Security Fears Prompt Call for Suspending Child Database

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A planned database containing details of all 11 million children in England should be scrapped because it is insecure and will put children's safety at risk, an alliance of independent schools warned, according to a report in the Guardian (U.K) newspaper.

In a letter to the Guardian, a dozen groups representing private schools said the government's decision to continue with its ContactPoint database project before a new security analysis of the system was completed is "ludicrous."

"A system accessible by some 300,000 users via the Internet is not adequately securable to ensure the safety of our children," the letter stated. "From the outset of the ContactPoint proposals, the government has been consistently warned that from a security perspective, the system would be unmanageable."

The ContactPoint database project was designed to improve children's services by improving communication between care-givers and parents. The database would hold basic information on each child in England, including name, address, date of birth and contact details for parents or carers.

Ed Balls, the British children, schools and families secretary, announced the security review last month after discs containing the details of 25 million people on the child benefit database were lost in the mails.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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