The vast amount of data now being generated, and the impossibility of looking at it all, is, together with bureaucratic incompetence, the best guarantee we have that we’re not going to wake up one morning and find we are living in a version of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
True to an extent but the worry is that eventually when the state realises that the flaw in the system is the human element they will move towards more and more automated systems that can’t be bargained with, can’t be reasoned with and doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.*
Seriously though, the failures of major IT projects like the NHS database might be the one thing that prevents the implementation of the National Identity Register and if they don’t then I can guarantee that Britain will end up with one hell of a flawed database with people being misidentified as benefit cheats or fraudsters or in extreme cases terrorist suspects due to the incompetence of the data entry.
* The Terminator (1984)