Thursday, November 22, 2007

How's The Old Penile Dysfunction Sir?

Your records coming here

The sadly missed Doc Crippen warned Tyler some time ago. Once the NHS Supercomputer gets going, he said, the first question the traffic cops will ask when they pull you over on the A3 is how your penile dysfunction is coming along.

Tyler crossed his legs and laughed.

He shouldn't have.

The Doc's concern was that his confidential patient records were being taken over by the state and woven into the Surveillance Society. First, they'd be available right across the NHS. Next, Social Services would be given access. Then, the Department for Work and Pensions, to check entitlements. Ditto, HMRC.

The police would be next, followed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Schools Department, the Health and Safety Executive, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and Transport for London. Pretty soon, all officials would have instant access to your complete health record via a handheld terminal.

Three-quarters of his fellow GPs feel the same way, with 59% saying they'll refuse to load their patient records onto the system at all.

But as we've just seen, there's an even bigger worry than Big Brother: the government is simply not capable of safeguarding our personal information.

When it was all held in paper files, the damage was limited. But with huge digital databases like HMRC's, or the planned ID project, or the NHS Supercomputer, all of our details are available to anyone at any time. The NHS alone has 1.3m employees, many highly disgruntled, and any one of whom could help themselves.

Yes, we know. Access will be "strictly controlled", and cleaners will not be able to peruse your problems in the trouser department. But does anyone now believe that?

Our only hope with these gigantic new databases is that the government never actually gets them to work. Unfortunately, with unlimited amounts of our money chucked at them, it's much more likely they'll be coaxed into a stuttering form of life, cumbersome and tricky in use, but with all the security of a sieve.
Safest and cheapest by far to stop them now.

(htp A Tory)

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