The UK Government’s plans to assemble a joined up database state appear to be drawing closer. In the rather innocuous sounding Coroners and Justice Bill Part 8 – Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29) lies an interesting clause, 152, in which the government empowers itself to authorise largely unlimited data sharing.
The bill’s summary is as follows (my emphasis – at least it flags up the change that interests me):
A Bill to amend the law relating to coroners and to certification and registration of deaths; to amend the criminal law; to make provision about criminal justice and about dealing with offenders; to make provision about the Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses; to make provision relating to the security of court and other buildings; to make provision about legal aid; to make provision for payments to be made by offenders in respect of benefits derived from the exploitation of material pertaining to offences; to amend the Data Protection Act 1998; and for connected purposes.
Visiting clause 152, we find the following:
After section 50 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29) insert-
Power to enable information sharing
(1) Subject to the following provisions of this Part, a designated authority may by order (an "information-sharing order") enable any person to share information which consists of or includes personal data.
(2) For the purposes of this Part-
"designated authority" means-
(a) an appropriate Minister,
(b) the Scottish Ministers,
(c) the Welsh Ministers, or
(d) a Northern Ireland department;
"appropriate Minister" means-
(a) the Secretary of State,
(b) the Treasury, or
(c) any other Minister in charge of a government department.
It goes on from there. This has alarmed the No2ID crowd, who’ve been publicising this sort of attampt to build a joined up super-database for some time. They are recommending we write to our MPs via http://www.WriteToThem.com (though how much weight your MP can have if he or she is in opposition is unclear!).
It makes you wonder what else gets sneaked into these bills. One other thing, when does Wacky Jacqui’s communications uber-database plan come up for public consultation?