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Britain to log all vehicle movement 914

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-are-watching-you dept.
dubbayu_d_40 writes "Using a network of cameras that can record license plates, Britain plans to build a database of vehicle movement for police and security services: rollout begins in March. Can't someone just swap/steal/disable the tracking device? Seems to me just another way to track the average citizen and not those wishing to avoid authorities."
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Britain to log all vehicle movement

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:41AM (#14315558)
    It is only targeted at law abiding citizens.
    • This will suck when the coppers knock on your door asking you why you went to a certain address at a certain time...
      • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@jwsm[ ]e.com ['yth' in gap]> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @06:53AM (#14316195) Homepage Journal

            Think of the recent bombings.

            Anyone who drove through that area, from a suspected bad area, is now a suspect.

            I know that many times, I've driven through bad parts of town, to commute to work. Some of the worst parts of town have the least traffic, so I've taken liberties with traffic control devices, like rolling stop signs. The police don't care, because if I'm not even stopping for stop signs, then I'm not buying drugs, or picking up some nasty hooker.

            Now, being that I drove by a neighborhood with suspected bad people, I could now be bulked into that group. I'd still be perfectly innocent, because I don't know the people in those areas, but I'd look guilty as sin.

            They'd be able to take liberties of when to pick me up too. It's easier to follow me, and pick me up in a grocery store parking lot, than to wait until I'm at home or work.

            The world is rapidly becoming more big brother-ish. I don't like saying it, but it's something we'll have to get used to, until plenty of administrations change. As we innovate newer technologies, they'll continue to be used against us.
      • by commodoresloat (172735) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @08:10AM (#14316465)
        That's really the point, isn't it? It doesn't target criminals at all, except insofar as any citizen might be a criminal. By targeting the general population, they greatly increase the number of things to investigate when criminal activity does occur. But criminal activity will be a miniscule portion of what they are actually recording, and more significant criminal activity will take steps to cover its tracks and deflect attention (stolen license plates, etc.), so this will only end up stopping petty criminals, make things safer for organized crime, and give anyone who wants to invade other people's privacy a very convenient infrastructure for stalking, eavesdropping, following, etc. Crap like this only helps real terrorists, and the ones it helps you catch are amateur enough that they would have been caught anyway without this.
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:48AM (#14315582) Homepage
      Like, how hard would it be for a "terrorist" to get fake licence plates and stick them on a car?

      • by pookemon (909195) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:15AM (#14315679) Homepage
        Very easy - but if the system detects the licence plates and identifies them as being (a) not valid (ie. Not a number in the database), (b) duplicates or (c) stolen - then that would flag the system and tell it to track the plates. Which could then be used to get the Police to investigate.
        • by VdG (633317) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @09:40AM (#14316803)
          There is a very real problem at the moment with stolen licence plates. They are desirable to avoid speed cameras, and also the London congestion charge. Many people who find their plates missing - or often just one: most cameras look at the back of the car/bike - don't bother reporting it.

          This will, of course, make such thefts more common.

          Of course, it would be possible to detect that there is a duplicate plate around, but not easy. For a start, having stolen a plate the thief will have several days' grace until the victim purchases another plate. For normal criminals that would be sufficient for their purposes.

          For terrorists - especially suicide bombers - they're not worried about capture and are seldom known to the security services until after their attack, so this technology would be of little use for prevention. The only value it would have is to track their movements after the fact and build maps of their relationships, and I'm far from convinced that this would be terribly useful if the terrorists took a few elementary precautions.
          • I don't know if you're a Top Gear fan, but I personally can't wait to hear Jeremy Clarkson rant and rave about this latest legislation. I have to say though, I was impressed that your transport minister (Ladyman?) had enough courage to go on the show, knowing full well that Clarkson would berate him on the use of speed cameras in the UK. To be honest, I can't say that I blame him, either. Several towns near me have begun to institute red light cameras, but I feel that instead of catching criminals, they
          • by hackstraw (262471) * on Thursday December 22, 2005 @11:45AM (#14317827)
            There is a very real problem at the moment with stolen licence plates.

            No, this is the very problem for eternity with violating the rights of people by a government.

            Outlaw guns, only outlaws own guns.

            Outlaw drugs, people will now kill, steal, and do other things to provide a desired good on the black market.

            Outlaw abortion, women and their child die from kitchen table abortions.

            Oh, well, it keeps us busy I guess.

