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Government Privacy Transportation United Kingdom

Some UK Councils Barred From Using Gov't Vehicle Database 84

Bruce66423 writes "A number of British councils are being banned from accessing the national Vehicle Database system. While sometimes this appears to be due to technical infractions, the banning of some 'permanently' seems to be as a result of more serious misdemeanours. Trust the government? Not a good idea..."
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Some UK Councils Barred From Using Gov't Vehicle Database

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  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FaxeTheCat ( 1394763 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:23AM (#42223975)

    Trust the government? Not a good idea..."

    Why not? The government taking action where they find indications of abuse. Surely that cannot be a problem?

    The fact that there are users and user organizations making improper use of the data is how the world works. That is why "the government" check and ban those who abuse the data.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:32AM (#42223993)
    councils are local government - national government is banning local government from accessing the vehicle database. Not sure why any local government should have access to the vehicle database anyway. All taxation, etc, is done by national government.

    The data keeps getting sold to debt collectors, which may have something to do with it.

  • by detain ( 687995 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:33AM (#42223997) Homepage
    Government is itself good but the people in it are not always worth our trust. Whats important here is that people in greater power are doing something that seems to be in the best interest of citizens and regardless if some people were abusing the system or not steps are being taken to resolve that.
  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:37AM (#42224005)

    It's not really suprising either, having worked in local government it's about the most unaccountable workplace you could imagine so to hear employees are abusing systems is not a suprise.

    If you have a problem with a council you can refer it to the ombudsman, but guess whose in charge there? An ex council chief.

    Nice to see the DVLA taking unilateral action on this, as there would be no hope of the councils sorting it out unless there was some kind of root and branch change in the way councils are run and managed to make them accountable organisations.

  • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:09AM (#42224083) Homepage Journal

    Government is itself good but the people in it are not always worth our trust.

    The second part of that statement is why so many of us want it limited - more powerful government attracts nastier people, because you can use it to do nastier things more often. Why do you think of the government as "good"? Necessary, perhaps, but it's like insurance - you need to have enough to protect yourself, but diminishing returns and exponential price increases set it really quickly if you try to turn that protection into a bulletproof cocoon.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:32AM (#42224123) Homepage

    The Data Protection Act only allows disclose for the purposes of "prevention and detection of crime". With parking enforcement now run as a cash cow, outsourced to Parking Pataweyo, and overseen by the Kangaroo Kourts, the DVLA shouldn't be handing out our personal information to any mugger with a lettehead who pays their access fee.

    The Information Commissioner needs to be sinking his teeth into this racket, hard.

  • Re:Better idea... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:40AM (#42224141) Homepage

    The significant difference is that those are enforced at significant cost via the real criminal justice system, with that pesky presumption of innocence, the fines go into central government coffers, and prosecution costs are only haphazardly awarded.

    Parking and many moving violations go via the Kangaroo Kourts - PATAS and TPT - with a presumption of guilt. Most victims cave in and pay up early doors, and the money goes into the council's pocket, via their outsourced muggers.

    Parking is a racket, it has been for decades, and despite the occasional token reverse, it looks like continuing in that vein.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Saturday December 08, 2012 @07:23AM (#42224269) Homepage

    On the other hand, as I live in Brighton and the local Green council have fucked the parking costs, I'm delighted that B&H have been blocked...

    Parking prices across the whole of the UK seem to have gone nuts over the past few years as councils have found it an easy way to make money. The council is there to provide services to residents, so IMHO shouldn't be in the business of profiting from them - charge the running costs of the carpark and nothing more please.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @08:56AM (#42224495)
    So what you're saying is we should live with assholes who say things like "I've paid my tax so I can park wherever the fuck I want!"? Yeah, great plan. Well done you.
  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @10:20AM (#42224809)

    The information held by the DVLA is what you use to identify the people who are parking illegally so you can prosecute them.

    As someone whose city is stuck with unfortunately weak transport infrastructure for historical reasons (Cambridge) I can tell you that parking "illegally" all too often comes with a "dangerously" attached, too. If there's no sensible justification (such as dealing with a medical emergency, or a vehicle that has broken down and is awaiting recovery) then I have no problem with penalising those people.

    This story seems like exactly how the system is supposed to work to me: some parts of government (councils, and even at least one area's police force according to TFA) are trying to overstep the authority they were given for one good reason to use the same facility for other less good reasons, and another part of government that is guardian of sensitive personal data (the DVLA) is telling them to take a hike.

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