ContactPoint database to track children not in school

We expected this to happen:

1.2.3 Section 436A requires all local authorities to make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children residing in their area who are not receiving a suitable education. In relation to children, by ‘suitable education’ we mean efficient full-time education suitable to her/his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs the child may have. 

And here is the true purpose of this entire exercise.

This is the way they are going to get every child in England into and justify the existence of ContactPoint.

[…]

The goal of these guidelines is to create a way to sweep up all the home educating children in the UK, identify them, categorize them and put them on a database, together with the names of their parents, siblings, ethnicity and other details. See below. Once again, children who are being educated at home, privately, or in alternative provision should not be subject to being identified for this purpose, since they are being educated quite legally.

[…]

http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=1217

And now its even worse than we thought it would be:

By Lauren Higgs
Children & Young People Now
17 September 2008

The national database of everyone who is under 18 in England is to be used to identify children missing from education.

Monthly reports created by the ContactPoint database will be sent to local authorities listing the names of children not recorded at an education setting.

The School Census for state schools and pupil lists from independent schools and pupil referral units will be used to complete the relevant field on ContactPoint. Children not accounted for will feature in the reports, which are intended to help children missing education teams focus their work.

But Fiona Nicholson, chair of home schooling organisation Education Otherwise, said the reports will mean councils target home-educated children. She said: “ContactPoint should not be used for this.”

But Richard Stiff, chair of the information systems and technology policy committee at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said the reports would not change the way councils treat home-educated children: “It is unlikely this will be a tool in the armoury of the state.”

Thanks to the vigilant lurker who sent this in.

If this article is correct, someone will extract and print monthly reports from ContactPoint of groups of children. This means that the names addresses and other private details of children in the UK will be distributed all over the place; any claim that ContactPoint is secure is once again shown to be absolute nonsense.

Once these reports are printed out or emailed, they can be copied and stored in another database. Imagine the value of this database to someone who wants to get a hold of every home schooler in the UK. This list would be worth literally millions of pounds.

We have written about ContactPoint and the nature of data before.

Richard Stiff is either lying or is painfully naïve.

The new duties that Local Authorities have to make sure children are receiving suitable education dovetail with ContactPoint perfectly. Once they have a list of all people who are not in school, they will be able to claim that they do not know whether or not the children listed are being educated suitably; their duty would kick in automatically, and they would be compelled to go through the list and inspect every single name, if only to see who is home educating and who is not.

If Richard Stiff cannot see this then he is unfit to hold his chair; in any case, he sits on the information systems and technology policy committee, which has nothing to do with Local Authorities and how they do and do not operate.

This article begs the question, “what other reports are going to be generated by ContactPoint?”. It is clear that as we predicted, the ContactPoint data will have completely escaped within a matter of months. All of the Security Theatre that they have shrouded around it is now proven to be completely useless.

Think about it. If a list of all children who are not listed as being in school is sent to all 410 Local Authorities every month, wether it is by email or in printed form that is a huge number of mass points of escape. ContactPoint was originally sold as a way for the 330,000 workers who will have access to it to find information on particular children, and not children en masse or children of a particular category or class.

It is obvious that the next step in ContactPoint’s development is to use it to generate a list of all muslim children, to make sure that they are not being exposed to extremism. For example. Or to create a list of all children of a certain ‘race’, to do some analysis on them as a group. You can add whatever pretext you like to this list obviously. Anyone who does not think that this is going to happen is living on another planet.

It is now abundantly clear that massive abuses of ContactPoint are to be standard operating procedure. I recommend that if you have children, you do everything you can to get them out of and keep them away from ContactPoint. If you cannot do so, then next in your list of possible responses is to refuse to respond in any way to anything that was generated or a result of a search on ContactPoint. If everyone were to do this, ContactPoint would be a very dangerous thing to access, because if the alert parent finds out it was used to contact them, it could cause a total ‘shut out’.

All those who are depressed by this constant stream of extreme and nauseating news; take heart. All of this will go away, just like the Soviet Union, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, BCCI, Franco, PanAm and every other seemingly unassailable person and institution. Your job is to keep yourself free while the rest of the world and time itself catches up with these monsters.

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