3 posts • joined 1 Apr 2011
The UK’s double standards around data protection and Human (Privacy) Rights
I attended the cabinet office briefing on eID Identity Assurance and blogged about it here..
Obviously anything with the word identity is a political hot potato in the UK after the new Tory-LibDem coalition government literally ‘crushed’ Labour’s National eID card scheme. I still wonder why apparently it’s one of the deadliest of privacy sins in the UK to suggest using the same unique identifier in one’s dealings with different government departments. Just rename NI Number to ‘Citizen Service Number’ like the practical Dutch did with their SOFI number and Bob’s your uncle. Isn’t this what governments have been happily practicing in Sweden and most other EU countries for decades? In the UK it seems this is a ‘no-go’ area because of the implied impact on citizen’s privacy. God forbid that someone in the DWP’s Child Support Agency could easily trace a deadbeat father in a HM Treasury system and find out that he can easily support his children after all. Or god forbid that someone claiming housing benefit from his local council could be found out actually owning six properties in the next town. That kind of joined-up government ‘just wouldn’t be cricket’ in the UK.
Personally the only exception I would make is using a different unique Identifyer for anything to do with the National Health Service, but that is a situation quite unique to Britain.
Wrap the knuckles of the little ones while the big bullies go unchallenged
Well whoopey a lowly paid pen licker gets knuckles wrapped by Sir Christopher Graham. Bloggers following the ICO feel there is a clear trade off between quality and quantity with the rulings the Information Commissioner's office has come out with, and while the number of Decision Notices issued has clearly increased the quality of the Information Commissioner's office decisions has been on the decline with volume replacing substance.
For example if you think the Information Commissioner will come to your aid in having DNA records and records of arrest removed that the police should not keep after a court rules you have no case to answer, do not hold your breath. He will come out all in sympathy and then quote all the obsure laws and exemptions to you mentioned before. Another case solved by Chris and his toothless tiger team.
Christopher Graham became Information Commissioner in June 2009. He reports directly to parliament. He should be the first to point out to the government, hey with a million innocents on a crime data base, we have some important data protection principles being trampled upon by the police forces in England. Instead he tries to see it this way, then that way, anything but a principled defense of our civil liberties.
It's much safer to slap a few fines on underfunded councils.
Brokenshire's DNA cost assessment: Cock up or conspiracy?
Stop hold press! House of commons was misled. Removing innocent people's records from the DNA database will save £ 24 M. The minister only mentioned the cost side of the impact assessment. On the benefits side the impact asessment from the home office actually show 10 year savings of £61.8m in todays money. Now what I'd like to know is if this was cock up or conspiracy to withold the facts. Maybe it was a bad April's fool joke?
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