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About Phil Booth

Phil Booth co-ordinates medConfidential - campaigning for medical data privacy. For more on how the changes will affect your medical records, visit medConfidential’s ongoing ‘masterclass’ blog series. 

Articles by Phil Booth

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

What does the government know about you - and have they got it right?

Personal data is now used not only to deliver but to deny services, so it's more important than ever to check what's on your records. Here's how.

Is the government telling us the truth about GDPR and our NHS medical data?

If you want to make sure your medical data isn’t shared with third parties for unknown purposes, you may need to take action now. Here’s why – and how.

Why BigData is running roughshod over the NHS - and what to do about it

The NHS is being treated as both a 'cash cow' and a 'data cow', a string of recent scandals suggest. And now there's another privacy-bashing tech bonanza on the way, as ID cards rise from the ashes of Brexit policy. is dead - long live

Whilst the 'brand' has collapsed, the widespread sharing of your data looks set to expand - and not just in health.

Your medical data - on sale for a pound

The arbitrary resetting of people’s ‘privacy settings’ is a behaviour one might expect of Facebook, not the NHS.

We must stop Clause 152

Phil Booth of NO2ID responds to Anthony Barnett and Henry Porter's call for suggestions as to 'what next' in the wake of the Convention on Modern Liberty...  

Please write NOW to your MP - is a single
click away - telling him or her that you *refuse your consent* to the
arbitrary sharing of your information under any ‘Information Sharing
Order’ and that you want him or her to vote to have Clause 152 of the
Coroners and Justice Bill (currently being debated in Parliament)
*completely removed* from the Bill.

If you care about our fundamental rights and freedoms, the time to act is now - before we lose yet another one!

For those who don’t have time to read Clause 152, it would enable
any Minister by order to be able to take any information gathered for
one purpose - across the public and private sector - and use it for any
other purpose.

All by itself, it is more dangerous than the entire Identity Cards
Act - it literally provides the powers to build the Database State.

Please write to your MP *now* - and tell everyone you know about Clause 152, and ask them to write to their MP too. - “I refuse to consent, stop Clause 152″

We CAN stop this. Over to you…

Privacy: This is a 'Magna Carta moment'

Phil Booth (London, NO2ID): At a conference in Manchester organised by the Information Commissioner twelve months ago, NO2ID raised a wry smile from delegates by handing out pairs of (blank) CDs marked 'HMRC'. A year on, it is no joking matter that so little has been done by the government to address the systemic and policy failures - and internal culture - that led to the worst data breach in UK history.

In fact, government data breaches are on the rise - a 77 per cent increase so far this year - and almost every branch of government is involved: the Home Office, MoD, NHS, DWP, HMRC again (repeatedly), the list goes on and on. Every week there is another story of more people's personal details being mislaid, citizens put at risk by a government that not only can't protect them but which doesn't seem particularly bothered to do so. The scale of the problem 12 months on is so great that the Information Commissioner himself has quipped that his office is being used like a confessional.

The stalker state

Phil Booth (London, NO2ID): The mainstream media has finally woken up to the dangers of the government's proposed Communications Data database – the detail of which openDemocracy published back in August.

As National Coordinator of NO2ID I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies. But this hardly includes the thin sugar-coating on the Home Secretary's speech last week when she described her promised 'consultation' on the Communications Data Bill. Hers was a transparent attempt to misdirect the argument.

The government says it won't be storing the content of your telephone or internet use, as if that makes it all right. It is however proposing to record – for life – the details of everyone you call or write to and what websites you visit.

Do you want the State (which in the UK means a large and growing number who can gain access to its systems) to have a record of your religious and political interests, your sexual curiosities, your financial and medical worries, your wider (or narrower) concerns and your special relationships; not to mention a trace of what it reckons ‘you’ have done on your computer even when it is done by someone else? You don’t?

The secret silo for your family's data

Those who question the 'database state' are often accused of alarmism. But what if we were to report that a recent series of announcements show that the government is already spending millions on a vast database that will retain digital copies of all variety of tracking and information about the whole population, our phone calls, bank accounts, commercial records as well as personal ones, and that it is creating the authority and powers which allow it to do this by hiding behind EU regulations which it has inspired, to impliment them without a parliamentary debate? Now read on:

Phil Booth (London, NO2ID): Back when Charles Clarke was Home Secretary, not long after the London tube bombings, he pushed EU justice ministers to massively increase communications data retention powers. Terrorism was, of course, at the forefront of everyone's minds - and frequently referred to by Mr Clarke in his championing of mass surveillance. Other countries such as Germany did not see the need for such wholesale interception of personal phone, text, e-mail and internet usage data. They were overruled.

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