02/06/2006: "PI Licensing in the UK"
For the first time in histor Private Investigators will be licensed in the UK in 2006/2007
The whole industry is very happy with this, as am I, because it will demonstrate our professionalism.
I've also been discussing the benifits of licensing with other investigators. I kicked around this idea:-
With the onset of Licensing for Investigators, I’ve been thinking about the current position of the law on database information and the public.
The public tend to be concerned about their own private information being made available to anyone and the possible consequences – attackers etc finding them or robbing them and the annoyance of advertising to them through these channels (using public records and the phonebook to send out junk mail and telemarketing).
The government seem to be limiting the information, ex-directory phonebooks, DVLA information, NI information, and criminal records to a degree. So that the people who need to access this info for legitimate reasons can’t. The police don’t usually make it their job to oversee the distribution of information to these sources and to manage it, that’s left to the departments who currently hold the information. As far as my experience goes these departments are extremely reluctant to part with it due to fear of the data protection act and the concerns of the public as outlined above (it being misused by attackers or used for marketing).
I can’t help but think that the security industry should have a program to become a “data information manager” at the end of which the person can have access to the above databases and be legally bound to scrutinise the members of the public that should have access to such information. They would also manage access to the data themselves so as to give out only that required (i.e. using them to trace a new address of a family member and supplying only the new address).
This would ensure:-
1) Better use of the information of these databases, as the people who require it would be getting only that info they require and fairer scrutiny over access.
2) A database kept containing the information given to people who you’ve searched the databases on behalf of, so there’s records of who’s been supplied with what information. This would provide leads incase they misuse it.
3) The public would know who has access to these databases, perhaps keeping a public database of “data information managers”.
4) The people who need access to this information would get it to safeguard their businesses and person.
5) It would also limit the amount of misuse of these databases, as at the moment any attacker has a 60% chance of tracking someone down using the public databases to cause them harm and it would also limit the amount of marketing people are subjected to. I suppose the “data information manager” would have to verify the relationship of the customer to the person being sought (i.e. confirming they are a family member, employer or friend (living with them at a previous address).
Has anyone looked into an approach such as this? Has anything like this idea been brought up during talks with the government? Perhaps you should keep this in mind for after the success of licensing.
- The responces I recieved were generally agreeable, but at the moment the path of private investigator licensing has been decided on for the next few years at least so there is not much that can be done to change it.