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UK Government Plans 10-Year Database of Citizens' Travel

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the always-on-vacation-in-oceania dept.

Privacy 289

moderators_are_w*nke writes "The UK government is planning yet another database to track its citizens, this time keeping track of their movements in and out of the country for ten years. Just like all their other databases, this one 'is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and [of course] terrorism.'" I'd be very surprised if the US is not already doing this, and just not making a point to let anyone know.

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Police State (5, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780893)

I'm sick of hearing that we, here in the UK, are 'marching toward' a Police State (I think we essentially have one, it's just being applied in a low-key and selective manner at the moment). May I make an appeal that we can all agree that the bunch of ex-communist sympathisers who rule the country at the moment, at least WANT a police state?

Then perhaps we can move forward instead of repeating the self-defeating 'walking toward' mantra.

Re:Police State (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26780933)

If Wikipedia's definition of a police state is accurate, the fact it's applied "in a low-key and selective manner" really does mean "marching toward" rather than "having arrived".

We can only hope that the western world, having known freedom, will revolt while they still have enough of that freedom left to effectively do so. Not saying that time is now, but if the governments keep heading in the direction they are, it's only a matter of time.

Ideally, one would vote the nations out of these issues instead. But if all the parties are caught up in the hysteria, what's there left to do.

Re:Police State (1, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781337)

>>>We can only hope that the western world, having known freedom, will revolt while they still have enough of that freedom left to effectively do so.

Dear British Cousins,

If this law to track citizens' movement were passed in America, we would exercise our second amendment rights. We would tell our parliamentarians: Real this law or die. Government is there to SERVE the people, not to be a master. Politicians who desire to be masters need to be "fired" by their employers, the People.

A concerned liberty-loving citizen

Re:Police State (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781361)

How's that working out for you?

The US already does much of the stuff the UK does. You have free speech zones, warrantless wiretaps, your homeland security theatre...

The US public is too complacent to revolt, and too "patriotic".

Re:Police State (4, Insightful)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781399)

If this law to track citizens' movement were passed in America, we would exercise our second amendment rights

I hear this sort of thing a lot from Americans, but it really isn't borne out by the evidence.

Re:Police State (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781531)

Tell me when the British people sit by when it is discovered that our government has been illegally and secretly spying on its own citizens. Right about then you'll have shown us to be just as spineless in the face of the police state as you are.

You can keep polishing your rifle while dreaming about storming the capital building, but frankly with their 3 million military personnel I doubt you'll have them quaking in their boots.

Re:Police State (5, Insightful)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781601)

If this law to track citizens' movement were passed in America, we would exercise our second amendment rights. We would tell our parliamentarians: Real this law or die. Government is there to SERVE the people, not to be a master. Politicians who desire to be masters need to be "fired" by their employers, the People.

I wish Americans had the testicular fortitude to do this. Unfortunately since, idk, the civil war we have been pretty trusting of government (even if we talk a lot of smack about Washington and politics). In fact, not only are we not willing to give an ultimatum to the Federal government, we keep electing politicians who ensure more of the same (albeit in different trappings sometimes). The only way something like this would ever happen is if the economy when to complete shit and you had large numbers of people (> say 30%) unemployed and the rest unable to live in any sort of comfort. Americans are just too comfortable to make real change.

Very sad (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780941)

It's sad that people actually think even the UK is a police state, they obviously have not read much about what being in a real police state is like, or travelled to some truly controlled parts of the world (like Zimbabwe, which I have been to).

It cheapens the term when you abuse it like that.

Re:Very sad (5, Insightful)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780973)

It's sad that people actually think even the UK is a police state, they obviously have not read much about what being in a real police state is like, or travelled to some truly controlled parts of the world (like Zimbabwe, which I have been to)

SuperKendall, why do you buy into this argument? I see it a lot on Slashdot, and everywhere else I go!

It goes like this:
"X is bad."
"Y is worse than X, X isn't bad at all."

The fallacy here is that somehow, you could be the 2nd worse and that isn't a bad thing at all! While it might be true that the UK doesn't make people disappear (yet) it is also true that the UK is creating very powerful policing tools, and that once they do start making people disappear, it will be all too late, as George Orwell has warned us.

And don't even think for a second that our leaders are benevolent and immune to corruption.

Re:Very sad (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781005)

You got suckered. See, the trick here is to claim that location X is far worse than where-ever you are, so you shouldn't complain. While you're muttering on about the logical fallacy they're over there laughing that you actually believed have even left their home town. Zimbabwe is no more a "police state" than anywhere else. In many ways the people of Zimbabwe are more free than the people of China.. they're just poorer.

You know not of what you speak (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781153)

Zimbabwe is no more a "police state" than anywhere else.

I've been there asshole.

You can't take currency out of the country (illegal, you can be arrested). The protesters we take for granted here in the US would all be dead by now in Zimbabwe as speaking against the government there is not healthy. The price of basics like bred is controlled by the state (meaning of course there is none) and you will be arrested if you try to circumvent that.

Then of course there are the random armed checkpoints with soldiers set up to question you...

Try going there and then post your ignorant relativistic bullshit.

Re:You know not of what you speak (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781179)

This is a futile discussion - classifying all nations into 'police state' and 'not a police state' is oversimplifying a complex issue.

