I am quickly posting this message below. Please act on it if you can
This is one of the most serious threats to our liberty and privacy we've yet seen. Please read our briefing and act now.
The government is trying to remove all limits on the use of our private information by officials. This means taking your information from anywhere and passing it anywhere they like - including medical records, financial records, communications data, ID information.
The Database State is now a direct threat, not a theory.
Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, due for its first debate in the Commons on Monday 26th January, would convert the Data Protection Act into its exact opposite. It would allow ministers to make 'Information Sharing Orders', that can alter any Act of Parliament and cancel all rules of confidentiality in order to allow information obtained for one purpose to be used for another.
This single clause is as grave a threat to privacy as the entire ID Scheme.
Combine it with the index to your life formed by the planned National Identity Register and everything recorded about you anywhere could be accessible to any official body.
Quite apart from the powers in the Identity Cards Act, if Information Sharing Orders come to pass, they could (for example) immediately be used to suck up material such as tax records or electoral registers to build an early version of the National Identity Register.
But the powers would apply to any information, not just official information. They would permit data trafficking between government agencies and private companies - and even with foreign governments.
THIS IS WHY WE MUST ACT NOW!
We need you to do three things:
1) Please write straight away IN YOUR OWN WORDS to your MP via http://www.writetothem.com/ Do it this weekend, if not before. The Bill is being rushed through Parliament, even as we write.
Ask your MP to read Part 8 (clauses 151 - 154) of the Coroners and Justice Bill, and to oppose the massive enabling powers in the "Information sharing" clause. The Bill contains a number of controversial provisions, but to the casual reader it appears mainly to be about reforming inquests and sentencing. It is due its Second Reading in the Commons on 26th January 2009.
Request your MP demand that the clauses be given proper Parliamentary scrutiny. This is something that will affect every single one of their constituents, unlike the rest of the Bill. There is a grave danger that the government will set a timetable that will cut off debate before these proposals - which are at the end of the Bill - are discussed.
2) Write letters to your local papers. Point out that this will affect every single person in the country. Highlight the fact that the information sharing powers in this Bill are overwhelmingly unpopular.
A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times on 18th January (details here: http://forum.no2id.net/viewtopic.php?p=100808 ) shows that the public opposes these new powers by a factor of 3 to 1 *against* - 65% of people asked said they would give government "too much power", only 19% thought not.
3) Tell as many people as you can. And find out more yourself. We have created a new page on the NO2ID website dedicated to 'data sharing' which contains links to the key documents and a brief explanation of each.
Please read it, and pass on this link: http://www.no2id.net/datasharing.php
Let your friends, family, colleagues and anyone who might share our concerns know that the battle for their privacy is happening NOW. The more people we reach, the more we hope will act.
We really can't afford not to win. Good luck!
NO2ID National Coordinator