In the Bible people’s details are recorded a number of times. In the Old Testament we read about censuses, some to establish the number of the people of Israel, others for determining the number of men eligible for military service. Solomon even undertook a census of the number of foreigners in the land for the purpose of allocating labour. This was a very different world – no reference to data protection regulations, there are no ‘opt out’ tick boxes and no record of canvassers harassing people for donations.
Today data is recognised as a very valuable commodity. It is necessary for wise allocation of government resources such as adequate health and education facilities but it can also be misused leading to identity theft or the targeting of particular segments of society who could be termed vulnerable.