UK Government loses massive database: 1000 cries of “we told you so” ring forth

Dear Alun Michael MP,

This week we learnt that HM Revenue and Customs finally misplaced the 25 million database records they’ve been trying so hard to lose all year through negligence and gross misconduct. I am shocked, but not surprised, at the revelation that the Government has put millions of people at risk of fraud. I’m sure this is just one example of a situation in which public bodies have shown contempt for personal privacy and security.

Why am I not surprised? Because this outcome is the inevitable result of centralising such a large amount of data, then making it available to thousands of authorised users from hundreds of access points. Such databases are IMPOSSIBLE to secure. The Government has been told this many times by eminent security experts, so why does it persist in putting forward ever grander (and riskier) data aggregation and sharing schemes?

The Government wants to take control of our identities, but this incident shows it’s not fit to look after them. The only reason some of the population hasn’t had their security compromised this week is that they don’t have children!

The way to protect sensitive data about individuals is to segregate it, to decentralise it and to empower the individuals to whom it refers to control its use. After all, they’re the ones with the best incentive to take care of it, as it is they who are affected if it falls into malicious hands.

I invite you to join me in rejecting and resisting the data kleptomania of the Government of which you are a member. Rebel! Don’t let these ill-conceived, dangerous policies trample our rights. Help save us all from the tyranny of the database state.

I would be interested to hear your views on the matter of ID cards in particular, and Government’s use of information on citizens in general, in the light of this week’s events.

Yours sincerely

Richard King.