Could this happen here?
Government surveillance of all children, including information on whether they eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, will be condemned tomorrow as a Big Brother system. Changes being introduced since Victoria ClimbiÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©’s death from abuse include a Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£224 million database tracking all 12 million children in England and Wales from birth. The Government expects the programme to be operating within two years.
But critics say the electronic files will undermine family privacy and destroy the confidentiality of medical, social work and legal records.
Granted we are talking the UK and the socialized dynamic that’s a part and parcel of European society, but it stills sets a precedent which should be viewed with great caution.
Dr Eileen Munro, of the LSE, said that if a child caused concern by failing to make progress towards state targets, detailed information would be gathered. That would include subjective judgments such as “Is the parent providing a positive role model?”, as well as sensitive information such as a parent’s mental health.
“They include consuming five portions of fruit and veg a day, which I am baffled how they will measure,” she said. “The country is moving from ‘parents are free to bring children up as they think best as long as they are not abusive
or neglectful’ to a more coercive ‘parents must bring children up to conform to the state’s views of what is best’.”
When government tries to insert itself into personal lives and dictate behavior according to a “state” standard, it becomes a recipe for an interesting paradox — lose control while trying to impose control.
The irony is for all the good intentions, the remedy is often more harmful than the (perceived) problem.
Yes, there needs to be a mechanism for insuring that child abuse cases are readily addressed, but this approach doesn’t appear to be the answer needed.
How far along this path has society in the U.S. proceeded?
This entry was posted on Monday, June 26th, 2006 and is filed under In The News, Social Programs, The World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.