09 January 2008

Jeremy Clarkson's Bank Account

Jeremy Clarkson recently printed his bank details in the Sun newspaper. His account number, sort code, branch and how to get his address from the electoral register were all published.

Essentially, the point he was trying to...
make is correct - that we give these details to all and sundry whenever we write a cheque and that the fuss about the data loss by inland revenue is a fuss about nothing.

Of course by advertising these details in the UK's most widely read newspaper and by effectively inviting people to 'have a go', he was going that one step further and opening himself up to a much higher level of risk.

It is most likely that the child benefit details have got lost in a pile of bureaucratic paperwork or are lying somewhere equally innocuous, out of the hands of anyone who might want to make criminal use of them. The discs have in fact probably already been destroyed if truth be known. The main point is that these details should not be of use to anyone even if they have fallen into criminal hands, otherwise anybody who has ever written a cheque should watch out as well.

The outcome of Clarkson's bravado however is that someone has set up a £500 direct debit from his account to Diabetics UK (one of many organisations that no longer require a signature). Clarkson was convinced that the level of security offered by his bank would prevent any loss to himself of allowing widespread knowledge of his basic bank data.

Some opponents of government databases and ID cards have all had a good laugh about this, shouting 'see, look how dangerous this all is'. However Clarkson's basic point stands. As far as I know, the direct debit guarantee would allow him to be fully reimbursed (if he so chooses), so his basic premise is correct that he would not be out of pocket.

Obviously whomever set up the direct debit was making a point, rather than trying to personally profit (in fact it was so convenient that one has to suspect if Clarkson wasn't in on the whole thing from the start). What I do find most interesting is the following comment;

"The bank cannot find out who did this because of the Data Protection Act and they cannot stop it from happening again"
It beggars belief that the data protection act would protect criminal activities in this way. Surely the data protection act should allow this data to be shared when a fraud has been committed. If anything it seems those who laughed at this case and who argue against data being shared are helping the criminals rather than protecting people as they claim.

101 comments:

  1. How many direct debits have been setup quoting Government bank accounts!?!

    Why are you surprised that Government legislation protects criminals!?!

    The 'right' - and Tony Martin -have known it for years!

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  2. Unlike you Clarkson now accepts it was more serious than he thought. The data that has gone missing contains extra and crucial information that you won't find on any cheque, but like your new pal (you were only slagging him recently) you won't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

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  3. Urko - "contains extra and crucial information that you won't find on any cheque"

    Like what?

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  4. snafu: The point I was making was that; this inability to circumvent the DPA even when there has been a fraud (if true?) is the sort of thing defended by our 'database neurotic' friends.

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  5. Scunnered, O'Aberdein10/1/08 3:30 am

    'it beggars belief that the data protection act would protect criminal activities in this way. Surely the data protection act should allow this data to be shared when a fraud has been committed. If anything it seems those who laughed at this case and who argue against data being shared are helping the criminals rather than protecting people as they claim.'

    I think that I read somewhere that there would have been nothing to stop the data being accessed by the police if a crime had been committed and reported, but Clarkson has chosen not to report one.

    If no crime has been reported by the victim, then the DPA is merely working as intended. The whole point of it was to stop just anyone going up to a data holder, asking for, and being given access to, personal data without due cause or authority.

    Leaving the minutiae aside

    'Essentially the point he was trying to make is correct - that we give these details to all and sundry whenever we write a cheque and that the fuss about the data loss by inland revenue is a fuss about nothing.'

    I gave my debit card to someone at a garage who cloned it. The ease with which they did that and nicked my money wasn't something that I thought was merely a fuss about nothing. All Clarkson did was prove what a lot of us know already. Loss/theft/compromise of this sort of data is really dangerous. And having it all in one place makes the risk even greater.

    The geeks really know how to do this in style, and don't believe anything will be secure. Try...

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8924987/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/03/23/id_theft_cannot_be_escaped/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/24/fbi_database_biometrics/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/19/fasthosts_banking_hack/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/30/kiwi_teen_botmaster_arrest/ (think what he'll be able to do when he's 19!)

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/27/biometrics_not_magic_bullet/

    'Some opponents of government databases and ID cards have all had a good laugh about this, shouting 'see, look how dangerous this all is'. However Clarkson's basic point stands. As far as I know, the direct debit guarantee would allow him to be fully reimbursed (if he so chooses), so his basic premise is correct that he would not be out of pocket.'

    The geeks have demonstrated how the biometric data can be lifted off cards, eg that already on passports, and even reproduced into a useable format for fingerprints and iris scans. So help me, even my brother in law, not the smartest cookie in the packet, can fool his local iris scanner with a digital camera and a printer. What's the Government going to do about reimbursing any of us when someone steals all our 10 fingerprints and both iris scans?

    One more time. Biometrics secure not will be. ID Cards not secure will be. National Identity Register will be secure not

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  6. scunnered: "If no crime has been reported by the victim" - which heightens my suspicion that Clarkson was in on the whole thing.

    "The ease with which they... nicked my money wasn't... a fuss about nothing.

    No, it isn't, but Clarkson was on about basic data on cheques not the cloning of debit cards.

    "government...reimbursing any of us when someone steals all our 10 fingerprints and both iris scans?"

    These things are worthless in themselves and as I have pointed out before, a biometric pin - i.e. placing your fingerprints in a predetermined order on the scanner (even if the criminal had managed to get hold of all your biometric data) is at least as secure as the current numeric pins.

    Granted, the technology will have to improve but there is no reason in principle to rule out biometric ID cards as claimed by the big brother junkies.

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  7. Urko - "contains extra and crucial information that you won't find on any cheque"

    Like what?


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7103940.stm

    When was the last time your cheques had your NI number, address, full names, full names and dates of birth of your spouse and all your children.

    Are you really too thick (or lazy) to use Google now (or even watch telly?)?

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  8. As usual no word from our resident logic vortex on the breach of data protection law carried out by our brave selfless wonderful public servants who take so much care of our personal data. Only the ridiculous claim that those of us who don't want any more government sponsored ID theft are responsible for the Act and its crap intertpretation by morons.

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  9. A cheque can contain your full name and sometimes you have to write your address on the back (not as if it would be difficult to find out anyway). Yes, admittedly they did lose NI numbers and dates of birth. This is a problem - but really, finance companies should have proper protection in place - this should not be enough - which is why we need ID cards.

