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Some UK Councils Barred From Using Gov't Vehicle Database

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the and-for-just-a-few-pounds-more dept.

Government 84

Bruce66423 writes "A number of British councils are being banned from accessing the national Vehicle Database system. While sometimes this appears to be due to technical infractions, the banning of some 'permanently' seems to be as a result of more serious misdemeanours. Trust the government? Not a good idea..."

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NEVER SURRENDER !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42223931)

It's an island !! Where can you go ??

Why not? (5, Insightful)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 2 years ago | (#42223975)

Trust the government? Not a good idea..."

Why not? The government taking action where they find indications of abuse. Surely that cannot be a problem?

The fact that there are users and user organizations making improper use of the data is how the world works. That is why "the government" check and ban those who abuse the data.

Re:Why not? (0)

terbeaux (2579575) | about 2 years ago | (#42223989)

You must be new here...

Re:Why not? (5, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 2 years ago | (#42223993)

councils are local government - national government is banning local government from accessing the vehicle database. Not sure why any local government should have access to the vehicle database anyway. All taxation, etc, is done by national government.

The data keeps getting sold to debt collectors, which may have something to do with it.

Re:Why not? (5, Informative)

Vulch (221502) | about 2 years ago | (#42224063)

Parking enforcement is dealt with at local level which is wh they have access in the first place.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224357)

And that right there, is the problem.

Local council tax should be sufficient, any other taxes like 'parking charges' need to be outlawed.

Re:Why not? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224495)

So what you're saying is we should live with assholes who say things like "I've paid my tax so I can park wherever the fuck I want!"? Yeah, great plan. Well done you.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224615)

Yeah. that is exactly what I'm saying, they paid their taxes, as long as they don't be an actual ass by parking illegally then your point is moot.

Re:Why not? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#42224809)

The information held by the DVLA is what you use to identify the people who are parking illegally so you can prosecute them.

As someone whose city is stuck with unfortunately weak transport infrastructure for historical reasons (Cambridge) I can tell you that parking "illegally" all too often comes with a "dangerously" attached, too. If there's no sensible justification (such as dealing with a medical emergency, or a vehicle that has broken down and is awaiting recovery) then I have no problem with penalising those people.

This story seems like exactly how the system is supposed to work to me: some parts of government (councils, and even at least one area's police force according to TFA) are trying to overstep the authority they were given for one good reason to use the same facility for other less good reasons, and another part of government that is guardian of sensitive personal data (the DVLA) is telling them to take a hike.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224841)

The information held by the DVLA is what you use to identify the people who are parking illegally so you can prosecute them.

That is correct, but the council is in no position to access this themselves, it is the job of the police and should remain so.

Re:Why not? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#42224993)

That's often not how the system works in the UK. With limited police resources available, for better or worse, semi-automatic processes like issuing parking tickets are often delegated to local authorities, such as the councils mentioned in TFA. That leaves warranted police officers free to do work that actually requires a warranted police officer instead of paperwork. You can still challenge such a parking ticket in court, and things like pulling someone over on suspicion still require a police officer.

There is a genuine screw-up in the justice system that if you're mistakenly identified and issued a ticket by some authority on the far side of England, it could cost more time and money to go to court and contest the case than it would cost to pay the fine, so some innocent people wind up in a lose/lose situation even though they didn't do anything wrong. But that's a separate issue, and would still happen if the police issued a ticket to someone because someone else cloned their plates and then broke the law.

Re:Why not? (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#42232137)

I don't think that really alters his point to be fair.

If local councils have the money to pay for parking inspectors, and local police forces don't, decrease the council budget, and increase the police budget.

I sympathise with your point about dangerous parking, but agree with the GP this should be the police's realm as they're far more accountable and held to proper standards.

I've had a parking ticket before so maybe I'm biased, but consider my circumstance, I parked in an open council car park with no security, literally an open concrete flat area with about 100 spaces. It was fairly late, about 20 minutes before the free parking time, and I genuinely forgot to get a ticket. I'd parked here 1000 times before at this time and had always gotten a ticket, but this one time simply forgot - an honest mistake that people do. I came back and found I'd received a ticket, but the galling thing was the time the parking officer from the council said he'd seen me arrive, and the time he'd issued the ticket meant he'd actually have had to watch me get out of my car and walk away. Now, the stated aim of parking inspectors is to make sure people buy tickets- that's what the councils own blurb says, so I asked the council the question, why, if that is their job, did he simply not tell me I needed a ticket given that he obviously saw me walking away from my car and the ticket machine out of the car park? I got stonewalled, no one would answer this question, just that I had to pay the fine. This really stinks because a) it was an honest mistake, b) I paid council tax to this council to pay for the car park and the guy's job in the first place, and c) The car park had about 3 cars in it so it's not as if I was taking up a space a paying customer would've used.

Worse, the fine was for £60 instead of £45 because there are two types of parking enforcement laws councils can work under, the £60 one is now obsolete and the councillors in our council had moved to the new one 2 years previous, yet the council despite this had not done so, they were purposely dragging their heals. So I effectively paid a higher fine under a scheme that should never have even been in place given the will of the electorate's represenatitives, but again, no accountability, the council doesn't care. Bear in mind also, that given the time I arrived - around 20mins before the car park became free anyway, and the fact I'd paid many times before, means that I'd have had to pay for an hours parking (because that's the min they allow on a ticket) for only 20mins of paid parking time, and that I'd done this before - meaning I'd always paid for longer than I'd used anyway more than covering the cost of that one moment of forgetfulness.

So what I find particularly galling is that the council are fairly clearly using this as an unofficial revenue stream in a manner the law absolutely never intended they do so - the law was intended for the situations you cite, not to make a fortune off the 1 in 1000 chance that someone forgets to get a ticket, which, given the number of visitors to the city means they'll get a good few of those each day because they have a few thousand people coming in. I think councils shouldn't have access to people's personal data if they're just abusing it for an unofficial revenue collection stream like this, as much as they are for legitimate enforcement. I'd also actually worked for this council for years, so I wasn't particularly surprised- of course, this made it more frustrating again for me, because part the reason I left that job is that I got sick of the level of ineptitude and waste and know full well first hand that if they managed it a bit better they wouldn't even need the parking revenue stream full stop, there was many multiples enough money to be saved there that parking in the whole city could trivially be made free, hence boosting income for shops that are current struggling there too.

It's short sighted of them anyway, I no longer live under that council's council tax area, but I do make sure I get my money back by using some of the services they provide.

Our local police force is fairly good at engaging with the community and I very much suspect that had they instead been in charge of parking enforcement, I'd have at least got an answer as to why the inspector didn't just remind me to get a ticket, and given their track record, maybe even an apology.

Re:Why not? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#42233377)

For what little it's worth, I do sympathise with your argument. Local authorities in the UK tend to have far more powers than I would like and/or to have far more flexibility in how to implement things than seems sensible when they're really only representing a tiny fraction of the population as a whole yet could affect many other people as well. Thus we get everything from factually unsupported 20mph limits outside all the posh houses (because the local councillor, who doesn't drive anyway, is in reality elected by a handful of rich people and pushes it through, even though almost everyone in the city and beyond uses that road) to postcode lotteries for just about anything under local authority control: medical treatments, schooling, you name it.

I also sympathise with disproportionate punishments for tiny things that are genuine mistakes anyone could have made. I don't think this sort of behaviour makes the world a better place for anyone, and I very much doubt it even makes a significant amount of money for the people doing it.

But I'm not sure either of these points really contradicts the original discussion, where I was noting that, as a matter of fact and for better or worse, it is not the police who do the kind of enforcement we were talking about in much of the UK today.

Re:Why not? (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#42235231)

It's funny you mention special treatment for councillors etc. I used to leave near Mary Creagh (Labour MP) and it's a little village she lives in of literally only about 10 hours with a road going through the middle in the middle of the countryside. Surrounding that small 10 dwelling village are "mother and child signs" (Really? what would mothers and children be doing in the middle of nowhere?), speed bumps, speed warning signs, multiple markers, barriers to prevent parking, a speed camera, brand new speed limit signs, and a chicane.

The worst part is, the roads surrounding it are full of potholes and are even sinking to the side at some points, the level of obviousness in terms of biased spending and corruption is disgusting - this is the same council I mentioned previously.

"But I'm not sure either of these points really contradicts the original discussion, where I was noting that, as a matter of fact and for better or worse, it is not the police who do the kind of enforcement we were talking about in much of the UK today."

No I agree it's not, my point was that it should be. That the council should see their budget for traffic enforcement decreased and the money instead handed to the police so that they can afford to deal with it. Ultimately it all comes from the public coffers, so it's really just a transfer of money from local government to the police. You could probably even move the same old traffic wardens themselves over too and force them to work under a regime where there is at least some degree of accountability, and at least prevent snooping council workers accessing databases they shouldn't.

Re:Why not? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#42236751)

FWIW, it sounds like we agree on what should happen. Local councillors and council workers having powers normally reserved to organisations like the police, security services and HMRC makes me nervous for a lot of reasons... starting with the fact that I've actually met some of those council people, and of course the numerous well-documented cases where councils have abused privileged access to sensitive data or otherwise blatantly overstepped their authority.

Re:Why not? (2)

ChumpusRex2003 (726306) | about 2 years ago | (#42225551)

No, the legal process of handling illegal parking has been delegated to councils and does not require police involvement.

However, more concerning is the fact that there are a lot of private parking enforcement contractors operating on private land. The DVLA also offers a service to these private companies, whereby the DVLA provide drivers' identity details from a plate number, in exchange for a fee. Technically, this service is open to any party who can provide a legitimate reason for wanting it.

Hence, if I were to park at a supermarket car park, and overstay the 2hr free-parking period, I might "implicity agree to a contract where I pay £100 per 24 hours to park", as stated in the small print on a sign by the entry road. A private contractor can then contact the DVLA with my plate details, and the DVLA will provide my name, address, DOB and other details.

I recently tried to do the same, because a driver was repeatedly parking on my land and obstructing access to it by my own vehicles. He failed to respond to notes on the car, and he kept late hours, so never saw him in person. I contacted the DVLA (and paid their fee) with the plate details and explained that I needed the details to send formal notice of impending legal action for trespass. The DVLA refused, stating that I did not have legitimate grounds to request this privileged personal information.

Re:Why not? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#42226653)

There have been a lot of problems with private contractors handling parking enforcement, hence the relatively recent changes in England prohibiting clamping on private land etc. It seems this was mainly prompted by lots of small-scale car parks who would hire guys to drive around with wheelclamps and lock up any car that infringed on the rules even slightly (half an inch over a bit of white paint, overstayed by 1 minute, that kind of thing) with absurdly high fees charged for subsequent release.

I've heard a few nightmare stories about the supermarket car park cameras (and some frankly feeble excuses from the supermarket management teams) too, though. In at least one case involving someone close to me, the parking goons tried to slap a ticket on a car when there was no reasonable way the victim could have known about certain "rules" (which weren't displayed clearly in the area in question) and the parking was entirely reasonable (car in a shopping centre car park for an extended period, while shopping there throughout). If memory serves, it never actually went to court because the shopping centre management stepped in as soon as they heard about the way an actual customer was being treated, but there wasn't much doubt about who would have won in court anyway as there were photos showing that no nearby signs explained the "rules" and a money trail proving that the victim really was shopping in the centre during that time.

In your case, I suspect you would done better to contact the police (on a non-emergency number, obviously) and ask if they could help. We've had problems on my (narrow) road with people who don't have off-road drives parking their cars so close to driveways that the people who do park off road can't get in or out. We did contact our local police about this after a particularly bad spell of thoughtless parking, and they told us that while it obviously wouldn't be a priority at their busy times, obstructing access to property is a legitimate complaint and they could and would remove an obstructing vehicle if there was anyone free to handle it at the time. I know the legal rules have changed somewhat since that conversation, but as far as I'm aware there is still provision for them to remove a vehicle that is actually causing an obstruction at the time.

In any case, please be very careful if you want to take any action yourself, via contacting the DVLA or otherwise, because there are all kinds of things you're not allowed to do these days if you're not appropriately registered with the authorities, and AIUI you can actually be committing a criminal offence yourself if you try.

Re:Why not? (1)

Vulch (221502) | about 2 years ago | (#42225803)

Cambridge still has the tow-away legislation in place just in case. Unfortunately when it was being used the last time it was so successful that it got too expensive to keep the trucks on standby.

Re:Why not? (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#42225859)

So what you're saying is we should live with assholes who say things like "I've paid my tax so I can park wherever the fuck I want!"?

that is exactly what I'm saying, they paid their taxes, as long as they don't be an actual ass by parking illegally then your point is moot.

You assume all people are exactly like you and all do everything you do as you do. Shallow as a pane of glass; shame on you. I prefer those who use a system to bear the cost of the system. I don't drive[*], and would resent having to subsidize your addiction. Please, get stuffed.

[*] Sharing the road with dangerous morons texting while driving, exhorbitant fuel prices, pollution, wasting life away in rush hour freeway parking lots, malicious driving conditions (red light cameras, abysmal signage, ...) ...

Re:Why not? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#42228975)

Wether you drive or not, those things that affect drivers also affect you...

Dangerous drivers can hit or disrupt buses, pedestrians or cyclists...
Dangerous pedestrians and cyclists can also cause problems which disrupt drivers...
Goods you buy are almost always delivered by trucks which travel on public roads...
Goods you order will be delivered via the public roads...
Contractors you employ to do work on your behalf will almost always travel by road, especially if they need to carry tools etc.
Increased fuel prices will affect the goods and services you buy.
Wasting life away in a freeway parking lot is no worse than wasting life away in a delayed train, bus or aircraft, infact it's usually much better because you're more comfortable.

How much do you sacrifice by not driving? Driving is not an addiction, it's a quality of life issue... I simply couldn't do half the things i do if i had to use public transport, or i would spend significantly more time sitting in discomfort or paying taxi fares etc. A particular restaurant i like eating at for instance, is 15-30 mins away by car (depending on traffic) or 2.5 hours minimum by train, and i generally like to eat at night (and the trains don't operate very late).

Re:Why not? (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#42230067)

How much do you sacrifice by not driving?

I think not a lot, but I suppose it's relative. I'd rather walk or use a bicycle. Both are far more peaceful, both are good exercise, both can be done on a bike path devoid of CO fumes, & etc.

Driving is not an addiction, it's a quality of life issue

You keep telling yourself that. Perhaps you'll eventually convince yourself.

BTW, I despise public transit, fwiw. It doesn't work for me AT ALL, so we have that in common.

Re:Why not? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#42236765)

I think not a lot, but I suppose it's relative. I'd rather walk or use a bicycle. Both are far more peaceful, both are good exercise, both can be done on a bike path devoid of CO fumes, & etc.

Here that's not practical, I live in a relatively hilly area and often need to travel considerable distances or carry significant quantities of goods... Although i will often walk to the local grocery shop and back (1.3 miles, all downhill to the shop and up hill on the way back carrying the goods) much more than that isn't really practical and i only walk to the shop if i have relatively little to buy (which means i end up going almost daily to buy a day's worth of food).

We don't have any bike paths devoice of fumes, we have some bus and cycle lanes which are adjacent to normal traffic lanes, and the buses tend to be even more dangerous than cars while pumping out considerably more fumes... And being on a bike increases your breathing rate, causing you to inhale more of the fumes. I also suffer from asthma, which severely impacts my ability to ride a bike, especially considering the fumes from vehicles.
When riding on the regular road, it's even more dangerous... You have traffic travelling at high speeds, many of the hills around here have roads with a legal speed limit of 60mph, when a bike travelling up the hill may be doing 10mph, a significant difference in speed which makes bike riders a significant hindrance to traffic.

I used to ride a lot, when i lived in areas where it was practical to do so, but i still had a car for certain journeys where riding a bike was not practical.

Re:Why not? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224535)

Parking enforcement is dealt with at local level which is wh they have access in the first place.

Slight correction Parking is dealt with by the illegal immigrants that the parking controlers use because they will work for peanuts and are happy to get into a punch up and claim it as a racial attack .

Never ever ever pay a UK parking ticket they are all fraudulent all Councils should be permanently banned from the DVLA data full stop .

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224871)

I addressed that here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3302651&cid=42224357

Re:Why not? (2)

YuppieScum (1096) | about 2 years ago | (#42224075)

Local government has control over local on-street parking management, so access to DVLA is not unreasonable in the first instance...

On the other hand, as I live in Brighton and the local Green council have fucked the parking costs, I'm delighted that B&H have been blocked...

Re:Why not? (3, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#42224269)

On the other hand, as I live in Brighton and the local Green council have fucked the parking costs, I'm delighted that B&H have been blocked...

Parking prices across the whole of the UK seem to have gone nuts over the past few years as councils have found it an easy way to make money. The council is there to provide services to residents, so IMHO shouldn't be in the business of profiting from them - charge the running costs of the carpark and nothing more please.

Re:Why not? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 years ago | (#42224427)

The local councils don't "profit" from parking charges, the money from charges and permits goes into the funding pool to help pay for everything the council does like street sweeping etc. If councils reduced the parking charges or zeroed them out they'd have to raise rates and other fees to cover the shortfall.

Pictures of my city, Edinburgh from the 1960s show a few cars parked in busy city centre streets with no traffic meters or wardens because back then not many people had cars so there was no problem finding space to park them. Today is a different matter with more people around and a higher percentage of them owning cars.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225023)

> Today is a different matter with more people around and a higher percentage of them owning cars.

Also, the number of multi-car households these days. At least when I grew up in the 1970s, it was extremely rare to see a family with two cars. Now, where I live (which isn't very affluent by any means - north-east England - two and three cars is increasingly common.

