Kablenet reports that the so called Citizen Information Project, the latest version of a bureaucratic dream of a comprehnsive population register, which has been ressurrected in various forms for decades, seems to have moved to another stage in the Byzantine IT procurement process so beloved of the UK Government.
The Home Secretary David Blunkett and the Home Office have their Entitlement Card consultation, their ID Card consultation and the Draft ID Card Bill, which they seem intet on steam rollering through, against all rational arguements by the opponents of such plans.
Is it more honest for the Chancellor Gordon Brown and the Treasury and Office of National Statistics not to even pretend to bother to consult the Public or Parliament about the equally controversial aspects of this Population Register such as:
- Address information updates - will these be voluntary or mandatory ?
- Will your private data on the CIP database be sold to commercial companies ?
- How much of your private data on the CIP database will be handed over to foreign governments ?
- How will the CIP database relate to the National ID Registry - will mistakes and errors from one be propagated into the other and vice versa ?
- Where are the Privacy audits, checks, balances and systems to correct errors ?
- How exactly will the Citizen Information Project actually benefit UK citizens directly, rather than the Government bureaucracy and outsourced IT suppliers ?
- How exactly is it possible for private contractors to be better able to "'cleanse' the data, analyse it for errors and correct wrong address details" than the civil servants who have compiled this data over the years ? Or are all these civil servants going to be got rid of under Gordon Brown's cost saving plans ?
- Will such "data cleansing" involve the exploitation of third world labour rather than the creation of UK based jobs ?
- Given that the record of the Treasury is at least as bad as any other Government department with respect to Information Technology project disasters, how much is this all really going to cost us ?
Such a fundamental change in the relationship between the public and their alleged civil servants must be only undertaken after fully informed debate and consultation with the public and Parliament.