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No Passport For Britons Refusing Mass Surveillance

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the and-you-thought-Sweden-was-bad dept.

Privacy 790

UpnAtom writes "People who refuse to give up their bank records, tax records & details of any benefits they've claimed, and the records of their car movements for the last year, or refuse to submit to an interrogation on whether they are the same person that this mountain of data belongs to — will be denied passports from March 26th. The Blair government has already admitted that this and other data will be cross-linked so that the Home Office and other officials can spy on the everyday lives of innocent Britons. Britons were already the most spied upon nation in Western Europemore so even than Sweden. Data-mining through this unprecedented level of mass-surveillance allows any future British government to leapfrog even countries like China and North Korea."

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Frosty piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302152)

I fail it!

Don't like it? Leave! Germany wants terrorists!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302230)

Don't like it? Leave! Germany wants terrorists like you !! It'll take anyone !!!

Re:Don't like it? Leave! Germany wants terrorists! (5, Insightful)

Xeth (614132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302592)

Don't like it? Leave!
But Mr. Anderson, what good is a desire to leave if you have no passport?

Thank Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302156)

I am so, so happy that I've moved to Canada from the UK. It no longer feels like I'm being watched all the time (not paranoia, CCTV. It's all over the place).

wow (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302170)

it's V for Vendetta coming true!!!!

This is news? (5, Interesting)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302188)

As a UK resident, all I can say is "that is what we have come to expect from this government". It seems they thought George Orwell's 1984 was a manual on how to govern.

However, we do have one advantage over North Korea: Blair has less credibility than Kim Il Jong. And unlike most facist governments, they can't get the trains to run on time either.

Re:This is news? (5, Insightful)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302334)

And unlike most facist governments, they can't get the trains to run on time either.

I always thought this was a rather curious statement. What is it about train system efficiency that inculcates a preference for or against fascism in the general populace? For all the people that equate Bush and Hitler, one would think that Amtrak would be in better shape. Perhaps Amtrak's worthlessness is a sign that our political system clearly retains its fundamental vibrancy.

I've never seen a political party base its platform on the railroad time schedule, but I wonder how the tradeoff is justified between transportation regularity and political or civil liberties. Ought liberal governments strive first to reform the train systems such that the fascist option is obviated? Is this our first line of defense against the black shirts?

I suppose it's no coincidence that fascism only arose after the advent and spread of railroad transport throughout the Western world. One wonders if subsequent developments in transportation technology--automobiles, airplanes, segways--have opened up new forms of political and social organization, such that the fascist constituency (those that passionately care about rail transport) have been minimized.

Is the ongoing threat of far right political parties in Europe (the BNP, Le Pen, etc) the reason why Europe's socialist governments sink so much money into subsidizing their rail systems, whereas the United States has no need, and therefore couldn't care a whit about poor Amtrak?

Are there any political theorists out there who can resolve this question?

Re:This is news? (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302428)

One wonders if subsequent developments in transportation technology--automobiles, airplanes, segways--have opened up new forms of political and social organization, such that the fascist constituency (those that passionately care about rail transport) have been minimized.

Yes, but they've just been replaced by a constituency willing to accept fascism as long as gasoline is cheap and the roads are pothole-free. Our willingness to accept both fascism AND airlines that run hours behind schedule still confuses me, though...

Re:This is news? (0)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302472)

I've never seen a political party base its platform on the railroad time schedule

It's a Mussolini reference, you doof. And he didn't make the trains run on time either.

Re:This is news? (0, Flamebait)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302600)

I recognized the Mussolini reference. I apologize for not making the facetiousness of my original post more apparent.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302496)

I think its just that Bush really isn't smart enough to figure that all out. In other governments the takeover leaders figured out that as long as they make things run more effeciently, ontime, and overall better. They can continue to change things how they see fit because people in general don't care as long as you are doing a good job making thier lives better while not interfering with thier lives.

Re:This is news? (4, Interesting)

bfree (113420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302622)

Is the ongoing threat of far right political parties in Europe (the BNP, Le Pen, etc) the reason why Europe's socialist governments sink so much money into subsidizing their rail systems, whereas the United States has no need, and therefore couldn't care a whit about poor Amtrak?
Take maps of greenhouse gas emmissions [unu.edu] , signatories of the Kyoto protocol [wri.org] and a comparison of petrol prices [see-search.com] and maybe you'll come up with a different reason.

Re:This is news? (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302644)

I can't tell to what extent you are kidding or whether you might need or want your question answered seriously, but just in case, "trains running on time" is supposed to be symbolic of a government's administrative effectiveness. In post-Saddam Iraq, they have had to worry about even more basic things, like electricity and running water, but it falls into the same category as trains running on time. People tend to get annoyed with their governments if they can't take care of the basics, and that annoyance can override more abstract, ideological concerns. As another example, many people who didn't agree with New York Mayor Giuliani's political leanings nevertheless appreciated his success at cleaning up NYC.

Re:This is news? (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302698)

Facism means giving all the authority to the executive branch in order to make things happen. Facists rise when people are frustrated with inefficacy in their government, and a charismatic leader arrives promising to solve everything if only he is given the authority to do it. "Making the trains run on time" is a good example of a problem in execution (as opposed to decision making) - everybody wants it done, it's a matter of somebody taking charge and making it hapen.

I don't think many people believe that Bush or the current British government are facists. The problem is simply that they are moving in that direction, by erasing boundaries such as judicial oversight in order to "git 'er done." The problem with these massive surveilance programs and police powers is that they grease the tracks for an irreparable slide into facism the next time there's a national crisis or an especially power-hungry leader. When it's a crime to report executive overstepping (such as the current national security letters issue), we are all too close.

