back to article Tens of thousands of kids need to be protected from ContactPoint users

Data on about 55,000 children will need to be protected from estranged and abusive family members, or because they are under police protection, according to figures from local authorities. The protected information - part of the forthcoming ContactPoint child protection database - will include their address and details of the …

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Crock...

"The decision to shield a child record will be taken on a case-by-case basis, based on the level of threat posed if information about their whereabouts becomes available,"

Yes and judging by recent events, we can whole-heartedly believe that those in positions of trust can be relied upon to carry out their duties diligently and with the child's interests foremost!

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Alert

stigmatise troubled children....

FFS! They have problems. The whole point of the DB is to PROTECT them. Simply adding in millions of irrelevant records will not help them, or make their troubles any less troubling. Proof again the 'Political Correctness' is indeed an oxymoron.

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Black Helicopters

If you can shield a childs info

Surly that should be the default option.

Any way once this goes on line the Government will have a last know address for everyone under 16 in the country, and as kids seam to be staying at home longer these days it won't be long before the Government will have a list of current addresses for most of the 17 - 18 year old's in the country.

By the way what happens to your data once you do become an adult?

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Unhappy

estranged parents

I give it 10 days before an estranged parent gains access to their kids school details and snatches said child.

Daily Mail headlines away!

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@ John Imrie

Agreed, every record should be protected and only once all the children of MPs (and Lord Adonis) have been unprotected, then maybe some others could be unprotected after seeking their parents consent

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Stop

So how about...

... *Everyone* puts in an application for their children's data to be shielded?

By the time that lot gets sorted out the kids will have grown up anyway!

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Anonymous Coward

LOL

So we'll take the x thousand children who are in trouble out of the database so people can't access their details LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!11111

Anyway Estimated time till schools start using the database to black ball children, police use it for profiling and marketing companies use it for selling their wares?

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nearly same odds as lottery

the national lottery has a average chance of 14,000,000 to 1 of winning the jackpot

so what are the odds of a single childs data not being shielded correctly and someone gaing access and causing distress, injury or worse to a vulnerable child

and why do the government want details of MY children, they are law abiding, well educated (at least the school report says) and most importantly i have not been asked permission as their parent / legal guardian for permission or please check this information is correct

who will be able to check the information or request a copy?

who will leave the logon details on a train or lose the CD / DVD copy of it

time to stop all this sillyness and data gathering, this is getting more out of hand than russia under stalin or various other dictatorships over the years

peter

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Unhappy

And the original point was ... ?

...to set up a database to protect children, but the government have now screwed the whole thing so badly that the only children *visible* on the database will be the vast majority that (so far as the government are aware) don't need protecting.

Are they taking the piss? How is this helpful?

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Paris Hilton

Good grief!

They create a child protection database, then decide that 'at risk' kids should be, effectively, removed from it.

Just strengthens my opinion that politicians should be kept away from IT like kids are kept away from chainsaws.

Clueless doesn't even come *close* to describing them.

Paris, 'cos she's probably smarter than any Gov't minister.

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Anonymous Coward

Let me get this straight...

So they build a great big database to protect the children. Then they lock it down to protect the children. How many millions well spent?

[waiting for the first backup disc to get lost]

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Stop

Um, rinse, repeat?

Have I got this right?

Our dear leader builds a database of all our children so all those that come incontact with the kids can spot patterns of abuse, etc. This is of every single child and is said to be needed to be accessed by so many so that social workers et al can update and spot problems.

Now, for those that are in need of help, their details are to be witheld - WTF. So for those that this is claimed to be needed their details cant be displayed to 'protect' them.

Whats going on - do they look for holes instead of data!

As usual with our dear leader, this has nothing to do with protection, but all to do with control of the menials.

The KGB would be proud.

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Pirate

Horse, door, stable?