Re:Why not? (2)

Carewolf (581105) | about 2 years ago | (#42225543)

The local councils don't "profit" from parking charges, the money from charges and permits goes into the funding pool to help pay for everything the council does like street sweeping etc.

The problem in many places or at least Copenhagen were I used to live, is that the city will reduce the number of legal parking places, and increase parking costs and tickets, so instead of using the money to expand the service for those they tax, they use the money to destroy the service for those they taxed, for the purpose of "earning" more tax.

It did help bring down the local income taxes though and make the city a very handy surplus, last I checked the parking related revenue was more than 25% of the total revenue of the central Copenhagen munincipality. I still consider it overall bad and blatently wrong.

Re:Why not? (1)

scared masked man (2776663) | about 2 years ago | (#42238133)

It depends on whether the people being charged through the nose for parking are locals or visitors: in my city's CBD, the daily parking charges are fairly high, but parking is free on weekends, short-term parking is cheap, and residents have free parking permits. That means that the city council makes a substantial amount of money gouging office workers without discouraging shoppers or hurting residents, which means that they are probably doing the right thing form the point of view of their ratepayers even if it is annoying to most of the rest of the municipality.

Re:Why not? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#42240441)

The problem in many places or at least Copenhagen were I used to live, is that the city will reduce the number of legal parking places, and increase parking costs and tickets, so instead of using the money to expand the service for those they tax, they use the money to destroy the service for those they taxed, for the purpose of "earning" more tax.

Also, I know a number of development projects in my area received EU funding on the basis of being "public transport friendly". This sounds good on the surface until you realise that "public transport friendly" actually just means "not enough parking spaces" rather than any kind of sensible tie-in with public transport.

Re:Why not? (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#42226049)

B&H council did profit and quite nicely thanks to a massive reduction in free spaces along with exorbitant price hikes on existing ones. You now have about a 15 min walk from a free space (and that's in a residential area so you risk pissing off people who can't park outside their own house anymore) or a £2 one way bus fare to get near to the city centre.

In any case street sweeping and other local services are paid for by the Council Tax.

It's probably different in Scotland though...

Re:Why not? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#42240421)

The local councils don't "profit" from parking charges, the money from charges and permits goes into the funding pool to help pay for everything the council does like street sweeping etc. If councils reduced the parking charges or zeroed them out they'd have to raise rates and other fees to cover the shortfall.

Why should the councils be overcharging for one service in order to subsidise another? What's next, charging everyone with kids over the cost of providing schools in order to also fund the police?

Pictures of my city, Edinburgh from the 1960s show a few cars parked in busy city centre streets with no traffic meters or wardens because back then not many people had cars so there was no problem finding space to park them. Today is a different matter with more people around and a higher percentage of them owning cars.

I'm relatively supportive of charges where there is contention for the parking, so long as they are set at an appropriate level to discourage people from overstaying in order to allow more people to use the facilities. However, my council places high parking charges all year round, 24 hours a day on certain car parks - for example, there is no contention for beach-front parking during the winter, yet over the past couple of years *all* of the free beach parking in the area has now started charging relatively high tariffs all year round. We're constantly told we have to do more exercise, but the councils are ensuring that getting to places where we can do exercise is costly by overcharging for parking (yes, I'm aware that you can have exercise by walking down the side of a busy road, but that doesn't fall into my definition of "fun", so I'm not as likely to do that as go for a nice stroll/surf/swim at the beach).

Re:Why not? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#42229049)

To be fair, Hillingdon council seem to be fairly reasonable... You get 30 minutes free in all the council operated car parks, and local residents (ie those who are paying their council tax to this council) get fairly significant discounts.

Council parking enforcement in general however, is one of the biggest factors killing high streets... If parking within range of the high street shops is expensive or difficult, then people will happily drive to the out of town shopping centres who provide large free car parks.

For many cases, shopping without a car is simply impractical. You can't buy as much (since you can't carry it) so you have to go more often - which is made even worse because the journeys on public transport usually take longer (plus time waiting for bus/train to turn up), and there are certain large/heavy things you cannot buy at all. You have to buy small quantities which are generally more expensive, as buying in bulk would be too difficult to take home etc, and you are generally limited to the selection of shops that you can reach easily by direct bus/train routes, as having to change would significantly increase the journey time and render the trip even more impractical.

Re:Why not? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#42240491)

Council parking enforcement in general however, is one of the biggest factors killing high streets... If parking within range of the high street shops is expensive or difficult, then people will happily drive to the out of town shopping centres who provide large free car parks.

This is a primary motivation in me rarely going into the city centre (the other motivation being that generally I want to do my shopping on a weekday evening - I, like most people, work during the day on week days, and would prefer to spend my weekend doing something *fun* rather than shopping. I'd love to buy my groceries at the local market, and since they have generally sold out of produce and closed by the afternoon the only chance I'd get is saturday morning and as you can imagine I have better things to be doing at weekends.)

I did, a few years ago, hear one of the councils complaining that out of town retail parks were killing the town centres because of the free parking. Their proposed solution: ban all out of town retail parks from offering free parking. That's obviosuly completely bonkers - for less than the price of town centre parking I can order stuff over the internet, so that kind of action isn't going to save the town centres, it's just going to kill the out of town retail parks _as well_.

Re:Why not? (5, Informative)

Mendy (468439) | about 2 years ago | (#42224115)

Not sure why any local government should have access to the vehicle database anyway. All taxation, etc, is done by national government.

The council I used to work for had access to identify the owners of abandoned cars. We didn't have access to identify fly-tippers or people who might be disposing of trade waste at household sites which I understood would have made that job easier or indeed possible so some of the violations could have been through this kind of temptation or ignorance about the limitations.

Technically it was quite a secure system - access was done from a private, locked room via a dedicated ISDN line whose number was registered with them and then several levels of authentication by users who had had to sign an agreement. They were very strict about the paperwork being up to date so I can believe the comments in the article about some having lost their access temporarily due to not getting the renewal forms back in time.