Re:This is news? (5, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302728)

"What is it about train system efficiency that inculcates a preference for or against fascism in the general populace?"

This might sound kind of silly, but hear me out. I think it's a question of whether society as a whole prioritizes the lives of individuals, or the regular functioning of societal institutions.

Will the train wait for you if you are running two minutes late? Or will it leave exactly on time? What if you are going to visit your sick mother in the hospital? Will the conductor let you on if you run up at the last minute, after the doors have closed, tears in your eyes?

Are the people in charge sticklers for the rules, or will the allow an except for your particular life story and situation? Are we cogs in the machine, to be cast off in the ditch if we are unable to keep up with the machinations of the city? Are we here to support the institutions, or are the institutions here to make our lives easier?

I grew up in the US and got used to reliable infrastructure. I have done a lot of travelling in South American since I was in college, and it has really changed my perspective. Not that I am saying that one is better (I'll get to fascism later), but just observing at this point.

I just got back from Bolivia. In La Paz, any body with a car can put a sign on their windshield and do their own taxi service. Anybody can set down a blanket on the sidewalk and start selling potatoes or trinkets to tourists. Open air markets have fresh meat rotting in the high-altitude sun, and freshly picked vegetables sitting out in the open, dirt still on them. There are no police who are going to stop you, there are no taxes to pay. There *are* registered, licensed taxis, and regular retail shops like we are used to here in the United States. However, official institutions don't have total control over every aspect of life like they do here. Here in the US, you need permission to do wipe your ass, pardon the expression. But in Bolivia, at least, informal 'institutions' exist alongside the official ones.

In La Paz, there are full-size vans that run regular routes as taxi/buses. After 5 O'clock, when people are getting off of work, they will squeeze in as many people as can fit. Everyone is just trying to get home to their families, and nobody is going to throw you off if you are just sitting one butt-cheek on the edge of a seat. I've ridden several times in crowded, swaying full-size buses over dirt roads on mountains. I'm agnostic, but I prayed an awful lot.

Now, of course, there are a lot more deaths due to safety hazards in Bolivia, in traffic and in homes. A lot of people get food poisoning. I think Bolivians are more accepting of the suffering and death in general.

Here in the US, people seem to have what I call a hysteria of action. If something bad happens to anyone , Sometime Must Be Done, so that nobody ever has to suffer ever again. If a child dies in a shooting, all guns everywhere must be registered and locked up. If somebody gets food poisoning, we must institute totally new rules and procedures about handling food. If somebody dies in a car accident, we have to put air-bags on the roofs of all new cars. If somebody dies of a rare, expensive disease, we must establish a new non-profit so that nobody ever need suffer this disease again. If something bad ever manages to happen again, it was because somebody was lazy, not doing their job, and they must be fired. America is a paradise, and if bad things happen, it's somebody's fault for not doing their job.

Anyway, relating this to Nazi-ism, what kind of person throws people into the oven? I believe the same attitude of the person who makes sure that the trains run on time, regardless of who actually needs to go where. They prioritize the machine above the person. All of the death camp guards were just doing their jobs, following orders, doing what they were told. It didn't matter that this prisoner had a life and a family; he needed to be loaded up on the train or suffocated in the gas chamber. That's what the orders said. "Please don't kill me, my wife and kids are still in this camp." "Sorry, we have to process 100 people a day. The allied armies are closing in. Don't blame me, I just work here."

I just got back from 5 weeks in Bolivia. I went to pick up my mom from the hospital she works at. The parking lot was full of cars. We circled around back and exited through a parking garage with an automatic ticket-dispenser/reader, and an automatic gate. I realized that this whole time, I saw not another single person, besides my mom. I couldn't see into the windows of the other cars to see the drivers. I felt like I had driven into a machine, literally. In La Paz, the street is full of people and faces. All manner of emotions and interactions. People buying food and dropping the peel on the ground. Kids peeing onto the street. Teenagers embracing each other. Indigenous mothers carrying babies in fabric bags on their backs. Barbers standing in doorways offering haircuts. 10-year old kids leaning out of mini-bus windows, singing the list of destinations that the bus stops at. Dogs walking down the street, turning, obviously with a destination in mind. Blond, sunburned gringos with towering backpacks. What had previously struck me as messy and dirty now seemed like the vibrant essence of life itself.

Re:This is news? (5, Insightful)

Gotta ask yourself.. (977664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302346)

If you UKers really cared about it, you'd go into the streets and protest.

You have the power, you elected those people.

Re:This is news? (2, Insightful)

Andrew Aguecheek (767620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302474)

Heh, yeah, but you should see the other lot. The Tories just had to sack one of their front benchers for being racist (as in, saying it's ok to call soldiers "black bastards" etc)...

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302648)

That's not entirely true, and you know it.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6434053.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:This is news? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302488)

If you UKers really cared about it, you'd go into the streets and protest.

Of course, remember to ask for permission [guardian.co.uk] first.

Re:This is news? (3, Interesting)

Spad (470073) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302642)

That's cute, you think the current British government gives a flying fuck about protests, or indeed, what "the people" think.

Re:This is news? (2, Informative)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302688)

Actually, only about 26% of the people voted for the current government.

Re:This is news? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302726)

Totally wrong. 1 million people marched through central London before we joined America in a futile idiotic war against Iraq. If we actually had democracy that meant something (News Corporation based democracy does not count) you would think Tony Blair would admit that he was wrong (we were right) about the war in Iraq which was started, we were told, because of weapons of mass destruction.