        • Swapping... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by PhYrE2k2 (806396) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @10:50AM (#14317248)
          Tell me this:
            If you were to pull into a parking lot of a mall and swap plates with a car of the same make/model (shouldn't be hard to find), how many days/weeks would it take your average person to notice that their plates have changed? Okay, so then someone has your plates, but create a chain of swapping plates on 5 cars and they'll never quite find it in time... giving you a few days to do your damage. Find someone on vacation, go into an underground garage of an apartment and find a covered car or car where someone looks like they've been in Florida all winter.

          -M
        • by mormop (415983)
          It's all very well knowing that two cars have the same plate but what matters more is what happens afterwards.

          In the UK, most of the traffic police have been pulled off the roads and put onto other duties. Usually, this happens after a press release showing an increase in the public/a focus group's perception of what crime is currently the most scary. As a result, you can drive thousands of miles on the UK's motorways without encountering a police car because there may only be one traffic car within 50 mile
      • by goober1473 (714415) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @05:14AM (#14315883)
        Why a terrorist? I am more concerned about the recent crime in the UK of stealing number plates and fitting them to another (possibly idential) car, this is happening more and more in the UK, there are a lot of automated cameras for speeding etc that are used to send the penalties to the owner of the car. I for one am looking forward to going to court for somebody elses driving. And as for the big brother aspect...
        • Possibly the only way these people will be caught is with the new ANPR system. If your car number plate is recognised in two different places within a short time that are far enough apart it would would be impossible without cloning, then it will no doubt be flagged for investigation. That means that both you and the cloner are likely to get stopped. But you are the one with the documents.
      • More to the point, how easy would it be to get T shirts printed with random licence plate numbers to screw up the system as protesters walk past the cameras?
    • Gun legislation is also handy for preventing diagnosed psycho's from being allowed to use them.. as well as convicted murderers etc.
      Then again, if guns were banned for psycho's in the US then I guess profits would take a serious hit.

      /Australian gun owner
      • by EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:55AM (#14315811) Homepage
        Oddly enough, most gun violence in the USA is perpetrated by men who have been previously convicted of felonies. Being convicted of a felony crime is a disqualifying condition for legal gun ownership. But, hey, if you're planning on pulling a car-jacking or a drive-by(both crimes with victims) being a convicted felon in posession of a firearm(a "victimless crime") is no big deal.

        The problem with US gun control is that we keep adding on new laws and fail to simply enforce the ones we have.
      • Until you get incompetent judges who don't enforce said legislation (and/or incompetent politicos who write exceptions into the legislation that render it meaningless). Take the recent murder of a police officer in Laval, Quebec. Link #1 [yahoo.com]. The killer has been prohibited from owning firearms since 1999, and has been convicted in the past for threatening & harassing police officers. Link #2 [www.ctv.ca]. So you've got a guy banned from owning firearms, who has a history of making threats against police officers.
    • by Analogy Man (601298) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @08:10AM (#14316469)
      If you have nothing to hide what is the problem with a daily cavity search and tissue sample?
  • wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Afecks (899057) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:41AM (#14315559)
    Between this and data retention [epic.org] they are going to know about everyone we contact and everywhere we go. It would be different if this was only to be used for finding stolen cars or tracking known criminals but they plan on monitoring everyone.

    It seems like we are getting closer and closer to that futuristic dystopia and it scares the hell out of me.
    • future interrogation (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rodgster (671476) *
      (scene of darkened interrogation room date is February 30, 2011)

      authoritarian voice over loud speaker: 671476! on march 3, 2006 your vehicle was observed crossing the San Francisco Bay Bridge. There were 2 people in the vehicle. Who was the other person and where were you going?

      subject: WTF? Whois 671476? My name is rodgster. I have no idea what the F@$& you're talking about. That was 5 years ago.

      authoritarian voice over loud speaker: 671476, don't play games with us. Our records go back even fu
  • Outrage! (Score:5, Funny)

    by falzer (224563) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:41AM (#14315560)
    That cuts it, I'm moving to America!
    • Re:Outrage! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sofalover (920271) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:47AM (#14315577)
      Frying pan, fire.
    • Re:Outrage! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Edman (931166)
      Moving to the U.S.? I suppose you're getting tracked more easily in america than in Europe. We are just starting to use these techniques here, they're already perfecting observation...it's no use running away. Globalization has side effects, and this is one of the worst.
  • Welcome to 1984! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rodgster (671476) * <rodgster AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:42AM (#14315562) Journal


    I would be interested to see an impact study of this in a couple of years.

