Feeds

ContactPoint rollout grinds to a halt, again

Come on, while we're young

Security for virtualized datacentres

ContactPoint, the child protection database set up after the murder of Victoria Climbie, has been delayed for the third time.

The brakes were first put on the project after the loss of 25m records by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs which led to a general review of the government's shoddy data security practises.

It was scheduled to open to "early adopters" in autumn 2008. Then in August we were told it was being delayed again because of user interface problems. The system is supposed to give social workers, police and NHS staff access to files on children so they can see if they are in contact with other government departments.

It seems the latest delay is to do with the issue of shielding; keeping especially vulnerable children - believed to include children of MPs and celebrities - off the database.

In January the database was opened to 300 people for testing - two in each local authorities. But this testing has revealed that supposedly hidden entries are automatically duplicated by central data feeds - local councils are responsible for shielding entries. Automatic updating of the system has been halted as a result.

17 councils were supposed to start using the whole database this month, but this has been delayed because 51 councils have still to complete their phase one tasks, the Telegraph reports.

A spokesman for the Department of Children, Schools and Families said:

ContactPoint takes data from existing national sources. We have had a few reports of cases where updates from these sources have resulted in records not being matched as expected. These are being investigated...Meanwhile, we have paused the ongoing data update while we investigate. We will not restart it if there is risk of introducing unmatched records for children whose existing ContactPoint records have been shielded.

Local authorities are already shielding records where they judge that there is a risk to a child or family or the adoption placement. We have been made aware that in some instances identities might be linked. We are working with national data sources to resolve this issue.

About 55,000 children, including those in witness protection schemes or in hiding from abusive family members, will have their records blocked. Fears have been raised over this, as around a million people will have access to the database. The government claims a figure of 330,000 for "users" of the system.

Concerns have also been raised about police access and whether they will use the database strictly for child protection or to trawl for those they see as potential criminals.

The system is provided by CapGemini. Creating the database for children in England and Wales will cost £224m and maintaining it will cost £44m a year.

The Tories have promised to scrap the system if elected. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.