[Dave Birch] In the U.K., we’re just in the process of putting the details of all children in the country on to the web (except for kids whose parents have “celebrity status”, according to the Education Minister) at the cost of half a billion dollars. In the U.S., the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is encouraging parents to bring their children aged five and older to some Real ID: a Florida Identification Card. The cards hold a current digital photo and vital information, which also will be entered into an emergency database available only to law enforcement (just as the British database will be available to only 330,000 qualified individuals). The card costs $3, but the article doesn’t say why anyone would want one. What can a kid do with this ID card that they can’t do without it?

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What on earth do children need an identity card or an identity database for? Surely putting children’s details into a single database is inviting trouble, as senior social workers have pointed out here in the U.K. They (quite rightly) worry that the database of kids will end up being exploited to harm the people it is trying to protect. The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ACDS) chairman, Mr. Richard Stiff, says that confusion over who is responsible for vetting users and policing the system

may allow a situation where an abuser could be able to access ContactPoint for illegitimate purposes with limited fear of any repercussions

What does he mean “may do”? It is guaranteed to. Sorry to sound like I’m ranting, but ContactPoint is entirely symptomatic of the government’s strangely 1960s view of the connection between information technology and identity: big databases are the solution to everything.

These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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