UK Liberty

Framing the data sharing debate

Posted in database state by ukliberty on January 26, 2009

Philip Johnston, writing in the Telegraph:

… Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, says it [Coroners and Justice Bill data sharing provisions] is being done for our own good, will be proportionate to its efficacy and tough penalties will be imposed on those who misuse the information. Here is a characteristic of this creeping illiberalism. The argument subtly shifts from whether it should happen at all and becomes a debate about implementation. When, for instance, the state loses our data or puts wrong information on our personal records, this is not regarded as a good reason not to collect it in one place, but for ‘stepping up’ security.

What is fundamentally wrong is the assumption that the state has a right to know everything about us. Personal data is ours to be handed over when it suits us, not the other way around. Of course, there are people with criminal intent whose data the police will need to access; but that is no reason to treat the country as a pool of suspects. …

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