MPs and Lords turn on government over data protection
The Joint Committee on Human Rights, made up of MPs and Lords, today criticised "the Government's persistent failure to take data protection safeguards sufficiently seriously".
The Committee accepted that data sharing could be useful and can even enhance human rights protection, but called for a fundamental change in the way Brown's government legislates in this area.
It said too often government primary legislation facilitates data sharing and it falls to secondary legislation to provide data protection. This makes proper Parliamentary oversight of government data sharing very difficult.
The Committee also said the government has serious cultural issues in failing to deal with private data properly. The report said: "There is insufficient respect for the right to respect for personal data in the public sector." (sic)
The report also said: "We are surprised, and disappointed, to find that senior public officials need to be reminded of the main principles of the Data Protection Act."
The MPs and Lords laid into the executive as the British Computer Society's Data Guardianship Survey revealed today 66 per cent of people have less trust in the UK government's ability to keep their data properly since hearing about recent data losses. Public awareness of the Data Protection Act is very high - 90 per cent of respondents had at least heard of it.
In terms of checking what information is held on them far fewer people - only four per cent - had made requests under the DPA. But 16 per cent have run internet searches on their own names and 12 per cent had run credit checks using an agency.
But of the percentage who had requested information 15 per cent found wrong information which was corrected.
Assuming this figure is reflected across the country, then four per cent of the population has had wrong information about themselves corrected.
The problem is likely to be made worse by government data sharing as information, much of it wrong, is shared between departments.
Researchers spoke to 1,025 people between 11 and 15 January.
...couldn't put it better myself.
Dear anon.cow (18:10 GMT) - regarding "too chicken"... it is wonderful to see evidence that it is not only me who is occasionally silenced by "the ubercensors".
oh, and on the "percentages".... did anyone check to see if the "26 per cent who had searched for information" were typical of the population as a whole or if they represented an atypical group such as "25-40 years old", or "people who thought there might be a problem" or what? I only ask, because if the source of the statistic is not known and fully understood, the figures generated are as useful as the proverbial chocolate teapot.
I only add that in in case there are politicians reading... El Reg staff and readers are not so impeccably mindless. Come to think of it, dear Paris has a more astute brain.
You mean these people are not in the pay of some foreign government ???
I thought the whole idea is to make the data available to any and all foreign governments (and criminal organisations) who want to know about the great population of the UK. And MI5's role is to distribute laptops full of "security data" in such a manner as to qualify for James Bond movies !!
The Carry-on team can't beat the way these guys work(??) !!
@There is no way for the government to secure our data - isn't the colour of your current underpants BROWN ??
Not saying much if you're too chicken to put your name against it, is it?