So you have seen Zimbabwe with your own eyes. Have you seen the UK also? If so, could you gauge in your own opinion how far from true freedom the UK is in the direction of Zimbabwe, and if it is truly headed for such a state.

Re:You know not of what you speak (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781563)

As a UK citizen i can honestly say we are not becoming a police state aka zimbabwae.

1:
out military do not run armed check points
2:
nobody has disappeared for critisizing the government.
3:
the current laws that are being abused were part of a terrorism act which is being inforced by stupid councils rather than police. This is being picked up on and dealt with in the usual slow way.
4:
the state of our police force and councils any data they store will probably appear on ebay within a week.
5:
The laws in question already exist in the USA.

Re:You know not of what you speak (3, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781215)

You're right. Some places really truly are worse than other places. Relativism is bullshit.

But I'm not sure where your argument is headed; Are you truly saying we shouldn't be concerned about the policies and the development in the UK, because there exists worse places on this planet ?

It sorta sounds like it, and that makes no sense at all.

If something is bad, then it remains BAD even if you can point to one (or many!) examples of things which are WORSE.

Re:You know not of what you speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781295)

Are you truly saying we shouldn't be concerned about the policies and the development in the UK, because there exists worse places on this planet ?

No, he isn't. He literally already spelled it out for you, that he isn't. He doesn't even criticize "being concerned". All he says is, that shouting "OH NOES! ITS ZE NAZI REGIME!" is a bit ridiculous.

Re:Very sad (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781011)

rather, people don't disappear in large numbers, yet. There are the occasionally reported cases of people being detained for periods of time widely considered unreasonable for criminal investigations.
Likewise, people aren't assaulted in large numbers. That doesn't mean the police limit themselves to levels of force widely held to be acceptable.

And then there's the participation in rendition programs that do nothing other than make people disappear.

Re:Very sad (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781189)

What worries me is that all the tools of a police state are there, but not employed yet. The government have powers of arbitrary detention, suppression of public protest, suppression of publication, and so on. They haven't been used to any great degree yet - probably because the civil society we spent centuries developing has a certain inertia to it - but having such laws on the books at all is tempting fate.

Re:Very sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781539)

David Kelly disappeared himself.

Re:Very sad (2, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781087)

SuperKendall, why do you buy into this argument? I see it a lot on Slashdot, and everywhere else I go!

It goes like this:
"X is bad."
"Y is worse than X, X isn't bad at all."

His argument was actually "It's not a police state, calling it that weakens the criticism." Which I think is valid. Saying "The government keeps a log of when I leave the country... POLICE STATE BIG BROTHER!!!" is somewhat overstating it. I know I roll my eyes when I hear that term, because it gets thrown around so often. It immediately reduced my interest in this issue.

It seems to just be cynicism trying to pass itself off as wisdom. "I knew this would happen, after all, we do live in a police state." It just sounds like arrogance to me. I'm not impressed, we don't live in a police state, quit being overly dramatic. There is work to be done, but not on /.

You demean those who have suffered before (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781089)

SuperKendall, why do you buy into this argument?

I don't "buy into" anything. I merely mean to protect the meaning of a phrase.

You see, literally millions of people have died in real police states. Not been inconvenienced, or had some privacy stripped from them (though that of course happened to). I am talking about actual lives lost.

That's pretty much where I draw the line. As much as you might not like the governments attempt to keep a travel journal for you, it's hardly anything like a "Police State" Wake me when you are not in fact allowed to leave your own country, or your Slashdot post whining about the police state from your cozy home is met with imprisonment.

I am not saying some things that are being done should not be reversed, and are not good ideas. What I am saying is that to equate your "suffering" with those that have truly suffered at the hands of a police state is obscene, and you belittle them all.

I'm sorry if you can't see that, but if you keep watering down the word people will not realize when REAL problems occur as they'll have no way to describe them, just like the boy who cried wolf.

Re:You demean those who have suffered before (5, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781143)

People don't die as long as they play along.

The fact that people play along, doesn't change whether or not it's an orwellian police state.

Right now, we can at least agree that governments in Europe are quickly installing all the tools required for creating and maintining a police state/totalitarian dictatorship.

I think we should stop making more hammers, before the average citizens starts looking like nails.
I'm looking forward to when the EU gain the power, to declare a union wide state of emergency. When they get that power, it won't take many years before it's used.

Re:You demean those who have suffered before (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781175)

The German governemnt has had the power to create a nation-wide state of emergency since the 60s, and those were abused all the time, right? Right? Oh wait, they weren't. They were never used.

The fact that people play along, doesn't change whether or not it's an orwellian police state. The fact that it's actually not an orewellian police state by any sane definition of "orwellian" or "police state" does.

Re:You demean those who have suffered before (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781219)

Right now, we can at least agree that governments in Europe are quickly installing all the tools required for creating and maintining a police state/totalitarian dictatorship.

I don't agree though.

Some of the tools, sure. But it's no-where near stepping over that final line.

In fact I see nothing but backpedalling from most EU states to do anything to actually control citizens. Documentation is to me rather the opposite of control, or at least one with the lowest effect on citizens, and governments all over are giving up direct control (say police) in exchange for documentation (like, say speed cameras or the cameras they have all over London).

