Help stop Clause 152 – your personal info shared across the public sector

This post is off topic for Phil-UK but still relevant to those of us based in the UK.

Earlier this year, the UK’s justice secretary, Jack Straw, unveiled the Coroners and justice bill 2009. It’s purpose is apparently to create ‘more effective, transparent and responsive justice and coroner services’. However, one part in particular sent civil liberties advocates’ alarm bells ringing: Clause 152.

In short, this will allow any information about you to be shared throughout the public sector without your permission. What kind of information? Anything can be accessed, whether it was gathered by a public body, such as your school or local council, or a private company like your bank or telephone company.

This may not sound too bad on its own but together with the government’s plans for a National Identity Register and increased surveillance powers, it helps enable serious intrusions on our liberty and freedom. Remember, we won’t know who will get hold of the data or why they want it.

What you can do about it

If the idea of your personal life being shared without your consent worries you, make sure you let the government know. Write to your MP using the WriteToThem website. Encourage him or her to vote to have Clause 152 completely removed from the Coroners and Justice Bill.

It only takes a few minutes. To make things easier for you, here’s some sample text:

I refuse to consent to the arbitrary sharing of information under any ‘Information Sharing Order’. Please vote to have Clause 152 completely removed from the Coroners and Justice Bill.

(Make sure you change the text as the site blocks anything that’s registered as copy-and-pasted text.)

Do your research

If you’re not convinced about the dangers of this clause, I encourage you to do some research and learn about the issues. Here’s a starting point: