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No Passport For Britons Refusing Mass Surveillance 790

Posted by kdawson
from the and-you-thought-Sweden-was-bad dept.
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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No Passport For Britons Refusing Mass Surveillance

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  • wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2007 @04:47PM (#18302170)
    it's V for Vendetta coming true!!!!
    • by cheekyboy (598084) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:44PM (#18303176) Homepage Journal
      Why did they bother with WW2, they should have just said to Hitler, we like what you do. Lets unite, no bloodshed, let the industrial complex grow.

      j/k
      • by NaturePhotog (317732) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @07:54PM (#18303764) Homepage
        Simple...they may have liked what he did, but they wanted to be the ones in charge, not him.
      • by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @11:39PM (#18305322) Journal

        Why did they bother with WW2, they should have just said to Hitler, we like what you do. Lets unite, no bloodshed, let the industrial complex grow.

        I hereby invoke Godwin's law. Come back to me when the Brits start basing their policy on racial purity and blaming the Jews and Slavs for all their problems. What they are doing is scary and I'd be looking to leave the UK if I lived there but the Nazi example is just plain stupid.

        • Muslims (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Travoltus (110240) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @12:14AM (#18305544) Journal
          are the new Jews. Give history a little time to repeat itself.
          • Re:Muslims (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Shakrai (717556) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @12:51AM (#18305726) Journal

            are the new Jews. Give history a little time to repeat itself.

            The example is still stupid. Come back to me when an entire political party bases it's platform around hatred of the Muslims. The fear of terrorism is being used to take away our rights. Not the fear of Arabs or the fear of Muslims. So the Nazi example is still stupid.

            I can't take anybody seriously that brings up the Nazis in a discussion. Sorry, but Godwin had a point.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by EvilGrin666 (457869)
              Come back to me when an entire political party bases it's platform around hatred of the Muslims.

              Ok, I'll bite. Perhaps you are unaware of the existence of the British National Party [wikipedia.org].

              The BNP "stands for the preservation of the national and ethnic character of the British people and is wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples." The party is "committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiatio
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by someone1234 (830754)
            Yeah, except that the jews didn't explode spontaneously at military checkpoints. And didn't harm their neighbours like the radical muslims do.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Islam originated as an imperial ideology to justify Muhammed's ambitions. He was, after all, both emperor and prophet. The express goal of his empire was to subject the whole world to his revelation. Since it was "revealed" as a political system, it's hard for it to separate itself from that without denying its own soul. This was true of the Moorish empire. It was true of the Ottoman Turks, and it is mostly true of the various Islamic states today, and where it isn't, they're being bombed also.

            Since a polit

  • This is news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @04:48PM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by anaesthetica (596507) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:03PM (#18302334) Homepage Journal

      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? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bfree (113420) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:40PM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:51PM (#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.

        • I don't think many people believe that Bush or the current British government are facists.

          You must be new here.

          The difference between Hitler and Bush is not so much in their degree of facism as their love of country. In his own horrible evil way Hitler was very interested in improving Germany, which is what made them such a formidible enemy. Bush on the other hand has show time and again that he doesn't give a shit about America, beyond it's ability to funnel power and money to his family and friends, w
      • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lawpoop (604919) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:54PM (#18302728) Homepage Journal
        "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
        • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Flavio (12072) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @07:20PM (#18303488)
          While I understand your point about feeling the "vibrant essence of life itself", it's one thing to take a trip to Bolivia, and it's another thing to have this experience every day of your life.

          I've lived my whole life in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and while conditions here are nowhere near what you've described, the general population's lack of commitment and accountability eventually gets to your nerves. What impressed me most is this part of your comment:

          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.

          I greatly admire The Something Must be Done philosophy. It suggests a degree of discipline that pushes society as a whole to improve itself, act on its problems and not try to excuse itself as a victim of circumstances. It shows people value personal responsibility and back their feelings with real actions. And while in some aspects this may be an idealization, it shows a set of values which are lost on the general Brazilian culture.
          • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by lawpoop (604919) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @07:41PM (#18303648) Homepage Journal
            You have a great point. I took great care to not idealize neither American nor Bolivian life or culture. There are good and bad elements and both.

