Sunday, 1 February 2009

Information sharing Bill: update

Following NO2ID's warning over clauses in the Coroners and Justice Bill (see below), the Bill was debated in Parliament. Ben Russell, writing in the Independent, reported:

Dominic Grieve, the shadow Justice Secretary, said the plans would “drive a coach and horses through the traditional relationship between the state and individuals” to serve a “nebulous case of public good”. He warned that the Bill would allow ministers to share medical records with organisations that had no link to people’s health.

Mr Grieve said that clauses “tucked away” at the back of the Bill would give ministers “carte blanche to expand data sharing between officials across Whitehall, with local authorities and even with companies in the private sector”. He added: “This should be done with great caution and should not be open sesame to a vast increase in government power.”

David Howarth, the Liberal Democrat justice spokesman, said the data-sharing proposals were “outrageous”. He said: “These provisions will allow all the restriction on data sharing in the ID Cards Act to be overridden and drive a coach and horses through all other restrictions on medical and DNA records. These plans are not confined to government departments and other public authorities. They would allow unlimited data sharing between private sector organisations and government and the private sector, whether in this country or abroad.”

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