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Dutch to Open Electronic Files on Children 532

Posted by samzenpus
from the we've-always-been-at-war-with-eurasia dept.
Del writes "The Dutch government plans to open an electronic file on every child at birth as a tool to spot and protect the troubled kids of the future. All citizens will be tracked from cradle to grave in a single database - including health, education, family and police records."
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Dutch to Open Electronic Files on Children

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  • by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:33AM (#13564134)
    As a privacy safeguard, no single person or agency will be able to access all contents of a file. But organizations can raise "red flags" in the dossier to caution other agencies about problems

    And so what if one malicious worker has exclusive rights to view several hundred children? It doesn't matter if they have access to the whole database or not, even a "small pecentage" could be several hundred or thousand children. This is a pedaphile's ultimate dream.

    The intention is to protect troubled children, Brouwer said. Until now, schools and police have been unable to communicate with each other about truancy records and criminality, which are often linked. "Child protection services will say, 'Hey, there's a warning flag from the police. There's another one from school. There's another one from the doctor," Brouwer said. "Something must be going on and it's time to call the parents in for a meeting."

    And how long exactly will these records be kept? Also, this would be a good way to usher in a country-wide database of this sortfor every citizen. Start with the children, saying its "for the good of the kids", and then slowly introduce a more inclusive database, which would go under some other guise. It would seem that a database of children "for their safety" might be easier to pull of then a citizenry-wide database at first.

    Every child will get a Citizens Service Number, making it easier to keep track of children with problems even when their families move.

    This could have good uses, and assuming it was used exactly for the intent stated, this would be an excellent service. BUT, more often then not, these kinds of things get abused in some form or another. In every government there is some malicious back-room government worker who goes below the radar. These kinds of things get abused, and when it is a child at stake, the risks are even higher.

    • I agree with you. While I suspect thtat this has good intentions, this is the same thing as the patriot act or even gestapo. Basically, it allows a small group in the gov. to control the information about an individual. All somebody has to do is think about how well credit cards are protected (2 major CC processing companies broken into in under 4 years with literally 10 million CCs exposed), or think in terms of what is happening here in America WRT to tieing SSN, drivers license, federal ID, and PATRIOT A
      • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:24AM (#13564350) Journal
        While I suspect that this has good intentions

        I think you can put that suspicion to rest.

        -jcr
      • by molotov02 (842664) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @05:42AM (#13564730)
        Although I quite agree that this might have some huge possibilities for abuse, it helps save children.
        Here in the Netherlands, every year there are a few high profile cases where children are extremely abused and/or killed. Usually, afterwards it became know that quite a lot of social services were involved into the family, but didn't communicate with each other or that records simply 'vanished' because the family moved. in result; children die because social services are hugely incompetent.
        This system now automates the 'speaking to each other' part of the whole equation.
        FYI; in the province of Utrecht, this system has already been tested for a few months, with excellent results.
        I do completely agree this could be seen as a dangerous law, so far it actually does what it's meant to do; protect abused children.
        (To tell the truth; we're surprised the government actually does something like this right)
        • So you potentially save "a few" kids while exposing the info on countless others to Jeebus knows who.

          If Social Services are indeed "hugely incompetent", will the availability of this database really help to the extent intended?
        • Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ifwm (687373) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:28AM (#13566838) Journal
          "children die because social services are hugely incompetent."

          This should read "because PARENTS are hugely incompetent"

          You're welcome.
        • `You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.'
          - Lyndon Johnson
    • Schools are pedaphile's dream, and far easier to access too. The Internet also offers possibilities. Yet we didn't ban them. Geez. Ofcourse the system won't be 100% hack proof. No system can be. It's about the advantages (keeping troubled kids from going unnoticed by the right people) weighing against the disadvantages (chance of system abuse).

      Creating this system country-wide for all citizens is probably the future. It's not creating a totally new system: we already have nation-wide systems for national ID
      • It's not creating a totally new system: we already have nation-wide systems for national ID, criminal records, taxes etc anyway.

