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The UK's Total Surveillance

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the queen-watches-what-you-eat dept.


Budenny writes "The Register has a story in its ongoing coverage of the UK ID Card story. This one suggests, with links to a weekend news story, that the Prime Minister in waiting has bought the idea that all electronic transactions in the UK should be linked to a central government/police database. Every cash withdrawal, every credit card purchase, ever loyalty card use ... And that data should flow back from the police database to (eg) a loyalty card use. So, for example, not only would the government know what books you were buying, but the bookstore would also know if you had an outstanding speeding ticket!"

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Only those who have something to hide need fear (5, Insightful)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865400)

And we ALL have many things to hide.

Abuse of the info will happen, so let it never be allowed, anywhere!

"I have a right to buy those, but please officer don't tell my boss or my wife or my kids!"

Tuesday morning sarcasm (4, Funny)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865512)

So, for example, not only would the government know what books you were buying, but the bookstore would also know if you had an outstanding speeding ticket!"
And we ALL have many things to hide.
What can I say? Information wants to be free.

Re:Tuesday morning sarcasm (5, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865641)

What can I say? Information wants to be free.

I know you're being sarcastic, but it's not information being free - it's information being collected to control the masses - thus being a complete solution for the removal of freedoms.

A total surveillance society is a mere 10-20 years away. Every traffic light I approach I am taped. My face is scanned every time I go to a baseball game. The SCOTUS already upheld that I do indeed have to provide ID to a police officer even if I am not suspected of any wrong doing, at their whim.

Biometrics are the rage. Biometrics and RFID will be on my passport, in my license. The REAL ID act officially creates a national ID in the US. And so on...

While the US is behind the UK in terms of true overall survellance, it's not that far. 20 years from now, when facial recognition is perfected - or some new technology that can ready our DNA from a small distance exists - you won't need customer loyalty cards anymore.

And people will accept it all - because it will all happen slowly, over time, and add seeming convenience to everything. Why carry an ID or a credit card? The police car will instantly recognize you, know exactly where you've been in public in the past few days, weeks, months... Everywhere your car travels, RFID tags or your cell phone will give away your location and be recorded.

See, aside from the DNA sniffer... all of this is reality now. 1984 was a little ambitious - we needed a few more years to totally accept living in a police state, but that's because there was no MySpace back then to distract us from the realities of government total awareness.

Yeah, lable me a tin foil hat person, but I'm going to hold out as long as I can - no EZPass, no customer loyalty cards, a new non-RFID passport, etc., etc. I may go down, but not without some degree of a fight.

Re:Only those who have something to hide need fear (2, Interesting)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865752)

I have been using almost all cash only purchases for a couple of years now, mostly for budgeting reasons (once you empty your wallet, you are done for the week, a CC keeps going).

You can still use cash for most transactions, and that does not yet get tracked.

Of course, if you get your cash at the bank like I do, they probably track the serial numbers from your account (too paranoid?).

*gasp* (1, Insightful)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865402)

"Nothing for you to see here." *gasp* They got to /.!!!

In all seriousness, this scares the bejesus out of me... and I don't even live in the UK. This would make Big Brother a whole lot bigger... do people really need the government "watching out for them" every step of their lives? And what's with the reverse-feedback? I could see some useful situations (i.e. a bar could see that a patron had a DUI and call him a cab), but overall it seems rather Orwellian.

Re:*gasp* (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865593)

every day there is an artical about rights being oppressed in countries and anti-terror campaigns, but this is ridiculious.

Dear UK people, it would be a good idea to invest in somthing like anonet [] today since soon your msn/skype/aim/yim/gmail/email/computers/routers/an d anything else thats digital and has information will be also tied into this database *if* they get it together, also the government will be the least of your worries, just wait for the employers start getting access... lets just say, i'd trust a drug dealer with this information more than i would trust a . not only that, think about when you sign up for health insurance, they'll be like `dear sir, we know you lied on your application, we have seen you have purchased excessive tobacoo and alcholic substances in the last year`.

laugh at me if you must, it will be abused, hacked, sold, stolen, exposed at some point

Re:*gasp* (1)

Library Spoff (582122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865781)

If this is implemented then I wonder how long before the UK Government starts handing over the info to the US Government... just like the flight data.