Governments now lie cheat and create more and more laws that are totally unrelated to my life every single day. Why on earth does it matter if I take more than a certain amount of liquid on a plane - I refuse to believe this drivel that we are all about to die because of terrorism. Maybe we need security services to work how they used to, silently and without intrusion into our lives.

There is no alternative to the morons in charge apart from a Conservative Party in a good position because they have no actual policies yet (just Clinton-style-media-savy-content-free-I-played-foo tball-working-man-is-my-friend-bullshit). I want to believe a Conservative Party that believes in being conservative, however governments in this country seem to always end up so full of the belief that centralising control (I the cabinet minister MUST be the one who knows best!) makes things work better; look at the 100% increase in NHS spending netting a 7% increase in output for how well this works!

Does ANYONE apart from the government want these ID Card - passport mashups? And then there is the next phase full £50 billion worth of ID Cards that no-one wants!

Grrrr really angry! Might have to emigrate... oh sorry not until I hand over all my personal details! Nice.

Re:This is news? (2, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302388)

"This is news?" you ask?

It is news.

It has to be news, it has to keep being mentioned, and mentioned and mentioned, because the vast majority of people just don't realise how sinister the moves being made by the ruling classes are. People are still slumbering. People still haven't been roused, still haven't put all the pieces of the jigsaw together (I dare say, neither have I) and as a result we are being herded into our pens, stamped and tagged and the fences and barbed wire are being erected around us.

So few of us look up from our grazing and question what's going on.

If we are under the constant surveillance of an all powerful state, we are not free.

When the linch-pin of the surveillance state (the roll-out of the National Identity Registration Number)is finally enacted we will not be free citizens who elect people to serve us, we will be livestock participating in our own containment and monitoring.

We will be a Nation of Suspects, watched.

Re:This is news? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302416)

As a UK resident...

I am curious about something: why hasn't this generated a bigger uprising? It seems too few people complain about this. It took the US population a while to figure out the war is the shits, be we as a nation know now.

       

Re:This is news? (2, Insightful)

Olix (812847) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302520)

But the war is still going on, right?

Here in the UK, this stuff is publicized, people do care about it... but the government ignores all the voices of obection.

Re:This is news? (1)

rosscoe (1000032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302554)

because most of the heard follow the one with the bell. I, for one, will not be renewing my passport next time if these rules are still in place and I'd hope that others will follow me. When people have a two hour drive, a long wait, and an intrusive interview by some pimply twat in a suit then they may well protest about it and decide that it's not worth it, but knowing the great unwashed I doubt they will.

This is news (1)

Thomas the Doubter (1016806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302568)

This is news - this level of control cannot be the initiative of only one man, which is to say that Tony Blair is only the pimple on the boil. So, the question is, what is the driving force behind all of this? Is the public is clamoring for more cameras and record snooping?

Re:This is news (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302582)

So, the question is, what is the driving force behind all of this?

Gordon Brown

Re:This is news? (1)

DebateG (1001165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302630)

That's a common myth. Mussolini did not get the trains to run on time [snopes.com] ; he just took credit for other's work. Just because a government is totalitarian doesn't make it competent at serving its people, but the beauty of such a government is that you can take credit for whatever you want and then kill off the people who disagree with you.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302640)

As a UK resident, all I can say is "that is what we have come to expect from this government". It seems they thought George Orwell's 1984 was a manual on how to govern.

Are you really worried about the government getting its hands on your tax records? Where is it that you have been sending your taxes, anyway?

And unlike most facist governments, they can't get the trains to run on time either.

"Facist"? I take a certain pride in noting that we US residents are not the only people who suck at spelling, or typing, or whatever...

Re:This is news? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302720)

As a UK resident, all I can say is "that is what we have come to expect from this government". It seems they thought George Orwell's 1984 was a manual on how to govern.

No, this is more like Atwood's the Handmaid's Tale. People who found themselves wanting to escape the new Theocracy suddenly found it difficult to do so.

And like Americans and frogs (5, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302198)

they just sit there in that pan of slowly heating water...

Re:And like Americans and frogs (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302354)

And like Americans and frogs ... they just sit there in that pan of slowly heating water...

Look, I don't know where you get your french stereotypes, but I've never heard of one sitting in a tub of hot water.

Re:And like Americans and frogs (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302400)

I really don't agree. I realize that around here it is popular to bad mouth America,
but I really cringe when I wonder what would happen to the UK if they were subjected
to the same level of terrorism that the US was with September 11th. Not to be too
condescending, but the tube bombings were really nothing in comparison to the numbers
killed in the WTC.

If they are already going to give up all their rights for something relatively small,
I genuinely wonder what is going to happen when a larger terrorist action occurs.

Yes, the politicians here in the US pretty much sold us out to the highest bidding
security company and a group of dolts that believe not only in Armageddon, but that it
is coming in the next decade. But, the political tides here always sway back. Due largely
to the same forces which make it difficult to make any real meaningful changes to fix
social issues.

Re:And like Americans and frogs (4, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302456)

but they've BEEN subject to ACTUAL terrorism via the IRA for much longer... like 20 years, it's actually got better over there since before 9/11. Why didn't the British govt need this in the 70's and 80's when IRA bombings were several times a year? It's like things get better, so they feel the need to "look busy" and punish the same number of people because they have the spare time.

Re:And like Americans and frogs (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302480)

You know, that is a very good question. Especially considering the sheer number of IRA attacks during that period. And the number of casualties.