Those are not the tools of real oppression, but of annoying bureaucrats. They might nickel and time you to death with fees based on said information, but they will not really ever do anything to you. Now if you want to coin something like the phrase "Burostate" I am right there with you, but I am not willing to say it's anything like traditional police states for peril to the body that a real honest to goodness police state offers. It's bad but in a wholly different way. It's a kind of a loss of freedom but one leading to a very different destination.

Re:You demean those who have suffered before (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781253)

Those are not the tools of real oppression, but of annoying bureaucrats.

My take on communism, from the words of those who lived under it, was that annoying bureaucrats are quite capable of real oppression.

Re:You demean those who have suffered before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781277)

We're losing our right of privacy!

Europe has always had a lot of bureaucracy, governments will have to streamline how data is handled, to reduce costs.

Which will probably mean automating a lot of the handling, and make it more easily accessible.

So i guess we disagree, i do think we're implementing the tools totalitarian dicators dream of. I hope we manage to keep electing the right people.

Re:Very sad (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781363)

>>>It's sad that people actually think even the UK is a police state, they obviously have not read much about what being in a real police state is like, or travelled to some truly controlled parts of the world (like Zimbabwe)
>>>

Even if the devil gives you a palace in Hell and says, "Look how much better I treat you than those poor smucks without a roof and in the middle of the flames," the fact still remains: You are in a damn hot place. I'd rather live in a freedom-loving UK Paradise, than a lukewarm hell.

Re:Very sad (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780977)

I disagree.

People seem notoriously unable to recognise a police state when they are immersed in one.

On the other hand, I don't think there is a photofit image of a police state for easy identification. It's fallaciously to say, "Oh look, we aren't as bad as China/Iran/Zimbabwe, so we can't be a police state, every thing's fine."

Give an example (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781117)

People seem notoriously unable to recognise a police state when they are immersed in one.

Please give an example?

Through history it's been pretty clear when the police state arrives, because that's when the cleansing begins and freedom truly ends.

It's absurd to the look at the UK and say "those poor buggers are just like Zimbabwe or old Russia". It's offensive to those actually suffering day to day in those regimes.

And it's even more sad that I am being attacked because I have the temerity to point this out, that people think because I dislike the use of the term "Police State" I must of course agree with the concept of the government keeping secret records and so on. Well I don't, it's just that I have seen real suffering and dislike people pretending they are under the same thumb or even close. You can't claim that *I claim* that everything is fine simply because I object to you normalizing references to any oppressive government from Zimbabwe to the UK under the same umbrella. Everything is not fine, but you can't take away the ability to see just where you are on the scale either.

Re:Give an example (1, Troll)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781147)

Yeah, I can throw anecdotes around too.
But i'm not going to because I reject your relativist approach to this whole issue.

Re:Very sad (4, Interesting)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781019)

It's sad that people actually think even the UK is a police state, they obviously have not read much about what being in a real police state is like, or travelled to some truly controlled parts of the world (like Zimbabwe, which I have been to).

It cheapens the term when you abuse it like that.

Agreed

I live in the UK, and I'm rather appalled that people talk of our being or becoming a police state.

It seems to me some people are desperate to prove a police state exists in a nice safe (and entirely free) country so they can get all annoyed about it and not have to deal with the real ones, or the potential dangers of protesting an actual police state.

Last I checked people weren't being dragged from their beds in the night and improsioned/shot/beaten, and we have a legal system which apportions everyone legal rights that the police cannot avoid. I can't be bothered to refute this any more though, its too nonsensical for that.

Re:Very sad (3, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781197)

Muslims do get raided like that, although it is not widespread yet. These things happen in degrees - we are not at totalitarianism yet but we are displaying some characteristics of it, and that in itself is wrong.

police state? - been there! (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781061)

Yup, I've been to iron-curtain countries (when there was still a "proper" iron curtain). Most citizens were wary of the police and would scatter whenever they showed up, even if they had done nothing wrong themselves. Otherwise they would keep their noses clean and do whatever they could to keep out of the way of the law. Foreigners (like me) were basically told to do the same - be calm & courteous, offer documents and ID whenever approached and otherwise keep out of their way. Oh, yes: don't go around photographing official buildings or people - you'll get arrested.

This is exactly the same position that law-abiding UK citizens face every day, in their own country. If that isn't a measure of a police (run) state, then I can't say what is. Taking extreme examples of a failed state (e.g. Zimbabwe) as an example does not represent the everyday situation.

We're there already guys. It just crept up on us, slowly, and no-one noticed.

Re:police state? - been there! (2, Insightful)

Smuttley (126014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781163)

You run away from the Police when they show up? Do you get arrested for photographing offical buildings or people?

I've not been in the UK for just over a year but things must have changed an awful lot.

Re:police state? - been there! (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781225)

Depends on how you are dressed. If you have the temerity to wear a hoodie, a baseball cap, or the wrong colour skin, you are VERY wary around the police. The UK police are undermanned and under great pressure to produce 'results' - i.e. convictions - so they go for easy collars. Often this involves intimidating someone from a poor background into doing something, however minor, that could constitute resisting arrest or assaulting an officer, and stomping on them for it - despite the fact that the individual would've commited no crime were it not for being approached by the police.