The US surely needs this when i'm deciding to go there on Holiday..

Re:*gasp* (4, Interesting)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865806)

think about when you sign up for health insurance, they'll be like `dear sir, we know you lied on your application, we have seen you have purchased excessive tobacoo and alcholic substances in the last year`.

Most people don't have private health insurance here, we have the NHS, and if you do choose to get private health insurance, you have to tell them how much you smoke/drink anyway.

If anything, this would be one of the few possible benefits of such a system - the amount of tax you pay could be directly linked to your lifestyle, so people who smoke would pay more because they're probably going to make more use of the NHS than those who don't. True, they already pay more due to the high level of duty on cigarettes, but smokers are an easy target and what government can resist easy tax targets. They could sell it the same way that they're selling the road usage charge idea (the one one where they stick a gps in your car and monitor where it goes) - just use a dubious moral argument to get it through (smokers|car drivers are evil and must be punished through punative taxation).

You could even go one stage further and make VAT progressive as well - instead of everyone paying the same 17.5%, your VAT rate would be directly related to income. Of course, that would mean moving to the US model where the displayed price doesn't include tax, which would mean people would actually become aware of how much money they're handing over to the government, and some resentment might result.

Re:*gasp* (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865612)

If the patron is drunk, the barman should call the patron a cab no matter what the patron's legal record says.

Re:*gasp* (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865624)

You shoudl fear Tony Blair, not just for his backing of illegal murders, his lies, his broken promises, him taking it up the backside from Bush but for his self centered belief that he knows best. He wants to know everything about everyone, only when will he have true power.... Well, Blair you fucking stuck up wank stain on society, youre outta here. The UK people know your real game and they arent having anymore of it. As far as Im concerned, if you killed yourself tomorrow, I would be down the bar having a pint to celebrate. Infact, if you find yourself short of a gun, reply, Ill find one if your promise to blow your brain cell out.

What a benefit for consumers! (2, Funny)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865407)

So, for example, not only would the government know what books you were buying, but the bookstore would also know if you had an outstanding speeding ticket!
Sweet! Now they'll be able to suggest a discount if I buy a copy of "Traffic Court for Dummies!"

Re:What a benefit for consumers! (3, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865479)

I actually think it would work better as:

The system says you are an axe-wielding maniac, you are entitled to 25% off our powertools!

As the article says though, its unworkable, and doesn't even get round to web/telephone transactions and verifying the person on the other end is who they say they are.

Terrorists (5, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865410)

And who's guilty of this all?


And I do mean it. They're bad, bad folks who use scare tactics and incite the fear of getting blown up to control the population into obeying their demands.

Yeah, that's right. Your beloved government fills all the requirements for the word "terrorists". Just like the other side of the pond.

Re:Terrorists (4, Insightful)

oldave (160729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865438)

Y'know what's really so bad about all this? It's exactly what the terrorists want. They've got the masses so scared that they'll go along with anything under the guise of "protection from terrorists."

And no, government is no better than the idiots scrabbling around in caves hiding out. Both use fear to get what they want.

Tin foil hat brigade? (4, Insightful) (142825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865582)

When I first heard about the 9/11 attacks, I thought "Was this a CIA plan to get a law passed to elimnate all are civil right?" Of couse not, but then they passed the Patriot act. Only terrorists and criminals would have anything to hide, only a terrorist would say, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Re:Terrorists (2, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865604)

Y'know what's really so bad about all this? It's exactly what the terrorists want. They've got the masses so scared that they'll go along with anything under the guise of "protection from terrorists."

And no, government is no better than the idiots scrabbling around in caves hiding out. Both use fear to get what they want.
Yet, the government are obviously not idiots here. They are the winners, those who gain the most from the islamists' hard work.

