All about the data, but don’t tell Joe Public


Latest HEF blog: All about the data, but don’t tell Joe Public

The Data Protection Act 1998 is ‘reserved’ legislation, which applies across the UK and cannot be tinkered with unilaterally by the Scottish Parliament; so why is it that Scots citizens are currently being afforded less legal protection of their personal data than their English, Welsh and Manx counterparts?

In case anyone missed it, here is what the ‘watchdog’ for Scotland has to say about the processing of Scots’ personal data (which includes health, police and social work records):

“One of the messages that the ICO in Scotland has been giving for the past three years at least, in relation to the Children and Young People Act and the named person agenda, is don’t ask for consent if you’re going to do it anyway,”

“What we have to have within consent is meaningful choice – that is absolutely fundamental. Don’t ask me for my consent if I really don’t have a choice in the matter. Just go ahead and do it, because you’re going to have to rely on one of these other conditions for processing in any event, so have the courage of your convictions and do it anyway.”
She has previous form (8 mins in) and no shame as she contemptuously mocks ‘Joe Public’, i.e. those who pay her wages.
We now also have evidence from the minutes of the (now abolished) GIRFEC Programme Board, that ‘Joe Public’ was being deliberately kept in the dark for as long as possible, preferably until it was too late. Boyd McAdam, the Better Life Chances Unit Leader (we kid you not!) for the Scottish Government, admitted as much in November 2012:

“There was a suggestion that we need to do more to “take the community with us”. Families, carers and children were not, it was said, switched on to GIRFEC. Boyd McAdam pointed out that it had been a conscious decision to focus first on embedding GIRFEC in the professional practice of all stakeholder delivery bodies, before raising awareness in the general public.”
On the matter of consent, we make no apology for repeating ourselves:

If someone says no, they mean no; if they are asleep or without capacity, they cannot consent; and when their consent is bypassed, presumed, coerced or forced, that constitutes serious assault.
On the matter of passing legislation to enable the implementation of illegitimate and immoral government policies, lest we forget:

The holocaust was legal, slavery was legal, segregation was legal. If you use the state as a metric for ethics you’ll end up disappointed.
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