Watch the film 'taking liberties' by the way - it shows two older ladies being accosted by the police for standing on a hill near a military base, with a camera crew.

Re:police state? - been there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781349)

Depends on how you are dressed. If you have the temerity to wear a hoodie, a baseball cap, or the wrong colour skin, you are VERY wary around the police.

Oh how I wish this had any basis in reality.

Re:police state? - been there! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781171)

This is exactly the same position that law-abiding UK citizens face every day, in their own country. If that isn't a measure of a police (run) state, then I can't say what is.

Come on, I've also been to the UK a number of times and I have to call you on this statement.

When have you ever seen ANYONE in, say London scatter when the police come? They are way more likely to give them lip. This is the country where disabling speed cameras is a national pasttime.

And as a serious photographer I've photographed the hell out of everything there without issue. There's the occasional overzealous guard that sometimes gives people trouble, but even if they go to jail that's usually found to be wrong and they get a full apology along with some remuneration.

Here's a hint - in a real police state, they were not wrong to arrest you for photographing because the state arrested you and the state is never wrong. That simply does not happen in the UK.

I've been to real police states too and the UK is nothing like them, nor even close.

Re:police state? - been there! (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781245)

Funny, I'm living in a police state at this very moment. You couldn't have something like this [belfasttelegraph.co.uk] here, and yet it exists in Britain.

I thought all this "we live in a functional fascist theocracy" insanity was supposed to go away when Bu$hitler left office?

Re:police state? - been there! (5, Informative)

Bertie (87778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781343)

Fear of the police? Not yet. Just the other day I read this in the Guardian:

"On the canal bridge just behind Kings Cross, a policeman took a huge snowball full in the face and - I couldn't quite believe this was happening - giggled delightedly (it must have really hurt). His three colleagues gathered snowballs and pelted the mob of school boys and girls, quite sensibly avoiding head shots (think of the lawsuits). But they were outnumbered and outgunned. And anyway, they were easy targets, these coppers in their fluorescent jackets. And the school children, those alleged dysfunctional products of our greed-obsessed, low-serotonin, broken-homed, intolerably lardy, TV-ruined society, were in a snowy wonderland where there was no school, no rules and nothing to worry about. I've never seen London secondary school kids look filled to the brim with such girlish glee. "See if you can knock his helmet off," I yelled at one girl (which probably made me an accessory to something but I don't care: the delirium is infectious) and she pitched a curve ball that would have hit had the copper not ducked."

Now, while I, like any right-thinking British citizen, am extremely worried about our government's incessant control-freakery, there is a huge amount of goodwill towards the police in this country, who for the most part have a history of being decent and even-handed. This is because they're an implement of the people, not of the state, and have always been operationally independent from the judiciary and the government. From time to time certain factions of society have their run-ins with them, but by and large they're seen as being "on our side". Sadly this is being steadily eroded by the current government, and at this rate it won't be long before people turn on them completely.

Re:Police State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781049)

Step 1: Ban use of creepy opera masks and words starting with letter 'V'
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Police State!

Re:Police State (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781387)

Make that Guy Fawkes masks.

Ironic that Hitler started this trend (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781059)

So ironic that Hitler started the concepts of monitoring citizens, being big brother and record keeping everything (with IBMs help).
So did the UK win? or has it turned itself into 1932 germany?

Re:Police State (1)

footnmouth (665025) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781079)

Agreed. I think the next step from a travel database will be a travel permit. Papers please!

Re:Police State (1, Interesting)

davro (539320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781137)

It not really a police state, more like an open prison where the police have more power than the citizens they are suppose to serve.

The police can carry guns, citizens cannot.
The police can break the laws of road safety, speeding, over taking.
The police can kill people without being prosecuted.
The police can stop and search you but you cannot stop and search them, i have meet some seriously dodgy police officers but you try getting them prosecuted

The government is full of idiots with a self serving agenda, thay are not accountable, and are ruled by the house of lords in other words you common vote counts for shit, at the last election more people did not vote than actually vote for are current government and nobody voted the "one eyed Scottish idiot" as prime minister.

Welcome to are open prison, and you really want to move here ffs.

You really want to bring you children up in a prison as you are living in one ruled by a bunch of idiots so what does this make us, England will not revolt as we are like the Americans idiots a bunch of spineless whelps that only care about feeding are addictions.

I feel sorry for the children aka "Emotional Void fillers" that are being dragged up into this mess, really can anyone consider them self a good parent if they are willing to bring a child into the mess of a world.

Re:Police State (2, Informative)

Bertie (87778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781371)

The police generally can't carry guns. And the whole reason why they neither have them nor want them is because that would give them powers that ordinary people don't have. There are armed response units which are called out for firearms-related incidents, but these guys spend most of their days sitting around doing nothing.

And of course, ordinary people can have guns if they want them. It's just strictly controlled.

Re:Police State (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781535)

And of course, ordinary people can have guns if they want them. It's just strictly controlled.

Sounds like the elections they used to have in the Soviet Union. They were strictly controlled too.

Re:Police State (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781607)

The police can carry guns, citizens cannot.

