I've been alerted on one of the home ed email lists to Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, which appears to give the government exemption from the Data Protection Act and will allow them to share data without restriction. Although Jack Straw has been wavering about it, and there are suggestions it may be rewritten/diluted, it seems like a dangerous thing to have clause 152 at all.
Here are some of the articles:
'Clause 152 must go. A clause in the new coroners and justice bill will allow the sharing of your personal information. Write to your MP now'
' 1. Summary
Buried among the numerous complicated and controversial provisions of this legislation is a single clause, clause 152 in the first draft of the Bill, which is a profound threat to privacy, liberty and the rule of law. It is enabling legislation that converts the Data Protection Act into a machine for massively increasing the dealing by government in information of all kinds. It is designed to allow ministers to use a fast-track regulatory procedure to sweep away
data protection, human-rights considerations, confidentiality, legal privilege, and ultra vires when they would stand in the way of any use, acquisition or dissemination of information in pursuit of departmental policy. The availability of broad data-sharing along these lines would be a profound change in the way the country is governed, potentially altering the function of almost all other legislation. It should not be introduced at all, but certainly not without proper public debate. There has been no such debate. It would be a disaster if the “information sharing order” (ISO in what follows) were to be successfully smuggled
through parliament in this manner.'
So please write to your MP! I've just emailed mine and it was surprisingly easy (I think it's the first time I've contacted my MP about ANYTHING!) You can find out your MP and email them through http://www.writetothem.com/.
This is the letter I wrote to my MP:
"I am writing to you to convey my extreme concern over clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill. I refuse consent to having my information, taken for one purpose, arbitrarily used for any other purpose.
I ask you to work to prevent this clause being passed and to vote it off the bill. "
I'm sure others could do a much better job, but mine was short and sweet cause I knew otherwise I'd never get around to writing it.