Re:And like Americans and frogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302584)

You know, that is a very good question. Especially considering the sheer number of IRA attacks during that period. And the number of casualties.

What, 1800 deaths and 20,000 injuries, spread over 30 years? It's in the same order of magnitude as far as totals are concerned, but 9/11 was a single event.

Re:And like Americans and frogs (1)

framed (153355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302654)

The scale of the threat is the issue. Traditional bombings suck but you can deal with them. Nuclear/Chemical/Biological attacks are much more critical to stop, as they can be society ending. From what we've been told today's terrorists are aiming for those types of attacks. We have to prevent a much higher percentage of those types of attacks for society to survive. I'm not saying it justifies everything they're doing, but it does justify an extra level of vigilance over a steady stream of car bombings.

Re:And like Americans and frogs (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302620)

It doesn't matter. You either have freedom and civil liberties or you do not. You don't sacrifice your liberties and way of life because you're frightened. Especially when the sacrifices are entirely unnecessary. How about instead of spending a couple trillion dollars fighting in a military conflict that we initiated in a country that did not attack us and simultaneously turning ourselves into a police state, we spend HALF the amount and invest it in actual protection of the country through various technologies? You don't need to have my fingerprints, know what I'm thinking, see what books I'm reading and know my driving habits to prevent terrorism. It makes a convenient excuse to convince the ignorant population, but that's about it.

And not to be condescending, but some 2,800 killed by terrorist acts in the WTC is really no comparison to 300,000,000 current citizens and billions upon billions of citizens over the next centuries who will be subjected to a country in which their liberties and society are pressured out of them for supposed protection.

As far as the original poster's comment - it is dead on. As I have said repeatedly, Americans do not care. Plenty of Americans will actually say "we have to give up some freedom for security"! Hell, we have a significant percentage of high school students who think we have "too much free speech"! As long as they can still play their Nintendo Wii, get their five dollar coffee, drive their SUV, praise their baby jebus and set their Tivo to record Next Top Model, Americans don't give a fuck. God damn, look at how irate the population gets when gas prices increase by twenty cents versus the absolute silence and lack of interest when we lose our rights to due process and not be subjected to unlawful search and seizure. We hand up our liberties daily and those of our children (who we willingly have registered with the police with their photographs, DNA and fingerprints when they're still toddlers) under the premise that having their DNA stuck on a swab in a box somewhere is going to prevent some freak from raping them!

What does the average citizen get from this? (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302200)

How does this benefit the average citizen?

It won't reduce terrorist activities.

It won't reduce crime.

All it will do is make it easier for the government to find SOMETHING on you if they ever want to.

Re:What does the average citizen get from this? (1, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302226)

All it will do is make it easier for the government to find SOMETHING on you if they ever want to.

Well said.

Indeed, I have to wonder what the hell they're thinking over there...? Are all Britons living in daily fear of ogres, such that they'll ask for these kinds of measures? Is this a long-term consequence of Socialism, making adults demand to be treated as children? Is it something in the water supply? I mean, WTF?

Socialism? Bah! (5, Insightful)

andersh (229403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302404)

Why is it Americans always brings up this "Socialism" rubbish? Why do you still live in the 50s? Socialism in Europe has long since disappeared. The Labour governments of most European nations are far more centrist and market friendly than you believe. Actually your Republicans are more interested in creating "large" government agencies than European politicians. Here it's more: "how much can we privatize link [thelocal.se] " and "is it legal under EU competition laws".

In fact please have a look here for how many European nations are run today [usatoday.com] .

Re:Socialism? Bah! (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302492)

because Europe has parties that are actually left leaning and get elected. In the US right now we have "far right" and "mostly right" wing parties with zero representation by any other ideology in our govt.

Re:Socialism? Bah! (2, Informative)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302570)

because Europe has parties that are actually left leaning and get elected.

The UK doesn't. The two main parties are both centre right, and the Lib Dems don't have a coherent policy on anything (they're too busy trying to be the "true alternative" to have any policy other than "we will increase taxes").

Re:Socialism? Bah! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302596)

At least in Germany, the left-wing parties (all three) are VERY market-unfriendly in very many areas. I think in France it's even worse, with only 30% of the population being in favor of a market economy(!).

Europe is very much socialist-oriented (not socialist).

Re:What does the average citizen get from this? (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302406)

We don't ask for it. We even protest it.

1.8 million people signed an e-petition protesting the implantation of a GPS tracking device in every car in Britain. Given that there are only 30 million vehicles in Britain (UK Dept of Transport figure), and the average rate of net-literacy, this is a staggering number.

Of course, the government response was to just say "oh, ok, but we're still going to do it anyway". Which isn't surprising ; UK Dept of Transport documents reveal that this system is required to be compatible with European systems, so it looks like it's been decided at a higher level for a long time. Couple this with the push for an independent European GPS system, Galileo, and it looks like a done deal - "They" want to watch where we all go and the route we take to go there. The cover story that it's all to combat congestion on the roads doesn't wash - I myself, a lowly UK gov employee, can conceive of a means to implement a similar scheme that is an order of magnitude cheaper, achieves the stated goal of making people pay to drive on congested roads, and doesn't track your car everywhere it goes (just where it goes on congested roads).

I'd expect to see similar initiatives from all big governments in time. They're scared of the power that information and technology give their populace, because it takes power from them.

Re:What does the average citizen get from this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302500)

An e-petition? Really? Gee whiz, you really know someone believes in a cause if they sign an e-petition for it!

