Friday, August 03, 2007

No, I'm not paranoid...

I've heard a few things on the radio about our dear leaders' setting up a database to track the children of this country from birth which would be separate from the proposed National Security Database for the rest of us.

At present the NSD (and ID cards with it) isn't at the top of the news agenda and rumour has it that the whole shebang is being watered down (it'll need to be diluted to about one part in a million before I'll trust the buggers, but we'll wait and see).

However, the NO2ID campaign has sent out information about this Child's Register which will, in the long run give the government the full database it wants even if us adults have shouted enough to stop the NSD. Every child will be registered "for its own protection", of course. The fact that the government and about 300,000 people will have access to private information about every child and therefore eventually every adult is, naturally, nothing more than a "happy" coincidence!

Here's the text of the NO2ID message that I have just received:


In the rush of announcements and over 40 written statements put out in the final days of the Parliamentary session, you may not have noticed that the government has given the final go-ahead for ContactPoint - the database formerly known as the Children's IS Index.Like the National Identity Register - the linked databases at the heart of the ID cards scheme - ContactPoint will contain significant amounts of personal information ON EVERY CHILD IN THE UK.

Over 300,000 people will have access to the system, which is intended to be up and running by next year. We understand that the details of celebrities' and public figures' children may be kept hidden, a two-tier privacy policy that demonstrates the very real security risks such a system introduces.

Each child will be given an ID number, and their record will contain details about their parents, doctor, health visitor, midwife and/or school nurse, school and/or college, services they have accessed - specifically flagging up vulnerable children who have accessed "sensitive services", e.g. to do with sexual or mental health - and a link to a new social services assessment, the eCAF*. Far from reducing risks to children, child protection specialists have expressed alarm that practitioners will be so overwhelmed with low-level data about all 11 million children in the country that those at risk of harm will in fact be less likely to be noticed.

Did you know that from 2008 the government will be monitoring YOUR child from birth? Plenty of questions remain unanswered: why put every child in the country on a database that less than half will ever need? Why spend all this money rather than investing in much-needed children's services? Why should a politician's children get greater protection than your son/daughter/nephew/granddaughter?

Tell your family and friends. Wake people up now. Write to your MP and your local paper's letters page. The ID scheme may be slipping, but the government's surveillance and data-sharing agenda is gathering pace. And first they're coming for your kids.

--* For more detail on ContactPoint, eCAF and the growing surveillance of children, we highly recommend Action on Rights for Children's blog and particularly ARCH's Database Masterclass:"

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