The government has revealed that it will ‘rethink’ a proposed law that would allow departments to demand information on citizens from businesses or other agencies, and use it in ways for which it was not originally intended.
The clause in the Coroners and Justice Bill, currently under evaluation by Parliament, would allow government departments to impose ‘information-sharing orders’ on public and private sector organisations, at the request of a minister.
The only requirement would be that the information-sharing order was in the interest of any stated policy directive.
Many groups, from NO2ID to the BCS, have criticised the clause, arguing that it would effectively grant the government unfettered access to citizens’ private information.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice told reporters that justice secretary Jack Straw – who knows what it is like when your personal data falls into the wrong hands – has urged the cabinet to reconsider the clause.