Re:Why not? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#42224291)

Not sure why the local government shouldn't have access... Do you have a reason?

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224517)

What about the council taxes? It seems like those councils are doing things that belong to a non-elected officials, in other words, legislative and executive tentacles of government are confused in a non-French kind of way.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42226449)

Not sure why any local government should have access to the vehicle database anyway. All taxation, etc, is done by national government.

Really? You've never heard of council tax in the UK?

For non-POMEs, council tax is equivalent to municipal property tax in the USA.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42223995)

Yeah, came here to post this exact comment. Bruce66423 seems unaware that the DVLA is a government department. An ignorant American commenting on UK politics? On Slashdot? Whatever next? :)

Re:Why not? (0, Flamebait)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42224091)

An ignorant Brit, unable to read the sentence? The problem of local abuse of national resources wouldn't even exist if there weren't such a database in the first place, or if it were unavailable to any local council.

Re:Why not? (2)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#42224177)

It's a little early to be arguing anarcho-capitalism, and since the database is an important tool for crime and traffic violations prevention, and since it's not outrageous - for most people - to require some personal information before allowing one to drive around in public space in a machine that can apply millions of newtons to a third-party body or property, that line of reasoning is completely irrelevant and somewhat silly.

Re:Why not? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224561)

If you find it too early to argue, then don't complain when it's too late to do anything about it.

Re:Why not? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42225641)

I'm not an anarcho-capitalist. Just pointing out that, no matter how reasonable the choice may be, it is still a choice that is being made. Besides, why limit the discussion just to the easy cases like cars?

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224505)

An ignorant American commenting on UK politics? On Slashdot? Whatever next? :)

Turnabout is fair play. We've had scads of ignorant Brits commenting on American politics.

Re:Why not? (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#42224005)

It's not really suprising either, having worked in local government it's about the most unaccountable workplace you could imagine so to hear employees are abusing systems is not a suprise.

If you have a problem with a council you can refer it to the ombudsman, but guess whose in charge there? An ex council chief.

Nice to see the DVLA taking unilateral action on this, as there would be no hope of the councils sorting it out unless there was some kind of root and branch change in the way councils are run and managed to make them accountable organisations.

Re:Why not? (3, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#42224213)

Why not? Because it wouldn't allow timothy to post another anti-British story.

Re:Why not? (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#42224287)

I don't see how this is anti-British in any way? (And I'm a Brit). Local government have been using their access improperly, so national level government have done the right thing and withdrawn their access. If it's anti-anything it's anti-local-government-being-muppets.

Re:Why not? (5, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#42224293)

Well, that's just it - it *isn't*, it's an example of government working well. "Oh sorry, you dicked about and broke the rules, now you don't get to use the DVLA data". Simple.

What I'm getting at is that every story timothy posts about the UK has his unique brand of editorialising on it, trying to paint this country as some sort of Orwellian hell-hole. It makes me wonder what horrors he's trying to distract his followers from in the US.

Fair play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42226053)

How can you turn up your nose at straw-man UK bashing then immediately bash the US on no grounds at all?

It always seems odd that Americans on slashdot enjoy bashing the US government almost as much as Europeans do, yet when it is a European government's turn, it is defended with such fervor by it's constituents. Hell, in this case Gordonjcp managed to do both.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224333)

Because I didn't trust them enough to vote for them in the first place (the ie NOT my president syndrome).

Such is the the peril of Democracy.

Re:Why not? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#42226919)

This is entirely about the national govt being undercut on price by the local authorities on handing out access to this database to every tom dick and harry that wants a plate run.

this makes me trust them more (4, Insightful)

detain (687995) | about 2 years ago | (#42223997)

Government is itself good but the people in it are not always worth our trust. Whats important here is that people in greater power are doing something that seems to be in the best interest of citizens and regardless if some people were abusing the system or not steps are being taken to resolve that.

Re:this makes me trust them more (2)

Spottywot (1910658) | about 2 years ago | (#42224049)

FTA

Mr Pickles said: "Concerns about the DVLA database have been voiced for several years, but it is remarkable that in just three years nearly half the country's councils have been suspended from looking at motorists' information.

"One key issue that still has not been resolved is whether someone could be sent to prison for deliberately abusing the databases they have access to and that deterrent is badly needed."

Not inspiring any confidence from me. The article also suggests that councils are using information on the DVLA data in some cases to save money in comparison with accessing the same information from the correct/appropriate sources, and in the worst cases may be selling data to journalists. This makes me trust them less.

Re:this makes me trust them more (2)

Cederic (9623) | about 2 years ago | (#42224643)

Eric Pickles is the type of ignorant fuck that should be banned from politics.

Hey, Eric. Read the Computer Misuse Act. You can indeed prosecute people for abusing the databases to which they have access.

So don't go creating yet another badly written law to try and create a deterrent to something that's already illegal.

Fucking politicians.

Re:this makes me trust them more (2)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#42225479)

Eric Pickles is the type of ignorant fuck that should be banned from politics.

Hey, Eric. Read the Computer Misuse Act. You can indeed prosecute people for abusing the databases to which they have access.

So don't go creating yet another badly written law to try and create a deterrent to something that's already illegal.

Fucking politicians.

Hey Cederic, Read the fucking article.

Then you might realise that the "Mr Pickles" mentioned here is not Eric Pickles, but Nick Pickles, from a privacy-focussed watch group.

Fucking slashdot "readers".

Re:this makes me trust them more (1)

Cederic (9623) | about 2 years ago | (#42225561)

Aww, come on. Don't let the facts get into the way of a good rant.

Anyway, Nick Pickles: Go read the fucking Computer Misuse Act.

Re:this makes me trust them more (3, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42224083)

Government is itself good but the people in it are not always worth our trust.

The second part of that statement is why so many of us want it limited - more powerful government attracts nastier people, because you can use it to do nastier things more often. Why do you think of the government as "good"? Necessary, perhaps, but it's like insurance - you need to have enough to protect yourself, but diminishing returns and exponential price increases set it really quickly if you try to turn that protection into a bulletproof cocoon.