            "I greatly admire The Something Must be Done philosophy."

            I agree. I don't want to eat raw meat that's been sitting out in the sun all day. However, pulling spinach from the shelves *all over the nation* because 10 people died of food poisoning is a severe over-reaction, IMHO. I think there needs to be a healthy balance between "Something must be done" and an acceptance of life.

            Yes, your mom has a rare form of cancer. The best that the Mayo clinic can do is give her three months, if you want to spend a million dollars. You know what? Your mom is going to die. The best thing you can do for yourself, psychologically, is mourn and accept it. Not that it's easy to do, but no amount of work and and science will save your parents or you from death. As a society, we could take those millions of dollars spent on rare diseases, and immunize young children. We don't have to undertake hysterical, desperate work at all costs when life presents a problem to you.

            Here in the US people are overworked and stressed out, taking anti-depressants because their lives aren't perfect. We don't know how to enjoy the simple, everydayness of life. That doesn't mean that we stop doing any science and research. Life is not a paradise, and pretending that science and engineering will make it so will only lead you to disappointment with life.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Goalie_Ca (584234)
            I think the OP was trying to make the comment that people have knee jerk reactions. A lot of the reactions are stupid and the priorities have been inverted. These things have caused a lot of problems on their own. Politicians like to make pronouncements about how they'll fix the system. Almost 100% of the time this is just propaganda because what they really believe or what the experts really support "doesn't have a nice ring to it". Security is an obvious one. People are giving up freedoms with no real ben
    • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gotta ask yourself.. (977664) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:04PM (#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? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Spad (470073) <slashdot@noSpam.spad.co.uk> on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:44PM (#18302642) Homepage
        That's cute, you think the current British government gives a flying fuck about protests, or indeed, what "the people" think.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by geoff lane (93738)
        Actually, only about 26% of the people voted for the current government.
      • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pjt33 (739471) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:23PM (#18302970)
        1. How much effect did one million Brits protesting in the streets have on Blair's policy towards Iraq?
        2. We didn't elect these people: the Conservative party polled more votes overall than Labour, but Labour won a substantial majority of seats due both to skewed boundaries and the skewed first-past-the-post system.
        3. If we went into the streets to protest against every hair-brained authoritarian scheme they enact, let alone propose, we wouldn't have time to earn a living wage.
      • Re:This is news? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MrSteveSD (801820) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @07:01PM (#18303330)

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


        Depends what streets you are talking about. If you mean out of the way streets that the media would not be very interested in, then yes. If you are talking about protesting within a kilometre of Parliament, then no. Protests have effectively been made illegal outside parliament and no satisfactory reason has been given. I suspect the real reason is the million strong anti-war march that occurred. That rattled them and they do not want a repeat performance. You can apply to protest, but they give you all kinds of conditions such as you can only have a small group, your placards can only be so big etc etc. Basically the kind of mass protests we have seen in the past will be no more. Not so long ago, a young woman was arrested for simply reading out the names of dead soldiers outside parliament, so they really are enforcing it.

        You have the power, you elected those people.
        Well only 35% or so actually voted for Labour, but due to the crazy "first past the post" system, they won. The problem is that many peoples votes count for nothing if they live in the wrong area. Labour once promised to change the system, but have gone quiet about it.

        The other problem is that privacy issues are not really protest material, although they should be. The best we can hope for is lots of negative coverage about it in the press, and other parties coming forward opposed to the measures.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blue Stone (582566)
      "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 f
      • Re:This is news? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TobascoKid (82629) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:57PM (#18302756) Homepage
        We will be a Nation of Suspects, watched.