So when the records are first loaded they are not protected. Then someone has to realise that an individual potentially needs to be protected, then they have to apply for protection, then their case has to be assessed (and of course no delays whatsoever will be caused by lack of staff to do these assessments), then the decision that no protection is justified has to be appealed, and eventually the record gets protected.

In the months while this is going on, the people from whom the records need to be protected will, of course, put their rapacious desires and motives on hold, for the good of the community.

The only hope for this is that the infrastructure it runs on will be so under-specified it collapses in a heap the first time two people log on simultaneously.

Pirate logo cos there isn't one for cowboys.

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Joke

so today on blue peter...

... we'll be showing you how to make something called a Data Subject Access Request.

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Anonymous Coward

All it does

The database shall allow people of responsibility to defer with ever greater ease their responsibilites. Ticking boxes, filling in reports, and other wise covering their tails for when somethign does go wrong. "Hey it's not our fault, computer says they're fine, and it was someone elses job to physically check on them."

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Flame

Horse, door, stable? - What door?

From the linked pdf guidance "To make sure that the shielding facility is used and managed appropriately, the local authority ContactPoint Management Team should undertake an initial review within seven days of the shield being requested, to determine whether or not the record

should be shielded." - So the data will typically be expose for at least 7 days from the first shielding request.

"Shielded records will show only:

• the child’s/young person’s name;

• their date of birth;

• their gender; and

• the unique ContactPoint ID number."

"In order to ensure that ContactPoint does not inadvertently confirm or indicate the whereabouts of a child or young person with a shielded record, a practitioner will only be able to find a child record by inputting information that is visible on a shielded record. No records will be returned if a search is made using information from any non-visible field. "

So now social workers have a perfect excuse fr more Baby P's - the record was shielded and it could not locate it - particularly if any of the searchable information is incorrectly entered!

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Anonymous Coward

Logic

1. We need a single database for child protection so all the relevant professionals can access the data.

2. No child will be exempt.

3. The data for some "at risk" children will be shielded.

At first we had only rules 1 & 2 and they were rigid and immutable. One argument for rules one and two were that without this database covering all children then some professionals may not get the information they needed, potentially putting children at risk.

Introduce rule 3 and the argument in favour of rules 1 and 2 is weakened. Suddenly we are back in the situation where some professionals may not get the information they need and children could be put at risk as a result.

No doubt the rollout of the database will once more be put back to accomodate this redesign.

Now I don't want you to assume that I am against the concept of this database or in favour of it, my views in that direction are irrelevant. What is obvious however is that people are still designing the system when we are already past the date when it was supposed to have been rolled out. It is fairly obvious that the writing of the system began long before any detailed specification was complete. The project manager really isn't in control of this one is s/he? If they continue with this one the final system is going to be an unusable mess.

Time to call a halt and rewrite the product descriptions again methinks.

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all it needs

Is a set of fingerprints so they can order up ID cards to protect the kiddies. NOT

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Stop

Re: By the way what happens to your data once you do become an adult?

Your data will be migrated to the ID cards database as you turn 18.

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In other news...

Did you guys know that visa-bearing people now need to provide a phone number and an e-mail address upon entry in the US? UK and US gov have far too much money and bought far too much storage and computer power, they now need to use these... even if it makes the societies depicted 1984, Brazil and the lot look like libertarian utopias.

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Missing the point?

"The government says ContactPoint will help to prevent tragedies such as the abuse and murder of Victoria Climbié, who was killed by her guardians in 2000 despite repeated visits from doctors and social services."

So despite the fact that they had all the information, they still failed to act on it? How is the database going to help in the face of such incompetence? Now we've had another practical example that it's not the lack of information causing the problem, merely the total failure of people to act on the information.

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Joke

I Don't have children but

If I did I would call mine

;delete from names

Just to see what happens every time someone had to look them up

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Happy

Recent news shows social workers aren't always right

Three dead children in the news, all of whom were under Social Worker surveillance, sorry "care" of one form or another. What more proof do we need before even the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" fools realise that the only way we can really be safe is for us not to be on some Government database?

