I Beg Your Pardon?

They want to do what?

Passengers travelling between EU countries or taking domestic flights would have to hand over a mass of personal information, including their mobile phone numbers and credit card details, as part of a new package of security measures being demanded by the British government. The data would be stored for 13 years and used to "profile" suspects.

Brussels officials are already considering controversial anti-terror plans that would collect up to 19 pieces of information on every air passenger entering or leaving the EU. Under a controversial agreement reached last summer with the US department of homeland security, the EU already supplies the same information [19 pieces] to Washington for all passengers flying between Europe and the US.

But Britain wants the system extended to sea and rail travel, to be applied to domestic flights and those between EU countries. According to a questionnaire circulated to all EU capitals by the European commission, the UK is the only country of 27 EU member states that wants the system used for "more general public policy purposes" besides fighting terrorism and organised crime.

You\’ve got to be tagged and recorded when you cross any intra-EU border? Good grief! Can we just cut to the quick here and shoot them all please?

Credit card details? Seriously?

22 thoughts on “I Beg Your Pardon?”

  1. You have to admit, it’s a damned effective way of introducing internal exile. So much for Schengen. Forehead tattoo, anyone?

  2. Just saw this on the link…

    Why do it?

    Maintain a comprehensive record of all those who cross the border.
    Enhance the security of our citizens and visitors.
    Facilitate legitimate travel and trade.
    Safeguard the integrity of our border controls.

    Run that by me again! Facilitate legitimate travel and trade! What the hell is that? Legitimate travel? Have the Soviets in charge of us completely lost the plot. This sort of crap was the main motivation why we endured the cold war. Russia’s excesses were are guarantee of freedom. Without the Soviet threat, we see our own freedoms eroding.

    Add this into another couple of storiesin the news today… to roll out of cameras that can count the number of passengers in a car by scanning blood and other body fluids and the push for a national DNA register, and you have a country that’s seriously out of control. What will it take to spark a revolution?

  3. The databases of the Database State are only as good as the quality of the data put in. We must all lie: fill it with utter crap wherever possible.

    Alternatively a bit of C4 in a dozen key data centres will do the same job.

  4. Pingback: Longrider » eBorders and Control Freaks

  5. Fascinating. I seem to recall one argument for the benighted EU was that it would make travel across the member states easier. Now that is gone, let’s get out. Oh, I forgot, our government seems to be even more of a control freak than anybody else’s. So, can we get out of the EU and leave all the politicians and officials behind?

  6. Let’s face it, the persistent low conviction rates with our New Labour government are becoming a perennial embarrassment so something drastic is now required to restore the credibility of our systems of law enforcement and prosecution. Sacrifices are needed. After all is said and done, just how many more innocents do you want shot when that can be avoided by giving the authorities the comprehensive personal data they need to have do their job of protecting us all from the nightmarish threats out there [1]?

    “Conviction rates for many of the most violent crimes have fallen to below 10% in the years since Labour came to power, while incidences of offences like serious wounding and rape have risen, reported The Observer.

    “The paper said that analysis of Home Office figures indicated that only 9.7% of serious woundings reported to police resulted in a conviction, while for robberies the figure is 8.9% and for rape just 5.5%.”

    Btw as regular readers may have noticed, I keep records of links to interesting news reports relating to topical issues. Surprise, surprise, the link to that delicious quote from The Observer has been changed and that is NOT the only example, believe me, of tinkering with web archives to move or remove embarrassing quotes in news reports. Besides the mounting surveillance, we are indisputably moving rapidly into a political system with recognisable Orwellian trappings. . .

    [1] try this BBC documentary on Google video: The Power of Nightmares – 1 of 3 episodes:

  7. “Surprise, surprise, the link to that delicious quote from The Observer has been changed and that is NOT the only example, believe me, of tinkering with web archives to move or remove embarrassing quotes in news reports. ”

    But Bob, we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

  8. It seemed a good joke when someone posted that George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four had made the transition from an exemplary work of fiction with a dystopian theme into an operations manual.

  9. Oh, for fuck’s sake. One of the few good things about the EU – ease of border crossing – and they’re planning on fucking it up.

  10. “George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four had made the transition from an exemplary work of fiction with a dystopian theme into an operations manual.”

    I’m re-reading it now. I’ve had to take a break because it’s so depressing. Not particularly the surveillance (which is lame by today’s technological standards), or even the authoritarianism. It’s the whole miserable Puritanism that really chimes with today, which now (as then in the book) is enforced by the rest.

