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28 November 2007, 18:27

UK child database postponed in aftermath of tax data loss

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The UK child database, a highly controversial project to record electronically the details of every child under 18 and the adults with whom they interact, has been put on hold pending a review of data security after the recent HMRC data losses. Formerly known as the Children’s Information Sharing Index (ISI), and recently renamed ContactPoint, the database was conceived by government in response to the death in 2000 of Victoria Climbie. It was intended to serve as an aid to "effective prevention and early intervention" for child protection services. However it has attracted consderable criticism, not least because an estimated 330,000 people are predicted to get authorised access to it, despite the government's poor record of vetting, even in less sensitive areas such as premises security.

Despite a superficially convincing public security statement which specifies, albeit in general terms, quite high security standards, there has been much criticism of the project by concerned groups including Action on Rights for Children (ARCH). Most of the concerns have been based on the possibility of unauthorised access to the data. Not least concerned have been children themselves, expressing specific fears over security. However, according the e-Health Insider, the launch of the 224 million pound system has merely been delayed until some time after September 2008.

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