And when they cannot find anything obvious on you, the Thought Police start digging in all sorts of strange places since nobody (they figure) won't have come to their atttention somewhere in the past...

Have A Nice Day. All Your Data Is Belong To Us.

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Anonymous Coward

ContactPoint will prevent such tragedies ..

"The government says ContactPoint will help to prevent tragedies such as the abuse and murder of Victoria Climbié, who was killed by her guardians in 2000 despite repeated visits from doctors and social services"<br><br>

No, the solution to preventing tragedies like Climbié and the 'Baby P' case is to hire on competent staff instead of the low-rent 'professionals' that usually staff the social services. People lacking the most nominal empathy for their follow human beings. How can a 'care worker' or doctor not notice that a 17-month old child's back is broken. To busy staring at a computer screen, or too busy minding their dogs ..

Feel free to delete ...

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Truly Shielded? && Internet Accessible? in the same sentence !?!?

I have doubts about any such scheme on the face of it.

Admission of a web interface also admits to an opening in the armour for such a site.

Currently I am writing my own online WebApp that will need to scale to an equivalent size or larger

and I am putting security of users in as a first priority.

any such records on-site I would require to have some kind of 2nd-teir cypher key unlocked

BEFORE any record information is even viewable by the browser over an SSL link

Call me paranoid but this appears to be similar to giving every person a number

and forcing it upon the general public by use of the children who will not know differently

*How young is too young!?!?*... I dont mind *localized* Identification, but country-wide?

Any scheme like this that is enforced is just the first of the final bricks in the wall for the entire

1984 style doublethink.

I also see targetting of such Identification material towards children as pushing the agenda

of the agency/persons who are insistent on its introduction and eroding any value of

free-speech and freedom(AKA civil liberties).

I dont know that much about history or material outside my chosen field of computers,

but this type of information gathering just sends chills up and down my spine.

1984 / V for Vendetta / The Matrix - no longer movies but made real in another form?

"Hontoni kowaii" as the Japanese would say ( Literal : Truly scary ),

Kawaii may be cute, but Kowaii is definitely another matter entirely.

Kawaii for some of the kids when they are showing pride in good work,

Kowaii at the Big Brother Tracking of their lives.

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Gates Halo

Someone make a movie, quick...

You have a typical socially troubled kid and a psychopathic, abusive social worker. The latter uses ContactPoint to stalk the kid. Of course since this is the UK, the kid doesn't have a "good" US style finale involving a gun - maybe he runs the creep over with a Nissan Micra? Or how about a truly sick Mrs. Robinson scenario where the social worker uses ContactPoint as her personal dating site? I hereby make these ideas available in the public domain to help ensure that the UK remains fairly sane (maybe I am too late).

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Linux

@ If I ever had kids.

Reminds me strangely of an XKCD comic.

I shall right an adaptation.

GA (government agent) - "Hi this is the government, we're having some computer trouble"

DBAP (database admin parent" "oh? Did he break something"

GA "in a way. Did you really call your son John')DROP TABLE children;-- ?"

In all seriousness though, This stinks of backtracking to me.

http://cu.nniling.us/327/ - original comic from XKCD

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55,000 and the rest

I would have thought that 55,000 was an underestimate. Virtually every acrimonious divorce will result in a request to hide their children's details. And who on the council will refuse this request knowing that if any harm ever came to said children then they would be held responsible.

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what protection?

indeed, what protection?

this has never been about protecting children.

it has always only been about collecting every bit of data on everyone, starting from birth.

as said in previous comment, children do grow into adults (and potential terrrrrrrists like the rest of us 'common folk'). and as such will need constant surveillance and tracking.

innit?

soon the new hi-res cctv will be recognizing your biometrics and will be following your every move.

mwahahahahahaaaaaaa

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IT Angle

Here we go again

Instead of fixing the problem, let's tack on an expensive but useless technological boondoggle to make it look like we're taking the issue seriously. Claim it will solve the problem but don't bother showing any real causality.