        We already are a nation of suspects, being watched. All the recent alarm bells about "sleep walking into a surveillance society" have been too little, too late. The UK is a already a surveillance society, that we slept walked into. Now it's just a matter of degree.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)
      The real question is how much more of this crap will people accept before there is revolution. (Revolution is a word that means 'turn around.' It doesn't mean war or violence. Just to be clear on that point.) Is the government serving the people or are the people serving the government. That's the issue that should be addressed and corrected where needed. What I find the most interesting is how much people are already accepting. More than 200 years ago, people accepted a lot less before there was reb
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by digitig (1056110)

        The real question is how much more of this crap will people accept before there is revolution.
        I felt that the UK was very close to revolution indeed when Thatcher introduced the poll tax. I don't get anything like that feeling in the streets and pubs at the moment. I think Thatcher succeeded in breaking the will to resist of most people in the UK, and it will take probably at least another generation before we get it back :-(
  • by fredrated (639554) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @04:49PM (#18302198) Journal
    they just sit there in that pan of slowly heating water...
    • by User 956 (568564) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:06PM (#18302354) Homepage
      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.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday March 10, 2007 @04:49PM (#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.
    • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:07PM (#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.
      • by makomk (752139) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:25PM (#18302988) Journal
        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.

        One of the points of this whole exercise is to stop this sort of activity, by using biometric data to ensure that each person has only one identity - their own (whatever that may mean). So if this works, you can say goodbye to that idea...
  • 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 t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      .. 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.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:17PM (#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.
  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @04:51PM (#18302222) Homepage
    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.
    • by lawpoop (604919) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:02PM (#18302328) Homepage Journal
      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.
  • Inconvenience? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LinuxInDallas (73952) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @04:52PM (#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.

  • Uh puhleeze (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Saturday March 10, 2007 @04:54PM (#18302252) Homepage
    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by VJ42 (860241) *

      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.

  • by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Saturday March 10, 2007 @04:59PM (#18302288)
    Maybe it's this [intriguing.com].
  • This sceptred isle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Puff of Logic (895805) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:00PM (#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.
    • by mattpalmer1086 (707360) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:15PM (#18302430)
      Me too. We were never as good as we thought we were, but we were never as pathetic as we are now.

    • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @08:01PM (#18303828)
      Well, I've been around long enough to remember almost everything that is happening now from having happened in the past at least twice. During WWII there were plenty of abridgements of what most Americans believe to be due process. During the "Red Scare" ditto. It used to be illegal to be a member of the Communist Party. And of course during the Nixon administration there were plenty of problems. Now post-9/11 we see the same mistakes again. Eventually the pendulum will swing back, mostly because some serious abuses will be discovered.

      What disturbs me most about all this is the failure to learn from past mistakes, and the possibility that it will take more time than it should for the reversal to begin. And of course maybe someday the reversal won't happen. That's when the Republic will be over.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:48PM (#18302682) Journal
    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.

  • by amper (33785) * on Saturday March 10, 2007 @05:58PM (#18302760) Journal
    Do I even need to finish the quote?

    It would be rather ironic if, 230-some years after the Americans decided they'd had enough of being subjects of Parliament and the King, the people of the United Kingdom were the first to overthrow their modern fascist government. Perhaps it might set an example for the rest of us.

    I wonder which government would be easier to tackle, given the severe restrictions of firearms in the UK versus the sheer inertia of the US population? Perhaps it should start with the Republican movement in the UK, by getting rid of the monarchists, the fascists, and the authoritarians, and drawing up a true Constitution. That ought to at least buy you another couple of hundred years of relative freedom.

    I think the Revolution may be coming sooner, rather than later. Personally, I'd explore the possibility of moving to the UK, but not as a subject, and not without a guaranteed right to bear arms against a tyrannical government.

    This world is becoming a truly scary place.
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:03PM (#18302798)
    This would be the time to declare independence. Seems Whitehall and Parliament DO need to be kicked in the teeth once every 200 years.
  • by SummitCO (1043824) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:23PM (#18302968)
    We, the West, needed the Cold War to remind us of what was soulless and wrong with communist surveilance society police states. Now that the USSR has fallen, we have lost our perspective and are becoming what we used to despise.
  • by oohshiny (998054) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:30PM (#18303036)
    Notice that the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria all are listed as blue/green countries in the Privacy International map, while the UK and the US, both nations with no national ID system, are in the red/black zone.

    Overall, national ID cards by themselves don't threaten privacy, inadequate privacy legislation, tolerance of governmental intrusion into privacy, and tolerance of legal abuse of private information threaten privacy.

