Ok, not logged on for a while but was glad to see no2id's write up on the national census as this was the reason I Logged on after all
Only had a brief look at some of the posts, so some of the issues relating to this may have already been addressed. Nevertheless, going to throw a few things out here relating to my recent experience with the census and some thoughts about the personal data it's asking for and how it is managed.
It goes without saying that because of the past fiasco's concerning government databases that I was 'reluctant' (to say the least) to furnish the government with any more 'required information'.
Unfortunately, I was on holiday when the reminder was 'delivered' to my address by one of those people 'chasing up' those who had forgotten to complete their census. He (or she) was very thorough as they went to the trouble of talking to my neighbor about it when they failed to get a response. This door knocking technique was probably one honed by their experience from their main job, convincing people on their doorstep that they can save loads of money by switching their gas or electricity provider.
Realizing my error, and not wanting to pay a £1000 fine, I filled out the details on line the day before the deadline. Unfortunately, and as reported in the press, their website experienced a lot of problems on this day and my online attempt to comply was thwarted. Shame.
The governments justification for having such information is pretty thin, is this request not a breach of my rights (human rights, privacy laws, European bull***t laws)?
Where exactly will this data be stored?
Are their any 'private contractors' or 'third parties' involved in the process?
Is the data cross referenced with any other databases (council tax, tax, CSA etc)?
If the data is allowed to be 'shared' with other EU countries then all of my above queries would have to be asked again, to each country, on an individual basis, especially the private contractor or third party one..
Generally, access to government obtained data in this country has been relatively hard to access (yes I know about GP's data, DVLA and other exceptions) but allowing this data to be shared with our EU counterparts increases the risks (and the variables) x 100.
For example, debt collection/tracing agencies are almost (yes I said almost) completely reliant on electoral registration data. If census data materialized on the black market in Portugal (they would take a back hander, they're skint lol) then it would invariably find it's way to these agencies (albeit unofficially).
Sarcasm and hypothesis aside, the census is an out and out infringement on our privacy and our personal security, imagine what the ID fraudster would do with such information? He would stop using Facebook for his info for one..
Ok, I'm probably being paranoid and my details will be stored safe and securely in cyber space for the next 100 years. Talking of which, I'd better check my bank account details as Sony have had a small problem - 27 million account holders information has been compromised.
Thank goodness for mailbox addresses and pay as you go MasterCard