Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom Watson: Doublethink is doubleplusgood

Rather amusingly, there is an Early Day Motion that has been tabled by Tom Watson, that, on the face of it, could be considered to be quite worrying, it states,
That this House notes with serious concern that the pages of the NHS Choices website allows third-party advertising and tracking companies, including Google and Facebook, to track people's internet browsing habits; believes that it is inappropriate for advertising and social networking companies to observe what an individual is viewing on a Government website that deals with sensitive medical information; further notes that the sharing of personal data of its users with companies outside the European Economic Area and with for-profit advertising companies may render the NHS in breach of its data protection obligations to the Information Commissioner's Office; and calls on the Department of Health to review its policy to ensure the privacy of all users of its websites is protected.
Tom did make a rather amusing point about genital warts -a strange choice but then maybe he knows a rumour about another Honourable Member and he's alluding to that in a subtle way?

Anyway, he noted in Parliament,

Imagine for example, if you or a close colleague had an embarrassing ailment, say genital warts. The current settings of the site allow third party applications to know that you have visited the part of the NHS site that lets you know how to treat genital warts.
He also wrote a letter to Andrew Lansley about it the other day.

Now, could this be the same Tom Watson who, in 2008, bigged up NHS Choices because it was a shining example of using technology to gain customer insights?

Could this also be the same NHS Choices that, back in 2007 after it was launched and ever-since, has been using the very same "third-party tracking" system hosted outside the EEA ( that today is of massive concern to Tom?

Why yes it is!

Don't get me wrong here, Tom is making a salient point. However the issue didn't seem to bother him when he was in Government and the site was launched.

Funny how Opposition makes politician engage in blatant doublethink init?

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