And if we didn't know that Dubya is incapable of coming up with something that wicked, one could say that the Saudis (who are known to sponsor Osama) got prodded by your favourite villain. Cui bono [] , said the Romans. Thus, we should nuke US, not Iraq for 9/11! With someone brighter than Dubya, this could be more than a crackpot conspiracy theory.
If you read Lenin's works, he made accurate predictions and plans for WW2 in 1914, when WW1 just only started. He knew that communism won't be able to win just yet and that it's incapable of winning during the time of peace. The plan involved pairing up with Germany and then stabbing them in the back. Stalin didn't have as much insight and let himself get caught with the pants down with Plan Barbarossa -- just as his troops finished demolishing their own defenses and started cutting down the barbed wire on the border. Read Lenin and Suvorov if you want to know more.

Islamists use terror tactics because it often works. If the target concedes, islamists win; if the target fights back, islamists get more support. UK and US governments piggyback on their successes, and thus have a vested interest in having them _not_ destroyed.

Re:Terrorists (1, Offtopic)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865617)

And if the terrorists did not exist, some individuals in the government would have invented them.

If MOSSAD did not meddle in the affairs of Palestinian resistance HAMAS would not have been there: [] . In fact HAMAS wrecks the peace process in the middle east exactly when and where Israel wants it so it will be extremely surprising if they are not on MOSSAD's payroll (the old question who does it benefit comes to mind).

If Bush and Bliar did not provide free advertising, campaining and support to Bin Laden, Laden would have remained a fringe opportunist. Once successfull, but soon dead. Once again, looking at how many items from his agenda Bush pushed blaming on Bin Laden I would be surprised if Bin Laden is not provided with timely information on the current knowledge of his whereabouts (so he can escape in time). Frankly he should have been dead 100 times by now just out of following dialisis gear shipments in the middle east. As long as he is alive there is a scarecrow to use for scaremongering so he will be alive for a long time to go.


Re:Terrorists (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865485)

The UK Governments have been turning the UK into a country where everyone is individually responsable (i.e. no social responsibility) for a very long time. I don't think the crimnal justice bill or the poll tax had anything to do with Terrorists but they were the thin end of the wedge that's ending up with total survailance of the population just incase they step out of line.

Re:Terrorists (2, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865539)

Other way around, surely. Our beloved governments use the bogie man of terrorists on every street corner to cajole us in to throwing away our civil liberties and turning over every scrap of data to them. You can usually spot a scary or stupid government idea because they tack on 'and this will protect us from terrorists' on the end of the description.

Re:Terrorists (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865679)

This is more like fearmongering, spying, or possibly demagoguery, but not terrorism.

When Israel drops bombs from planes onto villages to deter the population from supporting the civic group Hezbolla, that is terrorism. When Hezbolla retaliates, sending rockets into the nose of the Jew, that is terrorism. When the United States starves an entire nation because it doesn't like its leader, that is terrorism. The USA-Israel-Britain axis is the largest terrorist group in the world. You don't have to expand the definition of terrorism for this to be true.

Re:Terrorists (0, Flamebait)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865746)

fearmongering... terrorism.
fear. terror.
they're close cousins at least.

Re:Terrorists (4, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865761)

Interesting to see a definition from Webster's 1913 edition:
Terrorism [] , n. [Cf. F. terrorisme.] The act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; a mode of government by terror or intimidation. Jefferson.
So after a couple of centuries we're back at the original definition.

If you've got nothing to hide... (1, Flamebait)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865412)

Why not post your full contact details here, you self righteous twats.

(Just thught I'd pre-empt them).

Welcome to the world of.. 1984 (1)

phelix_da_kat (714601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865425)


I guess bed time reading for them was: []

Re:Welcome to the world of.. 1984 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865492)

Oh the irony...promoting George Orwell using a system that behaves exactly like the Ministry of Truth.

more on 1984 (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865579)

When the system is in place, Winston Smith with use his Speakwrite to go back to August 8, 2006, and revise Slashdot to delete all the comments here.

Re:Welcome to the world of.. 1984 (2, Insightful)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865584)

I was thinking more of V for Vendetta.

Just imagine (5, Funny)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865429)

If this database could be linked to myspace!!

I'll never have to write my own boring blogs ever again, this could do it for me!

11am bought donuts at krispy kreme

11:15 incurred speeding fine on South eastern freeway

11:30 purchased petrol

Re:Just imagine (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865501)

12:00 forgot to tie shoelace

12:30 looked at someone a bit funny.