    Curiously, all the fuss raised over national ID card systems usually come from same governments and political groups that then turn around and commit massive invasions of privacy and civil rights. I think they are actually simply using the national ID "debates" to bamboozle and distract people while they quietly realize their real agendas of a total surveillance state.

    And they keep using that strategy elsewhere: they keep talking about less intrusive government, privacy rights, and states rights, but then turn around and create legislation that reaches into people's bedrooms and substance use. They keep talking about reducing the size of government, self-reliance, free markets, and fiscal conservatism, but bankrupt the government with bloating the size of the military, create artificial and unjustified monopolies through ill-conceived modifications to the copyright and patent systems, and waste billions on government handouts to their buddies in industry.

    The national ID card debates are political strategy by people who don't have your interests at heart. Cut through the crap, participate in the democratic process, and deal with the real issues.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:32PM (#18303070) Homepage

    In Soviet Russia you were legally obliged to have your passport with you at all times — although many weren't carrying it with them, that could was grounds for involuntary visit to the precinct...

    Oh, and no, you could not leave the country with that passport — you needed a different, special one. An impossible one to receive for ordinary citizens, BTW.

    Sad to see UK getting a step closer to that, but it is still very far away from it...

  • and why not? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oohshiny (998054) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:44PM (#18303170)
    If a person in country A wants to travel to country B, then country B is certainly justified in demanding assurances from country A that that person is not going to cause problems in country B. It is reasonable, therefore, that country A does a detailed background check and documents that background check; that can be either part of the passport application or part of a separate visa process. Furthermore, the nature and depth of that background check is largely determined by the requirements of country B. These requirements pretty universally include sufficient financial resources and an unblemished police record.

    So, yes, the UK looks like it's turning into a surveillance state, but that's an internal matter in the UK, unrelated to either national IDs or the issuance of passports. Requiring background checks in order to travel to other countries is justified and unrelated. UK citizenship does not confer the right to travel to other countries, and other countries who consider the UK background checks unnecessary can still choose to admit you without a passport (like the nations of the EU do, for example).
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:44PM (#18303174) Homepage
    Amazing that not many people in the world, even in the U.S., know that the U.S. instituted a you-can't-leave list with the passport reform law last January. If you are on the list, no matter what, you are not leaving the country, not by car, cruise ship, cargo ship, plane,foot, or train. Like the U.K, your country is your prison. And don't expect Canadians to help hide you, because entering while on that list is a crime, and they are now using our "criminal" lists to block entry; sneaking past the American wall would qualify you as a federal criminal, therefore your ass is being sent back to the Home of the Free.
    • That is not correct - this proposed rule only covers public carriers and I think was limited to air and sea, so you are free to leave by car or foot and maybe train. Also as far as I can tell it was never actually enacted, so it may not actually be in force at all. And the rule was proposed for January 2007.

    • The U. S. Department of State says this: [state.gov]

      The United States government does not have exit controls at the border. There is no way to stop someone with valid travel documents at the United States border. The U.S. government does not check the names or the documents of travelers leaving the United States. Many foreign countries do not require a passport for entry. A birth certificate is sufficient to enter some foreign countries.

      But that's now obsolete. Now there's the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiativ [state.gov]

  • by c6gunner (950153) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @06:53PM (#18303268)
    A passport is a request by your government for foreign nations and domestic agencies to safeguard your passage and extend you basic courtesies based on your nationality. By extension, they are also an assurance by your government that you will not abuse these privileges or in any way harm your host nation. How can your government make such an assurance if the only data they have on you is your name, address, and date of birth?
    • by iggymanz (596061) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @09:03PM (#18304332)
      is that a truly free country does NOT assume its citizens are criminals, the people are "innocent until proven guilty!" A free and innocent person, not convicted of anything to prevent the acquisition of a passport, should thus be treated with courtesies and safe passage. A government that assumes otherwise of its citizens, as Britain does, is evil.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday March 10, 2007 @09:13PM (#18304398) Journal

    A social security system depends on the support of the middle (the worker) class. Not the rich and not the poor but that large majority in the middle.