        I hate argments like this. It's the same kind of argument that's used to push the USA-PATRIOT act: these aren't new capabilities - we already use them against drug dealers, now we're just expanding to use them against "terrorists" too. No one stops to ask whether the precedent-setting actions against drug dealers (or the precedent-setting government collection of data in your case

    • by wllf (627835) *
      The Dutch government has come under attack from the public because of some very nasty incidents during the last couple of years.

      There were cases, highly profiled in the media, where children were abused and even murdered. In hindsite there were clues, but because the parents had moved a couple of times no-one had the whole picture. Child protection did not have information from there sister organizations from other cities, reports from police about the parents which would have provided vital clues about
      • by E8086 (698978) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:45AM (#13564417)
        that could lead to profiling and profiling is wrong

        So they can arrest the parents or take the kids away because in a semi-similar situation the kids were much abused or killed.

        So when one abused kid who was charged with something at some time grows up and has kids and severly injurs or kills their kid, then some overzealious young gov't worker brown nosing for a promotion or raise or corner office uses that limited data to create a profile everyone who had jeuvinile charges thrown at them when they were a kid is now a suspect for possible child abuse.
        I only said charge, not conviction and didn't say what it was for. It could be that some kid broke a neighbor's window while playing baseball when he was 9 and instead of accepting compensation from the kids parents, the kid-hating neighbor gets their DA friend to bring the kid up on charges to teach him a lesson and/or make an example for the rest of the neighborhood kids. Since that system is probably going to record everything, even something pointless like that during childhood can make them a future suspect. In the US you don't have to report legal charges, only convictions and most jeuvinile records are sealed when the person turns 18 and can be petitioned to be destroyed/removed from the permanant record. Yes, that's an extreme example, but possible that something that happened to you many years ago can put you at risk because someone 100yrs before did something similar and then did something worse. And no one caught it because not all law enforcement depts have access to all of it.
      • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @04:44AM (#13564596) Homepage

        "Well intentions" do not excuse either incompetence or malice.

        If the Dutch are doing this for the reasons you stated - i.e., preventing the abuse of childen because of incompetence in their bureacracy - there are obviously many other ways to eliminate that incompetence rather than doing a cradle-to-grave surveillance of people.

        The parents moved, so they can't find out they had trouble with kids before? Gimme a fucking break. If you can find out about it afterwards, you can find out about it beforehand. This is just the usual CYA bullshit the authorities always trot out to explain incompetence and justify more repression.

        Then malice comes in. This is merely an excuse for the law enforcement establishment and the politicians - which is the SAME group of scumbags in EVERY country, regardless of political setup - to build up their surveillance of people, so they can clamp down on "undesireables" - i.e., anybody they don't like or who doesn't like them.

        Period. That simple. Anybody who supports this sort of thing is a moron or a malicious asshole - probably both.
      • I believe this is well intended.

        There's a road that goes someplace really bad that's paved with these things.
    • I am sure 'malicious workers' already have rights of access to files of vulnerable children. Putting everything in one database could make it easier to secure and to track who has access to such files (rather than on multiple smaller local authority databases).
    • by AftanGustur (7715) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:01AM (#13564270) Homepage
      As a privacy safeguard, no single person or agency will be able to access all contents of a file. But organizations can raise "red flags" in the dossier to caution other agencies about problems Even if that may solve some problems, it creates others realy serious. What this means is both that some grumpy social worker, on bad day, can flag a kid for life, and there is no way for anyone to put a judgement on the social workers decision. Also, gifted children often have behavioral problerms which can not be easily diagnosed for what they are.
      • and this is not different from the situation as it is now. i personally know some people who work with troubled kids/families, and believe me, they try all they can to make very careful decisions.

        negligence of one person can still exist. but in this system, at least all (independent) opinions are collected, which should have a neutralising influence. any professional social worker will look at a case as unbiased as possible. you must realise that the clients often have become very proficient at "fooling" so
      • What this means is both that some grumpy social worker, on bad day, can flag a kid for life, and there is no way for anyone to put a judgement on the social workers decision.

