Rights group attacks 'database state'

Government information policy is "out of control", according to digital civil liberties organisation the Open Rights Group (ORG).Following the release on Monday of a report by the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) entitled 'Database State', which said that 11 out of 46 UK government databases could contravene human rights law, ORG called for non-compliant databases to be scrapped.

Government information policy is "out of control", according to digital civil liberties organisation the Open Rights Group (ORG).

Following the release on Monday of a report by the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) entitled 'Database State', which said that 11 out of 46 UK government databases could contravene human rights law, ORG called for non-compliant databases to be scrapped.

"As evidenced by the report, information policy in the public sector is out of control," said an ORG press statement. "Many of the databases analysed must be scrapped immediately, with stringent controls enforced on future projects."

Jim Killock, newly installed ORG executive director, said: "Public sector databases are a disgrace. The most threatening examples, including ContactPoint, the DNA database, the National Identity Register and some of the major NHS systems, are incompatible with our human rights and should be scrapped immediately."

The government on Friday insisted that its databases were necessary and proportionate.

"We recognise the absolute necessity of striking the balance between the rights and privacy of the individual and the ability to disrupt, prevent and investigate crime effectively," said a Home Office spokesperson. "That is why the Home Secretary has made clear that a 'common sense' test must be applied to every action in this area to make sure it is proportionate, transparent and robust safeguards are in place."

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