Concern for Vast Social Services Database on the City’s Neediest

June 17, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — New York City has spent the past 18 months developing a database on four million residents, most of them the city’s neediest, which officials say will enhance social services but which advocates for the poor say could put their privacy at risk.  Using data-sharing concepts developed by the Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies, the database links together vast amounts of information gathered by city agencies that previously maintained their files separately.  Now, workers in an array of city departments will have access to information about nearly half of the city’s residents, including welfare and food stamp payments, child care vouchers, and records of Medicaid enrollment and stays in public housing and shelters, among other kinds of social service records.

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