13:00 Arrested for descent of the government, thrown in prison for several months without charge because I'm a terrorist.

Re:Just imagine (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865715)

> 13:00 Arrested for descent of the government

While there are many people who should probably be arrested for "descent of government", you probably aren't one of them :-).

Re:Just imagine (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865530)

You never know it might happen - AOL could make a tender for managing this DB.

17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 wife killer
17556639 how to kill a wife
17556639, B&Q Stores, 59.99, Hammer action Drill
17556639, B&Q Stores, 7.99, overalls
17556639, B&Q Stores, 3.99, tarp
17556639, B&Q Stores, 8.99, Large plastic bags
17556639 poop

Visitors (3, Interesting)

Superblargo (953025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865436)

I wonder what people would do if they took a vacation in the UK or if they were there on a business trip. If this system became integrated into daily life and such, I bet that visitors would have to get some type of a temporary card so that they could be tracked, too.

Re:Visitors (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865466)

Otherwise terrorists could easily evade the system.

Re:Visitors (2, Insightful)

the_doctor_23 (945852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865526)

But who would want ot visit the UK then?
I for one will stay clear of this country... I just prefer to keep my privacy and not get shot.

Re:Visitors (2, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865565)

>I just prefer to keep my privacy and not get shot.
Don't be silly, we only shoot people if they live in the same house as a terrorism suspect. Stay away from them and you'll be fine. Unless you carry a table leg in a brown bag of course.

Re:Visitors (1)

andyt (149701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865732)

or you have "Mongolian eyes" [] ...

Re:Visitors (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865729)

No need for any 'tempory card' they can just use the biometric passports that the US is foisting on the world.

Transparant lives. (2, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865444)

Question: With all these people's lives transparant to business and government, do you think that business/government will become MORE or LESS transparant to people in exchange?

My take is that this is a game of government and business ganging up on the rest of society in the name of security. Government is the daddy, business is the favorite trusted son, and everything else is their hunting ground. The conservative dream. []

Ryan Fenton

Re:Transparant lives. (1)

mutube (981006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865768)

I would be far more comfortable giving up elements of privacy to the government if they reciprocated & gave up some of theirs. Unfortunately, in the current climate members of government protect themselves behind the notion that giving anything away compromises "national security". "Telling us about you INCREASES security" "Telling you about us DECREASES security" Whos?

Death of Credit Cards (1)

iDrifter (640031) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865451)

Back to the cash only transactions.

Re:Death of Credit Cards (1)

mkosmo (768069) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865515)

Back to the cash only transactions.

But if the government wished to eliminate this kind of 'undercover' behavior, couldn't they just eliminate cash as we know it? It would be risky... but is likely possible now to have a strictly electronic currency, and it would have the benefit of limiting underground markets to bartering.

and of course the next obvious step... (3, Interesting)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865465)

If you pay cash for something you'll be required to swipe your ID card through a reader anyways because "it's standard procedure to get a card swipe of some kind with every transaction"

Re:and of course the next obvious step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865673)

Doesnt bother me, I dont have a UK passport (and hence an ID card). As a foriegn national in the UK, Ive refused to apply for citizenship because I saw this coming from Tony "Likes a bit of yank bum" Bliar

Re:and of course the next obvious step... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865819)

Considering the astounding number of people on Slashdot and Fark who insist citizens have greater constitutional/common law rights as opposed to visitors... godspeed, my friend.

I smell FUD (4, Insightful)

Daevid (992299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865468)

"The bookstore would know you had an outstanding parking ticket" - how and why? The current bank card we use in a bookshop links to all our bank details but a bookshop cannot access them - no system would let retail outlets interrogate a database for that information or any other info that didn't directly refer to them - that would be a serious design flaw and would never be accepted.

Re:I smell FUD--Not necessarily (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865497)

Unless the government could make money on selling the bookstore the info that I drive a Porche, speed and that there is a new book on Porche history or one on how to beat the traffic courts.

No FUD (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865772)

Brown has also said (i think in TFA) that he will sell our info to offset the costs of the scheme. Well, the details of those left in the UK. Im off to Germany when this happens.

