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Work On ContactPoint Kids Database Stopped After Flaws Unearthed

The British government is facing a very embarrassing setback as IT specialists wrestle to fix security vulnerabilities that have grounded a database that is designed to store information on every youth in the country.

The ContactPoint database was setup after the death of Victoria Climbie at a cost of #224 million and contains the name, address, gender, date of birth and a unique ID number for all children and teenager aged under 18 in England, as well as details of their parents, school and doctors' surgery.

Details of more than 11 million children are expected to be stored on it but according to sources, work has temporarily stopped as local authority staff found out that a critical feature that allowed details of vulnerable children to be shielded hasn't been implemented.

The system apparently created a duplicate of the records instead of hiding some details. This issue could be affecting up to 55,000 children and a spokesperson for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has confirmed that no child's records would be uploaded while the problems remains.

Details of this latest failure come after the publication of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust report yesterday which lambasted databases maintained by the British government. The document singled out ContactPoint as being one of the systems identified as being fundamentally flawed and illegal under

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Our Comments

Some say that the problem with Databases in the United Kingdom is systemic. The need for Contactpoint arose from a genuine concern; that of making sure that there is no second Victoria Climbie. Unfortunately, as it is so often the case with the public sector, it seems that there has been a mix up between doing the right things and doing things right.

Related Links

ContactPoint’s failure is a symptom of a wider disease (opens in new tab)

(Times Online)

At risk from the registers? (opens in new tab)

(Guardian)

Security flaws halt work on ContactPoint child database (opens in new tab)

(Times Online)

Controversial ContactPoint database delayed again amid new security fears (opens in new tab)

(Telegraph)

Work stops on £224m kids' database after security flaws found (opens in new tab)

(Silicon)

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.