I’ve always been inclined to agree with the view expressed by Downing Street recently (no date given?), ahead of a seminar yesterday: ‘Overzealous data sharing rules may be an obstacle to improving public services… Laws and procedures that prevent different public services from sharing their customers’ personal details should be reviewed to bring customer care in the public sector up to the best private sector standards.’
The only catch which seems to stand up is that any joined-up system has to be very, very, very good on security and reliability. When it’s all held in one place, you only have to crack one system to compromise everything… and that certainly isn’t an appealing prospect. But it’s a trade-off like anything else. Risk vs reward.
I’ve been trying to find the provenance of a quote which – I think – is attributed to Jerry Garcia. It goes something like: ‘I used to worry about the CIA until I met them.’ (If anyone can give me chapter and verse on that, I’ll be very grateful!) Whoever said it, and whatever they said, they were spot-on. If you think the evil Civil Service is ready, willing and able to build a super-snooping megacomputer to track your every move, you’ll be disappointed.