[What an absolutely amazing piece of Big Brotherism this one is!
[Apologies to the many Brits on the list, who doubtless knew all about it.
[It had passed Australians by until now.
[Comments at the end.
DCSF opens ContactPoint consultation
The Department for Children, Schools and Families has launched a
consultation on the rules for using England's children's database
Kable, Wednesday 7 October 2009 12.47 BST
It has proposed a number of changes for the rules governing
ContactPoint, which has been one of the most controversial government
IT implementations of recent years.
The database holds basic contact information for all children, and
was designed to make it easier for professionals who work with
children to get in touch with each other. But it has been attacked by
privacy activists as a risk to vulnerable children and the
Conservative Party has pledged to abolish it if elected to government.
Changes proposed include:
* updating the law so that children who go to school in England while
their parents live overseas will be included on ContactPoint;
* replacing the definition of 'parental responsibility' with the more
commonly used term 'parent' in order to ensure that the same legal
terminology is used across different laws;
* changing the term 'targeted and specialist services' to additional services;
* when a decision is taken to shield a child's record, the name of
their parent or carer will also be hidden, a move the DCSF said
reflects existing practice;
* making it clear, to conform to existing practice, that where
relevant more than one address for an individual child can be held on
The department also said the national rollout of ContactPoint is on
track and that practitioners across England can start to be trained
and access the system from late October.
Children's minister Delyth Morgan said: "I am delighted that we are
on track to begin to roll out ContactPoint nationally later in the
year. We have received early feedback from the pathfinder areas which
demonstrates the positive ways that ContactPoint is helping
practitioners in their day to day work to intervene earlier and
prevent problems escalating."
She added a claim that when fully operational, ContactPoint would
save at least 5m hours of professionals' time.
[So ContactPoint is the name of a database that holds basic contact
information for every child in the U.K.
[It would seem rather likely that it also contains the identities and
"basic contact information" for every person in loco parentis in the
country. Not many of them would be 'persons-at-risk', now would they?
[One interpretation is that half-wit designers really did intend the
term 'ContactPoint' to convey that it was "designed to make it easier
for professionals who work with children to get in touch with each
[But it represents an absolute honey-pot of personal data.
[The contact-points of persons-at-risk, not to mention alleged
debtors, are reason enough.
[But beyond that the data will be enormously attractive to every
voyeur, pederast, and unscrupulous purveyor of services to voyeurs
and pederasts, both in and far beyond the U.K.
[So I prefer the subversive interpretation. The designers couldn't
believe how half-witted the Minister and the Minister's advisers
were, and how cravenly cowardly the senior executives who said 'Yes,
[So they came up with a name that they anticipated the media and the
public would be alert to, with the expected result being an explosion
of public approbation and the collapse of the scheme]
[Even reporters at the usually reliably sceptical The Register appear
to have become inured to the idiocy of U.K. public servants, and
aren't heaping utter derision on the scheme:
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:[log in to unmask] http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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