God, talk about FUD..... (2, Insightful)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865470)

So an article in the Observer makes claims from 'sources', and all of a sudden everyone should get their tin foil hats out. We've all seen what a spectacular failure most of the recent UK Gov IT projects have been, if I believed they were even capable of doing this I might be slightly concerned. When they officially announce this is what they're rolling out, I'll make a fuss.

Re:God, talk about FUD..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865507)

I agree, the goverment here is useless with IT projects, so if they did manage to push this true, it would take at least 10 years and a triple budget!

Re:God, talk about FUD..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865541)

You're right, it's just more left-wing Slashdot hyperventalating.

Changed sides (4, Interesting)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865473)

About five years ago I was generally in favour of limited invasion of privacy like ID cards, CCTV etc. The level of craziness coming from Labour in the area has pushed me into the privacy nut camp. Their current behaviour just seems like the Labour equivalent of Thatcher's last years.

Re:Changed sides (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865522)

If your saying that the whole of the Labour government wasn't just an extension of Thatcher's last years I think you missed something along the way.

I was afraid for a moment. (3, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865483)

Then two things occured to me;

1) I don't live in the UK
2) Natural incompetency will prevent this from ever seeing the light of day. They'll be a lot of noise about it, then a year or so before it's supposed to go live, there will be story after story about how this jack holes never managed to figure out what a database was, let alone link them to others.

Re:I was afraid for a moment. (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865605)

Point 2 is spot on.

I'm actually looking forward to the NIR (National Identity Register) because it will be a phenomenal disaster. Personal data will be leaked left right and centre, hundreds of arrests will be made based on innaccurate information, nobody will be able to do anything useful after losing their ID card (which they will do with alarming regularity) and all of this will be done without putting a dent in organised crime, illegal immigrants or terrorism. The IT infrastructure supporting the system will be down more often than up and the costs will spiral in the tens of billions.

In short, it will be a typical government IT project and will never see the light of day in any meaningful, functional form.

Re:I was afraid for a moment. (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865728)

But then my taxes will go up to support such a waste.
Why can't our government just do whats right and shoot this idea in the head.

the biggest mistake someone can make (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865640)

is to underestimate the opponent. This mistake can be fatal.

Re:the biggest mistake someone can make (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865659)

is to underestimate the opponent. This mistake can be fatal.

I'm actually over estimating their abilities here by saying it will be worked on. In all likelyhood, it will never make it out of some industrial group meetings, where it will be held for further discussion.

The Truman show (3, Insightful)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865489)

Kinda makes me feel like I'm on the Truman show - all famous and special and such.

Oh wait - its a bad thing, not having a life of my own...

Oh dear (3, Insightful)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865513)

Can you say "Police State"?

Anyone remember the scare about the NSA commissioning programs that could pull together information on individuals from all over t'interweb and produce coherent, intelligent reports on behaviour patterns etc? The idea being that all of this data is available, but it's so massive and disparate that it would be almost futile to draw anything useful from it.

Seems kind of obsolete now, doesn't it.

Re:Oh dear (1)

DarkDragonVKQ (881472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865550)

Remember Remember the fifth of November The gunpowder treason and plot I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.. Viola (etc..etc..) and you may call me V.

Re:Oh dear (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865615)

Funny thing is... I have several friends in the UK and they always make fun of the USA for having tightened the borders, restricting (legal) immigration, and calling President Bush a Nazi. To me, this is sweet irony. I think they're just jealous.

Bye Bye British Democratic Heritage (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865532)

that started in 1215 with magna carta. Apparently your present prime minister, whom you have elected to power 2 times, is very enthusiastic about following in the footsteps of his sidekicks in u.s. government to kill democracy.

Re:Bye Bye British Democratic Heritage (1)

randomalias (734341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865628)

Er, 3 times actually, 1997, 2001, 2005. And the scary thing is that his (probable) replacement agrees with this lunacy as well. That's what happens when you give power to a miserable Scottish Presbyterian. They gave the world the temperance movement..... Still, we're quite an old country - we've been through worse.