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  10. I don't need an ID card. I need competant Civil servants equipped only with the minimum data required to serve me (they work for me).

    I need them to comply with the existing Data Protection and FOI laws.

    Apparently all this is too much to expect in a modern western "democracy"

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  11. It is most likely that the child benefit details have got lost in a pile of bureaucratic paperwork or are lying somewhere equally innocuous, out of the hands of anyone who might want to make criminal use of them

    How the hell do you know that that is 'most likely'. That is pure wishful thinking.

    The discs have in fact probably already been destroyed if truth be known

    Who would have destroyed them and for what reason?

    The main point is that these details should not be of use to anyone even if they have fallen into criminal hands, otherwise anybody who has ever written a cheque should watch out as well

    Since when did cheques contain an NI number and an address?

    Datagate ought to have been death of ID Cards. What the scandal has done is seriously knock support for the scheme. One more serious error and it will be all over, bar the bleating of David Blunkett, who has a financial vested interest in the scheme going ahead. I do not know a single person now in my workplace who supports ID Cards. Three years ago about half of them did. But people now concede that they are not needed and moreover the establishment of the NIR will make us significantly less safe.

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  12. Urko: We all want competent civil servants. I think the DPA and the way departments do not share data is affecting civil servants ability to do their job. Perversely I think this campaign to limit and protect data is making our civil servants less competent.

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  13. Stephen: It is quite easy to get hold of bank and NI numbers, birthdates addresses etc if somebody is determined enough. We shouldn't have unrealistic expectations about keeping all this data secret (there are millions of people with access to this data), we need proper security arrangements to make this data unimportant. It should take more than just knowing someone's name, address, date of birth and NI number to get access to funds in their name. It is quite ridiculous. We need ID cards to stop all this nonsense. This data loss strengthens the case for ID cards.

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  14. Stephen: Well, it is possible that the discs are lying in some criminals' lair somewhere 'just waiting to be used', but lets be more realistic - they have probably been lost. Like I say, I think the details are of limited use anyway.

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  15. It is quite easy to get hold of bank and NI numbers, birthdates addresses etc if somebody is determined enough

    And it is 'quite easy' to get hold of Beretta 92F if someone is determined enough. Your point was?

    We shouldn't have unrealistic expectations about keeping all this data secret

    Expecting government departments to keep our sensitive data secure is not 'unrealistic'. Nor is it unreasonable. You appear to have forgotten that this is our data not the government's.

    there are millions of people with access to this data

    I sincerely hope not. Out of curiousity, since I am sure you have just made up the 'millions' bit, who do you think does have access to my NI number and address?

    We need proper security arrangements to make this data unimportant

    How can the leaking of sensitive medical data or address information ever be unimportant, whatever 'security arrangements' are in place? The risk presented by the loss of this data isn't just related to financial risk, it is also physical risk. The DWP wrote to thousands of battered wives warning them that their location may have been compromised. Or were the 'security arrangements' you had in mind licensing them to hold a handgun for self defence!

    It should take more than just knowing someone's name, address, date of birth and NI number to get access to funds in their name. It is quite ridiculous. We need ID cards to stop all this nonsense

    No, what we need are robust procedures for establishing bona fides in financial transactions. The ID Card is not an appropriate vehicle for that purpose. It has not been designed for that purpose and there are very good practical reasons why there should not be single point of failure for all financial transactions. You really should READ what the government's proposals are.

    This data loss strengthens the case for ID cards

    Only if you think that the corrupt lying charletans who don't give a damn for your data security are the appropriate people to run an ID Card. I think you are in a distinct minority, Neil, if you think that they are.

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  16. Anon: Anyone who has ever worked in a call centre (and there are nearly a million people in that category in this country alone) has seen sensitive banking or other personal info. Then there are all the people working for local or national government (again over a million) that will have access to all sorts of personal data. I have seen thousands of peoples sensitive medical and other personal data myself, when I worked for local government. Then there are the millions of people who have worked in shops etc. The list goes on. We cannot expect to keep this data top secret (of course we should try to keep it as safe as possible) but it is simply not realistic to suggest we can keep this data in anyway secret. So what we do have to do is make sure that this data is not enough to compromise someone's identity - that is where the real problem is. Which is what ID cards are all about. What would you suggest as an alternative?

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  17. Neil, as you know, I struggle with your logic at times.

    You say that the loss of these details isn't that serious anyway. Then you say that we need ID cards - what problem are you tring to solve here?

    You also seem to be arguing that when citizens are concerned that their data has been treated in a cavalier and illegal way, that the answer is to give the same people who did these things even more data.

    Fortunately, the majority of people seem to think that "datagate" is a good reason not to give the government any more data. To add to Stephen's anecdotal evidence, a friend of mine has been all in favour of ID cards in spite of constant lobbying from me. I spoke to him recently and he says "datagate" has changed his mind.

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  18. Urko: Undoubtedly the popularity of ID cards has taken a battering. This doesn't necessarily mean people are right though.

    ID cards are not the most important issue to me and it wouldn't be the end of the world if they never happen, but we do have a problem with ID theft and we need to do something.

    I think that when vast numbers of people's data is out there (like in the datagate loss) then there is 'safety in numbers'. Like I say there are millions of workers who see all sorts of sensitive data of ours every day. This (as I have argued) is not necessarily anything to worry about and we shouldn't try to pretend that all this info can be kept top secret. However it is possible that this info can be used to commit fraud and we must tighten security where we can. ID cards is one way of doing that, and I think that when the technology is right we should try to make use of biometrics as well.

    Where I have a disagreement with you is that you rule out ID cards for ever for what I consider abstract reasons. I need to weigh up the practical pros and cons. There are arguments for and against, and maybe you are currently right, but we must consider the pros and cons on their merit.

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  19. Urko: Undoubtedly the popularity of ID cards has taken a battering. This doesn't necessarily mean people are right though.

    Agreed, although you were always keen to point out that more people were in favour in the olden days, when it suited you.

    As for the rest of this, as usual you base your comments on my position as made up by you, rather than what it actually is.

    I would not oppose ID cards if there was a single logical and cost effective argument in their favour. There isn't, and to an extent I do wonder if there ever will be. Unless, of course,
    as seems to be your mission, we overturn the "innocent until proven guilty" principle we've been used to. Such a day would be tragic on for the UK in my view.

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  20. Urko: We all want the 'public' on our side. I don't think I ever suggested that that makes a difference to whether ID cards are right or not. But whatever, it is good to hear you are open to persuasion on this. A lot of ID card opponents are not - ruling something out in 'principle' is enough for them.

