[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/15/sharing-personal-data-whitehall]Whitehall departments to share personal data[/url]
• Straw lifts curbs on use of private information
• Changes 'will ease public's dealings with officialdom'
* Alan Travis, home affairs editor
* The Guardian, Thursday 15 January 2009
The powers in the coroners and justice bill will reverse the fundamental data protection principle that information provided to one government agency for one purpose should not normally be used by another for a different purpose.
Straw insisted that the powers would come with "very strict controls" on who will get access to personal data and what it can be used for, but the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties warned that the bill represented "yet another building block of the surveillance state"
There are no such "very strict controls" spelt out in the text of the Bill, it is Yet Another Enabling Bill, with all the critical details left to Ministerial Orders, which will not be scrutinised by Parliament.
See the [url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/009/09009.94-99.html#j22_007aw]Coroners and Justice Bill 2009 Part 8[/url]
For example, all of the 50 or more items of data, and all of your fingerprint etc. biometric data which the compulsory National Identity Register centralised database will contain, will be able to be shared, by "any person", which "any" Government Department, ([b]not[/b] just the Home Office) decides it wants it to be shared, and declares that is "necessary to secure a relevant policy objective"
The data sharing is not limited just to other UK Government Departments, but could be to private sector companies and foreign governments.
This is far more than the existing, already far too broad, exemptions from the Data Protection Act for "national security" or for the "prevention, detection or prosecution of crime".
The weasel words "or includes personal data" mean that the protections for [b]Sensitive Personal Data[/b] will have been abolished, if the Government gets hold of such data.
(a) the racial or ethnic origin of the data subject,
(b) his political opinions,
(c) his religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature,
(d) whether he is a member of a trade union (within the meaning of the [1992 c. 52.] Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992),
(e) his physical or mental health or condition,
(f) his sexual life,
(g) the commission or alleged commission by him of any offence, or
(h) any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by him, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings.
The fact that this section of the Bill is well towards the very end, means that there will be almost no "debate" on it at all in Parliament. The available time for debate will be used up considering the controversial secret Coroner's hearings and amendments to murder defences etc.
Those will only affect a few people, but this further crippling of the Data Protection Act will affect millions of innocent people every year.