Not Saussure

August 31, 2006

Database Privacy (if you’re a celeb’s child)

Filed under: civil liberties, ID cards, Politics, UK, Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 4:59 pm

Mr Eugenides is rightly annoyed by a report in today’s Telegraph about how

Children of celebrities will be given special safeguards in a new database that will store details of every child in England and Wales, it was disclosed yesterday.

Ministers said the contentious two-tier level of privacy will protect children of the rich and famous from intrusion.

Addresses and telephone numbers of celebrities will be removed from the database if, for example, their children are deemed at risk of kidnap.

The announcement was made by Lord Adonis (what a name!), in a debate in the Lords; his department clarified:

“Lord Adonis was making a general statement that children of violent parents, while their name will still be on the register, may have their address removed, or a child of a parent with celebrity status will have their address removed. The police may decide it is appropriate.

“There will be extremely strict controls. No one other than practitioners will be able to access any information which will be minimal and is about allowing practitioners to make contact with each other when necessary.”

Sorry, folks, but that ain’t good enough.   Either the database is secure or it’s not.   If the ‘extremely strict controls’ are effective so that only practitioners can access it, and since we presumably trust these practitioners not to sell the data to the tabloids or to kidnappers, then where’s the problem?    If it’s not secure enough for little Leo Blair’s or little Cruz Beckham’s data, then it’s not secure enough for anyone.

What they really mean, of course, is that the system isn’t secure and that they’re worried — rightly — that considerable embarassment could be caused all round when it gets out that  answers to questions concerning some celeb’s child such as  ‘”Is the parent providing a positive role model?”, as well as sensitive information such as a parent’s mental health,’ not to mention the fact that the child isn’t eating five portions of fruit and veg a day, prove unsatisfactory.

And, since the system isn’t secure, why on earth do they keep on protesting that the ID card database is going to be so bullet-proof?   Or, to put it another way, since our Government would never dream of lying about a thing like this, they clearly do know how to build a secure database but have chosen not to use this unhackable system for the Children’s Database.

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