Wake me when they're burning passports outside the Big Ben...

Re:What does the average citizen get from this? (3, Interesting)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302542)

making adults demand to be treated as children?
I don't know if it's anything to do with socialism, but the adult population in this country (the UK) is substantially infantalised. No one is willing to accept responsibility for anything any more, everything is always someone else's fault; and it's usually one of a few narrow groups: "the government", "the media" or "do-gooders\Political correctness". Never "me", everyone thinks that they are totally helpless to change anything, and of course Big-brother takes advantage of this apathy. Personally, I'm working on leaving the country like a coward. I can still get to Eire without a passport, and they currently have a booming economy. Hopefully before that time comes we will have replaced this labour government, and ID cards will be no more (all major opposition parties have pledged to scrap ID cards and the associated database).

Re:What does the average citizen get from this? (1)

phizman (742537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302574)

The privacy protections in Canada (socialist) are considerably stronger then the US or many parts of Europe. US companies are allowed to do whatever they want with your data with zero consequences from the government. In parts of Europe it's the government doing the data mining on their own people, but without any internal laws stopping it. Canada has strong privacy laws that both the government itself and companies have to obey.

Pride (2, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302232)

The average citizen receives the pride of knowing that they are playing their preordained part in the ten thousand year old game of social control: Create debt, maintain debt, keep people in debt, work them until they die of debt.

Re:What does the average citizen get from this? (5, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302370)

If you live in a society that lives by the credo of "Stay in line, this is your number" and where the most common expression is "May I see your Papers Please?" you accept the paranoia of those in charge as an immutable natural law and go on from there. So how to live with it? Protest or work against it? -easy way to get a larger file, that.
No, the best way is to always smile, say "Yes Sir" and do exactly as you please while APEARING to be a common little proliterait. I once knew a janitor who told me that every time he had a kid born he applied for and recieved at least 20 social security cards. The pencil pushers are used to the paperwork and just roboticlly fill in the correct blanks. This way, he had at laset 5 his kid could use, 2 or three he could use, and he could sell the rest. I always thought this fellow a smart man; trading paranoia as a commodity. Spys call it a "legend"; Building up a absolutley solid ID that is totally different from you. I would suggest anyone itnerested in freedom investigate open literature on how this is accomplished. f you are unwilling to stray that far from the matrix, try this: Always lie, always typo, always answer with a smile and a mis-spelled name. such mistakes are expected, forgiven and never result in problems for you but if ENOUGH do it, the monkey wrench colides with the machinery in such a way as to render the whole thing disfunctional,. Do your part to show the insult to individualism and freedom it truely is.

Politicians and bureaucrats. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302530)

How does this benefit the average citizen?
They get to feel all warm and fuzzy that their good friend "the government" is taking such good care of them...

Of course, the connection they fail to make is that "the government", any government is made up of two classes of people; bureaucrats and politicians. Neither are a particularly trustworthy bunch. This is actually the problem I have with people saying "the government should". What they're really saying is that they want politicians and bureaucrats to become more involved in their lives...

 

Re:Politicians and bureaucrats. (2, Insightful)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302700)

This is actually the problem I have with people saying "the government should"

And it's all that "government should" nonsense that lets the government get away with all this. If people in the UK started taking more responsibility for both themseleves and the community they live then it wouldn't be such a mess, both literally and figuratively.

Instead, it's always the government that should be doing something. As though the government was somehow omnipotent and could solve every problem with just a snap of Tony Blair's fingers. As the government isn't omnipotent (or even that competent) we end up with our freedoms being taken away and none of our problems being solved.
 

Europe very different than US (2, Interesting)

CitX (1048990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302208)

People in the US value their privacy and expect more of it than in Europe. I've lived in London and Paris for a time and both cities are full of surveillance. Even the French now data mine public transit. I've never been to Scandinavia but I can tell you that there is a totally different attitude about it there. More people accept and even want cameras etc...on every light pole. transactions are monitored and mined more there. That is why banks use data centers in Europe to store information. All Interpol tracking is done their, that is why pedophile rings are always busted from Europe. The are far more Orwellian societies.

Re:Europe very different than US (3, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302306)

.. and Walmart in the US have one of the largest data mined databases in the world, whereas in the UK we have the data protection act that makes it a criminal offence to sell on your customer data without permission.

You can always pick examples but there really isn't that much difference... the only time I've really felt scared of the authorities was when I visited the US.

Re:Europe very different than US (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302438)

If you don't like Walmart's policies, you can simply not shop there. If you don't like the govornments policies, you still have to deal with them.

What you just presented was not only an example of "well, the US does it too!" but of comparing apples to oranges.

Even though it's a completly worthless counter argument it takes a shot at both the US and Wal*Mart so it get's modded up in the seconds between when the page loaded and when I clicked to see what your reply was.

Re:Europe very different than US (2, Interesting)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302462)

Of course, Wal-Mart only has data on what you do with Wal-Mart, not what you do with Costco, Best Buy, your mortgage lender, etc.

the only time I've really felt scared of the authorities was when I visited the US.

Then I'd say our authorities have done their job. You should be afraid of our ICE, our police, our enforcement arms.

And before someone whips out the quote "Governments should be afraid of their people!" that applies to the elected, legislative body. In this case, enforcement arms - police, ICE, and the like - should instill a little fear... Often times the threat of action by the authorities will halt criminal activities.

Not saying you PERSONALLY were doing anything illegal. But if you're a bit afraid of our enforcement/police agencies, then I'd say good for them...