    The NIR and cards themselves will cost billions to set up. Anything that is universal usually does, but most of the cost will be a 'one off' (like the Euro) and yet the benefits could be very long term. Of course, we need detailed arguments on the costs and benefits (which the government have been reluctant (for whatever reason) to put forward), but the thing with fraud is that we only ever see the tip of the iceberg. If and i accept it could be a big if, this system can work well, the potential benefits could be huge. So it is definitely worth having a serious look at it.

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  21. Actually it was I. For some reason it showed me as 'anonymous'

    Anyone who has ever worked in a call centre (and there are nearly a million people in that category in this country alone) has seen sensitive banking or other personal info

    At one record at a time, not a list of 25 million of them. That makes a significant difference to the risks involved. Also very few commercial organisations have my NI number. Why the hell should they?

    I have seen thousands of peoples sensitive medical and other personal data myself, when I worked for local government

    Local government has absolutely no business knowing my medical details.

    Then there are the millions of people who have worked in shops etc

    When did you last give your NI number to a shop assistant?. The only personal information you might be asked to give is when you by a TV. As a matter of course I give as false address in those circumstances. When shop keepers ask for my address for 'warranty' I refuse to give it.

    [The list goes on. We cannot expect to keep this data top secret (of course we should try to keep it as safe as possible) but it is simply not realistic to suggest we can keep this data in anyway secret]

    No one is calling for the data to kept 'top secret'. What is being demanded is that the data be kept appropriately secure.

    So what we do have to do is make sure that this data is not enough to compromise someone's identity - that is where the real problem is

    Actually the problem is far wider than that. Why are you so fixated on just the fraud angle?

    Which is what ID cards are all about

    If ID Cards were just about establishing identity then we would not need the National Identity Register. The government's ID Card programme has little to do with establishing identity and everything to do with administrative convenience for the state.

    What would you suggest as an alternative?

    No ID Card.

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  22. The NIR and cards themselves will cost billions to set up. Anything that is universal usually does, but most of the cost will be a 'one off'

    No there will be 0.7 billion yearly running cost which the government plays to retieve from the general public by charging fees to updated the NIR and fees to commercial organsations for extracts of the NIR. These identity taxes will, like the old poll tax, make this scheme unpopular for decades to come.

    (like the Euro) and yet the benefits could be very long term

    And the disbenefits also.

    Of course, we need detailed arguments on the costs and benefits (which the government have been reluctant (for whatever reason) to put forward

    Because they know the case for ID Cards does not stand up to scrutiny. In five years the government has constantly dissembled on the reasons for ID Cards. Such as Brown's attempts to deceive earlier this week. These are not the actions of a government that is secure in the case for ID Cards.

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  23. Stephen - "At one record at a time, not a list of 25 million of them. That makes a significant difference to the risks involved".

    For a start, it is unlikely the discs are in criminal hands. Secondly, we know that criminal gangs target call centre workers and bank workers who can pass on thousands of people's details. I don't think criminals have a problem with lack of data. We just have to make it harder to use.

    "Local government has absolutely no business knowing my medical details".

    All local authorities (as far as I know) have access to social services records which can contain medical and criminal record data from GPs, police and hospitals etc. Indeed the database is usually shared with NHS Primary Care Trusts and other services. It is essential to have this info for Social Care Services to do their job effectively and sometimes is a matter of life and death.

    "Why are you so fixated on just the fraud angle?"

    It is what interests me the most I suppose.

    "The government's ID Card programme has little to do with establishing identity and everything to do with administrative convenience for the state".

    I detect a 'them and us' attitude so typical of bloggertarians. I have an anti-establishment streak myself, but recognise that making the public sector more efficient is in the interests of us all.

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  24. I detect a 'them and us' attitude so typical of bloggertarians. I have an anti-establishment streak myself, but recognise that making the public sector more efficient is in the interests of us all

    What do you mean by 'efficiency' and where is the evidence that sharing data willy nilly will improve it? Efficiency is one of those Thatcherite buzz words that doesn't really mean much on its own. The 'them and us' attitude is all but inevitable with the top down approach favoured by this government. Damned right. It is them and us.

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  25. All local authorities (as far as I know) have access to social services records which can contain medical and criminal record data from GPs, police and hospitals etc

    Why should anyone other than authorised social workers have access to social services case files? If you are telling me that any clerk in the town hall can access to such information then that is outrageous.

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  26. Stephen: Ok, what do you mean by 'administrative convenience'? From that I was reading 'quicker, cheaper and more accurate' which is 'more efficient' in my book.

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  27. It means what it says. Cutting corners for the convenience of the administrators.

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  28. Stephen: No, not any clerk in the town hall, but virtually any managers or admin etc in social services, PCTs, doctors surgeries, police stations etc, would get to see such info.

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  29. Stephen: You may call it 'cutting corners', but one of the biggest complaints of people dealing with government services is that they have to keep telling different dpeartments their name, address and other details over and over again. With one database for everybody, this would make things more convenient and quicker for the service user as well.

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  30. I don't believe you that that is the 'biggest complaint'. Not by a long shot. But even if it were, it is a pretty trivial complaint.

    And I would also like to know how a 'senior manager' in the town hall may be granted access to my medical records. It is none of his FUCKING business.

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  31. And I am sure you are wrong about access to medical records. I have a FAC as part of the process for getting my FAC, I must give authority to my GP to grant access to the police to my medical records should they wish to see them. Fine. I have no problems with that. I have given explicit approval for that access to allow me the privilege of keeping firearms. It does not mean that every scrote in social services has the right to snoop my medical records and I am sure my GP would give them short shrift if they tried.

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  32. Scunnered, O'Aberdein11/1/08 3:36 pm

    'All local authorities (as far as I know) have access to social services records which can contain medical and criminal record data from GPs, police and hospitals etc. Indeed the database is usually shared with NHS Primary Care Trusts and other services. It is essential to have this info for Social Care Services to do their job effectively and sometimes is a matter of life and death'

    Local Authorities do hold some information that may emanate from the NHS but generally only in respect of clients who are receiving Adult or Children's Social Care Services. There is no general sharing of NHS patient data , although hospital based social workers may have some limited direct access to NHS systems. LA Mental Health services normally use MH provider NHSTs patient info systems. Social Care information systems cover primarily Older People, Physical Disability, and Learning Disability Service social care clients. Services for the latter group are normally provided under s31 Agreements and there may be data access/sharing with the local Commissioning PCT.

