You get rid of one bad law, and they come back with worse.
This week we saw off Labour plans to hide MPs expenses. Now they want to expose our personal information to most organisations you can name and more you may never have heard of. No permission needed – you give your details to one and they give it to all. And they will be able to collect data on you from a range of private companies too.
This is all part of the Coroners and Justice Bill, which already had controversial plans to hold some inquests in secret.
The NO2ID campaign explains:
“The government is trying to remove all limits on the use of our private information by officials. This means taking your information from anywhere and passing it anywhere they like – including medical records, financial records, communications data, ID information.
“The Database State is now a direct threat, not a theory.
“Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, due for its first debate in the Commons on Monday 26th January, would convert the Data Protection Act into its exact opposite. It would allow ministers to make ‘Information Sharing Orders’, that can alter any Act of Parliament and cancel all rules of confidentiality in order to allow information obtained for one purpose to be used for another.
“This single clause is as grave a threat to privacy as the entire ID Scheme.
“Combine it with the index to your life formed by the planned National Identity Register and everything recorded about you anywhere could be accessible to any official body.
“Quite apart from the powers in the Identity Cards Act, if Information Sharing Orders come to pass, they could (for example) immediately be used to suck up material such as tax records or electoral registers to build an early version of the National Identity Register.
“But the powers would apply to any information, not just official information. They would permit data trafficking between government agencies and private companies – and even with foreign governments.”
Government gets outraged when individuals ‘leak’ government information, by sharing it without permission: but they want to be able to do exactly the same to us.
No doubt Labour will claim that the innocent have nothing to fear. But innocent people are entitled to privacy (what about women avoiding abusive ex-partners?). And even well-intentioned organisations make mistakes with data, as we’ve all learned in recent years. It will make us all less safe.
This is a really dangerous law that will let hundreds of organisations chuck about your most personal data without even asking you. It’s shameful of the Government to try and sneak this legislation through. I’m writing to my Labour MP asking her to oppose this part of the Bill. Lib Dems oppose it. Shame on any MPs who support it.