The Children Bill, which will create databases on over 11 million children and their parents, took another step towards becoming law on Tuesday getting its Third Reading in the House of Commons.
Some good points brought up during the debate by Tim Loughton (Conservative), questioning the need to put so many normal children and families on a massive database designed to help "children at risk", the lack of any appeals process, the lack of any data retention policy etc. and by Harry Cohen (Labour), who pointed out how the Bill would allow a future Minister, simply by means of regulations, to evade the Principles of Data Protection laid down in the Data Protection Act 1998
However, the controversial Section 12 Information Databases (and the similar sSection 29 dealing with Wales) were yet again not amended during the guillotined (i.e. deliberately time limited) debate
The Lords will now probably only debate the Commons amendments, and will not bother to amend the controversial database powers of the Bill.
As we predicted, the media coverage of this Bill was entirely about the "smacking" offences aspects, and totally ignored the database implications.
We often seem to end up having to criticise the Opposition parties for their feebleness in standing up to the Labour Government's obssession with control technologies, but they do seem to have made an effort in the Children Bill debate. However they are not displaying the same passion and active opposition to the slide towards a "Big Nanny" Surveillance State compared with less important issues like the compromise on the penalties for "smacking of children", with which the Government easily diverted their attention.