    The sharing of NHS patient information is governed by the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice

    http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4069253

    Insofar as Social Care is concerned , this provides

    2) To social workers or other non-NHS staff involved in the provision of healthcare

    The test of what would satisfy the requirement to effectively inform (B1.3) should be more demanding than where disclosure is limited to NHS staff as the breadth of the information disclosure is not as obvious to patients and their consent cannot be assumed. Disclosure may lead to confidential information being held outside the NHS in the records of partner organisations. Patients need to be made aware of this and partner organisations also need to be aware that holding health records imposes
    particular duties and obligations.

    The confidentiality standards that are expected to apply to other organisations are supposed to be commensurate to the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice and Social Care services have 'Caldicott Guardians' who are supposed to ensure that that is the case.

    Having worked in both the NHS and Local Government, I always thought that, regrettably, the quality of data handling in Local Government were the poorer of the two.

    Unless you worked directly in social services, which seems unlikely from the limited knowledge exhibited in your comment, if your statement is true that - 'I have seen thousands of peoples sensitive medical and other personal data myself, when I worked for local government'- then it just tends to confirm my view.

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  33. Scunnered: My experience is the other way round. I have found the local PCT pretty slow in the way it handles data. I'm not saying the local authority was much better, but that was my experience. I used to work for social services and had access to files and a database that was linked to adult social care and the local PCT and sometimes mental health info as well. Obviously it didn't contain everyones medical data or their complete medical records (and they did have to agree to info being shared but this was pretty routine - I can't remember anybody ever refusing), but anyone who had come into contact with hospital or social services had detailed info on them. And that is a lot of people.

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  34. Scunnered, O'Aberdein11/1/08 4:46 pm

    Neil, I begin to suspect that part of the reason that most of us think your arguments don't make much sense is that you don't explain yourself particularly well. If you had said something more like that in the first instance, I wouldn't have wasted my time.

    Not saying that that's the only reason, of course. :)

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  35. Scunnered: We can always go into more detail ;o). I thought my comment was actually quite clear - that plenty of people's sensitive data is seen by plenty of people. Nobody is happy about the government losing data, but we do have to realise that the info is already widely available without causing too many problems and that sharing info is important if we don't want our public services to grind to a halt. We must improve security but we must also accept that for our public services and services in the private sector) to work better they need access to this data (and it is not because they are being malevolent).

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  36. An essential aspect of this debate about data sharing is consent, the consent of the person who owns the data, that is, the person whose data it is. I don't object to all data sharing but I do object to data sharing without my explicit consent. Contradict me if I am wrong, but I think your view is that consent is irrelevant. Perhaps you could study this story.

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/health/new+leaked+data+fiasco/1309447

    It is about a doctor who suffered from a rare form of cancer and objected to her full medical details being shared with researchers. What is particularly obnoxious about this story is the legal action her Trust took against her for objecting to her data being shared. It this sort of disgusting inhumane response that makes me despair of the way this country is going.

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  37. http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/
    health/new+leaked+data+fiasco/
    1309447

    Address truncated before

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  38. Stephen, without knowing the full details of the case it is difficult to comment. I would like to know the background to exactly why she was suspended from her job for instance, I imagine there is far more to this than just an objection to her data being used.

    My second thought is 'what a miserable bitch' in refusing for her data to be used to help others suffering from cancer (says a lot about her sympathy for others - some doctor!). Of course it is her right to be a seIfish miserable person I admit, but still doesn't alter the fact she is not acting very community spirited.

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  39. My second thought is 'what a miserable bitch' in refusing for her data to be used to help others suffering from cancer (says a lot about her sympathy for others - some doctor!). Of course it is her right to be a seIfish miserable person I admit, but still doesn't alter the fact she is not acting very community spirited

    Yes, I thought that was likely to be your response. You have lived down to my expectations.

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  40. 'what a miserable bitch'
    hmmm this betrays the contempt that the writer has for anyone's right to privacy. People who don't agree are "paranoid" "luddites" and now "bitches".

    Neil, you make an extremely convincing case - that people with zero respect for others rights to privacy should be resisted at all costs.

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  41. Urko: I understand the need for privacy - but do not understand why people let it dictate their lives on matters that are quite trivial.

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  42. Urko: I understand the need for privacy
    Yeah right, the same way you understand IP addresses and a consistent outlook on religious people.

    - but do not understand why people let it dictate their lives on matters that are quite trivia
    I wouldn't call the wish of a dying woman not to be hounded by researchers trivial. Nor would I call her (or in fact any woman) a bitch. But then (thank goodness!); I'm not you.

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  43. Scunnered, O'Aberdein14/1/08 7:22 pm

    'According to the High Court statement her private medical details, in fully identifiable form, were disseminated widely for the purposes of research and passed to her employers despite her withholding consent

    She contacted .......the hospital, where the researchers were based, to complain about the unobtrusive phone calls. She also asked for her details to be removed.

    They and the ...local... cancer registry refused repeatedly until ordered by the court. The latter alleged that the claimant's statement was not true, because it was 'not possible' that her details could be held there.

    In fact, it was true. All her private medical details were there. They were forced to apologise. Although it took them five years.

    It is also clear from the court documents, that the claimant and her colleagues were expected to do research using fully identifiable patient medical records and data. When she raised her concerns to her employers she was placed on special leave and suspended.

    She was forced to spend the next three years fighting the libel action allegations made against her. It would appear because some people did not like her questioning of how data was held.

    .....

    In 2004 the High Court ordered this doctor's medical details to be deleted. Addenbrooke's had to pay her costs. But she was not given her job back.

    The health authority and trust say they appreciate that the concept of medical confidentiality is paramount. They also say they should never have placed her on special leave, that they should never have pursued her through the courts knowing she had no funds to pay for her own lawyers.'

    Neil, she said 'No' to her data being handed out in a sensitive enviroment in which she worked from day-to-day. You have to be careful who knows what about you in that field...job prospects and all that. They ignored her, suspended her and she has lost her job despite the Court saying that she was right

    What's trivial about that, that it makes her a miserable bitch?

    and if they can do this to her, where they are supposed to do it only with explicit consent, what do you think is going to get done with the data that is going to be on the NIR about you, me and the rest of us?

