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BBC NEWS | Politics | Whitehall plan for huge database

A giant database of people's personal details could be created at Whitehall under government plans which ministers say will help improve public services.

Tony Blair is expected to unveil the proposal in Downing Street on Monday.

So-called "citizens panels" will gauge public reaction to relaxing privacy procedures so people do not have to repeat personal information to different public bodies - particularly at times of stress such as a family death.

Step by step, the government is logging details of every man, woman and child in 'Big Brother' computers
Oliver Heald

Officials think current rules are an obstacle to improving public services.

But such data-sharing is controversial. As well as criticism from the Conservatives, the information commissioner - the data watchdog - has warned Britain may be "sleepwalking into a surveillance society".

The idea of allowing different Whitehall departments to access centrally-held data emerged during the government's policy review of public services.

The review team, headed by Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton, has concluded that it is difficult for services to be as flexible and light-footed as people want because of rules on data.

Oh it is to help families in times of stress, to make the government "light-footed", and "citizen's panels" will review the proposals, how could you be so heartless to be cynical and oppose the idea...


This may seem contentious... but there is some logic behind it.
You already have records with the Tax man (and your NI number), if you are a Farmer you have records with the RPA (and a SBUID), If you keep animals you have records with the SVS (and a CPH number), if you keep poultry you are on a poultry register with another CPH id, if you have a vehicle you have records at the DVLA and a driving license number.
It would make far more sense if there was a single core record for a person, and then each organisation holds (and controls access to) its specific requirements linked to that one core record.

I won't work, how many of the Government's computer contracts have actually worked? More have been cancelled than completed and the latter usually take years to get the bugs out. Not to mention their is no spare cash for a £20 billion balls up.

I agree with both the above. It's not so much that it is sinister, more it will be a hugely expensive cock-up.

I can hear the (con)sultants lining up to line their pockets with this cash cow....

No doubt those who sit on the so-called 'citizens panels' are especially selected for their willingness to say anything the government tells them to say.

I feel an AG Street moment coming on here ... go on, you know you want to!

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