    I'll guess it'll show to be effective against common crimes, but little else.

    I'm opposed to police state measures. I'm not afraid and I see little reason for anyone to be afraid. You have a much better chance of winning the lottery than being killed by terrorism.

    The fascists are playing on people's unjustified fears.
    • Perhaps they will use this as another revenue earner like speed cameras. Car passes camera X at a certain time, then camera Y. They know the distance between them and your number plate and so can ticket you.

      This cant stop "terrorists", they can go and buy a car for £1000 from any used car dealer whenever they like, or OMG they could get a bus or train.
      • This cant stop "terrorists", they can go and buy a car for £1000 from any used car dealer whenever they like, or OMG they could get a bus or train.

        Clearly you haven't used the public transport system in the UK :)
      • by AGMW (594303) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @06:15AM (#14316072) Homepage
        This cant stop "terrorists", they can go and buy a car for £1000 from any used car dealer whenever they like

        Or, shock horror, they could use their own damn car! Didn't one of the London bombers drive his own car to Luton?

        What the authorities don't seem to have grasped is that with suicide bombers, they tend to have no "history", as their first offence tends to be their last!

        May I suggest UK people reading this visit Write To Them [writetothem.com] and fax their MP suggesting that this is perhaps, you know, a trifle off, don't you know, what.

    • Re:Welcome to 1984! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by adrianmonk (890071)

      I'm opposed to police state measures. I'm not afraid and I see little reason for anyone to be afraid. You have a much better chance of winning the lottery than being killed by terrorism.

      The fascists are playing on people's unjustified fears.

      With the transit union strike going on in NYC right now, it seems more appropriate than ever to quote what a certain Canadian songwriter wrote almost 25 years ago:

      Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage
      Planet lurches to the right as ideologie

    • Re:Welcome to V! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by captfi (560548) *
      I think we should move on from the 1984 comparisons. Let Orwell get some rest.
      A much more appropriate and unused comparison is "V for Vendetta":
      http://www.shadowgalaxy.net/Vendetta/vmain.html [shadowgalaxy.net]
      1984 + Dark Knight + Utra Violence = V for Vendetta
      • Re:Welcome to V! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by XorNand (517466) *
        Another relavant analogy is to Huxley's Brave New World. As Neil Postman wrote in the forward to Amusing Ourselves to Death:

        What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one... Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us, Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. In 1984... people are controlled by inflicting pain, in Brave New World they are controlled by infl

  • A sad day. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:42AM (#14315564)
    I have never seen a story where tinfoil hats were so neccesary, and so useless.

    Good bye privacy. :-(
  • Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by AnthonyFielding (593972) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:43AM (#14315569)
    I'd just like to point out that anybody wishing to drive dodgy vehicles around the Trafford Centre's car parks, should be more careful -because they have these cameras too. They look like tannoy horns, and are i think on most entrances to Manchester city centre!! -these things have been in place for a while now.
  • Britan has long had the world's largest CCTV surveillance system. It has failed to prevent crime, though helped catch criminals. This will likely be the same way. My intuition is to say the costs, including to civil liberties, will outweigh the benefits, but considering that Britain is on the new front lines of Islamic Extremism, this may be worth it. Tracking associations is key in fighting organized crime, such as terrorism.
  • by Shoten (260439) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:47AM (#14315578)
    Steal the tracking device...what tracking device? They plan to use cameras, which will record the plates of passing cars. You submitted the article, but didn't read it?

    What I found most inane was the notion that a vehicle traveling near another vehicle of interest can be incriminated by association. How did they ever come up with THAT idea?
    • It can't be "incriminated" at all. There is no crime of "driving on the same road as a criminals vehicle". It's simply a lead to be used on investigations. It may pan out, or it may not. The flaw I see is that when the crooks become aware of it, they'll simply take different routes to their destination. Though at least the start and end points will be the same even if they do that.
  • worse than nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PrayingWolf (818869) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:50AM (#14315588) Homepage Journal

    Logging might actually feed the police with false information: I mean it's not a hard to make replicas of plates belonging to someone else... someone with the same kind of car.
    That way the terrorists or whatever can actually use the system against the police

    So now I'm asking, why put this system up in the first place... only to scare people into quiet submission? Seems that way to me...

    sig?