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  44. My second thought is 'what a miserable bitch' in refusing for her data to be used to help others suffering from cancer (says a lot about her sympathy for others - some doctor!). Of course it is her right to be a seIfish miserable person I admit, but still doesn't alter the fact she is not acting very community spirited.

    What a horrible thing to say. What sort of person are you? You should be bitterly ashamed of yourself.

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  45. People who don't want to be harrassed by strangers about their medical problems are "miserable bitches", now?

    Go on, Neil. Publish your medical records, home address and phone number.

    By the way, would you object to my publishing this information on your behalf without your consent?

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  46. Anon, Urko, Scunnered: Of course the doctors treating her and other medical staff are going to know her condition and details. It is unreasonable to expect otherwise. If I was dying of cancer I would want medical researchers to use my info in what ever way they wanted. Which is not the same as the info being made public. I simply refuse to believe the story the way it is being reported. To lose her job, she did more than question a few calls and some data. End of! Call it heartless, but I fed up of all this bullshit you lot spout.

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  47. Scunnered, O'Aberdein15/1/08 12:55 am

    So who is allowed to determine if her employers can freely have her medical data, as supposedly available for research purposes? Her, or someone else? If someone else, who?

    And if it was you, who are you happy to set free to do give such data to your employers, even against your own wishes?...and to try to get some context for the sort of dilemma that might arise, think about it as, say, a visit to an STD clinic - use that as the example

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  48. I have tried to find out some more info on this case - from what I have found it suggests there is a lot more to it. Without detailed knowledge of what actually happened it is difficult to say what happened and what didn't.

    This is what I believe happened. She did give consent (maybe without realising - small print on a contract she signed). When contacted by a researcher (they were not trying to hide the fact they were using her data) she went ballistic (understandably maybe because of her condition).

    They apologised and agreed not to contact her again but she refused to do her job properly until they destroyed some important research that contained her data. They pointed out that she initially had given permission and the costs would be very high to both the programme results and financially. She continued to not do her job properly and was disrupting her employers work which led to her dismissal.

    Though the courts took her side in this, morally she is not in the right as much as one would assume from the way the story is originally written. Both parties agreed to details being made confidential for obvious reasons (there is no-one being gagged). She took the substantial compensation, the research data was destroyed (putting back cancer research by years) and refused the offer of her old job back. End of story.

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  49. Scunnered, O'Aberdein15/1/08 1:32 am

    Got a source, please?

    And is that supposed to be an apology for calling her a 'miserable bitch', then? , Just to be clear, it didn't sound much like it from here

    As I guess she knows the libel laws quite well, so you might want to read
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/actionnetwork/A1183394

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  50. "She did give consent (maybe without realising - small print on a contract she signed)."

    So, not informed consent then...?

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  51. As ever, Neil knows best. Better than the woman herself, better than the courts, better than all the people posting comments.

    It must be fabulous to be so sure of yourself that you can be so gratuitosuly offensive to someone with a rare illness, and then say that anyone who has the temerity to suggest she might have a point is "spouting bullshit". Sometimes displays of ego of this kind can be entertaining, but that generally relies on there being some substance to the claims being made.

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  52. By the way, to return to some of your original stuff (I won't stoop to your level by glorifying it with the term bullshit)

    What would you suggest as an alternative?

    Instead of wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on compulsory ID cards as the Tory... er sorry I mean Labour Right demand, let that money provide thousands more police officers on the beat in our local communities.

    Perversely I think this campaign to limit and protect data is making our civil servants less competent.
    You are right, Neil, even allowing for the fact that it is what passes for reasoning in your strange world, that is perverse. You need (not for the first time) to refer to a dictionary for a definition of compentence.

    As an aside, protecting my data in accordance with current laws would be a step towards competence in my book, not one away from it.

    We seem to be seeing a new line from you that suggests breaking the law is fine provided it's done by governments and Civil Servants rather than rich people.

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  53. Neil, state your full address, phone number and number of sexually transmitted infections contracted, please! Stop stalling.

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  54. Neil - I have stolen this from someone called Woman On a Raft in the Comments at Devils Kitchen. It's so good I wanted to make sure you didn't miss it -

    Harding has two kidneys. The selfish bastard only really needs one of them, so he should have the other forcibly removed. He can make do with one eye as well; get a cornea whilst he's out cold. It's not very community-spirited of him to hang on to spare organs when he's got so much that could be harvested.

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  55. Urko, Scunnered, JuliaM, While regretting the language I used (no-one deserves to be called a bitch or bastard - I was writing my initial thoughts and I would like to retract that bit), however, without the full details, I suspect my version of events is closer to what happened than yours.

    Anon: I would be quite happy for my records to be known to medical researchers trying to find a cure for cancer. There is no hypocrisy.

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  56. Scunnered, O'Aberdein23/1/08 11:08 am

    'I suspect my version of events is closer to what happened than yours'

    Others have published more details. They're easy to find. If you were that close, then were the courts fools to find in her favour in the terms described?

    Anyway, glad to see you back. Still looking for a response about your STD issue, as set out in the comment above. Who do you think should be allowed to give information about that to your employers without your consent?

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  57. Scunnered: If I decided to give consent for my medical records to be used and then halfway through some expensive research decided I wanted it destroyed, then I think it would be perfectly reasonable if they told me to f off. That is what I think happened with this woman, which is why I made the comments I did. If everyone's medical records were freely available to everyone I think it would be a good thing. I would bet that those doing the discriminating against people with stigmatised conditions might go quiet if their own records were exposed. Until that happens...

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  58. If I decided to give consent for my medical records to be used and then halfway through some expensive research decided I wanted it destroyed, then I think it would be perfectly reasonable if they told me to f off

    Yes well the list of things that you would think 'reasonable' but most civilised persons would think abusive or barbarous, gets longer the more I lurk here!

    If everyone's medical records were freely available to everyone I think it would be a good thing. I would bet that those doing the discriminating against people with stigmatised conditions might go quiet if their own records were exposed. Until that happens...

    This is truly infantile and profoundly dangerous. I hope you never get within a parsec of real political power. You may be happy to play roulette with the well being of others but I don't think many people would share your insouciance. What happens if total disclosure does not bring about an era of tolerance? It'll be a bit too fucking late, then, won't it? If someone does not want the fact that, say, they suffer from gout in the public domain. Then that is their absolute, inviolable right. It doesn't matter if they are being perverse of illogical. They have dominion of their own bodies and the medical information pertaining to those bodies. Only a totalitarian state would deny them that.

