We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

How secure is your data?

One of the problems with governments collecting and controlling data on individuals is their failure to secure this information. As a recent article in The Register demonstrated, the number of incidents involving computer systems in the civil service is high.

There are a number of serious concerns including inappropriate access of personal records, inappropriate alteration of personal records and their appropriation by a third party. This has been a problem for some time with Inland Revenue staff noted for “celebrity browsing” tax returns. These concerns are hidden within general figures for computer misuse that number up to two thousand. As these are the cases where such changes were noted and disciplinary action brought against the civil servant involved, it is impossible to gauge the seriousness if this problem.

Even after the data has been collected by the civil service agency, it is difficult to ensure that the information is accurate, secure and used only for the purposes required. This could be a minor problem or the tip of the iceberg.

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