Pendantic Mode On (2, Informative)

mutube (981006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865689)

The public do not elect the Prime Minister. The public elect their regional MP (Member of Parliament) who takes a seat in the House of Commons representing a particular party. The Prime Minister is (by tradition, not constitution) the leader of the party with the most MP's in parliament. So, don't blame us.

I suppose it no different in the U.S... (1)

RootWind (993172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865838)

...with our fancy smancy "Electoral College": "It's not my fault. I didn't know my elector was actually going to vote for who he pledged to vote for." Okay okay, so most of the time it doesn't really matter between popular and electoral votes... well except for in 2000.

Re:Bye Bye British Democratic Heritage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865690)

I knew it was only a matter of time before America/Bush got blamed for this.

Did I miss something? (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865548)

Um, did the Norsefire party get elected whilst I wasn't paying attention?

thats why I always pay for my books with cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865556)

especially for my 2600.
how long before paper money are outlawed?

Re:thats why I always pay for my books with cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865764)

They won't outlaw cash, they'll just incorporate barcodes or RFID into the bills.

Information overload (2, Interesting)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865560)

The bookstore cited in the summary would not want to know about your speeding tichets. They would undoubtedly implement a filter to narrow down the information they display. Plus, I didn't RTFA, but it seems unlikely to me that the system would actually be structured in such a way that all information could be pulled with the same weight. I'd think that personal information would require a higher access level. However, in the US, traffic citations are public record, and a bookstore could pull them in if they wanted to.

You should worry about bad bookeeping (5, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865568)

I myself am living through the hell of a family member's minor criminal infraction being repeatedly mishandled and miscoded by the 2 courts and 3 police departments that have some jurisdiction. Now on a daily basis there are cops at my house with one kind of arrest warrant or another for a charge that was dropped months ago.

So yeah let's give the cops more power and more data to peer into and let's give them more of an excuse to wave a piece of paper in my face and tell me "I don't care what you say, this piece of paper says I'm right and you're going to jail.." Yeah let's do that.

Things to be thankful for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865577)

1) I always pay cash (credit card purely for cash out).
2) If asked to produce ID for a purchase (it does happen from time to time, no idea why), I take my business elsewhere.
3) I don't live in the UK.

Too Complicated (2, Insightful)

airship (242862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865580)

This system is far too complicated to ever work.

A much easier system would be to just let the government decide what you can eat, where you can go (and when), and what you can read (if anything). In fact, let the government set your schedule, issue you a uniform with a number on it, and install a chip in your head so you can be tracked 24/7.

Only then will we be safe from terrorists.

Re:Too Complicated (1)

bjk002 (757977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865674)

Exactly. Do not be surprised to see this as "their" excuse for making this a reality. "The current system is broken. In order to better identify terrorists, we need to make sure every citizen carries their ID card at all times."

No, Not Too Complicated (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865705)

Amazon and Google and MySpace are too complicated to work...wait they work very well.

Sounds familliar (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865835)

I know I've heard about a utopia [] like you are describing...

short film on getting pizza under surveillance (4, Informative)

vinsci (537958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865587)

Watch Ordering pizza [] (turn on your speakers!)

Although this film was made in response the the U.S. Information Awareness Office [] program, it is equally relevant here.

What a great film from the ACLU !! (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865672)

It is funny and chilling at the same time.

Not entirely sure the story is correct though.. (3, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865601)

One of the underlying goals of the whole ID card fiasco isn't the card but the database it is intending to use that is designed to integrate all the other government owned databases in a way that allows a single view of a person. As things stand, if you want to search the driving licence data, address, voting info, criminal records etc you haven't to search different databases.
Nowhere have I seen anything that suggested this data will be available to 3rd parties such as shops but for sure, they want the data from shops.
Anyway, the UK government have a terrible record for producing big systems either to time, budget or function so we'll have nothing to worry about for ten years by which time it will have bankrupted us and will use kit no longer available and crash out with errors and timeouts all over the place. It will probably be a doddle to hack too so at least the crims will get something useful out of it.

Re:Not entirely sure the story is correct though.. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865798)

Yes, one of the ways that Big Brother Blair hopes to pay for this beaurcratic nightmare is by selling access to the database. Only 'reputable' companies will be allowed, obviously, but 'reputable' seems to equate to 'prepared to hand over lots of money'. They're selling the Electoral Register too, you know.

