Work with the police, don’t undermine them

Public Servant magazine reports shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper’s speech to the Labour Party conference, in which she said:

Conference, the police need strong powers to cut crime – alongside strong checks and balances to guard against abuse. But behind the rhetoric the Tories are making it harder for the police to do their job. Making it harder for the councils to use CCTV. Abolishing ASBOs, replacing them with weak injunctions the police can’t enforce. Voting to water down counter-terror powers so we can’t ban terror suspects from London in Olympic year.

And Conference, this is the Tory government that wants to slash the DNA database despite the fact that it helped catch rioters, and it helps solve thousands of crimes each year. In ten days time they plan to vote to take 17,000 suspected rapists off the database, despite the evidence from the police and Rape Crisis that this will make it even harder to bring rapists to justice and prevent this horrible crime.

A charitable interpretation of electronic health records

Dick Vinegar writes in his “Pateient from Hell” blog at the Guardian:

I sometimes feel I am on my own in arguing that the Summary Care Record, handled properly, would increase my own safety and that of most other patients. I see myself as a gallant little fighter against the serried ranks of clinical SCR-naysayers, security obsessives and 19th century-style doctor/patient confidentiality ostriches.

Disastrous £11.4bn NHS IT programme to be abandoned

Andrew Hough writes in the Daily Telegraph:

A multi-billion pound IT project started by Labour to link all parts of the NHS is to be abandoned, it will be announced on Thursday.

Ministers will say the ill-fated £11.4 billion National Programme for IT, set up by Labour in 2002, is to be “urgently dismantled” following criticism that it is not value for taxpayers’ money.

Following an official review, the “one size fits all” project will be replaced by cheaper regional schemes allowing local health trusts and GPs to develop or buy individual computer systems to suit their needs.

The world at ten

Wendy Grossman writes in her net.wars blog about the long-term impact of the West’s response to the events of 11th September 2011:

The UK in particular has spent much of the last ten years building the database state, creating dozens of large databases aimed at tracking various portions of society through various parts of their lives. Some of this has been dismantled by the coalition, but not all. The most visible part of the ID card is gone – but the key element was always the database of the nation’s residents, and as data-sharing between government departments becomes ever easier, the equivalent may be built in practice rather than by explicit plan. In every Western country CCTV cameras are proliferating, as are surveillance-by-design policies such as data retention, built-in wiretapping, and widespread filtering. Every time a new system is built – the London congestion charge, for example, or the mooted smart road pricing systems – there are choices that would allow privacy to be built in. And so far, each time those choices are not taken.

She concludes:

They say that a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. By analogy, it seems that a surveillance state is a democracy that’s been attacked.