        What does the fact that the system work with flags have to do with how these flags are placed? You have no information at all about the process that sets these flags, so how a single social worker could do this, how this would flag someone for life, etc. has absolutely nothing to do with how it works technically.

        My experience with the D
    • It is astounding how much this current neo-con government in Holland is gettign away with! First ISP data interception and retention, then convicting people by withholding dna evidence! And now they want to gestapize the social security! And this in a country which used to be vehement about civil rights!!!

      • It is astounding how much this current neo-con government in Holland is gettign away with!

        Yeah, let's blame the neo-cons for everything!
        1. ISP data interception and retention:
        These are European proposals, not yet local law.

        2. convicting people by withholding dna evidence:
        That case stems from a murder committed in 2000, when a different cabinet was in place.

        Not that these things don't worry us; far from it. There's quite a shitstorm going on over the murder trial, and the last word about this new children'
    • Egads, man! I searched this discussion and only found two mentions of Big Brother, and one reply that discussed the TV show named Big Brother.

      This isn't just the first step towards Orwell's "Big Brother Is Watching You!". This is IT! Another post mentioned secret files held by military and such; but this is centralized, out in the open, complete, and will certainly be oppressive, even if it's not flaunted by huge, everpresent murals of Big Brother watching you.

      I, for one, do NOT welcome their always-surveil
  • Like tags on pidgeons!
  • ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neurokaotix (892464) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:34AM (#13564140)
    It's dangerous storing all information about people in one, most likely easilly hackable location.
    • Re:ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ciroknight (601098) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:42AM (#13564177)
      Personally I'd be more worried about what the Government would be doing with that wealth of information verses what the balls-to-the-wall, caffeine-hyped, advertising firm-paid cracker would do.

      There are some crazy things a government could do with that kind of information; track genetic traits, mental defects, medical procedures, medicines taken.. This information is a combination of things that us Americans see as private and need things such as subpenas to see.. Now the police department can be granted access to rummage and look for "possible offenders" before they do anything wrong.

      It has strong uses, but its misuses seem to out number them (IMO) in a society that still has troubles seeing everyone as an equal. This "development" is very far ahead of its time.
    • if the cartels respected copyright and not increased the duration to greater than the time it takes the universe to die of heat loss and made it possible and legal to prevent lawful uses of purchased media (allowing backup for example) then the public would be far more inclined to respect copyright.

      isn't it ironic that the first hollywood studios moved out west where the patent police couldn't bust them for "STEALING" Edison's work. sure patents and copyright are different but they both fall into, in their
    • If I understood it correctly, this is not about storing information. It is only about telling which organisations store information about a certain child. This will be based on the personal number that each Dutch person receives.

      There are strict rules with respect to which organisation are allowed to exchange information, and in many cases parents have to give written permission. I often had to sign such forms when dealing with various child health organisations and individuals.

  • by SB5 (165464) <freebirdpat@NOspam.hotmail.com> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:35AM (#13564145)
    Is this meant for control as in "Brave New World". Or is this meant for research? Knowing the Dutch, and the way this is worded, it seems to goal of this is noble. Whether it will stay noble is the question.
    • Don't forget... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Netherlands also holds the record in the highest telephone tap rate [interesting-people.org] of most western countries.
  • Well, there goes Big Brother... again.
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:38AM (#13564159) Homepage Journal
    One good thing about the media in the Netherlands is that this new system has been visibly covered in the media. I can well imagine that it would have been swept under the rug in other places; after all, it's just various organizations dealing with children and their problems cooperating.
  • What's going on (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeroenb (125404) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:39AM (#13564162) Homepage
    What is really going on is that the already existing files of different agencies are being coupled in an attempt to keep children in difficult situations from falling off the radar when for instance they move to a different city. Child protection services often didn't know about children moving into the city with problems in their past - in the old database the record would be closed and they wouldn't turn up in the new one until something actually happened (which is usually too late).

