Database of children must be scrapped - Howarth

May 1, 2009 11:17 AM

NO2ID logoCambridge MP David Howarth has called on the government to scrap its ContactPoint database which would hold details of all the city's children and young people.

Mr Howarth, Shadow Justice Secretary, is worried about the safety implications of such a vast database containing potentially sensitive information and connected to the internet

ContactPoint was designed to "transform children's services" by providing a national on-line directory available to authorised staff to enable them to provide co-ordinated support for children and young people.

It was backed by the government in January but has sparked major controversy. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation stated in a recent report that it is almost certainly illegal under human rights and data protection law.

Mr Howarth said: "There is no justification for including information about every child on a database of this type. Most of these young people will never come into contact with children's services and never need any specialist help.

"This project has been already delayed because of concerns about accuracy and security. It is fraught with dangers and should be scrapped now."

Mr Howarth has signed a Commons' motion which raises concerns about ContactPoint and calls for it to be abandoned.

Andrew Watson, Joint Cambridge Coordinator of the NO2ID campaign, said: "Putting details of every single child in England and Wales on the ContactPoint database can only put most children at increased risk of harm.

"With hundreds of thousands of users from Land's End to Lowestoft accessing this database via the internet, a security breach is inevitable. ContactPoint must be scrapped before sensitive details of our children's lives leak into the wrong hands."

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