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  59. Stephen: I think it would reduce intolerance. I am a big believer in safety in numbers - there will always be people who will use violence - whether they take a dislike to someone's haircut, football team or medical records would make no difference. I don't think sweeping any problem under the carpet will help anything, you have to tackle intolerance and ignorance head on. When people realise just how common certain conditions are there attitude changes.

    As for power you shouldn't worry, I am probably too abrasive a character to ever win enough support to be elected.

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  60. I think it would reduce intolerance

    Whereas I don't think it would. You think that a company would not disciminate against people with certain medical conditions even if half its board were also known to suffer from the condition? Of course not. But whether I am right or you are right is beside the point. It is the individual's right to decide what medical information, if any, that he wants to disclose into the public domain. I do not see why you can't see that a fundamental moral point.

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  61. Scunnered, O'Aberdein24/1/08 4:11 pm

    'If everyone's medical records were freely available to everyone I think it would be a good thing.'

    I've just got to this comment. The English language, even in Anglo-Saxon vernacular, is totally inadequate for the purpose of describing how stupid it is.

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  62. Don't waste your time folks, Neil knows best what is good for us. He knows better than the courts, the police (including the Portuguese Police); than anyone.

    Anyone who doesn't agree with him is a dangerous blogaterian paranoid luddite.

    This time, speaking as an expert, he thinks he knows how to stop intolerance!

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  63. Urko: I admit I am an idealist - in practise the transition to a open society would be too painful, but I still think the idea is sound.

    Stephen: I don't think the individual 'always' knows best. It all comes back to this conflict between the good of the community and individual freedom.

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  64. Well, as usual, Neil, you've shown me yet another word that you define differently form everyone else on the planet. Idealist :-)

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  65. Stephen: I don't think the individual 'always' knows best. It all comes back to this conflict between the good of the community and individual freedom

    It is not a question of who knows best. Very often individuals make the wrong decisions. The ethical question is whether you allow them the freedom to make those mistakes or whether you assert that the 'good of the community' means that they shouldn't be permitted to make that decision.

    As it happens, the person who wants to keep their medical details confidential is acting rationally. What do you think would happen if it were leaked that the PM had cancer, as a purely hypothetical example? Do you think it would enhance or reduce his authority. I think we all know that it would be the end of his political career.

    Neil, you forget whose body it is, just as you forget whose data it is. Personally I'd be quite happy if the Labour party adopted some of your more eccentric policy ideas, as they would be punted out of power quicker than the Home Office can come up with another pointless law.

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  66. I'm with C.S. Lewis on this one "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

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  67. Urko: So CS Lewis would prefer Saddam to Blair? Just like his argument for the existence of God, he is talking out of his proverbials.

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  68. Stephen: It would need a culture change that probably would be too painful but the problem is not knowing someone has cancer (or whatever) the problem is people's ignorant attitudes.

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  69. Scunnered, O'Aberdein25/1/08 5:13 pm

    I would agree with you to an extent that 'the problem is people's ignorant attitudes'

    However, with the world being as it really is, neither that, nor any sincere innocence on your part, is an excuse for being your stupid about it.

    Please forgive me for letting my impatience show

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  70. Scunnered: I am making suggestions about what I feel would be good if attitudes change. In the future who knows, in the past the end of slavery was a dream of some idealist.

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  71. Neil - not even you could seriously believe that tripe - of course CS Lewis wouldn't prefer Saddam to Blair - do I need to remind you they are/were both politicians who think/thought they knew what's good for us better than we do.

    As for God - this is dangerous territory for a bloke who slags believers so heavily but makes weedy weasel excuses when the devout believer happens to be a lying cheat of an ex-PM.

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  72. Scunnered, O'Aberdein27/1/08 11:54 am

    'in the past the end of slavery was a dream of some idealist'

    Yes, but dreaming of making bad things better is not as deluded as allowing oneself to dream of making good things bad

    Before this becomes interminable, I do realise that there is a fundamental difference between us in our ability to the grasp the blindingly obvious, so I'm not pursuing this particular one again.

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  73. I am new to this site but the name "neil harding" and the comments he has posted ring alarm bells for me - I am sure he is the same neil harding I went out with and dumped 3 years ago after which time he stalked me.
    I was a politics student and initially manipulative and falsely charming after a while I found that his real views were diabolically and shocking. He is truely the thickest person I have ever known and a fantatist. When I knew him he made up all manner of stories, persumably to seem intellegant. On one occasion I had an essay deadline and said I could not go out with. he claimed to have conducted some reserach for me, in the library and game me the notes he had made, so he claimed I could go out with him as my essay reseach was done. I trusted him only to find that eveything he had written was absolutely and utterly made up. I got an F for that essay. He talks about sharing medical records, but when I was going out with him he had perineres dosease (bent dick) and was dead embarassed about it. I would NEVER post something like that about anyone, but I can't take his double standards anyone. Hi Neil what about putting details about your perineres up on this site, so others can learn from your own experiences?? afer all as you say you have no objection for your records to be posted, how come you were so sensitive about your bent dick when I was going out with you then??

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  74. rach: I can assure you I have never been out with a politics student. I was single 3 years ago. As for medical records - the point I was making was if I had agreed for them to be shared with medical science and then tried to remove that permission after they had spent considerable resources advancing cancer research with them, I think they would be perfectly entitled to say no. That was the point I was making.

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  75. Neil,
    You don't fool me. I would reconise your crass stupid comments and your style of writing anywhere. "miserable bitch" was always a classic phrase of yours- your exact words when despite your efforts to put me down I graduated with a first - some boyfriend eh? remember? Although busy I have gone through your comments and the story you are commenting on. The BMJ article quoted in the thread is not as you say only avaiable to those who pay for it- it is avaiable to anyone with an athens account free ie all students/ academics etc etc. I have pasted it below. it does not say that the doctor agreeed to share her data and then removed permission nor does the channel 4 news report posted on the thread. where does it say the dr was "dismissed" for "disrupting her employers work" as you claim? presumably you made that up too? Have YOU actually read the BMJ article yourself - guess not, just happy to give your ignorant comments anyway eh?you also say that although the court made a ruling in her favour she was morally wrong. - so you know more than the judges? I pity you Neil for your continuing ignorance as a person. You have always been the type to put people down (such as calling me a "miserable bitch" when I got a first) and calling Terrance a "miserable shit" when he got selected for Chelsea under 16 football and now putting this doctor down, who won without lawyers as the BMJ article says. Reason? because you are a failure in life, and can't succeed at anything, even your anantomy is not right where it matters. So you try and get your "points" by attacking others. I am so glad i dumped you. I note on this thread others have asked for you to put your medical records up on this site. I absolutely challege you to put your details of your perineres disease up.
    Finally Neil, a piece of advice if you want to get anywhere in politics, learn look at the issues rather than getting into playground abuse. Iwas shocked by this and other stories where our data is being abused/lost/given to commercial organisations/sent to the wrong address. We all have a right to have our private details kept private. That is the issue in question, and the issue which you should be taking up.



