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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Monday, January 09, 2006

    More on Big Brother

    It was back in the Spring/Summer of 2004 that personal ID cards and the National Identity Records database first hit the headlines, and I commented on the data protection issues surrounding the storing and use of personal information by a variety of government departments. The Information Commissioner has expressed concerns about "function creep" and in September Out.law noted:
    "ID card database to hold sensitive personal data despite government claims
    Privacy experts have questioned the government's claims that the central database which supports the UK's national ID card scheme will not include sensitive personal data."
    As I said in my early-December post, the sharing of data between departments is something we should welcome with caution. What we should be looking for is free (note that, 'free') access to our records to ensure that what is held is accurate. Free!

    We are now told that, far from free and far from original promises that use would be voluntary:

    "According to a consultation paper from the Department for Constitutional Affairs, councils could be given the power to police the identity card system and fine people if they do not have identity cards or fail to keep them up-to-date." (Sunday Telegraph, pp1-2, 8 January)

    You may be able to trust some of the promises, some of the time...

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