Sunday, January 20, 2008
Children must not be next victims of data loss
The Ministry of Defence has brought us the latest data disaster, putting 600,000 sailors, pilots and potential recruits at risk by losing their detailed personal information. And like the debacle at Revenue and Customs, the MoD is trying to pin the blame on the junior naval officer who lost the laptop, rather than the far more senior officials who commissioned systems that allow so much data to be downloaded onto an individual laptop. As I told Radio 4, while government departments collect and store so much sensitive personal data in centralised databases, we will go on seeing these massive data losses.
You would hope other departments would be learning from these very serious mistakes. However, it seems that the Department for Children is ploughing ahead with their plans to build a centralised database on all 11 million children in England. Action on Rights for Children has produced three short videos explaining the problems with this ContactPoint system, featuring interviews with Prof Ross Anderson, Terri Dowty, Dr Liz Davies, Shami Chakrabati and myself.