Feeds

'Child protection' database slammed as plod data mine

Troubled kids' pasts open to investigators

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A new database purporting to help protect vulnerable children could be used by authorities to gather evidence against them for criminal prosecutions, it has emerged.

The ContactPoint database is being promoted as a tool to ease cooperation between schools, social services and other authorites who hold information on kids. The £224m scheme is part of the government's "Every Child Matters" initiative, launched in 2003 in the wake of the inquiry into the murder of Victoria Climbié, whose abuse was repeatedly overlooked by authorities.

But now The Telegraph reports that ContactPoint will also serve as an investigative data mine until young people reach their 24th birthday. Guidelines on the databases' applications say archives will be available "for the prevention or detection of crime" and "for the prosecution of offenders".

The database will not include specific case information, but will record if a child has contact with police and drug workers, for example. This has prompted fears from civil liberties groups it will be used to insinuate a troubled past in court. No2ID's Phil Booth said: "Parents should know that this is not for the protection of their children, it could be used to prosecute them. This is a serious step on from what little has been told to the public."

An estimated 330,000 people will have access to ContactPoint, which government contractor CapGemini will open for business this autumn. Its launch was delayed by the inquiry into repeated data losses by HMRC and other government bodies.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families defended the scheme. "To access ContactPoint for the purposes of prevention or detection of crime or for the prosecution of offenders, police would have to make a special request directly to the Secretary of State or Local Authority and make a case for disclosure," it said.

Last week the government said it was storing the genetic profiles of 40,000 innocent children in the National DNA Database. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?