Even when Parliament is not in session, the government's ability to screw up new initiatives remains as strong as ever, and this time it's the protection of children from abuse that's at stake. The new database containing the address, medical and school details of every child in the country, named ContactPoint, is set to be introduced next year. Not only have the government failed to clarify who will vet the users of the system (all 330,000 of them) and who will police the system once it is operational, but the government have decided to keep the children of celebrities and politicians OFF the database. The extract below is from today's article in the Times:
Concerns have been intensified by the admission that, while every child under 18 in England will have a record, ministers have allowed some children to be given extra protection. The “shielding” mechanism will mean that information on the offspring of some politicians and celebrities could be left off the main database. A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) said that shielding would be available for “children whose circumstances may mean that they, or others, are at increased risk of harm”. She added: “These decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis and will be based on the level of threat posed if their information becomes more widely available.” Children’s rights campaigners and computer security experts say that this amounts to an acknowledgment that the database will not be secure. “The Government acknowledges the risks by instituting these protocols on celebrity and vulnerable children but all children are potentially vulnerable,” Terri Dowty, of Action on Rights for Children, said.
Either it's safe or it isn't. Make your mind up.