    So I hope this is not interpreted as a terrible invasion of privacy - all the information is already collected by local governments. The only change is that moving from one local government's area to another doesn't mean those services lose all information.
    • Even if I would step back and honestly believe that it's not a terrible invasion of privacy, which I'm willing to do for a post or two on slashdot, it will be incredibly telling to see how the government will use this new ability to crosslink and track people a lot more closely.

      This is one of the few times where centralization makes sense in one light, but is completely blind in another. Police officers could track "potential offenders" by running a query on who's doing badly in school and who comes from
    • by Frans Faase (648933) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:20AM (#13564334) Homepage
      In the past year, several times children have died because of molest, when several authorities where aware of things going wrong. In some cases ten or more different organisations where involved with a family but not knowing about each other. After the child died, it was realized that the life of the child could have been saved, if the organisations had been aware of eachother.
  • If these records are as exhaustive as they seem to be, what are the risks of blackmail?

    High, IMO.
  • The true use.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlackMesaLabs (893043)
    1)Get national repository of everyones demographics, from birth to death, catalog everything.

    2)Find marketing company

    3)PROFIT!!

    • 1)Get national repository of everyones demographics, from birth to death, catalog everything.

      2) Pay crackers to hack into the municipal database, target advertisements specifically to each individual based on their medical and criminal histories.

      3)PROFIT!!


      fixed.
  • by bashibazouk (582054) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:45AM (#13564187) Journal
    THC in the blood stream...
  • by jkrise (535370) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:45AM (#13564188) Journal
    why no country has attempted to do this sort of thing? For the entire world, there could be only 6 billion records - a single nation would need to have less than a billion - maybe a few million for most countries.

    What can be the security implications for storing things like name, date of birth, sex, present address, etc. for all citizens? It's amazing that in these days of hi-tech gadgets and advances in storage, such elementary data is not available OR not reliably accurate.

    Even population estimates have a more than 10% error rate for most nations. How can we plan for social welfare and emergency relief when we don't have accurate data? Amazing, really...
    • Nobody has attempted it yet because it is very shaky ground to step upon. What anyone could do with this kind of centralized information is nightmarish, and at the same time it seems like such an obvious idea.

      Imagine if you would, a worse case scenario taking place where the Nazi's would have a municipal database pointing them to every Jew in their country. Do you think it would have been possible for any of them to escape? Or how about here in America; track every Mexican person that ever crossed a bord
    • why no country has attempted to do this sort of thing?

      Oh, but they have! Look for "Stasi" on wikipedia.

      -jcr
    • by Harald Paulsen (621759) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @04:40AM (#13564580) Homepage
      Norway has this database actually. Everyone born or moving into Norway is registered and they keep track of your parents and grandparents, where you are born, the places you have lived, when you died and if you're married / living together with someone. Every appartment even has a unique number (Mine is H0101, which is the first appartment on the first floor) so in case of emergency they can pinpoint you fairly easily.
    • What can be the security implications for storing things like name, date of birth, sex, present address, etc. for all citizens?

      There are quite a few concerns. Nevertheless quite a few countries has systems like this. All the Scandinavian countries for example. Here everyone gets a unique identity-number at birth (your birthdate plus a 5-digit uniqifier) this is explicitly *NOT* a secret or half-secret like the braindead US SSN.

      There's a state-register that has this number linked to name, adress marita

  • Curse or Blessing? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:46AM (#13564193) Homepage Journal
    The blurb (and TFA) are a bit misleading. They suggest that Dutch citizens will now be tracked ``from cradle to grave'', whereas they hadn't been before.

    In reality, what's happening is that schools, police, and various organizations for the protection of children, psychiatric institutions, etc. are already doing this tracking.

