Deserves its own thread here:
Anonymous Coward wrote:
It would be absolutely wonderful for healthcare personnel to have easy access to health records where and when needed, under all circumstances, and there will be exactly no access when not needed, safeguarding privacy. Eventually, hopefully, we'll have such a system.
This summary care record system, however, is not it.
I can tell by many signs on the wall. It's clumsily done, it's being forced through despite strong indications it's not good enough, it's opt-out, it's immature technology, and most damning of all: There is no suitable ID-and-records infrastructure to make it happen. In short, it's the basic computerisation of a two century old system, without regards whatsoever for the needs and caveats of using modern technology.
This is much the same problem that hampered the ID cards database, that's the problem with the child records, and that is a basic flaw behind the vetting database -- quite apart from the fact that the latter is merely a state-run rumours mill with the power to put people out of a job indefinitely.
This very basic problem is not limited to Britain. Every nation that's busy rolling out databases so far has proven to be completely unimaginative about it, with the possible exception of China *gasp*. China requires all citizens to have an ID card, but if you send a text message with name and card number to a magic inquiries number, you get back a picture message with the photo that's supposed to be on the card. Though I find making the plastic more important than the person (which all current governments are doind) highly objectionable, this picture service is at least useful to the average citizen. Sadly, providing useful services to people, that is a concept completely foreign to governments.
I wouldn't recommend trying to emulate China, but I would like a better identity system, and for that we need a better --less medieval-- concept of what identity is, and with that, we will have to redefine how governments and people trying to do business with each other deal with the concept.
Most of these changes stem from moving most of our transactions into the digital realm, which quite harshly exposes weaknesses in systems originally invented for the physical paper based world. Instead of trying to let our hopelessly outdated and outclassed governments deal with it for us, we need to think about it ourselves. And we need to get moving quickly, before the bodges the governments are coming up with are too large and expensive to replace. We must, because it's a vital bit of infrastructure and without it we can't move forward with renewing the governing infrastructure for the digital age. Or we'll be stuck with identity systems, care and other records systems, databases, that contain ever more and ever more intimate data (biometrics, behavioural analysis, and worse), that are leakier than a wide open database full of credit card numbers.