Jacqui Smith: “I know, we’ll create a huge database”

The UK is facing a number of challenges that span professional bodies and
disciplines, which with good intentions, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is sure
she can solve.

Helping prevent child abuse

Child abuse is a horrendous tragedy that has recently seen a number of nasty
headlines. The Baby P scandal was a disturbing case that exposed many weaknesses in the various professional bodies that come into contact with families regarded as being “at risk”.

Jacqui Smith: “I know, we’ll create a huge database”

The joining together of separate databases held by the police, the courts, social
workers, teachers and the health service to create a “super database” containing
details on 11 million children under 18 years of age is believed to be illegal,
falling foul of the Data Protection Act. Projected cost: £200 million.

CCTV CamerasHelping reduce domestic violence

Domestic violence is the invisible abuse that partners suffer in silence.
There can be little worse betrayal than being abused by the one you love, and it
can prove very frightening – often so frightening that it becomes almost too
terrifying to seek help.

Jacqui Smith: “I know, we’ll create a huge database”

The generation of a database of perpetrators has been criticised as a gimmick
and caused Jacqui Smith to be publicy shouted down by activists. There are a significant number of people wondering why more effort is not put in addressing weaknesses in police powers who feel powerless in such situations.

Solving crimes retrospectively using advances in DNA

Some horrendous crimes have been solved thanks to the advances made in DNA
analysis, which provides convincing scientific proof of a suspect’s guilt. As
technology develops, and our understanding grows, we need to be able to utilise
our increased knowledge to help solve past crimes.

Jacqui Smith: “I know, we’ll create a huge database”

The process of having your fingerprints taken at the police station on arrest
is well known. Until recently, merely being arrested required you to submit a
DNA sample for entering into the National DNA database. If you were later released, your sample was not, instead remaining “on file” – just in case.

Modern communications may be used to organise terrorist acts

Clearly, terrorism remains a potent risk to the society, and it has been seen
that our intelligence services have struggled to keep up with the technological
advances brought by communications technologies such as mobile phones and the

Jacqui Smith: “I know, we’ll create a huge database”

Forcing ISPs, telecommunications operators and related services to provide
details of communications to the government for recording in a huge central
will allow government to be able to access details of communications and trace activity regarded as suspicious. I’m sure their IT systems would be up to the task of indexing such a massive database.

Tracking people coming in an out of the country reduces terrorism/illegal immigration

The huge number of people coming into the country and leaving the country
presents immigration officials and security services  problems in identifying
individuals who may pose a risk to the United Kingdom or one of its

Jacqui Smith: “I know, we’ll create a huge database”

Going through a UK airport will now see you photographed and monitored from
booking to plane, with this information potentially being shared across country
boundaries to your intended destination. The project, known as “Semaphore
will store passenger movements within a central database, even those of 6

Keeping track of civilians will help prevent terrorist attacks

The globalisation of the economy and increased migration of individuals
increases the United Kingdom’s exposure to terror attacks such as September11th
or the attacks on Madrid.

Jacqui Smith: “I know, we’ll create a huge database”

Creating a new National Identity Card system, over and above the existing Passport obligations of civilians, will help authorities prevent individuals intent on attacking the United Kingdom and entering it illegally. EVen though Spain already has an ID card system, this did not prevent the Madrid attacks.

I wonder if Jacqui Smith realises she is a member of the same government that
is responsible for the disastorous NHSPfIT programme designed to streamline the
IT services of the NHS, the crashing of a number of systems, massive overspend
and terrible planning of a number of high-profile IT projects. I wonder if she can recall the extensive “misplacing” of data that occured in 2008, also under her government. I wonder what makes her think that more databases, more lines crossed in people’s liberties and an increased feeling of distrust can do to help her government remain a tenable prospect for 2010 onwards. No, she is just as misguided as the Prime Minister that went to an illegal war and the “other” Prime Minister who can’t say “sorry”. Her one and only solution is a reflection of the ineptidude of the government’s IT policy. Hopefully she’ll fall over before it becomes too late for a replacement government to be able to reverse such damaging changes to our constitition.