    • Except the equipment to make plates has been heavily regulated for several years now. Long gone are the days when you could just walk into a shop and ask for a random license plate to be made. Now you need to produce the vehicle license documentation, and a drivers license at least.
      • You really think that would stop a crook? There are plenty of fake / improperly issued MOTs around. What makes you think license plates are any different.
      • by ibbey (27873) * on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:39AM (#14315757) Homepage
        You seem to be assuming that the people who want to make a counterfeit plate are without resources. It's no harder to counterfeit a license plate then it is to counterfeit a CD, and look at how well the efforts to crack down on those have gone. At the most primitive, any color printer can make a fake license plate that will fool a simple (or even not so simple) optical recognition system. It probably wouldn't fool a human, but for many things that's not a big deal, especially if you don't need the ruse to last very long. If you need something that will last longer, it will require a bigger investment, but certainly not an investment that any crime syndacite or terrorist organization would have trouble acheiving.

        And of course, don't forget that the simplest form of misdirection doesn't require counterfeiting plates at all. Just steal one from a similar make & model & swap it out someplace outside of the view of the cameras. If you attach the plate with Velcro, you can swap out the plate in probably 15 seconds.

        The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is -exactly- like CD copy protection. It does little, if anything, to stop the purported targets (organized pirates, terrorists), but is very effective at it's real goal (forcing people to buy multiple copies of their favorite CD's, control the masses & collect revenue from speeders). Hopefully the scheme will backfire as badly for the British government as it has for Sony.
  • Speedtraps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spikestabber (644578) <spike AT spykes DOT net> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:50AM (#14315591) Homepage
    They also plan on using this setup to catch speeders. The time it takes to move between cameras can tell exactly how fast you're going.
    • Re:Speedtraps (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tim C (15259)
      No they can't, they can measure your average speed. They have no idea what speed you were actually travelling at at any point between the two cameras.

      I know I'm being pedantic, but it's my nature - I'm an ex-physicist programmer, I've been trained and am paid (in part) to be pedantic...
  • by nysus (162232) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:52AM (#14315599)
    Surveillance like this is not bad with the proper checks and balances on access to the data and how it is used. But those checks can erode. Sure the data may not be abused this year or the next, but what about 20 years from now, or 100? Can we really be so certain that our democratic institutions will hold together? Sure, today's leaders might have our trust (barely), but how can we possibly put trust in people who aren't even in power yet?

    I, for one, am worried about the world my 3-year-old will come to know.
  • by g0hare (565322) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:52AM (#14315600)
    And you'll be fine.
  • Big whoop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrMrLordX (559371) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:52AM (#14315601)
    I fail to see how this is any worse than, say, a bunch of Americans voluntarily buying vehicles equipped with OnStar that tracks your vechile's movements pretty well by means potentially more insidious than cameras.
    • OnStar is voluntary as in, if you don't like it, don't buy GM.
    • Re:Big whoop (Score:5, Informative)

      by sirbone (691768) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:57AM (#14315817)
      Using OnStar's technology, neither the government nor OnStar's employees can:
      1) Give you a traffic ticket.
      2) Track your every move.
      3) Run your plates every 5 seconds.
      4) Use the above things to get a mistaken police report and hunt you down at any moment while you are on the street. (These things happen in nornal police work; I expect Britain's cameras to amplify this problem.)
      5) Force you to participate in the system whether you like it or not.
      6) Force you to pay for the system if you disagree with it. (IE-Taxes paying for cameras.)

      People need to understand the difference between a business and a government. Businesses have no power over you; government does. Government can and will do all the above things with their own systems. OnStar provides a service, and if you don't like it then you don't pay for it and you don't participate in it. Try that with the government and they take away your driving rights and through you in jail. And of course if the government does start reglating OnStar, forcing them to provide the cops with an OnStar backdoor, you can always cancel the service.

      So in summary:
      OnStar / private business == Voluntary services
      Government == Involuntary coersive force
  • by under_score (65824) <.moc.gietreb. .ta. .todhsals-nikhsim.> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:53AM (#14315603) Homepage
    Any chance of getting this law to go in a more benign direction [davidbrin.com]? If there's going to be all these cameras anyway, might as well see if the data they pick up can be made public so that abuse of the data is reduced. Gaak. Crazy times we live in!
    • A more benign direction is what we need. After all, if this happens in America, with our tax dollars, shouldn't we be able to view this information, to hell with the Patriot Act and NSA bullshit? This is OUR MONEY, in OUR AFFAIRS. I think we have a right to know about it.
  • by TheTerrorized (779893) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:56AM (#14315616)
    It's always refreshing to be reminded that there are still places that hold privacy in lower regard than America. But how long until we follow in Britain's footsteps?
  • by majjj (644070)
    On an average around 10 million vehicles will be on the move from the 100 millon they are planning to record.
    transfered data rate for 1 vehicle = 300kbps
    so for 10 million
    data rate = (10000000 * 300) / (1000 * 1000 ) gbps = 3000gbps = 3.65 GB/sec

    What kind of network infrastructure do you think is needed ?
    I think they are out of their minds to even think of doing this. They can very well have police man on every block running after the vehicals instead.

