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The Data Sharing Review - announced by Gordon Brown after the loss of 25m records from the child benefit database - is calling for input into how government departments and businesses use and share private information about British people.

The consultation is part of the review due to report in the first half of next year. It will consider how and why private information is shared and used, if the Data Protection Act offers sufficient protection, what impact technology has on protecting information and what lessons the UK could learn from other countries.

The review is run by Information Commissioner Richard Thomas and Dr Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust.

Walport said: "The recent loss of millions of people's private details serves as a stark illustration of what can happen when this principle is not followed. This review will seek to establish when and how personal information should be used, what safeguards should be in place and whether the powers and sanctions available are adequate."

You can see the consultation document here.

The document, aimed at "experts and practioners in the field of data sharing and protection" as well as the general public.

Questions include:

"Please provide examples of where, in your view, the public authorities hold too much data or not enough personal information, and the reasoning behind your response."

and

"What impact in your view have technological advances had on the sharing and protection of personal information? Please provide examples.".

Probing stuff indeed. Answers in by February 15 please.®

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