    If they think social security benefits them (directly, because they think they might one day need it themselves, or indirectly because they think it makes a better society for them to live in).

    Sweden is a country were, so far, the population clearly believes a strong social security system is to the benefit of all AND therefore continue to support it.

    The US is clearly a country were the majority doesn't believe it, and so it has a weak social security system

    The point here is NOT a debate about who is right but that wichever system is chosen depends on the majority vote, the middle worker class usually, willing to support it.

    I think the same is true of 'privacy'. The simple fact is that no matter how hard some people attempt to shout, a lot of people just don't seem to think it is a big deal.

    I think that the privacy/bigbrother level of a country is going to depend on what the middle working class believes is right for them. Not that I am saying they are "right" in anyway.

    Goverments, especially goverments that like to be elected will therefore follow the vote of that middle class. They are not going to list to fringe nutcases on either side because fringes don't have enough votes.

    There is however a problem, the middle class tends to stay silent, they have better things to do then organize protest rallies or post on forums. A good politician must be able to tell apart a mass of voters from a small group that just happens to make a lof of noise.

    From daily experience I just don't see all the much concern about bigbrother in the "common" man. If anything I see a great amount of concern about to much freedom. One in the netherlands at the moment is about TBS (It is a sentence given to a criminal who is consdered mentally ill, apart from a regular prison sentence (fixed maximum time according to human rights laws) the prisoner also has to report for treatment. In theory this only ends AFTER the patient is cured. This could lead, and has, to a person being send to 10 years and then spending the rest of their lives in a mental hospital (this is against human rights as you need to be told the length of your sentence, this is a lifesentence without being told).

    So are the people upset about this, that the state can just pro-long the sentence of a human for as long as they can find a shrink to call him mentally ill?

    No, in fact, the system is under attack because patients who are let out on leave commit serious crimes and people want them to be locked up permanntly.

    You also hear loud voices about traffic camera's, yet the major complaint from real people is about people who speed and other traffic assholes.b Could it be the anti-speed camera is just very loud and the real "middle class" thinks they are a good idea? Some polls suggest this.

    We will have to see what the brits think about this, england has regular elections so they can send a signal to the goverment every couple of years.

    Will they? Does the man on the street, really care? I think not. He might be wrong in this but that is not the issue, the issue is what the majority will vote for. Doesn't help that england effectivly is a one party country.

    You have to remember one thing, england is the place of london, I believe the first the place in the world to have congestion charging (you pay for using the road at peak times). It was widely believed to be political suicide. Until one man dared to introduce it, he succeeded, it worked and the plan has been extended and is going to get a whole new level on top AND he has been relected. Despite ALL the extremely loud fringe groups claiming it was going to be a disaster.

    I have learned to stop paying attention to what some people shout and instead am trying to hear what a lot of people are NOT saying. Until the majority says NO to bigbrother it will happen, because apparently the majority thinks it is good for them. Right or wrong they might be, but they are not going to be swayed by people shouting loudly, they never have and they never will.

  • by Joh_Fredersen (883311) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @07:47AM (#18306948)
    Ireland and the UK share a free travel area, exclusive of the Schengen agreement [wikipedia.org].

    It is a well accepted fact here in Ireland that if the UK introduces mandatory identity cards, the Republic of Ireland would have to follow suit in the interests of maintaining the privileged position we have with respect to travel to the UK. The British are by European standards quite paranoid about border control but, Irish and UK citizens can travel within the UK & Ireland sans passport. This free travel area with the UK is of enormous benefit to the Irish economy, clearly.

    Thus if the Blair/Brown government does indeed start to place tough requirements on obtaining a UK passport this means that defacto such a system will be introduced in Ireland, in order to guarantee Ireland can maintain it's privileged access to the UK border

    The Irish government would no doubt claim that they *have no choice* and that, of course it's not their fault... it's Tony Blair's fault.... if we, the Irish government don't spy on you to British standards... we might have difficulty traveling to London and Manchester for our stag parties, football games and occasional golfing sessions...

    Solution: Grow your hair, buy a log cabin in the mountains and a shot-gun and go wait for *the day* the "Feds" come calling... trying to take your fingerprints for your "biometric" passport.

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