Monday, March 23, 2009

Poland to create Orwellian centralized database?

In two year’s time a centralized data base will be created in Poland, with information about each Pole gathered from ministries, telecommunications and energy providers.

By 2011 a super database will collate information on how much Poles earn, what taxes they pay, are they insured, do they have criminal record and much more besides.

The Central Statistical Office will collect the data from ministries of finance, justice, interior and administration, as well as from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (KRUS), the National Health Fund (NFZ) and even the Polish National Fund for the Rehabilitation of Disabled People (PFRON).

According to initial plans, the statistical office is also to ask for information from local governments and even telecommunications and energy providers.

The construction of the database will help collate information which will form part of the new census which is to be taken in 2011. The census will be especially intrusive, say critics, with questions not just on age, education and employment but also on religious affiliation and even whether couples plan to have children in the future.

“These are practices from Orwell’s novels,” says Professor Michal Kulesza, while Adam Bodnar of the Helsinki Federation for Human Rights is concerned that the database could easily be abused by governments.

IT experts point say that large databases can be threatened by hacker attack and/or leaks.