How does identifying abused children help if nobody does anything about it?

*sigh* Typical American thinking.

... Oh, wait...

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Stop

Re: And the original point was ... ?

"...to set up a database to protect children, but the government have now screwed the whole thing so badly that the only children *visible* on the database will be the vast majority that (so far as the government are aware) don't need protecting.

Are they taking the piss? How is this helpful?"

Firstly the government are NOT incompetant. Second they KNOW what the consequencies would be of this database. Therefore they are doing this deliberatly to have the effects that we know will happen. Taking the piss? They are screwing this up on purpose.

In order to get into government you need to be pretty hard working and smart. It's time we stopped letting these people pretend they are incompetant. See EVERYTHING they do as deliberate and you might start getting the true picture.

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Anonymous Coward

Missing the point

By Dave Posted Friday 14th November 2008 17:12 GMT

"The government says ContactPoint will help to prevent tragedies such as the abuse and murder of Victoria Climbié, who was killed by her guardians in 2000 despite repeated visits from doctors and social services."

I've undertaken analysis of the XML file that is used to upload data into the ContactPoint database, the database is little more than a glorified telephone/address book.

In both the Climbie case and the Baby P case, social workers either failed to act, or made the wrong decisions, in neither case was poor communication responsible.

The ContactPoint DB would not have helped prevent either case. That claim is simply spin being put out by the Labour government.

ContactPoint simply helps people in child welfare help locate other professionals that have responsibility for the child, that's all.

No case information is uploaded, so if a teacher at school makes repeated observations over time of a particular child coming into lessons with bruises and has suspicions, they have no way to share that information with other professionals, such as doctors and social workers that may also have concerns. Unless, the teacher can access the ContactPoint DB and telephone a doctor ,but I think it unlikely a teacher would go that far. An informal way of recording observations is necessary. Teachers would not need full access to observations made by other professionals, just their own they've written, in that way confidential information such as medical history would still be kept secret.

What's needed is a database to store these observations by these professionals which can then be examined by a responsible person such a social worker ( even if one hasn't yet been assigned to the child) and then decide what action if any to take.

Thus, the observations build up a picture which would help strengthen the evidence for abuse taking place.

At the moment, the different organisations have no way of sharing information, and with ContactPoint, they still don't have an effective way to share information.

It's usefulness is stiffled.

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@ Missing the point

Your point is very well made. This government is so in thrall with the concept of databases that it has completely lost sight of their actual purpose.

Imagine a mail-order company operating in a niche market. The company maintains a database of customer names, postal addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, previous purchases, preferences etc. This data is commercially sensitive* so read/write access is strictly controlled and the use of removable storage media is blocked. The business is profitable because it is focused on a target market and restricts its activities to that market.

Contrast that with the NuLabour way of doing business: oooh, a database, how can we expand it to cover the whole population, how many people can we share the data with, how many additional irrelevant fields per record can we cram in, can we make it compulsory, how much money can we make from it? Insecure, unfocused, and with no defined target. Brought to you by the people who gave us voodoo economics.

* 'Commercially sensitive' in the true meaning of the phrase, not as used by weasel mouthed politicians to save themselves from embarrassment.

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Goverment BULLSHITE

The government says ContactPoint will help to prevent tragedies such as the abuse and murder of Victoria Climbié, who was killed by her guardians in 2000 despite repeated visits from doctors and social services. BULLSHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Utter Nonsense

Every time the government encounters a problem requiring large numbers of properly-trained, professional staff, they instead lunge unerringly towards a doomed EDS-led ICT "solution". So now we're going to have a special list but with all the really vulnerable kids removed, and the *critically important* A&E staff unable to access it.

It's a monstrous waste of money.

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