    What's changing is that they will now exchange information about which kids have caused or otherwise been in trouble.

    The rationale is that by improving communication between these institutions, kids can be more adequately helped. For example, a school can receive information from a child protection institution that says the child is having trouble at home, and link that to the fact that the child is often missing from school.
    • I can imagine that if someone starts with bad behavior, it might build over time. This system would allow authorities to detect it.

      E.g. Little Ballmer pushes around chairs in pre-school. Says bad words like "poopy" and "butt".

      Teenage Ballmer: rips flies apart, but also throws chairs, says "pussy" and "fuck".

      CEO Ballmer: scares the bejeezus out of a nice employee, calls Eric Schmidt a "pussy" and says he'll kill him. Throws chairs for effect.

      If they had a database like that showing that from age 4 or so he e
  • by shanen (462549) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:49AM (#13564210) Homepage Journal
    This is just the natural extension of what's been going on over the last few decades, and the movement to the governmental level is just the natural limit. The potential for abuse is enormous--and you can basically rest assured such power over individuals will be abused. Perhaps not so much by the Dutch, who are basically reasonable people (IMO), but there are lots of much less reasonable governments out there.

    The operative legal principle should be that our personal information belongs to the individual, and if someone (even someone who works for the government and who "wants to help you") wants to store data about you, they should be required to store that information on YOUR PODS (personally owned data storage). Easy enough to use a checksum to prevent you from modifying the information, but if they want to see it again, they should be required to say why, and you should have the right to agree or disagree to their proposed use of your personal information.

    Trivial example, if you want to borrow money from a bank, then the bank would have good reason to query your PODS for information about your financial history. If you don't agree to provide enough information, then the bank is not going to agree to the loan. However, once they've made the decision to loan you the money, they should store the records on your own PODS, and erase most of the personal information at their end. Once you've finished paying off the loan, they'd have no reason to keep any of your personal information (though the records would still be stored on your computer if you want them again, as for another loan).

  • One more wire (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:50AM (#13564215) Homepage Journal
    ...in a country that is at the top of the list in terms of spying on its citizens. And they still can't keep people from getting killed or terrorist groups from forming or entering the country. Let this be a lesson to all you people advocating tougher laws to crack down on terrorism. It just doesn't work.
  • by JohnPerkins (243021) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:52AM (#13564232) Homepage
    ...that each child will have to carry their own information in a frisbee glued to their backs.
  • by bobobobo (539853) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:00AM (#13564263)
    People who are intolerant of other people's culture.... and the Dutch!
  • Lessons of History (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Budenny (888916) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:03AM (#13564279)
    You would have thought the Dutch of all people would understand the dangers. In Holland before WWII the local authorities had records of the religion of their people. The reason was simple, so that contributions could be made to the churches on their behalf. All very reasonable and in keeping with tolerance and religious diversity. But come the invasion, it was very very simple to find everyone of a given religion.... It is not what these guys will use this stuff for, its what their successors may use it for.
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:14AM (#13564321) Homepage Journal
    It's nice that they're trying to help kids and all, but why don't they do something about the parents? I'm not so surprised that in a society where parents are both working (no attention for kids), divorced (psychological damage/no time and money for kids), or oppressive (e.g. certain muslim families), the kids might get into trouble with themselves.

    So now these organizations come up with the good idea to warn each other of possible problems, but at the same time the government gives in to working parents by increasing subsidies on child care. I mean, if you find child care too expensive, why don't you just quit your job and, you know, raise your friggin kids?! Could cut you some stress, too, so that maybe you can stay together with your partner for more than 5 years?
    • Because it's a free country. Until there's actually proof of child abuse, collecting hints is the best we can do. And divorces, unmarried parents etc, those aren't even special nowadays, and it's not the state's business to tell people how to live. It is their business to step in and protect a child once it's established that it's in trouble.

