Sunday, September 03, 2006


Not unconnected with our comments on Booth below, Ideal Government has just directed our steps to Garrick Alder's blog:

Very soon now, crime and disorder will be mapped out on a house-to-house level and displayed on the internet. The maps will be searchable by anyone, including insurance companies, and will also incorporate aerial photography. Backstage, vast amounts of highly sensitive data - including your medical notes - will be sloshed around on local government and emergency services intranet - and across the internet too. Members of the public will be encouraged to submit complaints of anti-social behaviour via email. The resulting crime maps will be used to provide information for, among other things, decisions about architecture in afflicted areas.

He explains what he found out at a meeting of his local 'Community Well-Being Select Committee'. On the agenda was the activities of the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership - a Home Office inspired body that operates throughout the country. In his words:

I was already feeling somewhat queasy by the time a PowerPoint presentation unfolded. Surely, I thought, in the name of all that is most sensible those cannot really be emergency service logs? Later that day, Bedfordshire County Council's press office kindly supplied me with a CD-ROM of the presentation. Yes, the spreadsheets glimpsed in the presentation really were pages from emergency service logs.

The level of detail included: * X and Y co-ordinates allowing pinpointing of crimes and accidents on Ordnance Survey maps * Details of crime victims including address, age and sex * Ambulance data including patient problems.

In this last category, the medically confidential information had been shaded over for presentation to the council. However, on examination it was easily readable, allowing me to zero in on the locations of the following incidents, all from October 1, 2005 * 12 cases of 'assault/rape' * One case each of 'overdose/poisoning' and 'stab/gunshot wound' * 16 cases of 'specific traumatic injuries'

...Such is the CDR partners' belief in data protection that they lifted pages of this data store for a slide show, and then simply handed it out to the public on request. And this is the sort of information that is going to be pinged back and forth.

Go read the full thing. It's gob-smacking.


Post a Comment

<< Home