29 August 2008
Responding to the announcement of yet another delay to the launch of ContactPoint  the projected government database containing personal details of every family with children in the UK, NO2ID this morning called for the immediate scrapping of the entire programme.
Government auditors Deloitte and Touche have already said that ContactPoint can “never be made secure” . (This in an investigation following on the HMRC child benefit data disaster last year.) Indeed, the risk of compromise is so self-evident that the system, which will have an estimated 300,000 official users, has been designed for ‘two tier privacy’ – some details of public figures’ children and families will be obscured, but not those of the general public .
The excuse for the latest delay is a design problem with the screens that social workers will see. The government insists it is not having second thoughts about the project itself.
Phil Booth , NO2ID National Coordinator said:
Worrying about the drop-down menus is outrageous triviality. This system is about to expose the details of every child in the country, with special flags to indicate the most vulnerable. ContactPoint is a child protection disaster waiting to happen.
The government apparently values administrative convenience more than it does the privacy and security of our children. ContactPoint should be scrapped forthwith. The hundreds of millions in the budget would go a long way towards training more professionals to do actual child protection.
Notes for editors:
1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2640147/ContactPoint-child-database-launch-delayed-following-security-fears.html – The Daily Telegraph, 29/8/08
2) The executive summary of Deloitte and Touche report (link below) states that “there will always be a risk of data security incidents occurring” (p4)
and goes on to identify “a significant risk” (p5) from the self-certified security procedures of local councils and other organisations accessing the
database. The government has to date refused to release a copy of the full report, claiming that to do so would ‘undermine’ the public’s confidence in
3) NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate.php for a list of ‘database
state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing.
4) Before joining NO2ID, Phil Booth helped children’s charity The Who Cares? Trust design and develop a secure online system for looked-after children.