Re:Not entirely sure the story is correct though.. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865815)

Ohh..... My..... God......

Information... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865602)

...wants to be free.

Seriously, though, why not have all this information be freely available. Perhaps we _should_ live in a more transparent society. Would it really hurt?

Just a thought. I'll go hide in my bunker now.

Britain is out of control (4, Interesting)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865620)

As a Brit who lived in the USA from 1991 to 2000, I can report unfortunately, that unlike the USA, whose wonderful constitution and congress means that controversial measures are often debated, here, if the PM or PM2B decides to implement a law, he may and sometimes will bring it into being. The collapse of morals, lack of principled leadership, common sense and genuine concern for the populace shown by Blair's government is terrifying. I have had several parking tickets (citations) in London whereby my car was photographed BEFORE the alleged offence, and without my permission. I was stunned to receive pictures of my car and toughly written letters demanding payment of £100 for very very minor and totally accidental parking offences. Once such CCTV systems and linked to the same database as this retail database, we will in fact be living in a world far worse than Owell envisioned because unlike people, technology is cold and unable to make compassionate or common sense based judgements. It's not the Orwellian nightmare we should be afraid of, it's the concept of Skynet and such a system being missued by a corrupt and morally bankrupt government. Or G-d forbid, any terrorists who take over parliament and use it to 'take out' people of a specific ethnic group. It's happened before! People of Britain, open your eyes!

Re:Britain is out of control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865667)

Three things:

1) How was your car photographed 'before' a parking offence occured? Did they not wait for the meter to run out?
2) Since when did I need your permission to take a picture of your car in a public street?
3) Are you trying to claim that if you accidentally violate parking rules you shouldn't get a fine?

Re:Britain is out of control (1)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865823)

Good questions:

1) The picture (which can be viewed on the government's website) shows my car driving along a street minutes before the offence.
2) I am a casual photographer, and some people I have met over the last 30 or so years dislike being photographed and/or prefer to be asked. I certainly do not appreciate my every move being monitored! How many other pictures were taken? And over how long a period?
3) Yes. Absolutely. Because the fees are a lot of money, and some of us are honest hard working people. Most people are not so stupid to intentionally violate the law. Furthermore, in the UK, the punishment for relatively minor offences can cause more distress, stress, financialy difficulties than that dealt out to criminals who receive all sorts of help.

An increasingly silent majority (who hopefully will not remain silent much longer) are realising this, and I very much hope there is a major uprising here in the UK.

Our liberal media is also fanning the flames, with it's appallingly dishonest reporting and agenda driven content. Thank g-d some of us have our eyes open! Truth and justice all the way please! With fairness for the well meaning and dicipline for the nefarious.

Am rambling on a bit, but I live here and really want out ASAP. All the wrong people are being punished and being made to live increasingly inconvenient lives whereby we're all guilty until proven innocent. Oh how Minority Report got it so right. Pity no heros in real life.

BigBrother is out of control ! (1)

davro (539320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865634)

Personally i feel like im being terrorised by are own government.
I have nothing to hide apart from my privacy
This type of $hit goes againts any type Ethics & Standards of Practice.

So what happens when your government is out of control ?
Do we as citizens have a moral responsibility to stop this/them ?

Incorrect Assumption (1)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865643)

the bookstore would also know if you had an outstanding speeding ticket!
You're assuming that the bookstore would have read access to the database as well as write, which I'm nearly 100% sure is an incorrect assumption.

Re:Incorrect Assumption (1)

bjk002 (757977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865724)

which I'm nearly 100% sure is an incorrect assumption.

How do you know? Where are the specifications? Who controls said specs?

My point is this is a closed system, hidden away from public view. Who REALLY knows what is being done?

Sorry, I just cannot understand how anyone raised in the UK or the US can call this anything other than the initial steps toward an extreme police-state environment.

Re:Incorrect Assumption (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865805)

Thank god there's someone with a brain around here.

