Getting children to sign up for the database state
Mar 2, 2009
Bishop Hill in Children, Civil liberties

The government is lying.

That's not news, of course. Babies puke, teenagers mope, and politicians tell you any old cack they think they can get away with.

So what are they up to this time? According to a report by ARCH (Action on Rights for Children), the government has been telling local authorities that children from "around the age of 12" can usually give their consent to the sharing of personal information across government departments. Some local authorities have responded by telling their staff that from the age of 12, it is lawful for children to disclose information about themselves, their parents and their families without their parents' knowledge.

It turns out however that this advice is not actually a reflection of the law. It's more like wishful thinking, both on the part of politicians and civil servants. There is one minor upside to all this deceit, and that is that individual civil servants could apparently be held personally responsible if they follow up on the government's advice and start sharing data with only the children's consent. It's rare to find anyone in the public sector being held responsible for anything (it's called "democratic accountability") and a few penpushers being flung in the clink would be sure to encourager les autres.

Is it just me, or is this just a bit uncomfortably reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, with children encouraged to inform on their parents by an overweening state?



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