Data protection

I wasn’t going to be moved to write about the Soham murder case. I mean what Huntley did was obviously so vile- it’s obvious to anyone and does not require any comment.

But what has prompted me to write has been the question of data protection. As a non-paid data handler “Child protection” was as far as I was aware an exempt area as far as keeping sensitive personal data. Perhaps this just refers to the results of CRB checks can be kept without registering under the DPA. Whatever it does mean, the police obviously aren’t exempt from any data protection duties for child protection purposes.

As it appears the problem is not laws or procedures, but in the competence of following procedures through. Lets not let blind fear take us back to Orwell’s 1984 when there’s a more practical solution. If earlier prosecutions had been effectively done, there would have been records to look for.

The Scout Association, for all the criticism it gets from some quarters, would certainly not have allowed Huntley to be a leader, his failed convictions would have turned up on their own security search, if not the on the CRB return.

Aside from CRB concerns there is one other over the hysteria of this case. If Holly and Jessica had been 30 instead of 10, would there have been the same reaction? If they had been male, or a couple would there have been the same reaction. To me the crimes would have been just as vile; but to some the crimes are not the problem, but the age and popularity of the victims. In my book, after birth, a life is a life.

My concern is that the case will produce an official witch hunt leading to unweildley procedures that don’t make anyone safer, but make voluntary bodies more difficult and expensive to operate.

Richard Allan, Andy Hardy and Jade Farrington have interesting things to say about Soham and Data Protection.


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