Saturday, 30 August 2008

More delays to state database of children

The government's 'ContactPoint' database, which is intended to store personal details on all children and young people, from birth to the age of 25, has been delayed again.

The database, which will be accessible to around 330,000 state sector workers, such as doctors, teachers, janitors etc, was set up using the shocking case of Victoria ClimbiƩ as a justification. As such, the database scheme reveals the control freak mindset very well. Rather than address the issues of the case and the particular failings of the particular people involved, the proposed solution is to gather information on every child in the land, as if every child in the land is at risk of suffering the same fate as poor Victoria.

This is patent nonsense. Some children are known to be at risk. Victoria was one of them. The authorities failed to use the powers in their possession to prevent her death. The vast majority of children are at no such risk. Nevertheless, common sense and fiscal responsibility count as nothing for a government whose urge to control has reached psychotic proportions.

It is already abundantly clear that the state cannot be trusted with personal information. The arguments put forward for these huge databases fall apart under the slightest of examinations. In security terms alone, the use of such all-encompassing systems is like putting all your eggs in one large. porous basket, so even if you are stupid enough to trust the government's intentions, you'd still be a fool to support such monumentally expensive projects for simple, pragmatic reasons. However, I most certainly do not trust their intentions. I do not wish to live in a country where my every action is overlooked, where I must carry an ID card, where I am subject to random, warantless searches, where people are encouraged to snitch on their neighbours and children on their own parents, and every little council official thinks he's Hitler.

All these measures - falsely justified on grounds of 'security' give only more power to the state - and the state needs no more power. Juvenal's question still requires an answer:

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - "Who watches the watchman?"


David Davis said...

Yep I agree Trooper, but how will we stop this creeping nonsense?

All these plans stand or fall by the passing of supposed blame from a few people (who in Victoria Climbie's case were arguably culpable) to the many, so as not to focus attention on where the problems really lie.

But the people to blame for her death (the failing socials workers did not - they were merely accessory-marxists who cause the state of family/cultural/socialogical conditions whereby she might be enabled to die un-noticed) were surely those who killed her - or am I being naive?

Trooper Thompson said...

You're right - the blame lies with the man and woman who killed her.

However, there were failings by social services, which, had they done what they are empowered to do in such cases, they may have saved the life of the unfortunate girl.

The sad truth is that such things, however rare, will always occur, and snooping on every child, or making every parent terrified to take a child to be patched up after falling of his bike in case they're accused of child abuse, will do little to stop the few sick individuals who seek to harm children.

To make a more general point, what often happens is that a failure to follow procedures in a system is used to put in place a new, bigger, 'better' system, this being preferable to dealing with the particular failings in any case in point.

The same thing happened after the Dunblane shoottings, when handguns were universally banned, when in fact the rules that previously existed should have prevented the killer having those guns, had they been correctly applied (I may be wrong in this, as the guns used in the attack may have been illegally held in any case). The question of why this man's firearms licence wasn't revoked on the basis of known facts was swept under the carpet by the clamour for more restrictions on everybody.

As for how we fight back against the ever-growing orwellian state, I don't have the definitive answer, any more than you do, although I think we all need to get more involved in society at every level and challenge the things we think are wrong, rather than shrugging and grumbling to ourselves.

The tories may attack such plans on the grounds of government ineptitude aka the safety of our data, but this is more than just an issue of competence, in fact its an ideological clash between those who believe in the free individual and those who want a 'scientifically-managed' state.

It's getting late now, and I've got to get up for work tomorrow, so I'll bring my ramblings to an end for now. Thanks for commenting.