The database state?

Britain's Ian Brown (author of Blogzilla) is inviting people to a conference at University College London on the first of November:

The UK government is pushing ahead with an ambitious programme to re-engineer the processes of public administration, based on wide-spread sharing of personal data between previously isolated departments and agencies. This is being backed up by proposals for the weakening of data protection law and the building of massive national databases on both adults and children.  

Is widespread data sharing a panacea for effective 21st century government? Is it legal within the European privacy framework? Or, as Tony Blair has claimed, are we living in an entirely new world in which we should leave behind “outdated” notions of human rights?

This workshop will bring together lawyers, technologists, regulators and activists with a shared interest in the development of effective and privacy-friendly government. It will feature expert speakers on two major UK databases: the children's Information Sharing Index (which will hold details on every UK child) and the NHS Care Records Service (which will eventually hold all medical records electronically within the National Health Service). But most importantly, it will give all participants the chance to discuss their views on the privacy principles that should lie behind public administration in the information age.

Places are limited, so please RSVP to I.Brown[at] if you wish to attend.

Gee.  I wish I were able to attend, because I would like to add some questions that interest me more than the political ones: 
  • Where are the actual goals defined for the databases?
  • What other mechanisms have been examined as alternative ways of achieving those goals?
  • Where are the studies in which alternative technologies were compared and large central databases selected as the safest answer?
  • Where are the security threat analyses of these databases published for public review?

It sounds fascinating – I hope it will be podcast.


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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.

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