Re:Europe very different than US (2, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302556)

You should be afraid of our ICE, our police, our enforcement arms.

No innocent person should be afraid of law enforcement personnel. The purpose of the police is "to protect and to serve", and if they are doing that rather than "being enforcers for the criminals and thugs elected to high office" then no one needs to be afraid of them except the guilty.

Re:Europe very different than US (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302506)

the key point there is SELLING your data... the privacy laws mention nothing at all about the govt simply TAKING it!!!

Re:Europe very different than US (2, Interesting)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302512)

btw. orwellian? That implies wrong motivation.

In an hour or so (I start at about 11.30pm) I'm off onto the streets of our fair city (voluntary, no less). I carry a radio that's linked to every nightclub, ever shop, night worker, plus the camera centre. There are about 150 cameras in the city centre... at any time I can make a call to get one or more of them pointed in my direction.

That's not orwellian. Anyone can do what they want... we don't even stop people fighting each other provided nobody else is involved and it's only fists (any sight of a knife and the police are there usually in under 30 seconds.. no guns here so it's not an issue). Stuff happens when people are drunk.. it's no big deal.

It's all about two things - protection - everyone has a right to go out and enjoy themselves without nutters getting in the way and trying to mug them or something - and perception - even though the city is *very* safe at night it's good to have people in high-vis wandering around because people feel safer, and they enjoy themselves more.

Orwellian implies something completely different - that it's used as a means of control. Discounting the fact that it would be nearly impossible to control 250,000 people in one place it implies some kind of conspiracy - and there's simply no evidence of that. The structures aren't even there.. local government usually only pays lipservice to central government... the police are independent again... in reality the way the setup is in this country you couldn't even setup a totalitarian system if you wanted to (as a last backstop the army is allied to the queen not the government and she has the power to forcibly remove them.. it's never get that far though).

Re:Europe very different than US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302338)

I disagree. Europeans value their privacy too.

When shopping here at certain stores, they obnoxiously ask for the telephone number, zipcode, and sometimes even email address and everybody in front of me gives them this info without pause. I refuse and they are almost taken aback as if I'm the first person to do that (at least that day) and then try to sell me on it with some crappy 5% discount that will arrive in the mail (along with a lot of other crap no doubt).

I haven't seen them ask this ever on a checkout in Europe and I doubt the majority of people would give out that info freely. And I know my level of junkmail, soliciting calls, and other such things were nonexistent there but that could have been just me.

I think America has a different level of spying and invasion of privacy - by corporations - than Europe where the government is whacky (especially the UK) and insists on spying on its citizens everywhere.

The difference is that to corporate surveillance you can easily feel comfortable saying fuck off while with government surveillance there is a pressure to conform and also the "think of the children/get the terrorists" component which is also stupid to accept but most people anywhere buy into that type of thinking anywhere it seems.

Re:Europe very different than US (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302390)

> People in the US value their privacy and expect more of it than in Europe.

I'm European, and I value my privacy very much...
I *hate* it that our governments are starting to use RFID-chipped passports (I think they are STILL far too unsafe to use in such a sensitive piece of personal information, but hey, who am I, right?), and I hate the all-pervasive and all-around us cameras """To protect you""".
Panopticon indeed!

If you want to see where this all could be going (and seem to be going), read "The Traveller" by John Twelve Hawks...

Sadly, I'm only one voice, and for such issues we used to have Bits of Freedom, but they stopped most of their activities last year, because of lack of funding. :(

"Sorry, you can't leave." (5, Insightful)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302222)

So, does this mean that it's impossible to leave the country unless you first give over all your personal data? Even if you want to leave solely because you don't want to give that data?

I wonder if and when the first people will start running smuggling operations out of Britain.

Re:"Sorry, you can't leave." (3, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302328)

Passports are for getting back into your country, not for leaving. Leave any time you want. However, anybody who wants to get in to Britain must show that they have a right to be there.

On the most abstract level, you can argue that this is just another step needed to verify the identity of the person presenting a passport to enter Britain. But personally I'm highly suspicious of this.

Re:"Sorry, you can't leave." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302526)

Passports are for getting back into your country, not for leaving.

If you don't have a valid passport other countries won't admit you. If you're a citizen of the UK and you show up at the border without a passport, they'll ask a lot of questions, but once they're satisfied who you are they'll let you in. I mean, what else could they do, declare you a stateless person?

Re:"Sorry, you can't leave." (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302344)

Actually no - you can go to another country in Europe without a passport - you just need verifiable ID.

Although that's *possible* since old georgie boy's 'war on terror' it's got a whole lot harder. A few years ago a friend of mine went on holiday to ireland with no passport and got back with no issues. Wouldn't want to try it today.

Re:"Sorry, you can't leave." (4, Interesting)

blowdart (31458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302564)

There's a special arrangement between the UK and Ireland which means you don't need a passport to travel between the two countries. Even now. Getting into the UK from any other EU country does take a passport or a national identity card

I'm in the process of applying for an Irish passport, as I was born in Northern Ireland. I won't be renewing my UK passport this time around.

Inconvenience? (3, Insightful)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302228)

From the article: "I think people will recognise that its appropriate once in their lifetime to go through a little bit more inconvenience..."

Are passports issued for life in Britain? I doubt it.

Re:Inconvenience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302528)

Basic reading comprehension: you go through the interview once in your life in order to obtain a passport, after that you renew it without having to go through an interview.

Uh puhleeze (3, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302252)

The Daily Mail?

That's like an american getting views on the democratic party from Fox News.

