Illegal databases "should be scrapped"

One in four government databases is illegal and should be scrapped or redesigned, a report has claimed.

Storing information leads to vulnerable people, such as young black men, single parents and children, being victimised says The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

The Trust claims the UK's "database state" wastes billions from the public purse and breaches human rights laws.

The government spends £16bn a year on databases and plans to spend a further £105bn on information technology (IT) projects over the next five years, according to the trust.

The UK government however, says the report contains "no substantive evidence" on which to base its conclusions.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the government was "never losing sight" of its obligations under the data protection and human rights acts.

"It takes its responsibilities seriously and will consider any concerns carefully, adapting existing safeguards where necessary," he added.

The report claims even the government does not know the precise number of the "thousands" of systems it operates. The trust examined 46 public sector systems and said 11 were "almost certainly" illegal under human rights or data protection laws.

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