      This isn't Puritania, even though we currently have Christians in power. Drugs are recreational and something you sell to tourists, and the prostitutes are unionized.

  • by birge (866103) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:28AM (#13564368) Homepage
    Sometimes things are just wrongheaded, no matter what the intentions. There's no reason the government should be taking this much personal interest in citizens. It's not just that it's ripe for abuse so much as it's an indicator that the Dutch have completely given up on taking care of themselves and their communities on any level other than a centralized beaurocracy. What does it say about a society when they feel the best way to Do The Right Thing is to keep a central database on each other and pay the government to track their children for them? I hope I speak for a majority of voters in America when I respectfully say please keep that shit on the other side of the pond. (To head off the knee-jerk reactions: Yes, I know America is a place devoid of compassion for the poor, and that we might do better with an Orwellian scheme like this than what we're doing now. I'm not saying America does things right, I'm just saying I hope that in attempting to fix our problems we don't go anywhere near this kind of 'solution'.)
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:29AM (#13564374) Journal
    One stop Identity-theft shopping!

    Weee!
  • by gek (634926) <gkorte&gmail,com> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @04:12AM (#13564499)
    For the first time in a long while I actually believe the end justify the means used. In an ever growing world we are seeing more and more systems pop-up that are able to classify and trace citizen in any country. Most countries that do this immediately label the system as an anti-terrorism system and basically make your life a living hell when you want to fly. Holland (where I life) is actually going to use this system to do good. Track citizens to make sure that nothing bad happens to them.

    In the town where I live, we had a small child die when here parents severely abused her. This was such a shock to the nation that an investigation was started. All the instances that are normally involved in child protection had one complaint. There was no central system in place to track problem children in the country. Basically you could abuse your child in one town, get caught, move to the next town with a clean slate. This has happened several times and the government decided to solve this problem. I believe this will do good and I also believe that the Dutch government are not going to abuse the system.

    The great thing of living in Holland is that we have privacy issues up the kazoeks. For example, in the rest of the world when someone gets arrested the media can actually use his full name in press reports, no go in Holland. The guy that killed van Gogh is called Mohammed B. and is last name is never used! But they (the gov.) do keep pushing the limits. A while ago they sent out a massive SMS round asking for witnesses to some football violence. They basically asked the telcos to provide the Cell numbers of everyone that was in the stadium or near it when the incident happened. Results: some people were pissed off (logically) but they managed to catch around 30 people with this action.

    I am happy to live in Holland and to be honest when I compare it to the US I feel safer and have more trust in my government.
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @04:23AM (#13564532)
    ... and the homosexuals and the blacks and the handicapped and the Communists and those of low intelligence once the Nazis come to power again. And this time, they can include genetic data! How Anton Mussert [wikipedia.org] must be crying in his grave over the lost opportunity -- if only he had had such tools...

    What a wonderful basis to build a totalitarian state on. Given the backlash against foreigners (dark-skinned, non-Christian foreigners, that is) in the Netherlands at the moment, this would really, really make me nervous.

  • by RollingThunder (88952) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @04:24AM (#13564539)
    Is that what they call a pedofile? /rimshot
  • by cardpuncher (713057) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @04:47AM (#13564606)
    A similar scheme (http://www.politics.co.uk/public-services/hodge-c hildrens-database-will-not-be-it-disaster-$7765060 .htm [politics.co.uk]) is being planned for the UK. It follows the high-profile death of an abused child who was "known" to a variety of agencies who failed to communicate with each other. Whilst the motives appear to be virtuous, the possible implications of the scheme are serious and the benefits extremely dubious.
  • There is a reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morie (227571) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @05:00AM (#13564632) Homepage
    Although I do not neccessarily agree with the method, there is a reason for this

    The Netherlands have seen a sharp increase of parents killing their children in recent years. In many of these cases, it was found that there were definite signals which were known to one agency but not communicated with another agency that had the power to prevent the tragedy.

