Why your date of birth should be kept private.
Your date of birth is a personal and private piece of information. If you want to tell someone, obviously you can do so. But if you don't want people to know (maybe to pretend to your lover you are a few years older or younger than you are!) then where is the harm? Why should the State demand that your date of birth be displayed for all to see on an increasing range of official documents?
There is another reason why date of birth should be kept private. It is used as a security field for many types of banking and share dealing and other 'secure' websites, and can also help get past the minimal security of Benefits Agency and similar bodies. This is because it is usually one set of numbers that most people can remember! It should therefore NOT be prominently displayed on every prescription you get from your doctor (which could be read by an inquisitive neighbour working in the local Chemist shop), on open access library computer screens (many of which can be read by passers by) and certainly not on driving licences and (as is proposed) on identity cards.
Many years ago there was an outcry from women about date of birth being included on driving licences. As a fudge, the government of the day promised to scramble the data - and it did so in a way that any schoolboy could unscramble. Nothing has changed - governments still think they know what is best for us.
There are two good reasons why date of birth should not be displayed on official documents and in databases for all to see:
1. the information is your own property not that of the State
2. the information is (for good reasons) used in a wide range of security applications and should therefore be kept as private to you as possible.
back to top of section
back to home page