    BMJ 2008;336:63 (12 January), doi:10.1136/bmj.39454.502049.DB

    News
    Whistleblower who was excluded from work for five years wins apology
    Clare Dyer, legal correspondent, BMJ

    A junior doctor who was excluded from work for five years after she objected to the inclusion of patients’ medical records, including her own, on research databases without consent has received an unreserved apology from her employers in the High Court.

    Named only as Dr Z to preserve her anonymity, she is subject to a gagging order and cannot discuss her case. However, the BMJ understands that she will not return to her job but has accepted compensation for the false allegations made against her and for the blight on her career.

    Acting without a lawyer, she brought a libel action against her employers, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust, and the East of England Strategic Health Authority, which hosted her training scheme.

    Damian Brown, for the trust and the authority, said in a statement in open court that Dr Z, whom he described as "a talented young doctor," had at an early age had a serious life threatening condition that attracted much research interest. She wanted the details kept private.

    However, her medical details were disseminated for research purposes to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and from there to personnel involved in her employment. Despite withholding her consent she was subjected to "uninvited, intrusive, and upsetting" phone calls from unknown researchers. She was also concerned that during her employment she and colleagues were expected to take part in research that used patients’ data without the patients’ consent.

    In August 2002 she was referred to an occupational health consultant. As a result of communications arising from that referral she was put on special leave from her employment.

    In September 2006 her employment contract came to an end and was not extended. She applied to the High Court and won a temporary injunction stopping the primary care trust from terminating her employment.

    Mr Brown said that the trust and the health authority wished to make it clear that their suggestion that her fitness to practise was an issue was "groundless and unfounded." They unreservedly withdrew any suggestion that she was a candidate for referral to the General Medical Council.

    They also accepted that accusations that she had given a false name and address to her doctor and had falsified sick notes were untrue. Despite a previous statement by the trust that it was "not possible" that her records were held in the research database, the trust acknowledged that her records were held there.

    The trust and the authority admitted that they were misled by a third party, who had now apologised, and should not have placed Dr Z on special leave. They acknowledged that she had had "a long and distressing battle to preserve her medical privacy" and said that future employers should not regard the time she spent on special leave as "in any way a stain on [her] character or professionalism."

    Dr Z said in a statement: "I raised concerns relating to unethical research practices which threatened patient confidentiality and were being conducted in breach of the law. I was then excluded from work for a period of five years, on the basis of allegations which the trust now concedes were groundless.

    "After six years of medical training and several years working long hours as a junior doctor and dedicating myself to the health service, medicine was my life. Being excluded from work for five years has curtailed my promising career and caused absolute devastation to both my professional and personal life and to my family."

    Peter Wilmshurst, a consultant cardiologist who advises whistleblowers, said, "The experience of this doctor shows that promises to protect NHS whistleblowers are hollow. Those who express concerns about ethical matters can still expect to have false allegations levelled against them, to be excluded from work, and to have little or no support from defence organisations or trade unions.

    "We need answers to questions. Are the bodies involved now complying with the Data Protection Act? How many millions of pounds were spent in legal costs unsuccessfully defending the actions brought by this junior doctor and in complying with the instructions of the courts to delete computer records and destroy documents? Are the senior managers and senior doctors who failed to resolve this matter at an early stage being asked to account for their actions?"

    A spokesman for the SHA said: "NHS East of England follows the national framework concerning the use of patient records for research purposes".


    Rapid Responses:
    Read all Rapid Responses

    Dr Z Case may disqualify GMC from Revalidation
    Andrew J Ashworth
    bmj.com, 22 Jan 2008 [Full text]
    Does the organisation have a memory?
    Peter Gooderham
    bmj.com, 15 Jan 2008 [Full text]
    Will the paternalistic attitude of Doctors ever Change?

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  76. Rach: Some people might like to think that I am a stalker with a wonky willy, lol, whatever.

    We all make comments in haste but I stand by what I said on this case (although I should have used less intemperate language), this woman clearly made a rod for her own back - employers do not want to sack good employees. To clarify, I was not suggesting all medical records should be made public (society is not ready for that, as your immature comments demonstrate). I tend to think that it is the asymetry of someone having info and others not that is the problem, not a reduction in privacy. That is my view, you clearly do not like that view.

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  77. Neil - do you know this Rach woman or not? You don't sound very sure?

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  78. Urko: I refer you to my last comment on this. I do not know this woman - but people do not get the sack for nothing - I can read between the lines on this case.

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  79. Yes, as usual, you know better than the courts, the woman herself; in fact anyone.

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  80. Urko: It's my opinion, maybe I am wrong, but I feel I am probably right. Past experience sometimes gives you a feel for these things. She won in the courts and got herself a load of dosh - well done to her!

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  81. Yes, as usual, you know better than the courts, the woman herself; in fact anyone.

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  82. I'm entitled to my opinion - if you haven't got an opinion what is the point of writing a blog? I don't think you have any more evidence to support your idealistic view that this woman was a saint.

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  83. Urko: I have written nearly a million words on around 70 different subjects - and you have severely disagreed with me on several subjects and agreed on a couple. Hardly surprising really. On the blogosphere people are much more likely to comment when they disagree than agree - so I don't think I am doing too badly. I put across my opinions on pretty much everything in the strongest possible terms, sometimes I have changed my mind, sometimes altered my view slightly and sometimes stuck to my guns. This to me is the purpose of blogging, test your ideas out and alter them if needby. I think when it comes to stubbornness, I am less stubborn than most.

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  84. I never said the woman was a saint or what you called her. I just think on the balance of probabilities that having been able to convince a court that she'd been treated unfairly, she had a point.

    As for idealistic - that would be someone who claims "you don't get sacked for nothing" - sadly people do; and as for a test of stubbornness, I'd want a slightly more objective view before forming an opinion on the truth or otherwise of that.

