spasmodicus wrote: I have come to believe that, although huge amounts of detailed personal information are held by various agencies in all countries, this information is not freely exchanged between them, if at all. The reason is not as one may have hoped because of citizen's rights to data protection, but because nearly all such government agencies are stupendously bureaucratic and obstructive and control the access to the data they hold as a way of preserving the status quo and their own jobs and power.
No doubt that is a factor within a country. Along with ancient computer systems that cannot easily talk to each other.
But internationally it becomes even harder as there is no consistent way of identifying someone across borders. in the UK the closest to a national identifier is your national insurance number, but no foreign country is going to know anything about that. In the US it is the social security number. Presumably Spain and the Ukraine have something similar. But how could those countries ever share data with each other when they can't even identify you as being the same person?
So every new application for something effectively starts from scratch each time, with the entity relying on the information that the individual gives them, right or wrong.