As an alternative do you prefer the idea that everyone may openly and freely carry weapons with no caveats? Or that no police officer regardless of training or position be allowed to carry a firearm? If the latter do you suggest that the police call for army support when dealing with an armed criminal or that we also remove the right of the armed forces to be armed?

The police can break the laws of road safety, speeding, over taking.

Again, do you propose that we remove these rules? Or remove the ability of any and all police (and also Ambulance and Firebrigade?) to use exceptions to these laws? Again if the latter do you propose that we have laws against speeding, but no method of catching the people that do it? Especially considering I doubt you would be in favour of mass CCTV, police using devices like Stingers that aren't publicly available or the mandatory numbering and insurance of vehicles.

nobody voted the "one eyed Scottish idiot" as prime minister.

The Prime Minister isn't a job for which a public election is held, he is chosen by the political party found to be dominant in a public election.


There are a multitude of issues with most facets of the United Kingdon, your post simply shows your inability to comprehend the complexity of the issues about which you blindly swing accusations. Sadly it is exactly this kind of display that leads many of the 'sheeple' (A phrase I am sure you enjoy) to think that those protesting against government or police action are all a bunch of idiots and loons.

Re:Police State (1, Flamebait)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781177)

Please don't try to make this a left-right issue; the Tories only ever oppose such plans to gain political traction. Much of the mentality of New Labour is inherited from their ideological forebearers in the Tory party.

The fact that a bunch of old trots and stalinists could so easily switch over to thatcherism to me shows a fundamental similarity; the cynical treatment of man as an economic machine, a belief in political and economic rationalism to the point of total dehumanisation, and a utopian vision that is used to justify any short-term oppression or inequality in the name of some glorious but forever distant future.

Re:Police State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781389)

The bunch of ex-communist sympathisers who rule the country

Thatcher: 'New Labour is my proudest achievement'

Thatcher: 'Britain is safe in Tony Blair's hands'

Blair squashed the Saudi corruption investigation. In who's watch did the Saudi deal take place - Thatcher's

Blair started piratising the NHS, something even Thatcher didn't do.

All the ID card stuff started with the last Conservative government. New Labour have just taken Tory policies and moved further to the right - witness no bail out for car workers but heaps of our money for the financial lot.

Enough said really.

Re:Police State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781497)

bunch of ex-communist sympathisers

The Labour party ceased to be left wing the moment Tony Blair took over. Using communism as a slur like that is childish, successive totalitarian regimes have already done enough to discredit the ideology without folk like you deliberately confusing it. Furthermore, I'd prefer communism to the corporate welfare system being foisted on us. There's a glorious mechanism at work whereby current market forces dictate businesses and fraudulent, unsustainable monetary systems should fail. Welcome to capitalism!

Immigrants (0, Flamebait)

johnsie (1158363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780897)

They need to concentrate on the non-citizens who are coming into the country, not the citizens who are traveling abroad. Just last week there were strikes because too many people are coming into the UK. The UK is already overcrowded and the government seems to be able to do very little to control the borders effectively. Allowing Workers to freely migrate within the EU was a big mistake and will drive wages down.

Re:Immigrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26780951)

Shoot them at the fucking border!

Re:Immigrants (5, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781001)

Great attitude dickhead. Perhaps other countries should take the same attitude towards expat Britons too. You realised 1 in 10 Britons live overseas? How about we start with the 761,000 (2006 numbers) who live in Spain, and send them home? That will surely help, or at least in Spain. Australia has 1.3 million, many of whom are retired and screwed by the British government on their pensions and so costing the Aussie taxpayers a lot of money... I'm sure Gordon Brown will be happy to raise taxes or government debt further to provide for them.

theres always a balance (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781313)

Im sure UK wouldnt want to import 30m africans yearly, first that would just be impossible to house and feed.

But if people truly wish their locals have more children, do the following;

1. have it easy to have a family with one parent working.
2. make larger houses cheaper, so we can have 5 kids.
3. stop promoting working careers to all girls, nothing wrong with 30% being mothers at 18.
4. bring back the 60s, let love be free, and 50% of all girls get pregnant.
5. Importing too many smart people from 3rd world countries hurts them more, they need to grow their own way too, they need their own smart people.

Bottom line, is balance, and not TOO much of X. You dont see 5million americans living in Japan do you?

Re:Immigrants (1)

cj1127 (1077329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781017)

Just last week there were strikes because too many people are coming into the UK

Incorrect. There were a series of wildcat strikes because we have a legacy of being fucked up the ass by trade unions who refuse to accept that UK labour is unwilling to adapt in order to become competitive (read: lazy). It was all over a grand total of 198 jobs. Wow.

The UK is already overcrowded

Care to back that up?

Re:Immigrants (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781047)

Just last week I had to stand up on the bus. ALL THE SEATS WERE OCCUPIED. Can you believe it?

Re:Immigrants (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781053)

Funny thing, this word overcrowded. May I suggest an alternative: isolationist.

There are lots of people in the UK, but I wouldn't call it overcrowded.

For comparison, there are approximately 250 people per square km. Contrast this to 490 per in the Netherlands.