Daily Mail Watch [bigdaddymerk.co.uk] is a good read, if you've not seen what this 'paper' prints before.

Re:Uh puhleeze (2, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302386)

The Daily Mail?

That's like an american getting views on the democratic party from Fox News.
That was my first thought as well, but the summary has articles from the Independent and Guardian (the other end of the political spectrum) as well, it just goes to show that NuLabour hasn't got support from any paper on this issue, except perhaps the Sun.

Personally, I lost faith in the British press long ago, and only buy Private Eye, IMO the least bias news organ in this country.

Which is why (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302260)

I renewed my British passport last year, even though my old one had plenty of time left on it. Nobody was too sure of the details, other than a price increase and a loss of privacy, but everyone knew that 2007 was going to bring some big changes.

What with this sort of behaviour and the whole RFID fiasco, British passports aren't much fun. Which is a shame, because they have the potential to be the best book you could ever own.

Re:Which is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302356)

I did mine in 2005 which means I have 8 years before I'm forced to emigrate from this shithole fucking country. I'm hoping my employees in government will give myself and those with similar views financial aid in relocating. Once us pesky rational thinkers have moved elsewhere, the UK government can pursue it's fascist agenda unopposed. Leave all the clowns who have "nothing to hide" to rot, the smart folk are outta here if the surveillance state isn't repealed.

Re:Which is why (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302548)

Seeing as there's going to be an election before your passport runs out, you could always try and help get the buggers out parliament.

Who's laughing now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302284)

Anyone who laughed that Blair and Bush were pushing for a Nazi level of governmental control over people's lives, who's laughing now? Bush/Blair now claim the right to abduct anyone, anywhere, for no reason, and they make it a crime to even disclose their abuses of civil rights.

Kind of amazing, how Prescott Bush helped finance Hitler's rise to power... how George W Bush's first business partner was Osama Bin Laden's brother, and how all this ties together in forwarding a Nazi-looking kleptocratic agenda.

What could they be looking for? (2, Funny)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302288)

Maybe it's this [intriguing.com] .

the catch? (1)

C4st13v4n14 (1001121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302290)

The catch seems to be that this applies to British citizens, not others living in Britain. As an American, in light of the the recent events, I have just decided never to give up my citizenship, no matter how long I decide to live in England.

This sceptred isle (4, Insightful)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302302)

I used to be very proud of being English. I believed Britain to be a light in the darkness and a bastion of freedom. I believed that the U.K., along with the U.S., stood as examples to the rest of the world as to what was possible when freedom won out over fear. But today, I no longer feel that way. I see freedoms being given up for illusory safety, and an unprecedented level of control being given to a government that has never proven itself even remotely worthy or capable of such a responsibility. Mostly, I feel anger and sadness, and a sense of frustration that the proverbial shining city on the hill has become so horribly tarnished with the shit of misinformation, misdirection, fear-mongering, and mediocre talking-heads proclaiming that just a few more liberties need to go to make us all safe.

Many Americans, I suspect, can relate.

Re:This sceptred isle (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302372)

"what was possible when freedom won out over fear"

You get a whole lot of wog immigrants who breed like hell. Now you can't even call your country your own any more. Once they get into the majority, they will vote an ayatollah into power and that will be that.

"light in the darkness and a bastion of freedom" ... should not include the freedom to put out the light! Silly you.

Re:This sceptred isle (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302524)

Well, at least they also won't allow anonymous assholes like you to post your disgusting rubbish.

There's always a silver lining.

Re:This sceptred isle (1)

Thomas the Doubter (1016806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302706)

And who is the one using disgusting language?

Re:This sceptred isle (3, Insightful)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302430)

Me too. We were never as good as we thought we were, but we were never as pathetic as we are now.

Re:This sceptred isle (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302436)

Clearly, the government that the US has now is not the one that we thought we were electing. Okay, some might have predicted this, but the majority did not. I had never thought of myself as a libertarian until the current Bush administration worked so hard to belittle citizens by taking our rights, squeezing our liberties, and invading our lives all in the name of stopping child pornography and terrorists. I think there is enough information on the internet to show that neither were a big problem until the Bush administration told the world that it was.

Ruin the rights of hundreds of millions of people to incarcerate a handful. They could have caught them without the patriot act. Anything that looks similar in other countries is nothing more than the same thing with a different signiture. Orwell was more of a prophet than science fiction writer as far as I can tell.

Governments all over the world (with the help of the US government and DRM supporters) are succumbing to the false ideology that security is only achieved when all citizens are imprisoned and cannot possibly get together to plan terrorist acts, or download illegal music.

I'm personally waiting for the big backlash to start. My guess, a not-well-thought-out civil rebellion in some EU country that fails, but news of it starts others around the world until all governments are starting to believe its a good idea to trip all over themselves to show they are protecting civil rights and privacy of their citizens.

Trains Delayed: Wrong Kind Of Country (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302534)

The proverbial shining city on the hill has become so horribly tarnished
I apologise for the fact it's always been like that:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Where's V When You Need Him? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302348)

Wow. Just watched "V for Vendetta" on cable last night. Turned on the computer, went over to slashdot, and this is the first story I see. Spooky.

Car Movements? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302360)

Car Movements?

What, you're supposed to keep track every time you shit in your car over there?

How insane is that?

Re:Car Movements? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302470)

Car Movements? What, you're supposed to keep track every time you shit in your car over there?

Lisa Nowak did to poop what Richard Reid did to shoes.
     

and in Canada... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302426)

... sometimes known as soviet canuckistan, terrorists have a right to a passport.

