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it really is 1984 in the UK, wtf?

April 19th, 2009
not the type of home office one dreams of

not the type of home office one dreams of

Oh, don’t you just love the Orwellian schemes dreamed up by politicians to monitor, track and control the masses? Most of which are easily thwarted by true criminals. Case in point, the UK’s £1.2 billion  e-Borders scheme (that’s $1.78 billion for our American readers).

Under this new immigration scheme, every person leaving the United Kingdom will be forced to provide detailed personal information like their home and email addresses, phone numbers, passport information, credit card information and detailed travel itineraries. In order travel abroad (by any means – including swimming the English Channel),  Britons will have to submit the information a day before departure. Fail to comply? Well then you will be facing a £5,000 fine or possible criminal prosecution for not obeying Big Brother.

Oh wait, it gets better! They plan to hold your information for 10 years. Judging by how well governments (in the US, UK or wherever) keep sensitive networks/information secure, we’ve got nothing to fear about this database being compromised.

As Chris Cuddy points out in an article at Travolution, “…this additional Stalinist hurdle to freedom to travel from the UK is not what ordinary travellers seek when planning a holiday abroad…”

What is worse, with all the money thrown at the misguided scheme, it still has serious holes. Like most things having to do with transportation safety, the effort is more for show than actual safety (the TSA’s 60% failure rate is a good example of all show and no substance). e-Borders is not even online and already problems are surfacing. Have dual passports (something fairly common in the UK)? Darn, they forgot to think about how to handle that. According to the Daily Telegraph, “An airline, under the ‘e-borders’ system, would be denied permission to carry the passenger home. Even if a British passport were presented.”

“But wait!” you say, “that is a minor inconvenience if we are all safer.”

“Not so fast,” I say, “that’s where you are wrong.”

Experts like Frank Gregory, professor of European Security at the University of Southampton, are already warning of holes in the e-Borders system. In his report, he states:

There are two key problems with the e-Borders programme. First, it will not reveal if the person matching the identity documents has created a false identity and, second, ‘watchlist’ scrutiny only works if a suspect person continues to use a ‘flagged’ name.

Unfortunately, the e-Borders ship left port long ago with Big Brother at the helm and Stalin as its navigator. The e-Borders scheme starts this year and will become more and more draconian through March 2014, when it is expected to be fully operational.

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