Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/12/not_data_sharing/

UK.gov not ready to share on data sharing

Should they call it something else?

By Mark Ballard

Posted in Law, 12th March 2007 15:40 GMT

Six months after the government announced it would review whether data protection laws were a "barrier" to its information sharing plans, it is still not ready to share its views on the matter.

In September, government announced its Information Sharing Vision Statement - plans to share information across different government databases in order to formulate more rounded identities of individual citizens. These data doubles would then be used to direct government intervention in the lives of people they thought needed help because they were a risk to themselves or others.

It asked the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) to consider how the Data Protection Act, which is designed in part to prevent people becoming victim of the mishandling of official information, might be watered down to remove "barriers" to its information sharing plans.

The Register has asked the DCA to explain what these barriers might be and how far they might need dismantling a number of times, but it has not been prepared to comment.

Data protection lawyers were expecting to get some insight into this at a conference in London today when Sonali Parek, head of data sharing workstream at the DCA, was to present the DCA's views on "the impact of wider data sharing on data protection".

However, this morning it emerged that Parek has withdrawn from the conference. We'll have to wait until the findings of the DCA study are published in a month or so. Now that's information sharing for you. ®