Brits! Petition the PM to stop national children's database

Glyn sez,
If you're in the UK, please help petition the Prime Minister to abandon plans to create the Information Sharing Index, a national database of all children between birth and eighteen.

How many parents are aware that the DfES is planning a huge national database of every child in the UK? As well as their names and addresses, it will also hold parent's contact details and the name and contact details of every education, health and social care practitioner that children come into contact with. At this stage we don't know exactly who will be able to access that information, but the plan is that practitioners will be able to contact each other to share information without parental consent. Parents will no longer have the right to act as gatekeeper and your child's privacy and the right to withhold information about their education, health and social welfare will be lost completely. Remember, this will effect every child, not just children deemed to be 'at risk'. Could this be a national identity scheme by the back door? Once a child has been given a unique ID in a database such as this, how easy will it be for the Government to keep that ID after the age of 18?

And in all the protest about Contactpoint, let's hope that the other national database, eCAF, doesn't quietly slip through. A national system containing the in-depth personal assessments of 50% of children is even more dangerous.

If you're intrested in these types of issues in the UK you should check out the Open Rights Group.

Link (Thanks, Glyn!)


  1. ….don’t count on that. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

    The UK is a Big Brother society at its’ core. It’s no accident that George Orwell was British. It is a vile place to live if you value personal privacy.

  2. That is incredibly scary to read. However, that it is happening in the UK doesn’t surprise me (as previous posters have mentioned) – the UK is home to a massive CCTV network, among other things.

    I would hope that this doesn’t pass, though.

  3. The whole “Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs” (HMRC) data debacle makes me angry. The original request from the National Audit Office was for *100 records* at random for auditing purposes.

    The noob at HMRC didn’t know how to select 100 records at random out of a database with 25 million entries. HRMC estimated it would cost them £5000 in consultant fees to have someone say they needed to type:


    so instead, HRMC sent the *entire* database to pass the problem of selecting 100 rows to the National Audit Office. This is bullshit on so many levels.

    The person at HMRC was paid £14K a year according to the Daily Telegraph, so that £5K cost ~= 5 months of salary. Even by hand, selecting 100 records will take an afternoon?

    The annoying thing is this slip-up will be a carte blanche for IT vendors to sell new “data protection enhanced” database products on mainframes, and fill government offices with TPM-enabled PC hardware, at enormous taxpayer expense and inevitable project overrun.

    All that’s needed is a baseline competence.

  4. It probably will pass as petitions do not currently have a place in the British Constitution. Past experience with the E-Petitions website leads me to believe that their stock response for all petitions is something along the lines of “Nanny State Knows Best”, and that’s only if they can be bothered replying.

  5. I roll my eyes at the Americans in this thread telling me how vile a place the UK is. You think your personal data is safe in the hands of the corporations and three-letter-agencies of the USA? The best that can be said is that at least your bureaucrats aren’t as technologically incompetent as ours, and I’m not sure that’s such a blessing.

  6. Nelson, how do you know that the folks you’re rolling your eyes at are American?
    BoingBoing has international readers.

    And for the record, most of the Americans here (myself included) aren’t that happy with the state of privacy in our country either.

  7. I’m not in favor of national databases by a long shot, but it would really help to get people to sign the petition if the arguments “against” were a little bit clearer and more specific. Instead the post says, “but the plan is that practitioners will be able to contact each other to share information,” which is probably the exact same argument that the people who are “for” are using.

  8. @CANK
    Yes the post is a little brief on argument, mainly because the issue revolves around the concept of big “database”.
    In detail, this database will provide a “hub” to link several other databases, allowing some 330,000 people access to details as arcane as whether a childs parents have a drink problem.

    The original idea was rolled out to try to help early intervention for vulnerable or at-risk children, but the latest “pitch” on it is more to do with information gathering per se. As the information commisioner said “If you wanted to find a needle, why build a bigger haystack?”

  9. As a Canadian I’d have to say that yes, the UK is much worse than the USA when it comes to personal privacy and has been for some time now, even before the “War against Terrorism”. This new proposition to form a kids database is just the latest in Big Parenting style the government has relished and the public appears to be indifferent to if not downright accepting, all in the interest of keeping the elderly safe from hoodies.

  10. Matt @7: The misinformed reference to the CCTV “network” among other things, but yes, I am just guessing. OTOH, nobody’s denying it.

    Imani2 @10: If you think the British public is indifferent to all this, then you’re misinterpreting British phlegmaticism. Just because we’re not rioting in the streets….

  11. “this will effect every child”


  12. Why do the Brits allow or even suggest these things when it seems clear that it’s outrageous? Is their government full of incompetents like ours?

  13. Nelson,

    I’m British and live in the UK, so when I say the UK is a vile place to live, I speak from personal experience. Trust me on this one.

  14. IMHO this legislation is going to pass there, then here, then everywhere else. Why? Read Plato’s Republic. Our overlords think they should be in charge of everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. I don’t believe in the devil but this whole ultra central controlled mass slavery thing is as satanic as anything I could ever imagined. Wake-up and smell the bondage.

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