Data Misuse: Police to get access to medical records (2001)

In The Observer on  Sunday November 25 2001 it was reported that Police are to get access to medical records held in the UK. This is not just UK police, but police across the world!

Full Article is here, with an except shown below:

 

“Police forces across the world will get unrestricted access to medical records and bank details of Britons under radical powers granted by the new anti-terrorism Bill.

The new powers, which are set to receive their final approval in the House Of Commons tomorrow, have sparked the serious concern of health service regulators and furious opposition from the legal profession.

In an unprecedented move which critics say has ‘threatened to destroy doctor-patient confidentiality’ and ’swept away some of the last vestiges of privacy in the UK’, officials will be able to read NHS records and business details at will. Authorities will not have to establish that a criminal act may have occurred to gain access, as previous laws required.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, last week dismissed concerns over civil rights as the worries of ‘airy-fairy liberals’. The new powers, which the Government did not announce last week with the Bill’s other drastic measures, are introduced through a discreet appendix. In the Bill, ‘Clause 17′ makes it legal for police across the world to receive documents from public authorities whether they are relevant to a criminal investigation or not. The Bill lists documents covered by 53 different laws, the privacy of which was previously guaranteed. But they can now be read by police investigating any crime anywhere in the world.

Opposition groups have been enraged by the ‘blanket’ nature of the powers. Oliver Letwin, the Conservative Shadow Home Secretary, said: ‘It provides for disclosure of confidential information across an enormously wide range of government agencies. Even medical records could be disclosed. One of the more disturbing features is that the disclosure relates to any kind of criminal investigation no matter how slight.’”

 

 

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