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  85. Urko: There is always a reason why someone is sacked - not always fair - but a reason. In the type of job this woman did, she must have pissed her employers off pretty badly to be given the push. Reading between the lines - you can see how she did it - not only having long periods off work (however legitimately) but also insisting on ruining an expensive research project.

    Anyway, we are not going to agree on this. You have your views and I have mine - just because she persuaded a court doesn't mean she was in the right.

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  86. Just because you have no respect for her (or anyone else's) right to privacy (or any court ruling you happen to disagree with) doesn't make her wrong, either.

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  87. Urko: Perhaps. I said what I thought on the subject, who knows what the truth really is.

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  88. Urko: I admit I have a more blase attitude to privacy than you. Yes, in some cases privacy is legitimate and understandable but I think CCTV has proved it is over-rated and built mostly on fear of what others will think - when frankly most people have no interest whatsoever as long as everybody is treated equally. It is when it is asymetrical there is a problem.

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  89. Like ID cards, CCTV has dubious value, though. It's unknowable how much crime it stops, but it doesn't stop it altogether,any more than speed cameras eliminate speeding.

    Of course once drunken yobs have kicked someone's head in, there's a better chance of finding out who they are and proving the case if you have high quality video of it - but it doesn't stop it actually happening, so whilst I'm neutral on the invasion of privacy aspects of CCTV, I am sure it's been oversold in terms of the benefits.

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  90. Urko: "CCTV has dubious value" - you guys are living on another planet! Private businesses and shopowners do not install CCTV for fun, Crimewatch does exist, people campaign for CCTV in their areas. This is not made up.

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  91. Urko,

    I really wouldn't waste time on Neil. Take it from me, his ex. (see my previous posts). The point is Neil Makes things up and has the ability to state them as fact , misleading everyone. He does this because he does not have the ability or intelligence to form an argment on facts, and reeps popularity from claiming he knows inside information on all aspects. I came back to this posting today, but won't bother anymore. I find it repulsive that he claims not to know his own ex. Why? because he wants to disociate himself from the truth about himself from someone who knows him so well.... and he he appears to have blocked me from posting withmy name/password- so much for discussion!!
    Rach

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  92. Urko,

    I really wouldn't waste time on Neil. Take it from me, his ex. (see my previous posts). The point is Neil Makes things up and has the ability to state them as fact , misleading everyone. He does this because he does not have the ability or intelligence to form an argment on facts, and reeps popularity from claiming he knows inside information on all aspects. I came back to this posting today, but won't bother anymore. I find it repulsive that he claims not to know his own ex. Why? because he wants to disociate himself from the truth about himself from someone who knows him so well.

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  93. It seems I have my first troll. Anon: I have not blocked anyone from this site - for a start I wouldn't know how to, but unlike you, I believe in honest debate and freedom of speech. Anyway, carry on, whatever makes you happy, I suppose.

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  94. Private businesses and shopowners do not install CCTV for fun
    I never said they did.


    Crimewatch does exist
    And every episode includes footage of unidentified villians up to no good - proof positive that CCTV doesn't stop crime.

    people campaign for CCTV in their areas. This is not made up.
    People Vote Tory and campaign for the Tories - what's your point?

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  95. Urko: CCTV is ubiquitous and people seem to like it. You are in a very small minority and I really don't see what your objection is. Do you really dispute that CCTV is useful in the fight against crime?

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  96. CCTV can be useful in identifying offenders and providing evidence, but just like speed cameras. it doesn't seem to be a real deterrent, so it is (sometimes) good for dealing with crime that has happened, but not much use for preventing it. You pointed out yourself that Crimewatch has plenty of footage of crimes - quite plainly if CCTV prevented crime there wouldn't be any to show.

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  97. Urko - "quite plainly if CCTV prevented crime there wouldn't be any to show".

    CCTV is not a panacea, but the evidence does suggest that crime is reduced where they install CCTV, which is why local neighbourhoods campaign for it. If there are problems with CCTV it is usually because of poor positioning, lack of publicity or poor quality of pictures, not because CCTV isn't useful.

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  98. Traditional CCTV, with some bored mug sitting at the other end watching the pictures, doesn't bother me at all. Its effectiveness has been massively oversold but it doesn't threaten anyone's liberty directly. Though if it were used as an excuse to ban the wearing of the veil in public, that would be an outrageous attack on personal liberty and civil society.

    If it were ever possible to identify someone reliably by software reading their facial characteristics, and that information were logged, then that would be the point at which I would say NO!

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  99. What a laugh, Neil. Do you ever read the links you post? Not for the first time your link directs me to people who are saying exactly what I've been saying!

    From your link:-

    A report by the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Nacro) which was based on Home Office research, revealed that of 24 studies carried out in city centres, only 13 showed crime had fallen since CCTV cameras were installed.

    Crime rates rose significantly in four other cities.

    Rachel Armitage, of Nacro's crime and social policy unit, said the cameras' effectiveness is often "over-stated".

    That conclusion was also borne out by a four-year study of CCTV in Glasgow.

    The Scottish Centre for Criminology concluded in 1999 that the powers of the cameras had been "over-hyped as a "magic bullet cure".

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  100. Urko: You are not really understanding how statistics should be interpreted are you?

    A rise in crime in some areas does not necessarily mean the cameras have not worked (the overall effect however was a drop in crime). There are a myriad of factors (e.g. in which direction crime was moving anyway etc). So CCTV may have made crime rise less than it would have. The case for CCTV may have been overhyped - but it still works, which is why so many communities want it. NACRO have a bit of an axe to grind anyway about cameras.

    Of course CCTV is not a 'magic bullet', I never said it was, just a 'useful tool' in reducing crime. We both agree that CCTV helps catch criminals (Johann Hari sums up my position perfectly here). If you can catch criminals easier - most would admit that would have at least some deterrent effect.

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  101. Your sneering at my ability to understand statistics is hilarious.

    That aside, may I remind you that the point was you claimed "but the evidence does suggest that crime is reduced where they install CCTV" This claim was "supported" by a link to a story on the BBC website which gives a balanced account showing that the evidence is contradictory at best.

    As for your utterly slippery politicians interprettation that a fall in the rate of increase is the same as a fall - that is proof positive that you're so incapable of seeing the truth that you've started to believe your own lies and spin. I know that anyway, from your slippery weasel words about Blair, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

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