Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Privacy going cheap

It's good to see that some notice is being taken of the Information Commissioner's May 2006 Report 'What Price Privacy' on the brisk trade in confidential data - plenty of it obtained from government databases. Most of it is bought by journalists, but in some cases local authorities themselves are using these thoroughly dubious means of gathering information.

Blogzilla's Ian Brown mentioned this at our LSE conference on children's databases in June, and showed a horrifying slide of the 'going rate' paid by private investigators - see slide 7 of his presentation (pdf) (We wonder what price tag will be placed on information from the children's Information Sharing Index? Or any of the other children's databases?)

Incidentally, while you're looking at Ian's slides, you might also want to check out slide 6, which details the Evaluation Assurance Level - in other words the security - of government databases. There is nothing in the UK's list above Level 4+ which provides a 'moderate to high level of independently assured security'.

Small wonder the government thinks it necessary to exclude 'celebrity children' from the IS Index.

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