I would like to add to this fairly standard observation that:

a) This is the Register quoting the Observer who quoted 'some guys'. If you're British and realise the Observer is published by the Guardian, then you'll begin to understand exactly how 'accurate' this report is.

b) You're assuming that Labour will win the next election. Let's be honest, who wants Gordon Brown running a piss-up in a brewery, let alone the country? I'd rather vote Liberal Democrat and that's saying something.

c) Shops have been required to submit this kind of information on request for a looooooooong time. This just makes the process automatic. It is a POLICE database, not public access. It's no more or less secure or Big Brother-esque than the system that's been in place for the last 10-15 years.

They've gone to far: Government is dead (1)

Abrax (981838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865695)

We dont need government: switch to a non-profit.

time (1)

spykemail (983593) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865701)

Time to start paying for everything in coins.

I'm beginning to think I'm the only person in an English speaking country without a checking account, credit card, or cell phone.

This has all the hallmarks of......... (5, Insightful)

mormop (415983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865713)

The oft used trick in the UK for getting the population to swallow whatever crap the government wants to hurl their way, i.e.

1) Announce insanely over the top version of whatever it is you want to do

2) Sit back while the population freaks out for a while and make a token defence of it

3) Back off to the point you originally intended and watch the population sigh in relief your "capitulation" in the face of their protests.

Generally, if there's one thing to realise about New Labour it's that things don't leak from a source close to anyone in the government unless there's an agenda behind it.

Cost of living goes up (1)

End Program (963207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865717)

Well that's just grand. You know they'll be adding another service fee on for that.

--- ATM SCREEN ---
Notice: Please push OK to
accept the following fees.

Bank Convenience Fee: $2.00
Police Security Fee: $1.00

Knowing that your entire financial history is going on your permanent record ... Priceless!

Browns sneaky plan (1)

Cinnamon Whirl (979637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865720)

Aside from the speculation about the technical feasability of the plan (which would be, of course, workable were it not that the Gov. is running it), I wonder if this is just a way for GB ("PM in waiting? Erm, we have to elect him first, remember?) to get extra votes. First, you have the current PM make a huge, unworkable plan for a system that wont solve problems, will go hugely overbudget, and is almost universally derided. Second, just before the general election, you announce that you wont support it - gaining votes from the left (We love freedom!) the right (We wont spend money!) the greens (plastic cards dont biodegrade!) and the largest volume of voters, Sun readers (We do what Murdock tells us!). Three, sail into office. Then ressurect the plan a few months later. Easy.

England Prevails! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865723) long as I get a free V for Vendetta mask sent to me in the post I'll be happy with the controls till we get to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

Rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15865730)

When I read this I laughed out loud. This is complete crap. Everybody knows the UK government are not able to do something this complicated. Look at the new NHS computer system hundreds of millions of pounds and it still doesnt fecking work.

More complete and utter scaremongering horseshit from the Ministry of Terrorist Propaganda, now that IS Orwellian.

To quote Eccles (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865731)

"It's good to alive, in 1985!"

One more vote for the Conservatives, then? (1)

QuatermassX (808146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865749)

One of the more fascinating aspects of my emigration to England has been my total political reorientation. Rather, my beliefs and views haven't changed all that much, but the labels used to describe those beliefs - well, my head is still spinning.

In America, I'm photographer, a writer, I work in publishing, from NYC ... pretty much the popular cliché of a member of the Democratic party: TAX-RAISING, LATTE-DRINKING, SUSHI-EATING, VOLVO-DRIVING, HOLLYWOOD-LOVING (without the tax-raising so much - and I drove a Saturn - but goodness I love the sushi and S'bucks). I subscribe to the pillars of liberal belief as per the wiki's description:

And so it beggars belief when I read of Blair's government - and now Brown's - introducing such supremely illiberal measures such as identity cards to say nothing of the anti-democratic tinkering with the judiciary and the House of Lords.

This sort of nonsense plus the recently announced and very damaging recent immigration rule changes ( leaves me with the option of joining the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives - and I'm leaning Conservative at the moment. I really do wish the Labour party would crumble into dust like a vampire in the sunshine and leave a "true" liberal party to defend that side of the political divide.

Any thoughts?

Better not buy (1)

sherms (15634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15865807)

Catcher in the Rye!!!!

The'll be after you :)

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