    It’s the Puritanism that comes first, then that calls upon the increasingly foul methods of enforcement. Just look at this week: calls for huge DNA database, a rise in price in alcohol, a licence to smoke, a move to state monopoly on the sales of alcohol, outrage that teenagers might object to being bombarded with ultrasound while waiting for a bus.

    Sickening culture. I hesitate to call it a British culture, since it goes back to before the Civil War (indeed we are being run by roundheads today and can only look forward to the cavaliers getting back in power).

  11. “I’m re-reading it now. I’ve had to take a break because it’s so depressing.”

    Absolutely. The book is certainly deeply depressing, which is why I tend to just dip-in nowadays. The part which is so rich with insights (IMO) is the supposed extracts from Emmanuel Goldstein on: THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM:

    This sentence really resonates:

    “Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph.”

    That characterisation is instantly, if sadly, recognisable. I’m unconvinced about your focus on Puritanism, although that undoubtedly is a (miserable) feature of everyday life depicted in Nineteen Eighty-four and Orwell properly picks on the civil war in England as one of the major fault lines of our history – compare: “In the Civil War for instance, roughly speaking a war of money versus feudalism, the North and West were for the King and the South and East for the Parliament.”

    However, with rampant binge drinking, gay bishops and reports in The Times of women paying men for sex, I can’t believe that our present times can be aptly characterised as Puritanical. Besides, my political instincts are with the Parliamentarians in the civil war, despite the ascendancy of Cromwell, and rather like Daniel Defoe, I approve of the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

  12. Everybody should re-read 1984 at least every ten years. It has not aged at all, and if anything is becoming ever more relevant. The last bit, after he gets put in prison is a bit pointless, but the first two-thirds or so is clearly being used as an instruction manual.

  13. “Credit card details? Seriously?”

    Yes, to prevent terrorism, of course, by checking on the payments into and out of your account to assess if anything is amiss or untoward . Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear – it’s all to enable the security services to protect the innocent among us and save lives.

    Who could possibly oppose such worthy intentions?

    Remember Robespierre in the French revolution proposed to create the “virtuous society”. It followed that any who opposed him were thereby opposed to virtue and could be swiftly sent off to the guillotine to enhance social virtue. As the great Lenin so aptly said: You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

  14. “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”

    Yes, but it shouldn’t take 20 million eggs to make a rancid omelette.

  15. Gotta love that bit about keeping the data for “13 years”.

    Because of course, after that time, you can be sure they’d delete it.

    Oh, yes.

  16. Laterly I’ve been popping over to France a lot, as a walk-on passenger on the ferry.
    What mystifies me, is having to take my keys & change out of my pockets & pass through the metal detector whilst my bag goes through the X-ray. The last time there were two security people & two passport inspectors for all three of us foot passengers.
    For what possible purpose? If I wanted to take something illicit to France I’d use the car. What do they think I’m going to do? Try & hijack the boat with a Stanley knife & sail it into Brighton Pier?

  17. “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.’

    They are not your eggs to break. These schemes have never made a good omellette.

  18. “They are not your eggs to break.”

    Quite so. For avoidance of any residual doubts, I’m not inclined to think in Leninist ways – I’d hoped that my earlier irony was more evident.. I was deeply impressed by the response of the late Georges Marchais, Secretary General of the Communist Party in France (1972-94), when pressed on the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union c. 1991. According to reports, he replied: “I tell you, they didn’t arrest enough. They didn’t imprison enough. If they had been tougher and more vigilant, they wouldn’t have got into the situation they are in now.” [Jonathan Fenby: France on the Brink (1999)]

    Btw in today’s news: “The prison population in England and Wales has exceeded its highest normal level for the first time. The Ministry of Justice said that as of Friday morning there were 82,068 inmates in jails – 96 over the Prison Service’s ‘operational capacity’. . . ”

    Naturally, it’s just a coincidence. It is, isn’t it?

  19. “What do they think I’m going to do? Try & hijack the boat with a Stanley knife & sail it into Brighton Pier?”

    The key word there is “think”. Any evidence of it?

    The security on ferries is a joke. Rummaging around in the boot of a car isn’t going to detect a bomb. And scanning foot passengers? What a hopeless waste of time. Besides, what’s so unique about the security for a ferry to France? Why not a ferry to the Isle of Wight?

    Stupid bar stewards, the lot of them. We are governed by morons.

  20. I believe there is a fairly simple electoral rationale for all this security froth.

    Tony Blair decided – and GB has followed the same prescription – to position New Labour so that no other mainstream political party would appear to be tougher on terrorism and crime. Besides, the continuing charade of turning over hand luggage and car boots is a useful reminder of the lurking Nightmare Threat.

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