Re:Immigrants (2, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781167)

They need to concentrate on the non-citizens who are coming into the country, not the citizens who are traveling abroad. Just last week there were strikes because too many people are coming into the UK. The UK is already overcrowded and the government seems to be able to do very little to control the borders effectively. Allowing Workers to freely migrate within the EU was a big mistake and will drive wages down.

You lose your freedom but you complain about money.

Re:Immigrants (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781401)

Bullcrap

Loads of britons work abroad, many more than the few contractors that this idiotic furore broke over.

This is just the working class braying for protectionism, again, and turning to xenophobia as a way to shift the blame off themselves or to admit that the wider economy is screwed.

Whilst border control *is* an issue, it's not as big of one as you think. And the workers in question are EU citizens. By all means let's kick them out, then rehouse and re-employ the million or so brits that get kicked out of other EU nations and deal with economic isolation as the EU either kicks us out or disintegrates. Because clearly that would be best for all of us, to restrict international trade and screw up Britons' ability to work abroad.

Great plan.

the gravy train is over (4, Interesting)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781421)

Allowing Workers to freely migrate within the EU was a big mistake and will drive wages down.

Wages in the UK and EU are going down because there is lots of cheap labor available overseas.

Closing the borders to people or goods makes the situation worse, not better. If you stop people from coming, the same people are going to work elsewhere for less.

If you stop good from coming, then people will need to buy UK goods for more money and their money will be worth less.

Face it, the prosperity of the late 20th century is over. The UK has little competitive advantage over India or China, and hence its standard of living is going to equalize. Protectionists measures only make things worse. And the same is true for the US and Europe.

Re:Immigrants (2, Interesting)

haggisbrain (945030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781565)

Ok, I'll bite. I'm Scottish and have lived in 3 Countries outside of the UK, 2 of these are in the EU.

The UK is already overcrowded

I think you mean

The World is already overcrowded

Allowing Workers to freely migrate within the EU was a big mistake and will drive wages down.

I read this argument all the time but I've always received above average wages when working in another Country. Part of the reason I like to work in other Countries is because I want to compete and see how I can cut in in another economy. How does my Scottish education match up to others? Can I be better than I am? Can I learn new skills/methods?
Are you afraid to compete? Would you prefer a handout from the Government? How about a job for life and never having to better yourself?
Part of the reason the UK and other Countries allow/need this immigration is due to the constant need for growth in our economy. How can reducing the overall headcount help this?

Stephen Fry... (4, Funny)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780915)

...is going straight to jail(the new Morcambe Bay maximum security anti-terror gulag!)Look at all those dodgy Twitter posts - America, Australia, America, Luxembourg - the chap is a one-man axis of evil!

Re:Stephen Fry... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780963)

I am sure he will make a lot of friends there.

Re:Stephen Fry... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781063)

It's "Lëtzeburg". That's how we "Lëtzeburger" call it. :)

The variant with ou is the French word for our country. The variant with only u is the German word. That's, because of the word burg (castle).
You're not French, are you? :D

Re:Stephen Fry... (1)

teslar (706653) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781127)

I think you'll find that the "ou" variant is not just for the French [wikipedia.org] .

Just nitpicking :) Mee ech mengen ech dierf daat an dësem Fall.

Re:Stephen Fry... (1)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781135)

No, but he comes from a real country. ;-)

This is good news (1)

doyoulikegoatseeee (930088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780923)

It will help fight terror

No big deal. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26780925)

You have had this for years. The government holds your travel records for the last 30 years, then they are moved to the national archives where they are public domain. They are often used when you apply for dual citizenship.

Re:No big deal. (1)

foobat (954034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781449)

yeah but FTA it says

"The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details of travellers. "

which i assume is a tad more than they have already. I like how the government now needs a database for:

my credit cards
dna/other "biometric data"
all the emails I send
all the websites I visit
all the phone calls I make
all the details of my children

obviously you need all of our credit card details to fight terror!

superficial and ineffective (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780931)

Oh goody, more security theatre.

If the plan is to see how many baddies go to "suspect" countries (obviously with nefarious intent - not simply because they might have family there, or like traveling), then it's easily negated by traveling to a "friendly" country and booking onwards from there. As usual with govt. hare-brained schemes, this will track the millions of holidaymakers and completely miss any people who have half an interest in concealing their true intentions. Meantime, we are all tracked, tested, tagged, followed and surveilled to an even greater extent. All this does is add to the general sense of oppression in the country, and adds to the sheer volume of innocous data collected - while leaving those with both the motivation and the organisation free to carry on as they wish, safe int he knowledge that the "intelligence" services are snowed under in an avalanche of useless data.

Re:superficial and ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781185)

so why are they really doing it? just to create more government jobs?

Re:superficial and ineffective (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781201)

I disagree. While you parrot the standard party line, the fact is that most "bad men" are: 1) Criminal masterminds, or 2) Not particularly smart. Just the fact that this sort of thing exists serves as a deterrent. You can go on about civil liberties and such, but this sort of thing does work, and intelligence services are not being buried in avalanches of bad data (which is just wishful thinking).

Re:superficial and ineffective (1)

jessica_alba (1234100) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781259)

"the fact is that most "bad men" are: 1) Criminal masterminds, or 2) Not particularly smart."
which is why 2's generally work for 1's

Re:superficial and ineffective (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781305)

What's all this good people bad people bollocks? The information is far more likely to be used for marketing than for counter-terrorism.

