The Dutch goverment plans to consolidate all information about its citizens in a centralized database. Introduced as a tool to help to identify troubled children, the database is scheduled to start collecting information of all newborn children in the Netherlands from January 1. 2007 on. Each file is to contain data about health, family background, education and also police records. The children will be assigned a 'Citizens Service Number' which basically is a unique identifier that allows to link all government data on one person together.
Germany and Austria who both are building elaborate electronic documentation systems covering citizens life events ranging from unemployment over healtcare to education to date strongly rejected the idea of centralizing data when asked about this possibility. Both countries also plan to introduce a unique identification number similar to the 'Citizens Service Number', but rather advertise it as a tool to rationalize taxation processes.
I remains to be seen if these governments will uphold their reservations against centralizing citizen data in the face of strong technological and even stronger economic incentives to do so. The same holds true for the potential to use this data for profiling citizens.