November 16, 2005

UK's '24x7 vehicle movement database' begins

Our double plus good government continues on it's quest to tag and monitor everybody. Now New Labour, not content with ID Cards, the explosion in CCTV, and all their other measures to make sure that we keep in our proper places and keep them in their's (power) have come up with a new wheeze. Lets set up a national grid of cameras so that we can monitor everybodies movements! New Labour wants
A "24x7 national vehicle movement database" that logs everything on the UK's roads and retains the data for at least two years
and is
what promises to be one the most pervasive surveillance systems on earth.
parliment, having shown signs recently of growing a spine, is to be bypassed.

Already 50% of what gets before the courts is traffic related un-crime. While real crimes, such as burglary, most of the time aren't even reported to the Police anymore since everybody know that the chances of a real criminal ending up in front of a judge is practically nothing. This has already hit Slashdot which has come up with some interesting comments:
The thing is speeding is not actually the problem they need to solve, accidents are. With the level of cameras now on the road, I find I am paying far more attention to, what the last speed sign said, where the next camera is and how fast I am going. However what i probably should be doing is looking at the road conditions, other vehicles and people/objects near the road for potental hazards.
Which is completely true, revenue speed cameras increase accidents and make roads less safe.
The speed limits here in the UK are now so absurd in many places that the vast majority of motorists exceed the limit, yet no accidents ever result (literally; speed limits have been dropped on roads that haven't had even a minor injury accident in a decade).
Yep, speed is not a problem, accidents are (which revenue speed cameras cause). If this was really about safety not raising more money for Gordon Brown to waste and furthering New Labour's authoritarian political project then they would be taking down revenue speed cameras, not putting more up.
This is just another power play by Blair's dictatorship and his ever more draconian Home Secretaries, right along with ID cards for everyone, the National Identity Register, electronic strip searching on the way onto the London Underground, the RIP Act, detention without trial for as long as they can get away with, installing CCTV everywhere (yes, we're still the most spied-upon nation in the world), reversing the burden of proof and/or attempting to do away with jury trials for increasing numbers of cases...

All of these things, of course, are "justified" by arguing that they increase national security, help to prevent crime, or otherwise benefit Joe Public. Unless he's in the wrong place at the wrong time, in which case he loses his benefits because some junior staffer in a government office mistyped one number out of 1,000 they entered that day into the master database. Or the ANPR system misreads a number plate, and sends him a fine for doing the physically impossible, which he then has to challenge in court after several weeks of concern, with no compensation for the time wasted or grief caused. Or his daughter's the one being rendered naked for the pervert watching the screens at the Underground station. Or he's late for the train, and since he ran through the screen he's obviously a terrorist so they shoot him dead. Or he's black, old, bald, young, or a registered member of an opposition political party, the biometric recognition doesn't work, and he's held for three months as a suspected terrorist on the whim of a senior politician, by which time he's lost his job, his home, and the trust of all his family and friends, not to mention the ability to challenge the statements of absolute fact issued by our political leaders (and I use the term loosely, since they didn't even win the popular vote in England, never mind an overall majority that might justify their absolute control of parliament, not that this particular abuse ever went before parliament) to justify all these Big Brother efforts.

Our New Labour masters are building
what promises to be one the most pervasive surveillance systems on earth
to protect us. So let joy be unconfined, because under New Labour everything else will be.


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