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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Passport Control 2 - We Know Where You Went Last Weekend

Here's a happy thought for my weekend - anyone leaving the UK for any reason, by any means and for any length of time will have the details of their trip recorded and, and if you're British you can probably guess what's coming, stored on a database. All in the name of catching terrorists and criminals of course, but obviously the numbers of law abiding travellers who'll go on the system will outweigh those of terrorists and criminals by a factor of many millions to one (possibly much, much higher). It's a happy thought for me because I can avoid it by simply never going back. Bit of a shitter because I never intended to burn the bridges completely when I emigrated. I slag the place off a fair bit but it was the place I was born and naturally I feel fond of it despite choosing Australia as my home. And of course there are people back in the UK that I do care about very much and I always expected to see them again occasionally. But unless they're willing to meet up at a cafe in Calais this latest piece of IngSoc style large scale monitoring is going to scupper that, because I'm don't intend to play the games of the UK Border Agency. The only slight flaw in that plan is a vague worry that the people I'd be travelling half way around the planet to see may not be allowed to cross the 20 or so miles of water to France, but I suppose as long as they're good little drones who do what they're told they'll probably just have their trip put on the database. And if they're really lucky maybe it'll go no further as opposed to being lost because some twat left a disc on the fucking train or dropped a USB stick down the back of the seat in a taxi or however the useless bastards are choosing to mislay confidential information these days.

As well as being fucking intrusive and a worry if when data is lost, it's also going to be a pain in the arse in a practical sense:
The full extent of the impact of the government's "e-borders" scheme emerged amid warnings that passengers face increased congestion as air, rail and ferry companies introduce some of the changes over the Easter holidays.
The new checks are being introduced piecemeal by the UK Border Agency. By the end of the year 60 per cent of journeys made out of Britain will be affected with 95 per cent of people leaving the country being subject to the plans by the end 2010.
Air, rail and ferries. That's all the booze cruises to the French hypermarkets as well as the holiday makers and busniess travellers. And don't think this won't mean yachties too, because it will.
Yachtsmen, leisure boaters, trawlermen and private pilots will be given until 2014 to comply with the programme.
They will be expected to use the internet to send their details each time they leave the country and would face a fine of up to £5,000 should they fail to do so.
Similar penalties will be enforced on airlines, train and ship operators if they fail to provide details of every passenger to the UK Border Agency.
Once again, and typically of IngSoc New Labour, this is legislation that is largely reliant on the law abiding to comply with because they don't like to break the law. I can't see how they'd stop someone in a small RIB going in and out of some barely visited cove in the middle of the night, as some criminals no doubt do already. Think the threat of a five grand fine will make them drop the agency an email the day before so the details of their trip to bring in two hundred weight of coke and half a dozen pistols can be recorded on the database for the next ten years? Bollocks will they.

The big chuckle is that the article mentions that this scheme may not be legal under European law. If that turns out to be true I'm going to fucking hospitalize myself laughing. EU law! That the laws of one control obsessed bunch of bastards might screw up the designs of another control obsessed bunch of bastards would be fucking priceless.

This has helped me in one other way. I've been thinking about whether to renew my British passport at the not exactly bargain price of $268, which for comparison I reckon would buy me enough fuel to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide. Since I can use an Aussie passport to go anywhere other than the UK, which I think insists on a UK passport if you've got one, I can save the money. Fuck it, it's not like I'm going to get any closer than here now, is it?

H/T to the Penguin ranting here.

UPDATE: Wonder if this has anything to do with it. Sure, not exactly up there with the Kray twins and Al Qaeda, but then it's not exactly the first time laws would be used for trivial offences when they were brought in supposedly to deal with terrorists and organized crime?
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