Sunday, August 26, 2007

And You Thought Gun Registration Was Bad

Starting next year, parents in the UK will be required by law to register their children with the State.

Senior social workers have given warning of the dangers posed by a new government register that will store the details of every child in England from next year.

They fear that the database, containing the address, medical and school details of all under-18s, could be used to harm the children whom it is intended to protect.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

The database, which goes live next year, is to contain details of every one of the 11 million children in the country, listing their name, address and gender, as well as contact details for their GP, school and parents and other carers. The record will also include contacts with hospital consultants and other professionals, and could show whether the child has been the subject of a formal assessment on whether he or she needs extra help.

I wonder if mandatory rabies vaccinations is part of the deal. And, will collars with little metal ID tags be handed out to the parents free of charge upon registration, or will they have to purchase those separately?

It will be available to an estimated 330,000 vetted users. Some of those allowed to check records, such as head teachers, doctors, youth offender and social workers, are uncontroversial, but critics have questioned why other potential users, such as fire and rescue staff, will have access to the database.


Concerns have been intensified by the admission that, while every child under 18 in England will have a record, ministers have allowed some children to be given extra protection. The “shielding” mechanism will mean that information on the offspring of some politicians and celebrities could be left off the main database.

But, of course. It's for the other children.

Children’s rights campaigners and computer security experts say that this amounts to an acknowledgment that the database will not be secure. “The Government acknowledges the risks by instituting these protocols on celebrity and vulnerable children but all children are potentially vulnerable,” Terri Dowty, of Action on Rights for Children, said.

If any of this comes a shock to you, you have not been paying attention. The once-great British Empire has been going down this road for decades.

I can't wait to see what the punishment is for failing to register one's children with the proper governmental authorities. I'm guessing it will be in the neighborhood of five to six times more severe than the harshly-worded letters currently being handed out as "punishment" for aggravated assault.

Here are my final 1,000 words on this.

UPDATE: Via reader John S. in the comments:

I'm guessing embedded RFID chips will be mandatory -- remotely programmable and GPS capable, I'm sure. And maybe they can tattoo a serial number on the forearm as a courtesy detail.

Hammer, meet nail.