Given the recent theft of my identity while it was being “stewarded” by CountryWide, I feel especially motivated to share with you this important piece on ContactPoint by Sir Bonar Neville-Kingdom GCMG KCVO that appeared in Britain's Ideal Government. Sir Bonar writes:
I’m facing a blizzard of Freedom of Information requests from the self-appointed (and frankly self-righteous) civil liberties brigade about releasing details of the ContactPoint security review. Of course we’re all in favour of Freedom of Information to a point but there is a limit.
Perhaps I might point out:
The decision not to release any information about the ContactPoint security review was taken by an independent panel. I personally chaired ths panel to ensure its independence from any outside interests. I was of course not directly involved in the original requests, which were handled by a junior staff member.
The security of ContactPoint relies on nobody knowing how it works. If nobody knows what the security measures are, how can they possibly circumvent them? This is simply common sense. Details of the security measures will be shared only with the 330,000 accredited and vetted public servants who will have direct access to the database of children.
We’re hardly going to ask every Tom, Dick and Harry for how to keep our own data secure when, as you’re probably aware, our friends in Cheltenham pretty much invented the whole information security game. To share the security details with some troublemaking non-governmental organisation is merely to ask for trouble with the news media and to put us all needlessly at risk. The Department will not tolerate such risk and it is clearly not in the public interest to do so.
We did consider whether to redact and release any text. We concluded that the small amount of text that would result after redacting text that should not be released would be incoherent and without context. Such a release would serve no public interest.
ContactPoint is both a safe and secure system and I should remind everyone that it is fundamental to its success that it is perceived as such by parents, the professionals that use it and others with an interest in ContactPoint and its contribution to delivering the Every Child Matters agenda. Maintaining this perception of absolute “gold standard” security is why it is so important that nobody should question the security arrangements put in by our contractor Cap Gemini (whom I shall be meeting again in Andorra over the weekend).
We must guard the public mind – and indeed our own minds – against any inappropriate concerns on data security.
All this is set out on the Every Child Matters website, which includes a specific and contextual reference to the ContactPoint Data Security Review. The content has been recently updated and can be found at: http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/deliveringservices/contactpoint/security/
Sending out our policy thinking via the medium of a Web Site is a central plank of the “Perfecting Web 1.0” aspect of our Transformational Government strategy, which is due to be complete in 2015. If interfering busybodies have any other queries about how we propose that children in Britain should be raised and protected I would refer them t that
I might add we never get this sort of trouble from the trade association Intellect, and this is why we find them a pleasure to deal with. And on the foundation of that relationship is our track record of success in government IT projects built.
So put that in your collective pipe and smoke it, naysayers. Now is not the time to ask difficult questions. We have to get on with the job of restoring order.