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More on that database…

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More news stories today on the Vetting and Barring Database (which I’ve previously posted on here). Apparently it’s now got to cover everyone who gives regular lifts to a group of children. This will create an enormous database of personal information.

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: “Children’s safety is paramount but we are in danger of creating a world in which we think every adult who approaches children means to do them harm. The creation of the world’s biggest checking system is a disproportionate response to the problem it is trying to solve.”

Of course, as this is a government-backed IT system the chances of it actually functioning properly are slim. Given their track record with databases, it will costs twice as much as estimated, have half the features and work very, very badly. But that’s even more worrying, since the system will, apparently, use what is euphemistically termed ‘soft intelligence’, taking into account ‘will take into account lifestyles, relationships and beliefs… rather than just whether they have a criminal record.’ In other words, the records will include rumour, gossip and “information” received from former employers, professional bodies, members of the public or “stories in the press”. And the idea of that kind of information being applied to the wrong person, or simply left on a disc on the bus is appalling.

Then there is the sheer scale of the things. An answer to a parliamentary question records that a CRB check takes three or four days, (although the longest took more than four years to complete.)

I don’t want to sound like a Daily Mail reader, but Big Brother is, if not watching you, then at least typing in all your details. Slowly.