    • Why 300 kbps for 1 vehicle? Must be more like 300 bps...
    • According to TFA they are expecting about 35 million reads per day. If they are storing (say) seven or eight digits of a numberplate (as opposed to the raw video data) the data requirement might be much smaller than you imply. Mind you, I can't see that 35 million reads per day would be nearly enough to track all the cars in the UK all the time.
  • Do we get those fascist ideas from Britian, or do they get them from us? Its like we're in some sort of private competition with them or something.
  • by martin (1336) <maxsec.gmail@com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:10AM (#14315663) Journal
    This story broke a few days after Pc Beshenivsky was shot and killed in Bradford W Yorkshire, and the police claimed to use new technology to track the get away car. This was the new technology that just happened to be on trial in Bradford and certain areas in London.....

    Coincidence????
  • by Anonymous Coward
    An interesting quirk of UK law is that you can restest a copy of all CCTV footage of you.
  • Hire cars (Score:5, Informative)

    by Simon Brooke (45012) * <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:22AM (#14315696) Homepage Journal

    When a police woman was recently shot dead in Bradford [bbc.co.uk], the gang who were responsible had bullied a man into hiring a car in his name [bbc.co.uk]. The man went to the police before the murder had been committed, but the police just filed his complaint and didn't link it to the murder until too late.

    The car was tracked on the camera network (it already partly works), but as it had been hired in his name the police arrested him instead of hunting down the gang.

    As this network becomes more widely known, this is going to become more common - gangs will bully and blackmail people with no criminal record into hiring cars, and may even, to prevent them going to the policeabduct or kill them.

    And, of course, criminals will habitually carry several sets of false number plates, so that they can change the 'identity' of their vehicle several times in the course of a journey.

  • Spray-On Mud (Score:5, Informative)

    by Derling Whirvish (636322) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:48AM (#14315784) Journal
    The answer to this is of course to get a SUV and a can of spray-on mud [wired.com]! The SUV establishes the bona-fides that you actually were out in the mud off-road somewhere, and the mud just happens to coincidentially (ahem!) obscure your number plate.
  • by Goth Biker Babe (311502) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:49AM (#14315787) Homepage Journal
    An interesting fact known to many bikers is that the current fine for not displaying a licence plate on a vehicle is only £20. Also, since it's a 'Construction and Use' offence and not a driving offence it doesn't add any penalty points to your driving licence. So if you're a biker going out for a blast take off the licence plate, stick it in your back pack, and "it fell off" should you get stopped by the police.
  • More Information (Score:5, Informative)

    by Exter-C (310390) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @05:09AM (#14315869) Homepage
    The system is currently in use in certain areas of what people in the UK call "the city". It has been in place for several years after the IRA bomb attacks and other issues. They are now rolling out that number plate recognition system across many other areas. It does not require them to have any device on your car except that you have to have a number plate. However the system for number plate issuing in the UK is heavily floored. There are so many cars that are driving around uninsured, un taxed and without an MOT (road worthy certificate) that it will really only be an issue for the people that are law abiding as the people with out their car registered and on the road legally can still get away with whatever they want.
    Moving forward they need to really start working hard at defeating the uninsured, untaxed cars from the roads. Its not that hard to do have several big crack downs. At the end of the day it will reduce the overall cost of motoring in the UK as there will be less risk of being hit by an uninsured/untaxed motorist which costs everyone more.
    Some of the implications of the system they are implementing is that they will be able to calculate distances between cameras and KNOW if people are speeding, They will also be able to proove that particular cars/trucks/bikes are in certain areas at certain times. That in itself is a great benefit for tracing criminal activity.

    In many places in the UK they already have the CCTV cameras in action and they do record the cars going along the roads. However they are just adding the ability to track the number plates.
    • How about... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DMNT (754837)
      What if the system was designed completely different? The system would hold a list of cars that are stolen, uninsured, travelling without a valid MOT or untaxed and distribute that to cameras, which will in turn report if such a car is located. Then if you are a law abiding citizen, paying your car taxes and keeping your car road worthy you have nothing to be afraid of and your movements are not registered.
    • calculate distances between cameras and KNOW if people are speeding

      Average city speeds are so far below the speed limit that I doubt this will catch all but the most extreme offenders.

