Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lords attack ContactPoint

In their extremely polite way, the House of Lords Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments has published a strong attack on the ContactPoint secondary legislation:

We are in no doubt about the importance of these Regulations. They set out the details of the "ContactPoint" database which will hold basic identifying information on all 11 million children in England under the age of 18, and which will be accessible to over 300,000 users. The Government have shown a thoroughgoing commitment to preparing for the national operation of the scheme, through large-scale expenditure and wide-ranging engagement with all interested parties. However, the Government have not in our view conclusively demonstrated that a universal database is a proportionate response to the problem being addressed. While the Government have taken the need for security seriously, the scale and importance of the scheme increase the risk that any accidental or inadvertent breach of security, or any deliberate misuse of the data, would be likely to bring the whole scheme into disrepute.

Remember that if a system invading people's privacy is not "proportionate," it is illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights.

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