Why Have Shielding?
Why have shielding at all? What's the point of it?
Those who are defending ContactPoint really do have to address that point. It's no good quickly dismissing the issue with a bit of "think of the children!" rhetoric and hand-waving. The question really does have to be properly answered: why have shielding?
Shielding is where at least some of the details of a child are kept hidden from those with access to ContactPoint. But it's not for all children, just the most vulnerable - those most in need of protection. Of course, the use of such shielding therefore obviously, tacitly concedes that those children most in need of protection, the most vulnerable children, need to be protected from ContactPoint itself. The cat is well and truly out of the bag.
If such shielding doesn't compromise efforts to protect such children, then such details don't need to be on ContactPoint in the first place. Why have such details for other children if they aren't even necessary? It's storing personal details unnecessarily. And since it's unnecessary, there's no justification for it.
If there is no risk in storing such details on ContactPoint, then what is shielding for? What does shielding achieve? If there is no risk in having such details on ContactPoint, then shielding doesn't add any extra protection. Shielding itself would be unnecessary. Yet shielding exists, and exists to protect vulnerable children who might otherwise be at increased risk if they're not shielded.
Those who defend ContactPoint can't have it both ways. Either there's no harm in having such details on ContactPoint, in which case there's no need for shielding, or shielding doesn't hamper protection efforts, in which case those kinds of details don't need to be included on ContactPoint in the first place. Either way, shielding shows there's something wrong with ContactPoint.
And for those who want to keep on playing the "think of the children" card: until you actively campaign for CCTV to be installed in every room of every home, you're going to have to accept that the ends of child protection do not automatically justify whatever the State's favoured means might be. You either accept privacy-based limits to child protection efforts, or you oppose privacy altogether, since privacy can always be abused by child abusers.
We either have privacy, even though some will abuse it, or we live in a truly Orwellian state with no privacy at all. What sort of future do we want for today's children?