Britain’s coalition is expanding, not curbing, the database state.
This article from Tech Week Europe suggests that despite scrapping the National Identity Scheme and Contactpoint database, the coalition are actually expanding the “database state”.
The most notable examples are the new electronic records system for the NHS where patients records are uploaded without consent and made widely available to NHS staff and the proposals in the Communications Data Bill which are very similar to Labour’s Intercept Modernisation Program, though there is more than just these examples.
It all points to a situation where little has changed. And MPs are fretting about how the Tories are pushing for an expansion of the database state, rather than slimming it down. “It is clear that Conservative ministers have in many cases not learnt from the Labour errors, and, egged on by the Labour party, are pushing for some illiberal policies,” Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, tells TechWeek.
“There is still far more for liberals and Liberal Democrats to be vigilant over. There is no doubt our task would be easier if more MPs were more digitally literate.”
As indicated by Nick Clegg’s outrage over the Communications Data Bill last year, the Tories moves to expand the state’s control over people’s information is causing another rift between the two parties of the Coalition.
Whether citizens are content to let the database state grow inexorably, or are irate about their information being lumped online without being asked, it’s clear the government is lying. And at a time when trust in politicians is appallingly low in Britain.
Equally concerning is that the Coalition has rehashed many of Labour’s much-derided schemes of the 2000s, perpetuating the database state set up by its political adversary. Or as French novelist Karr would have had it, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”