RAMPANT PERSONAL INFO ERRORS SPELL DISASTER FOR 'SUPERDATABASE'

January 22, 2009 12:00 AM

Today, the Liberal Democrats warned that the Government's failure to put in place a system to correct millions of errors in the public's personal information held by Departments would be disastrous for new public data-sharing proposals.

A series of Freedom of Information requests to Government departments and agencies from the Data Protection Company, Garlik, revealed that while millions of pieces of personal information held by the Government were wrong, most departments had no policy or budget to correct such mistakes.

Under the Coroners and Justice Bill, starting in the Commons on Monday, the Government is proposing to allow personal information held by the Government about members of the public to be shared between departments and agencies, without express permission.

Commenting, Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said:

"The rampant errors in Government personal information records will make these proposals a disaster.

"It is shocking enough that the Government has no system to correct mistakes in personal information records, but to propose spreading this error-riddled data across the whole of government is dangerously absurd.

"The problems this causes for the public are already considerable, from mistakes in tax or pension credits to private medical test results being sent to the wrong person.

"Spreading mistakes across all Government records will cause bureaucratic chaos for public officials and misery for many members of the public.

"Before the Government even contemplates mass personal data-sharing, they must put in place a system to correct existing mistakes and set a gold standard for recording personal information accurately in the future."

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