Contact Point goes live

The controversial new central database of all children in the UK has gone live today for the North-west of England, and will gradually be rolled out across the UK. The £224M ‘Contact Point’, one of the main planks of the ‘Every Child Matters’ initiative, will be accessible to around 390, 000 police, social workers and other relevant professionals. It is mainly being promoted as a time-saving initiative, allowing quicker and more informed intervention in the case of vulnerable children, which we all hope it does, although this of course depends on the correct information being on the database in the first place. In addition, as the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust review, Database State, rated the system as ‘red’ for danger in terms of privacy:

“because of the privacy concerns and the legal issues with maintaining sensitive data with no effective opt-out, and because the security is inadequate (having been designed as an afterthought), and because it provides a mechanism for registering all children that complements the National Identity Register.”

Electronic Tagging for Kids

Lok8U's tag (sorry... watch)

Another day, another ridiculous device that plays on fear… British company Lok8U (urgh…) has produced a digital watch that can be used to track the wearer through GPS. Now there are plenty of these types of devices about from Bladerunner’s GPS-enabled jackets to services for tracking another person’s mobile phone. 

But there is something rather more ominous about this one. It’s not just a friendly tracking device. It is, so the makers’ claim, “the world’s first GPS locator that locates your child… not just the device.” In other words, the watch is designed so that it cannot be removed by the wearer. Never mind prisoners on probation, or offenders on behaviour orders, this is basically DIY electronic tagging for your kids. Of course it won’t stop any actual harm coming to the little darlings (and in any case it will probably be as easily removed as electronic tags are) but it might just make both you and they even more afraid of the world than you are already.