  • Fed up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chicane-UK (455253) <(moc.dlrowltn) (ta) (ku-enacihc)> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @05:19AM (#14315903) Homepage
    Fed up with Labour. I already voted against them in this election, but seeing as my constituency is full of out of work 'scrounging from the government' layabouts who don't get off their fat asses because the government gives them armfulls of cash every month, it was hardly likely that the vote would go any other way.

    What pisses me off the most is the usual 'this is being done to try and catch terrorists' - ffs, we've had ONE single Al Qaeda related attack happen in this country so far and THAT was from people that the government never suspected as they were British Muslims. How exactly would license plate tracking catch legal residents of the united kingdom if they so desire to blow themselves up in a public area?!

    Why can't they spend the countless billions this service is going to cost to implment where we bloody well WANT and NEED it - in the schools, in the hospitals, on pensions for our old people.

    Fucking fuckers. It really makes me mad. The priorities are fucked - this terrorism 'excuse' for taking away our rights is just really starting to piss me off.
  • Funny Number Plates (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DataCannibal (181369) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @05:20AM (#14315908) Journal
    I'd love to know what they are going to do about all the strange number plates that have wierd fonts or the numbers or letters distorted to look like something else; all to try and make the number plate look like some semblance of the name of the dickhead driver.

    Plus for the terrorist angle; what are they going to do about foreign number plates, and cars from other EU countries.

    It sounds to me like Blair and his gang are lying again, what a surprise.
  • by njh (24312) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @05:31AM (#14315952) Homepage
    I don't believe that bicycles are required to carry a number plate in the UK.
  • by Budenny (888916) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @07:50AM (#14316397)
    Some future government will find it has all it needs already in place for dictatorship. And not one element will have been installed for malevolent reasons. All will have been installed from the best of motives.

    Family courts meet in secret, names of those appearing before them cannot be published, and there is no appeal from their judgments. It protects children.

    Foreigners can be subject to preventive detention without trial. To defeat terrorism.

    Anti social behaviour orders can make any act by anyone, and them alone, a criminal offense. We have to do something to restrain people making everyone's life around them a misery.

    We will be tracking dysfunctional families, and interventing to help children at risk of future criminal careers. Why wait until it is too late and they have already started?

    We have covered the streets with cameras, to defeat street crime. Now we will track all vehicle movements, to deny cars to criminals. Next we will film all faces on all streets, so that we can track down the wanted and the terrorists.

    We will have compulsory mental health medication. It will cut down on crimes committed by those in care in the community who stop taking their medication.

    We will record all details about an individual on an ID card and will make this card the access point for benefits and medical care. We have to do something about benefit fraud and illegal immigration. And having all medical records available instantly will dramatically improve emergency room care.

    I am not being ironic. We really do not have to worry much about this government. The intentions really are good. But the effect is increasingly to make practical liberties dependent on the goodwill of either the government or officials. I don't know what the answer is, but the lesson of history is that you cannot always rely on this, given swings of popular feeling in times of crisis, which may coincide with elections. But this is an argument you never hear in the UK.
  • by UpnAtom (551727) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @08:25AM (#14316518) Homepage
    All these are relatively minor intrusions into privacy until the Government links all the data to you under one unique identity number [bristol-no2id.org.uk]. Unfortunately, this is part of the ID Card Bill currently going through the House of Lords.

    I wrote [slashdot.org] about this yesterday.

    Oh, did you also know this Government passed an identical law to Hitler's Enablement Act [blogspot.com]? This law enabled Hitler to assume absolute power after he burned down the Reichstag and blamed it on communists.

    My Grandfather fought Hitler across two continents to protect Britain from this kind of totalitarianism. The least we can do is help the resistance campaigns at Privacy International [privacyinternational.org] and No2ID [no2id.net].

    • My Grandfather fought Hitler across two continents to protect Britain from this kind of totalitarianism.

      I am increasingly convinced that the sacrifices of his generation count for less and less in today's world. It has always amazed me how government behaviour such as this or the recent revelations about the NSA in the US not only fail to alarm citizens but are widely defended.

      I was recently reminded during a conversation with a someone who grew up in Soviet Russia of the saying that the USSR didn't fa

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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