Increasing Intrusiveness …

By Denise Best | Related entries in In The News, Social Programs, The World

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 Climbié’s death from abuse include a £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.

10 Responses to “Increasing Intrusiveness …”

  1. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    How far along this path has society in the U.S. proceeded?

    When the U.S. adopts a taxpayer-funded socialized health-care system.

  2. Kevin Says:

    I’m probably preaching to the choir here but I have to say it.

    This idea from the UK is absolute madness.

    There is no “normal” child. Especially when they’re young. What this will do is make parenting young children an even bigger pain in the ass than it already is.

    An example

    In the US, they recently had to revamp the growth charts for infants because the old ones were based on a sample of children that were mostly bottle-fed. Bottle-fed babies tend to be heavier in the first few months. What this meant is that nursing moms got a lot of shit from doctors about how underweight their children were, even though they were perfectly healthy.

    That was bad. Now what would happen in the UK, if you combined an error like those birth charts with a coercive law?

  3. reader_iam Says:

    Too far.

  4. Meredith Says:

    Bad idea.

    I doubt we will let that happen in the US. And, I disagree that universal health care for all will result in something like this happening (ahem . . . I’m looking at you Jimmy . . . .)

  5. reader_iam Says:

    As to your first question, Denise:

    Yes.

  6. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Its the Fat police. When most of the public’s health problems are caused by obesity, and the medical expenses are borne by the government, vices such as over-eating become a public health issue that the government has to solve.

    This is a direct result of the overburdened national socialist health care system in the UK.

  7. ascap_scab Says:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/14/human_rfid_implants/

    Feds approve human RFID implants

    Solution desperately seeking a problem

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a gimmick from Florida-based Applied Digital Solutions to chip people with RFID implants – previously confined to tracking animals – thereby making it easy to access their medical records, even when they cannot, or would rather not, cooperate.

    The tiny, passive RFID devices, called VeriChips, are injected under the hide. They do not contain the medical data in question, but instead store a unique ID number that is used to access records on a remote server maintained by Applied Digital, using a handheld reader. The chips are legal in numerous applications, but cannot be used as medical devices without FDA approval – which they now have got.

    And then there’s the question of access. Once you’ve got an implanted RFID chip, you necessarily lose control over the people who might wish to read it. You have a unique identifier that can be read without your knowledge. Thus there is nothing to prevent, say, businesses or government bureaux from surreptitiously reading one’s VeriChip, and correlating one’s ID number with their own set of criteria, hosted on their own remote servers, for whatever purposes their twisted bureaucratic minds can conceive.

  8. Brian in MA Says:

    Jimmy:

    Its the Fat police.

    I found that incredibly amusing for some reason. I can just imagine some British Watson-type inspector knocking on someone’s door and yelling “Fat Police! Here to investigate your child’s eating habits!”.

    In all seriousness, this is a bad idea. Nutrition for children falls to their parent or legal guardian, not the government. This sounds like a trip down communist road. First they tell your children what to eat, then if you don’t feed them “right”, the government bans you from having children. Welcome to The People’s Republic of Britain.
    Hopefully this assinine measure will see a sound defeat in Parliament.

    ascap_scab: Thats freaking scary. Who the hell passed THAT legislation? Your analysis appears correct, its a solution in need of a problem.

  9. XWL Says:

    Wasn’t this a Monty Python Routine?

    [Players, Michael Palin and John Cleese in police outfits, Graham Chapman dressed as a woman, Terry Jones dressed as a baby, in a comically huge crib]

    MP: Fat Police, we are here to inspect your child
    GC: He’s over there the bastard.
    JC: There’s no need to swear you silly cow.
    GC: I’m not swearing, he IS a bastard, I’m not even sure who his father is, I’m quite the popular gal you know.
    MP: Well that’s besides the point, we can’t help but notice your child is rather, how shall I put this politely, well, large.
    GC: No he isn’t.
    MP: Yes he is.
    GC: No, no he isn’t
    MP: Yes, I’d have to say as far as babies go his about the biggest one I’ve ever seen.
    GC: He’s just big boned.
    MP: He looks to be at least 8 stone, and last time I checked the regulation weight charts for infants, 8 stone is well beyond the acceptable upper limit.
    GC: Well, truth be told he’s not an infant.
    JC: How old is he, then?
    TJ: (taking his thumb out of his mouth, which till this point he had been sucking greedily)(in a low voice) I’m not an infant, I’m 34, and she’s not my mother, and I’m only slightly over 7 stone, for fat police you sure don’t know how to size up people’s weight very well (he then goes back to greedily sucking his thumb, adding cooing baby noises)

    Maybe I imagined the above, but I could have sworn it happened.

  10. Brian in MA Says:

    XML:

    Lancelot: “Fat Police! He’s Dead”
    Other Guy: “I’m not dead”
    Lancelot: “He’s fatally injured!”
    Other Guy: “It’s getting better!”

    … “A mere flesh wound.”

    Sorry for all the reminiscing. Monty Python was hilarious.

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