Re:this makes me trust them more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224205)

"... why so many of us want it limited ... "

1.) This kind of thinking is much rarer in Europe then in USA. There are not that many people in Europe who demand smaller government no matter what.

2.) Your case would be much better if you would not automatically yell "government bad bad bad" every time government is mentioned in a sentence. It would be kind of cool if you would check first what the issue is.

Re:this makes me trust them more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224469)

"... why so many of us want it limited ... "

1.) This kind of thinking is much rarer in Europe then in USA. There are not that many people in Europe who demand smaller government no matter what.

Just wanted to add that from a UK point of view, social cohesion is an important thing to the UK public and it translates into politics. Take for instance the NHS, there are some Tories who would love to cut it to a bare-bones service or even get rid of it altogether but they know it would be electoral even amongst their core vote. Unless someone comes up with a better idea, then bigger government is the only way of delivering social cohesion.

2.) Your case would be much better if you would not automatically yell "government bad bad bad" every time government is mentioned in a sentence. It would be kind of cool if you would check first what the issue is.

As to whether government is good or bad, I think you need to look at how it operates. No matter what size of government is it, if it isn't run properly then how can it be good? You can argue that government is inefficient but having worked in the private sector, mostly major companies, I can assure you they are inefficient as well and only protected by market forces by their size.

Re:this makes me trust them more (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#42224239)

Government is itself good but the people in it are not always worth our trust.

The second part of that statement is why so many of us want it limited - more powerful government attracts nastier people, because you can use it to do nastier things more often. Why do you think of the government as "good"? Necessary, perhaps, but it's like insurance - you need to have enough to protect yourself, but diminishing returns and exponential price increases set it really quickly if you try to turn that protection into a bulletproof cocoon.

This is what so many people fail at connecting the dots on.

It's in everyone's interests to limit the size, scope, and power of government. Look, whatever political party you belong to, at some point your guys are going to lose an election and your enemies are going to be the ones in charge.

Every expansion in governments' size, scope, and power gives your opponents that power as well. Eventually, they'll have so much power that they stop fighting among themselves and work together as government-vs-citizens to increase their wealth, power, and control over, and at the cost of, the people and meanwhile incrementally removing their rights and freedoms, thus turning them into totally-dependent vassals of an authoritarian, tyrannical central government.

It's happened over and over in the same general manner throughout history. It's happening again, and not just in the US. Just look at the history of what was happening politically, economically, socially, and militarily, both nationally and globally, from 1900 to 1950 and then compare it to the things that have happened from the '50s until now.

I see repeating patterns, and the near future doesn't look good if those patterns hold and nothing major changes the path the US and the world is on.

For most of humanity's 5,000 years of civilization, personal/individual freedom and liberty as we've known it for only roughly the past 200 years has not existed.

Maybe humanity has forgotten how rare, precious, and still-in-alpha freedom is, how much work and attention it takes to maintain such individual freedom and liberty.

Maybe it will take another few millennia of being serfs to remind them of what they valued so little and gave away so freely in exchange for TV soundbites, government programs, and party mottos, while greeting each loss of freedom, every encroachment of government authority & control, with thunderous applause.

Maybe people have traveled too far down the road depicted in the movie "Idiocracy" and are no longer capable governing themselves or preventing themselves from becoming serfs to any "Not Sure" leader.

But never mind all that...there's a new smartphone coming out and a juicy new political sex scandal, and did you hear the latest outrage in the $WEDGEISSUE fight?

Is the giant asteroid here yet?

Strat

Re:this makes me trust them more (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#42226657)

For most of humanity's 5,000 years of civilization, personal/individual freedom and liberty as we've known it for only roughly the past 200 years has not existed. ...
Maybe it will take another few millennia of being serfs to remind them of what they valued so little and gave away so freely in exchange for TV soundbites, government programs, and party mottos, while greeting each loss of freedom, every encroachment of government authority & control, with thunderous applause.

Even when it did exist, it's been flawed. Over two millenia ago:

"... the Athenian statesman Themistocles used his political skills and influence to persuade the Athenian assembly to start the construction of 200 triremes ..."Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

to successfully counter Xerxes. Soon after, some Athenians decided Themistocles had gotten too big for his britches, so pushed to get rid of him. At that time, Athenian democracy allowed for a vote to banish someone from the city, and the subsequent vote did exactly that; Themistocles was banished from Athens for ten years.

It's recently been determined that that vote was rigged. Many of the potsherds used to cast the vote were written by the same hand.

Freedom's too good for most humans. Most of us cannot be bothered to value it, and the vast majority of us consider history unutterably boring.

Re:this makes me trust them more (3, Interesting)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#42224381)

I think of the government as theoretically, ideally "good" because it's a mutual social contract between all citizens. At least in theory government is simply people organizing themselves. If all people simply cooperated peacefully and honestly without coercion, then that decision of them would be what governs them and how they interact. You might as well ask what cooperation or self-restraint are useful for... isn't it obvious?

While I agree that "our" (this is true in most industrialized countries I'd assume, I don't mean a specific country here) political system is kinda bonkers and not even *trying* to be that structured expression of self-governance and mutual responsibility -- but if people buy into the whole "us vs. the government" mentality they're kinda fucked. THESE PEOPLE are where governments derive their justification from in the first place. You cannot let someone take your mirror image away and talk with and about it like it's not you. That's fucking crazy. Just because it's widely accepted to be sane doesn't make it less crazy.

In the sense of self-governance and mutual cooperation a "strong government" simply means a healthy society. Not that every single bit is regulated; ("the more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state") but let's say if someone commits an utter atrocity, punishment (or even better, repair) will be sure and swift [tvrage.com] . Aha!