    This is a measure to prevent these incidents.
  • by Willeh (768540) * <rwillem@xs4all.nl> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @05:29AM (#13564698)
    I can feel the glove up my ass already :(.
  • by jandersen (462034) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @05:38AM (#13564723)
    As far as I can tell, this is more or less what we have been used to in Denmark for most of my life; I have had a 'CPR number' (CPR = 'Central Person Register') for at least 35 years, if not longer. The system has its ups and downs; yes, the state can always find you and they can and will use it against you; though when I say 'the state' I mean the kind of people that work in the state bureaucracy. Not always the kind of people I would choose to trust, but then I don't have to, since I don't get the choice.

    On the positive side it is more comfortable and safe in many ways. The hospitals can always find all your medical records, etc etc. There are situation where you will be glad that you can always be found.

    But, all in all, I don't like it. Take social security - if I have an accident and can't work, the state will know, and I will get as much help as possible to get on with my life, and even a pension - that is definitely very good. On the other hand, if I then after a while find that I can earn a little to supply my income, the state will automatically cut your pension accordingly - this is bad, because it means that I'll think 'Why should I bother?'

    Of course some will say that this is not because the state has a file on you, but the truth is that it enables the more anal-retentive of the state's beancounters (ie the majority) to take your money away if you are too alive, in effect knocking you down. The only (legal) way to counter this kind of shite is to change the laws - and as a result the Danish social laws are now incredibly complex - and tend to change very often as well.
  • by martijnd (148684) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @05:47AM (#13564742)
    Anyone who still has the illusion that the Dutch have any better record, or are any less incompetent than other nations in handling things like child protection should read this article in this mornings Volkskrant newspaper on all the mistakes made in a murder-suspect case.

    http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/1126760833908. html [volkskrant.nl]

    Just to translate the first paragraph:

    It can't become any lonelier for a boy of 11. Your girlfriend has been murdered, the police doesn't believe you, and think you are responsible. The inspector assigned to assist him becomes a hard-cop interagator. The child phychologist there to protect him secrectly tapes "confidential" conversations and passes them on to the police.

    A first child phychologist supports the boys story , but is then ignored and replaced by another who then continues to support the police in their interogations for days on end -- for crying out loud, the kid is 11.

    Even when the police had already already arrested another suspect for the murder, the statements don't match the police "picture" of what happened and the boy is continuedly pressured to modify his story.
  • A bit misleading (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anspen (673098) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @05:54AM (#13564759)

    The tone of the article suggest something that not really the case.

    First of all they won't suddenly start keeping a single, giant 1984 record. What they are proposing is to link the existing records of different agencies.

    Second, while the road the hell is paved with good intentions they do have a good reason for this step: in many cases tragedy could have been avoided if agencies had known important information that others had. An example is the rise of loverboys in the Netherlands: young men who use the emotional fragility of teenage girls to get them in to prostitution. Often the police knows about the men, but doesn't know what or who are the likely targets, while child protection services knows the girls but has no clue about the men.

    Thirdly: the right to privacy is protected much stronger in the Netherlands that in the US. As a result identity theft is almost never a problem and there are very few cases known of clear abuse of government databases.

    It's certainly something to be watchfull about but the step in itself isn't too worrying.

  • UN Convention (Score:3, Informative)

    by mattr (78516) <mattr.telebody@com> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @06:30AM (#13564891) Homepage Journal
    Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [unicef.org] says:

    1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.

    Not sure if this applies, it seems pretty vague.

    I think this is a very bad move, mainly since this ensures the entire next generation will have a file, (not that they don't already?) which will be accessed by people who are not yet in office or even alive now. But it could be experimented with by starting with individuals in office. It would fit on a CD.
  • Make me the DBA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Random Web Developer (776291) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @07:15AM (#13565066) Homepage
    I swear I'm trustworthy :)

    No I'm serious, no one service can supposedly see all data from the other services, but some dba's and technicians will have the sa password surely

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.

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