-form "sentient organism."

Homework essay questions: how thin is the line between PC and sheer prudery? Is there a line at all? Does Jacqui Smith wear crotchless knickers? Who in the current government is the resident Mrs. Grundy?

Comment intelligently on these questions and point out any connections between the situations they address.

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Paris Hilton

wait a moment...

why do you need a database with a huge load of data of every child in the first place?

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Vic

If this database is to protect vulnerable kids...

Why would you keep data to hand only on the not-particularly-vulnerable and hide that of the kids that may well need assistance? Are the purveyors of nonsense tripping over their own tits in their haste to talk crap?

1. We need this to protect vulnerable kids.

2. People who work with these kids will have access to the kind of data they need to help these kids.

3a). All kids are on it (well, all kids are vulnerable, I guess, as are all adults).

3b). The really vulnerable ones you won't be able to help as a result of the database because you, mere minion, won't be able to see their records.

Eh? Eh? Eh?

And if it's not secure enough for MPs' kids, it isn't secure enough for mine. Yet another reason I will never again live in the UK. I cannot trust a government that screws up so much but believes that only they have the divine right to tell me how to run my life and how to bring up my children, even when it is none of their business because I am in contravention of no law. It's such an Orwellian concept.

I was thinking of moving to Alaska till the latest saga made me realise what hicks they all were - and realising that NuLayber's blood brothers the Republicans are real, live and kicking there too.

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Flame

<expletive deleted>

Just wondering who does the data entry here? The schools, local authority, or what. I'm curious as to whether special form comes home for us parents to meekly fill in. And how to best stay away from the whole thing without moving out of England.

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Go

Revolution

The majority of people support schemes like this, parents want anything that makes them feel more secure.

There will never be an uprising because most people don't care or are happy with ID cards, openly monitoring and recording all communications etc.

It's all going to stay because nobody cares about it. Get rich and most of these problems disappear. You can get most services privately, security and even rubbish collections, as long as you pay the bills the government will never bother you.

Congestion charging, Vehicle taxes, fuel costs, dental care, cancer drugs, parking costs, flight taxes, environmental funding charges, whatever it is, the only power is fines.Having money makes them go away, no wonder kids want to be rich, both from a teenagers natural desire for freedom from authority, and in the real adult world it does give you massive freedoms and advantages.

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@How To Tell If Your Home Secretary Is...

Give that AC a cigar. Good example of how politicians need to phrase the rhetoric carefully, lest it be turned on them thus.

Could do with more Baroness Millers in positions of influence, to save us all from NuDoom.

Y'naah?

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IT Angle

Re: Passive resistance

"Either way - I hereby promise to withhold my kids details from this database, I will not cooperate in any way shape or form with any requests for information for this database."

I think you are missing the point here. The government won't ask you for anything. They already have the data (to a first approximation). The new twist is simply that they are going to make it available to about 1% of the entire population. Obviously if a private company handled data in this way then the directors would be looking at a jail term, but (in the UK at least) the government and its various quangoes are not subject to the law of the land. (Do you really think we'd have PFI if HMG had to adhere to the rules on accounts?)

It's a pity constitutional lawyers don't know more about operating systems. It would be nice to live in a country where someone had actually tried to place as little of the framework "at kernel level" (above the law) and as much as possible "in user space" (subject to the law). As it is, if I had to name the OS that UK.gov reminds me of, it would be 16-bit Windows.

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Data in Government hands

No Government entity should have access or posses that much data. When they do, you can be assured that they will enslave the people that allowed it.

As a Free person you have the right for privacy. Employ that right and get the Government to make laws to enforce it.

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“It'll be over by Christmas”

I think you'll find it'll ALL be over by then.

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Black Helicopters

How does one get on the database?

Apart from being under 18, obviously... As far as I know, the only official records of my offspring are whatever the local medical people hold, his passport details and his record of birth. There's probably records of him entering and leaving the country but I'm not sure they help.

Having chosen to opt out of the school system before even starting, the local authority don't know he exists and, with other recent guideline changes, probably don't care any more because their role in home education got redefined.

So how do I get to provide the information they need if they don't know to ask? I'm certainly not going to volunteer it.

They're probably homing in on me as I type...

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