Feeds

A dossier on every UK citizen?

Bureaucratic creep fears over life records plan

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Government plans to establish a database of life records which could be used to create a dossier on everyone in the country, privacy advocates fear.

The Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) has called on the Government to ensure that a new electronic database of life events - births, marriages, deaths etc. - supports, rather than reduces, privacy and liberty.

In a response to the Office of National Statistics' consultation on its plans for such a database, the FIPR said the "proposal amounts to establishing the foundations for a compulsory dossier on every citizen".

"Once begun, the database would develop its own momentum as agencies discovered new advantages. Fraud and crime prevention could be argued to justify the inclusion of information relating to social security benefits, tax, passports, drivers' licences, criminal records and much else," the FIPR writes.

"Public health considerations might be argued to justify extension of the snapshot of information about the cause of death to an accumulation of information about health events during life. The protection of children might be argued to justify linkage with information accumulated by social services departments. The needs of the war on terrorism seem capable of being used to justify almost anything," it adds.

According to the FIPR, the proposed database is already intended to store information that goes beyond its stated purpose.

"It is difficult to see the justification for including occupations, ranks and professions of brides, grooms and their parents, or causes of death, within the registration system."

The FIPR argues that simpler measures could be cheaper, less invasive and more effective. For example, a basic registry of deaths would allow the Passport Agency to check applications for fraud.

The think tank also believes paper records are more trustworthy because they are "harder to retrospectively alter" than database files.

Nicholas Bohm, General Counsel to the FIPR and author of the response, said: "The Government must avoid the risks of turning the register of births into a set of comprehensive dossiers on every citizen."

"We should not be moving towards a system where our very identity is dependent on registration by the Government in a central database." ®

Related Stories

UK ID card scheme likely to be 'debacle', says Jack Straw
Finger, faceprints get green light for Europe's ID standard
NHS patient privacy? What patient privacy!

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.