SIR – Citizens rightly have concerns
about privacy and how personal data is handled. We share such
concerns: one of this Government’s first acts was to cancel the illiberal ID
We are not interested in building large databases. We will not weaken the Data
Protection Act. Nor will we collect more data about people, or use
information in ways beyond those that the public already assume we do.
At present, the data Whitehall holds is divided between departments. There is
no simple way to cross-reference it, if indeed it can be done at all.
This means that the public miss out on more effective, tailored services, and
that the taxpayer loses billions to fraudsters.
So we think it’s worth exploring, in a very open and transparent way, whether
we can use the data we already have more effectively.
We have said from the start of this process that if civil liberty and privacy
groups do not find our proposals proportionate and sensible, we would find
it difficult to go ahead.
Francis Maude MP (Con)
Minister for the Cabinet Office
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