The real surprise is... (5, Informative)

Malc (1751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780947)

... that they're not already doing this.

I believe Canada does it. When I returned to Canada last year from one of my trips, the guy at the border swiped my passport, looked at the computer screen, and commented on how much I travel. He hadn't even looked at all the visas and stamps in passport.

The US has definitely been keeping track of everything for years. When I went for the final interview for enrolment in the Nexus programme, the US immigration guy swiped my Canadian passport. After a while he asked me what happened at Detroit in Oct 2000. I'd been refused entry whilst travelling on my British passport, before I had Canadian permanent residency and long before citizenship, but he'd connected my two passports.

Re:The real surprise is... (3, Interesting)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781149)

Canada has been for years, yes. The only time I have not had my ID scanned when returning to Canada was on a tour bus where the guard just looked at my passport. The US guards are particularly anal. Last time I crossed into the US, the guard accused me of trying to move there because I had crossed a week earlier. Although there is one crossing where I've never had trouble -- because there is no guard [wikipedia.org] .

Re:The real surprise is... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781257)

Same here but this article is probably about taking that data and archiving it in a database elsewhere with a nifty web front end so higher ups can import it into excel and fabricate correlations before leaving it on a running laptop on the tube after going to the pub and having a drink or 10 too many.

Immigration jobs must be utterly brain dead boring (2, Insightful)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781357)

Considering 99.9999% of people traveling are legit, it must be sooo brain dead boring asking the same questions, quizing people, interogating people, and finding out most are legit, and very very very few are crims/baddasses.

How sad it must be to go home and say, "F*CK, I screened 8200 people, and only 1 hit!!!, what a dull day!"

That must really make them eager to bust people, be over zealous and find the most minute thing to detain people on.

"The Automated Targeting System" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26780969)

http://www.metafilter.com/64931/The-Automated-Targeting-System-the-US-governments-recordkeeping-system-on-travelers

More security (3, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26780987)

Somehow just does not make me feel more secure.

USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26780999)

This'll be handy next time I need a US visa, as they like to know where you've been in the previous 10 years...

Open Project To Track ALL GOVERNMENT ACTIONS (5, Interesting)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781071)

An project open to the public is hereby initiated to track and publish the movements of ALL GOVERNMENT STAFF from ALL branches and departments of ALL governments in ALL countries around the world. No government business is to be carried out unless all participants are video recorded and broadcast LIVE to the public around the world. No business of the public is valid unless it's public! Track all government officials, staff, employees. Record when they are with you and publish on the web. Develop and design tracking systems to monitor all communications of all government operatives anywhere and anywhen, anyhow. Their work is not valid public business unless it's fully PUBLIC!

Little Brothers Unite Against the Oppressive Big Brothers.

Re:Open Project To Track ALL GOVERNMENT ACTIONS (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781157)

mod parent +1 Abouttobedisappeared.

IBIS and IP's (1)

VirtBlue (1233488) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781091)

The USA hold IBIS data indefinitely and even down to the IP your purchased your ticket from.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781099)

Well, they're already doing it in the US:

http://current.newsweek.com/budgettravel/2008/12/whats_in_your_government_trave.html

Dont worry, it probably wont happen (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781121)

This is just a way for the government to keep track of information they already know. This is just an attempt by the government to make itself, dare I say it, simpler. Either that or "The baeuracracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding baeuracracy"

and just like the other UK gov. databases... (3, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781155)

...it is going to be left on a train by some retard in the civil service.

I don't know what is worse - totalitarian government collecting information on us all or totalitarian collecting information on us all and then fucking losing it.

Writing this, I do feel perhaps I am exaggerating a bit with the word totalitarian, considering some of the other regimes that have been described as such. So I would be interested to get some perspective from someone who lived in Eastern Europe under communism (was it really 20 years ago? fuck I am getting old) and now lives in the UK - on a scale of 1 to Glorious Peoples Republic Knows What Is Best For All, how buggared are we at the moment?

Doesn't really tell them where I've been (1)

Smuttley (126014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781181)

I'm a British citizen. I flew out of the UK on 24th December 2007 and flew back on the 31st May 2008.

I flew to Russia and back from Thailand. In between I'd traveled overland to Mongolia, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Unless the UK has some sort of automatic data sharing with these countries then this database will really tell them very little about where I've been unless they get hold of my passport.

Re:Doesn't really tell them where I've been (1)

butlerdi (705651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781549)

It is called airline reservation and ticketing systems. Amadeus et al. Also whenever your passport is scanned or that little piece of paper you filled in is input, there it goes. They all cooperate in a scratch backs scenario. If it moves it is tracked.

Uh... Yeah (1)

netcrusher88 (743318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781187)

So this is different from the current state of things... how? I guarantee every time you enter or leave almost any country, it's already logged. Particularly the more technologically advanced countries we know as the "First World".

typical knee jerk reaction on privacy (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781217)

I'd be very surprised if the US is not already doing this, and just not making a point to let anyone know.