The opposite of that would be... oh I dunno, societies split up in parties and groups who constantly bicker about who is utterly perfect, or who is to blame -- instead of simply agreeing we all are derps at heart, and seeing where we can go from there. Maybe it would even have lots and lots of mass media which constantly churn out trivial distractions or even fabricate blatant lies (by omission or otherwise). While a bunch of shark smile poopyheads use this disarray to stuff their jerkfaces full of delicious pie! Now that'd be a weak state of self-governance. Surely we must not let it come to th-- oh shit.

Anyways, freedom isn't the complete absence of all restraints, that'd just be entropy and death. It's rather the quest for a set of rules (not final, but quested for... let's go all out and call them "living agreements", which are confirmed constantly and gladly by those who enjoy their fruits, how's that for something warm and fuzzy) that allows all humans to thrive and live in peace, while still being free to do their own unique things, insofar that is possible without restricting the others.

But to just say "fuck it, everybody do what they consider best, without organizing that at all", that'd be naive at best. To moan and whine about government all day (I don't mean you, I mean the general hipness of it) without lifting a finger to improve it is actually playing into the hands of much more sinister forces who would love to shed all these pesky regulations. As pitiful as our laws and our political practice may be, they're better than the abyss below them.

If the world was a village of 50 peeps, and the majority would allow 3 people to rule them who take food and work, and give lies and poison, while raping the women and beat the dudes -- and all of that works via words and obeying orders -- then they'd be just as, if not more guilty of what is going on than those 3 self-appointed, and tolerated, rulers. They're actually, literally, using our hands for it. The mind asplodes! /rant ^^

Re:this makes me trust them more (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#42224751)

I think of the government as theoretically, ideally "good" because it's a mutual social contract between all citizens. At least in theory government is simply people organizing themselves. If all people simply cooperated peacefully and honestly without coercion, then that decision of them would be what governs them and how they interact. You might as well ask what cooperation or self-restraint are useful for... isn't it obvious?

One could in theory think of government as a unicorn barter system or an unobtainium-formulated soap bubble manufacturer. When you don't have to consider reality, then theory can diverge a lot.

But to just say "fuck it, everybody do what they consider best, without organizing that at all", that'd be naive at best. To moan and whine about government all day (I don't mean you, I mean the general hipness of it) without lifting a finger to improve it is actually playing into the hands of much more sinister forces who would love to shed all these pesky regulations. As pitiful as our laws and our political practice may be, they're better than the abyss below them.

And who does that? A few anarchists at best.

I consider government a necessary evil, not an ideal good (though perhaps in your theory, the two are equivalent), because government is a self-organizing phenomenon in the presence of a) greater advantage of cooperation, even forced cooperation (such as slavery) than individual action, and b) power differentials where some people have more power than others. I believe a) and b) hold for the entirety of human existence (at least as long as there are groups of people) and hence, we're kinda stuck in having governments of some sort.

But past that, I don't buy that we need the current levels of government that we see all over the world. One doesn't need a vast publicly funded and government run "social net" to have a government capable of keeping society from falling apart. One doesn't need a huge military in order to have such a government. Or vast public expenditures allegedly for R&D. I think there is considerable advantage to devolving most government functions down to the people who are governed. And it curtails one of the most notorious and powerful ways for man to exploit fellow man.

But it requires a willing citizenry to maintain this relationship, including rising up to address crises and conflicts that the government itself can't manage. I see that as a serious flaw with current minimal government schemes (for example, the Libertarian approach).

For example, the bizarre behavior of people who grant their governments considerable power merely because they are allied with the current government and who give no thought to what will happen when, not if, their political or ideological foes gain access to that power. Those people need more governance and frankly, don't seem ready for democracy much less a minimal government.

Re:this makes me trust them more (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42224651)

I don't quite understand the outrage. In the U.S. at least, all run-ins with the law -- anything that involves the court, no matter what side of the case you're on, are a matter of public record. Anyone who ever got a ticket of any sort, or brought a court case, or was sued, can be looked up in public records. Same goes for professional licenses. So, the reality is that a lot of people are listed in publicly accessible, on-line records, and you can usually look them up from your browser. Say Pennsylvania [pacourts.us] . Look up a common name, like Smith + common first names, as a starting point, you can then figure out various sequences of numbers (docket numbers, etc) and easily explore pretty much the entire database. The records include address, date of birth, etc. In Europe people are quite uptight about those things, but I don't quite get the reason. Anything related to the process of the law, professional licensing and public contracts, at least, should be a matter of public record, that's the only way to keep the system honest. I think that all vehicle registration data should also be public, too. It's silly to keep it hidden if the crash/accident records are already public here.

Better idea... (2)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#42224065)

Don't allow councils to have access to the vehicle registration database in the first place.

Re:Better idea... (3, Interesting)

Spottywot (1910658) | about 2 years ago | (#42224105)

Maybe, or maybe we hold our councillers a bit more accountable in general. Enforcing fines for fly tipping, littering, dog fouling and fly posting were all suggested as legitimate uses of the databases. Having lived in several council districts in the UK I can say that I've not seen much evidence that any of these things are enforced particularly well.

Re:Better idea... (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#42224141)

The significant difference is that those are enforced at significant cost via the real criminal justice system, with that pesky presumption of innocence, the fines go into central government coffers, and prosecution costs are only haphazardly awarded.

Parking and many moving violations go via the Kangaroo Kourts - PATAS and TPT - with a presumption of guilt. Most victims cave in and pay up early doors, and the money goes into the council's pocket, via their outsourced muggers.

Parking is a racket, it has been for decades, and despite the occasional token reverse, it looks like continuing in that vein.

Re:Better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42227485)

You have never lived in the UK, or you live with your parents. There is no such thing as "council district". You're talking complete crap. Their is no usage of databases for dog shit and dumping mattresses.

Re:Better idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224107)

Don't allow councils to have access to the vehicle registration database in the first place.

British councils get much of their income from exorbitant parking fees, so they want access to hunt down vehicles that don't pay.

Re:Better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225079)

You don't understand how the UK system works, do you?

Local councils are the ones that deal with parking and traffic violations, not the police. Their traffic wardens make a note of the registration when they issue the ticket, which is where the fine comes in. If the fine isn't paid at the council offices within X days, the council then uses the DVLA to look up the registered address of the vehicle and uses it to send them a notice. If they still don't pay, the council then starts proceedings against them in the local court.