Really, if they are canadian citizens, they do have a right to a passport [canada.com] .

Correction! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302614)

If what you say is true, I'd note:

If the Canadian government *believe* they are terrorists - they still have a right to own a passport.

Go Canada, I say.

A side-effect of the affinity for monarchy? (0, Troll)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302434)

This is one of the ripples forward through time of the affinity for monarchy, I think. While most European governments in present day have leaders that are elected, there are still the remnants of monarchy, which are held on to quite firmly and even fondly. This unconscious collective desire for protection by a good and powerful parent has to manifest itself in other ways now, one of which is wide-scale state surveillance. In an era where "God Save The Queen" doesn't in and of itself mean much when the Queen's just a nice old lady on telly, there needs to be some other symbol for the collective unconscious to latch onto.

Of course, that doesn't mean the parent is in fact either good or powerful, just that the desire for it on the part of the population has them see it that way.

In America a similar thing seems to be true (because the culture descended from European culture), but the anti-monarchy element that lead to the Revolution means that it seems to require a larger perceived threat before people are willing to accept it. Hence the need for 9/11 and the saturation advertising for the war on terra.

Re:A side-effect of the affinity for monarchy? (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302686)

Interesting, but I don't think it's anything to do with a love of monarchy per se, or the fact that at one point in history you all came from countries with a monarchy.

You're right that it's all to do with whipping up fear so the population can be more easily controlled - it's always been like that, monarchy or no monarchy. Our own monarchy aren't actually that powerful anymore, at least, not overtly. Hence why we refer to "President Blair".

Of course, unlike many of our recent leaders, your leaders are increasingly from a wealthy elite of families - the faces change but the families remain...

Watch "Braveheart" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302442)

Anyone who's watched Braveheart, knows the English system of laws is about the most corrupt there is.... it has nothing to do with justice, but rather, is a way for the state to impose a super fine grain level of power into every single person's lives and judge them individual. It upholds them to the most impecable standards and scrutity, while in the dark does the most dastardly and criminal deeds. Its all about retaining the right to steal, murder, torture, and spy to the state, while denying these things to anybody else.

United States law was based upon this system, and likewise the same corruption has resulted. That was the US founding fathers biggest mistake after fighting the revolution... basing their system of law on the one thing they hated most and fought against, but knew of nothing else to base it upon. They did their best with the best ideas they had a the time, but the Federalists overthrew it all and pushed for a Republic against a democracy. They might as well pushed for a new king.

http://www.lysanderspooner.org/bib_new.htm [lysanderspooner.org]

Re:Watch "Braveheart" (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302586)

Ugggh.... I bow to your legal training based on watching "Braveheart". Especially that bit when the evil dude cut his wife's throat! How corrupt was that! And don't forget the law against taking goats across London Bridge - total evil, evil I tell you! We should all rise up against this corrupt system immediately. You first.

Re:Watch "Braveheart" (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302724)

Still, I'd say the OP is not entirely wrong to extrapolate from Braveheart: despite all our rules, truly powerful men (there are very few truly powerful women in this sense) fashion and bend the rules of society and government to work in their favor, and we are all living under systems which are the result of centuries of such distortion. In some ways it's quite amazing that the major democracies are still as free as they are, although we seem to be correcting that little anomaly now.

And i thought Turkey was lacking in rights (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302566)

Apparently you brits have gone under the iron fist already. Turkey seems a rights heaven when compared to what we are reading now ...

Amazing.... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302626)

how many supposedly deomcratic governments hate and fear freedom. In the US Bush was yanking citizens rights as he was proclaiming the terrorist hate us for our freedom. I'm not as familiar with the British Constitution so I'm not sure about the legality of the all the big brother tactics. In the US the Constitution is quite specific about unreasonable search and seisure. Britian has taken the stance of zero privacy and the US is headed in that direction. Is the reason in the US to lock more people up? Our prisons are already over crowded. The dark side of the electronics boom is it's making it possible to micromanage peoples lives. Cheap cameras and powerful computers are giving the governments an unpresidented ability to look over our shoulders. Nothing to hide? Everyone forgets the McCarthy era when innocent lives were ruined for no reason. The true irony in that case was if they were Communists our Constitution allows them to preach it from the steps of the White House but the law was abused for personal gain. It's always about power and control.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18302628)

So now where do I go to avoid the draft if Bush decides to invade Iran (and 5 bucks says he'd claim that was under his power as president as part of the war on terror)? Obviously not the UK, I don't want to be on camera 24/7 if I'm hiding... not Sweden anymore with *their* recent appearance in the news... Canada seems OK on the surface, but I have the oddest feeling that today they'd return a draft dodger if Bush asked nicely... All the rest of Europe is going to have GPS tracking via passport soon it seems... Japan is getting worse and worse for foreigners...

Do I go to Australia, or are they just as bad? Is there anywhere in the world I can have broadband access *and* not need to carry a gun in the streets or fear the government spying on me?

What the fuck happened to UK? (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302670)

Ages ago a beacon of democracy and progress and now a country I seriously would not even want to visit as a tourist any more???

And who is watching those who are watching? (2, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302682)

Really? what kind of human you are is not determined by what side of the camera you are on.

It seems to me that real terrorist would want to find suckers to set up, so to keep the public on the edge of terrorism scare, while hiding behind the guise of supporting anti-terrorism.

UK has to lead in something (1, Flamebait)

wardk (3037) | more than 7 years ago | (#18302702)

The bad teeth championship just isn't what it used to be.

the UK are players again...
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