If the US does this, it's fairly recent; the US did not use to keep a lot of records. And if they don't let anybody know about it, that means that they can't be using it as part of regular legal proceedings (otherwise you'd know about it), which is a big part of the reason why people are concerned with the government collecting all this data. And US government agencies are restricted in the kind of data they can collect and how they can exchange it, while the UK is hoping to link all its databases.

I think people should stop this knee-jerk reaction assuming that privacy is better protected in Europe. You hear a lot about privacy issues in the US because people care passionately about it in the US and because Americans distrust their government, but that doesn't make privacy worse. Europe has a lot of laws protecting citizens from intrusion by private entities, but the laws for protecting citizens from government intrusion seem weaker to me. Even US border controls, which look quite intrusive for non-citizens, are not much different from some other Western democracies.

Making an argument that privacy is better protected in one nation compared to another requires looking at a lot of detailed legal and administrative facts, and actual cases.

Downloading publicly available data (2, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781237)

Using facebook, twitter and all that crap, we practially give away our privacy... so why blame the government for just downloading what is publicly available?

We all notice what is going on. And we all care... for about 5 seconds. And then we're distracted again.

I'm sure I care about my privacy... but I just don't spend enough time on it to really get involved in any revolt against the police state. Unless you can really revolt using twitter or facebook. I fear that a proper revolt is still done with barricades and burning trashcans, not with facebook and blogging.

So, will there be an end to the loss of privacy? Will people care? Yes.
Will they do something about it? Not a chance.

Always the same justification (1)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781247)

In all these New Labour surveillance stories there's always an attempt at justification on the grounds that n arrests for serious crimes have resulted (never n convictions btw). Of course, the corollary is that 74,999,999 of the 75 million passengers mentioned in the quote have been wrongly suspected of those serious crimes. I call on Phil Woolas to visit every single one of those people and deliver a personal apology for falsely suspecting them.

What's the difference with Google Latitide? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781267)

So Google Latitude with your mobile provider can know in each and every instant of your life with a mobile where you are, maybe soon with a little tweaking even what you are saying.

Or in the Netherlands for example transportation companies can track exactly all your moves with public transportation to the minute, there also are databases preserved for years and can be accessed by the police.

What matters of this UK proposal? That there the government will own the database? Is one or more private companies better or worse than the government? Or maybe it's just the same..

What is the difference? We are doomed. We won't ever again be free as intended until about 1995.. ..unless throwing away all technology and go live in the country. It's up to us.

DDOS (4, Funny)

giafly (926567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781271)

If you live in Eire or Northern Ireland, near the border, please could you spend a few minutes stepping from one to the other.

Not only will this improve your aerobic fitness, but all your "journeys in and out of the UK" could help overload this stupid system

Cool... (3, Insightful)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781275)

... this can only lead to one thing. A huge project costing many hundreds of millions, which will then run over budget by at least a multiple of two, as well as be delivered years late, and finally be scrapped when it can't handle anywhere near the number of records it was designed to handle; as well as having no meaning querying facility.

I just love it when the government wastes my money like this. It's so much more interesting to watch than when they build stuff that's actually needed like clean waste disposal sites, fresh water reserviours, and public transportation infrastructure. That stuff is usually completed on time, under budget, and works as advertised - how boring.

Brits have the government they deserve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781451)

A documentary on "dangers in maternity wards" was aired this weekend on French TV. It appears that UK newborns get bulky RFIDs strapped to their legs so that they can't be stolen/exchanged. It appears mothers are not horrified at all. Actually, at some point one mother was horrified by the fact that her baby didn't have his RFID! And they were demanding even more cameras, tagging, a.s.o. The rationale being "it's the lesser of two evils, we're more secure like this, think of the children". I guess they only get the representatives and the laws they deserve...

pedo implications (1)

parasite (14751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781521)

The worst bit of it, mates, is that if our 99th trip to cambojiya to bang kids is successful and we don't get caught, but then go and f up on the 100th and do get busted, they're gonna say we went there 99 times prior for more of the same.

Better setup a company or business in Cambodia for plausible deniability.

Already happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781533)

There doing it already INSIDE the UK- at least in south east. Number plate logging cameras are set up on all main routes into towns and on motorways- these are NOT speed cameras, road tax cameras, or mere cctv. They are logging car number plates and you could assume putting them into a database.... wheres my tin foil hat...

I_have_a_boner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781543)

The UK scheme is based upon the success of the very same scheme that is currently active in the United States.

Clue up people.

Europe has done this for ages (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781559)

Whenever I used to visit Italy before the borders agreement, hotels and boarding houses used to take your passport away and record details that went to the police. As for Switzerland...I remember crossing on a small country road over the Jura once. One of our party had his passport in the trunk, and took several minutes to find it. This immediately caused the border guard to decide that he had been hoping to get across the border without showing it. We were held up for half an hour while, I think, they investigated his passport to see if it was fake (we could clearly see a UV light bring turned on and off in the border post). Thereafter, every time he went in or out of Switzerland, he was held up. Strangely, I never had any trouble.

I am seriously beginning to think all this "police state" stuff is actually a campaign by the BNP/UKIP. Civil Liberties in the UK are actually being threatened to some extent by the right wingers in the Government, but the "police state" stuff is wild exaggeration. And if the BNP/UKIP ever did form a government, how long would civil liberties last?

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