They shouldn't have access in the first place (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#42224123)

The Data Protection Act only allows disclose for the purposes of "prevention and detection of crime". With parking enforcement now run as a cash cow, outsourced to Parking Pataweyo, and overseen by the Kangaroo Kourts, the DVLA shouldn't be handing out our personal information to any mugger with a lettehead who pays their access fee.

The Information Commissioner needs to be sinking his teeth into this racket, hard.

Re:They shouldn't have access in the first place (1)

ChumpusRex2003 (726306) | about 2 years ago | (#42225845)

That's not correct. The Data Protection Act allows disclosure, "on or by order of a court", for the purpose of "legal action", for "legal advice" or for "defence of any legally recognised right".

So, for example, if I enter into a contract with another party, even if I refuse consent for my personal information to be handed to a 3rd party; if I fail to pay a contractual obligation, the other party to the contract can pass my details on to a debt collection agency, as they are defending the legal right to collect monies owed.

Re:They shouldn't have access in the first place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42231877)

Heh, Parking Pataweyo. I was quite looking forward to the new series of Harry and Paul, and then they did this random racist bullshit. Thank God Peep Show started on the other side.

Trust the government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224157)

> Trust the government? Not a good idea...

More accurate: Trust government workers? Not a good idea.

Business can pay big bucks, if you work hard so attracts the sort of person who works for business: Hard working. Motivated.
Government pays the same no matter how good or bad a job you do. It attracts the exact opposite. The irony is these are the people that end up holding all the power and they end up with job security business can only dream of. They very rarely get into trouble. Instead of adding infractions took place their bosses hush the whole thing up. When money is wasted or stolen, why make a scandal. It's only the taxpayers money after all.

Reforming corruption in government needs to look at the type of person attracted to government jobs.

Database access (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224209)

Don't forget that DVLA have historically been rather lax in who they'll give information to. Many supermarkets and retail parks have their 2 hours free parking monitored by a private sector company. Many of these don't put an enforcement notice on your windscreen if you overstay, but use the DVLA database to send you the £75 fine by post. Some use ANPR cameras to 'clock' you entering and leaving, which removes the need for human enforcement officers, while some even go one step further and keep records of every stay, so if you make several short trips over the course of a day, they'll either work out your total aggregate stay or (even sneakier) use your first entry time and last exit time...

people not government (2)

fuliginous (1059354) | about 2 years ago | (#42224397)

The Government is not at fault it is made up of people and the people are at fault. Government would probably be much better if we remembered that.

Re:people not government (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#42227513)

The Government is not at fault it is made up of people and the people are at fault.

"The Government" is made up of policies and procedures, and rules and regulations. Those are implemented by people. If the former are wrong, no amount of effort or good will on the part of the latter is going to make any difference in the end.

If something like this screws up in any way, management's to blame for allowing it to happen, or to let it continue to happen. Good management ensures mistakes can't be allowed to stand and are corrected when they do happen.

Of course we should trust government! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224679)

We should even give them MORE money!

Raise our taxed.

All that money will be put to good use!

Won't it?

Local government abusing its tools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42224827)

Give them guns to defend against terrorist threats, and in short order these guns will find their way in to traffic control and refuse collection enforcement. Same with laws and procedures introduced ostensibly to keep us safe from rage-fueled inadequate virgins.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3333366/Half-of-councils-use-anti-terror-laws-to-spy-on-bin-crimes.html [telegraph.co.uk]

This isn't just a local council thing. Take the BBC as an example. Laws, such as RIPA, are sold as being essential for tackling serious crime and terrorism. Transpires that it's pretty useful for tackling TV licence evasion.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/21/local-councils-abusing-anti-terrorism-powers_n_1819715.html [huffingtonpost.co.uk]

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/22/ripa_bigbrotherwatch/ [theregister.co.uk]

Laws and processes need to be way more specific in scope. No point in trying to punish abuse if the guidelines aren't already clear. Where they are clear, personal accountability must be seen to happen. I generally don't blame individuals. Give a man a hammer, with poor oversight, and it's not surprising every problem becomes a nail. I think most of us have skirted policy or the law a little for the sake of expediency - even just simple shit like failing to take a legally mandated break. Better oversight and transparency is needed. When a state body intercepts communication or otherwise spies on people, make the numbers and reasons available. Some of this already happens if people bother to make a Freedom of Information Act request. That's assuming it isn't buried in an exemption. Revealing such activities could of course be undesirable for two reasons:

1) It allows criminals to better understand the tactics being used.

2) It would expose the wasteful use of these procedures and their application in petty matters.

Jus' sayin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42225481)

Just posting to rub this in the face of all the "but government can save us from all our woes" idiots on this website. Government makes all the "right" decisions, excpet when is doesn't. Keep praying to your Philosopher Kings.

Re:Jus' sayin' (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#42227717)

Just posting to rub this in the face of all the "but government can save us from all our woes" idiots on this website.

Uh huh. Let us know when you finish that atomic bomb you're trying to build. When the Mongol Horde or Roman Centurians or Einsatzgruppen start coming over the hill towards you, your measly pea shooter isn't going to make a lot of noise for long. Governments can be useful for some things. Fires can warm you and burn your house down.

My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42232813)

Up until recently I worked for Trading Standards - we would request DVLA data on a regular basis (e.g. for investigating suspected 'clocked' vehicles, investigating a vehicle used by a person who has been doorstepping and conning the elderly). The DVLA are very strict with access and requests for information - to the extent that on occassions they make it very difficult to obtain information in a timely manner.

I have not heard of any Trading Standards depts having their access revoked. But the DVLA are very hot on ensuring that all requests are logged and full justification for each and every request is given and recorded- any slip ups at all and your access would be suspended pending a full audit. I can imagine that many local authorities may have made errors in recording their requests, but I would be extremely suprised if any were accessing the data for nefarious purposes.

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