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Privacy Government Medicine United Kingdom

UK Police Will Have Backdoor Access To Health Records 108

kc123 writes "David Davis MP, a former shadow home secretary, has told the Guardian that police would be able to access the new central NHS database without a warrant as critics warn of catastrophic breach of trust. The database that will store all of England's health records has a series of 'backdoors' that will allow police and government bodies to access people's medical data. In the past police would need to track down the GP who held a suspect's records and go to court for a disclosure order. Now, they would be able to simply approach the new arms-length NHS information centre, which will hold the records. The idea that police will be able to request information from a central database without a warrant totally undermines a long-held belief in the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship."
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UK Police Will Have Backdoor Access To Health Records

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @08:06AM (#46194633)

    Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here [] so links don't get mangled!)

    On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

    If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this [] in a new tab. After seeing that, click here [] to return to classic Slashdot.

    We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
    We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott []

    Moderators - only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
    Commentors - only discuss Beta [] - Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

    Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

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  • Re:Okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @08:20AM (#46194699)

    Well, for example it can be part of the standard background check of some officer's daughter new boyfriend. Or it can expand the possibilities when trying to get rid of some annoying neighbor.
    Imagine finding out that your son's teacher has followed some opioid replacement therapy!

    All in all, it will make the lives of the wonderful people working in the police easier by giving them more material to exploit against an hostile world populated by devious people.

  • by emmagsachs ( 1024119 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @08:44AM (#46194805)

    Beta is more than cosmetics or aesthetics. The new design ruins the one thing that makes /. what it is -- the commenting system. I only come here for the comments [], not the 2-day old articles nor the erroneous summaries.

    I do not see the changes of Beta as improvements. What is wrong with Slashdot that demands breaking its foundations? This is not change for the sake of change, but, as others have commented, an attempt to monetize /. at any any cost [], and its users be damned.

    Our complaints have fallen on deaf ears, and will continue to do so. Dice intends to dispose of Classic in favor of Beta [], whether we like it or not. Do you know how to tell whether an executive really cares about feedback? If her CV [] doesn't already proclaim these changes to be a success even before fully implementing them:

    Proven track record innovating and improving iconic websites (,,, while protecting their voice and brand integrity

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but apart from an almost universally hated Beta version, how can anyone claim in good faith that /. has undergone any change at all so far?

  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @09:09AM (#46194915) Homepage

    The fun part being that once your data is on this access-for-all database it isn't yours anymore and thus you have no say in how it is doled out to all and sundry. There can't be a privacy violation if the new data owner (whichever dolt is Secretary of State for health at the time) allows it.

    Honestly, I'm fine with SOME change in the traditional doctor/patient relationship. For example, I think it is fine to be able to mine the database in aggregate for information that could be used to improve public health. I'd even be fine with mining the database to find individuals and contacting them to request their consent to participate in studies that would improve public health (and possibly their own).

    However, the theme here is that this is about using the data in a way that generally protects the individual interest and which provides a general benefit to everybody, and perhaps even a specific benefit to the individual whose data is accessed.

    All of this would be controlled as well - queries of data would be a part of a study and would be reviewed before they could be run to ensure that data being extracted is appropriately de-personalized. If the intent is to contact individuals then the investigators would provide the criteria, and perhaps evaluate a data set which has been blinded (map identifiers to a study-specific set for which the government holds the relationship table). Then the investigator would provide the list of blinded IDs to contact, and the government would handle communications, perhaps directly or through the local doctor. Again everything would be controlled like any other clinical trial in terms of review of consent forms, proper disclosure, etc.

    Police access to this data is of course outrageous. This gives individuals incentive to not participate which has impact to both their personal health and public health.

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