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Keep Civil Servant Details Private

Comment 5th August 2010

The Conservatives pledged to publish the job titles for every member of staff in the Civil Service, and presumably all other public bodies.

http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/989851/Tories-will-force-civil-servants-disclose-full-details-lobbying-meetings/

This is dangerous.

And a massive breech of privacy.

There are good arguments for publishing some details of top staff, who suggest top level policies and brief Ministers, but 99% do not have this level of influence. Some have good reason for being selective about who they give their details to. A cousin of mine works for a Policing body. If her children's classmates knew that they would be beaten up regularly. Her car would be vandalised or sabotaged. If it were known that her husband has access to senstive data he would be a target for terrorists and organised crime. Most people have one or two dodgy relatives, some might be tempted to ask for favours. Neither my cousin or her husband are influential (or rich) so it is difficult to see what publshing their details would achieve. And publishing their grades would tell the whole world what salary they are on. From there it is a small step to putting peoples bank details on line.

By the way, their employer does not allow out-of-office phone messages, because that would make it easy for naughty people* to impersonate them while on holiday and exercise some Policing advantages or possibly hack their computers. Their neighbours know when they are on holiday, but not who they work for. These are genuine security and lifestyle issues. Redacting data would be unreliable and error prone.

Why does this matter?

Personal safety, child safety, banking security and employer security could all be compromised.

Most people do not have 24 hour armed security, and use discretion instead. Publishing organagrams will destroy that discretion.

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