17 March 2007

I wonder how many people at NO2ID etc have mobile phones?

For those who are freaked out about the government and their use of new tracking technology (yet they don't worry about having a bank account, mobile phone, internet etc. placing their most intimate details with unknowns), where is their campaign against this?

This is definitely one to keep the anti-road tracking, NO2ID lot awake at night and this guy must be having serious nightmares.

If they wasn't so serious...

28 comments:

  1. Sigh. No, I am not having nightmares. I choose to have a mobile phone and I can choose to switch it off any time I like (it frequently is). Just as I choose not to have a store card or collect air miles. The issue with ID cards is compulsion. I thought we had put this argument to bed a long time ago.

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  2. In terms of the practicalities of the govt's current proposals on ID cards, then yes they are seriously flawed.

    But when people know they can be tracked to within 150 yards by having a mobile phone - I don't then see how they can object to road pricing on the grounds of intrusive tracking?

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  3. Perhaps you should read the article again. It's old news, mind; the Groan is about eighteen months behind the times with this one.

    Significantly, people using this service need access to the phone. It is also relatively simply circumvented.

    For a private company to use tracking as this type of system would be primarily used for has some advantages; companies have every right to know where their vehicles are, they also would be acting sensibly tracking lone workers in vulnerable situations. This is not the same as the systematic and compulsory tracking and monitoring being proposed by government. Frankly, I would trust a private company with sensitive data rather than the bureaucratic government machine. And, as I pointed out, road pricing can be managed effectively without such systems.

    If the system discussed in the Groan's article was to be used as a means of systematic tracking by anyone other than those I've mentioned (such as, for instance, those proposed by insurance companies), then yes, I would object and yes, I would refuse to cooperate. However, no such proposal is being proffered and no one is seeking to use it to track my movements as no one has had access to my phone. Therefore, I am sleeping perfectly well thankyou and there is nothing wrong with my mental health.

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  4. "Frankly, I would trust a private company with sensitive data rather than the bureaucratic government machine."

    This is the crux of the matter - you would rather trust a private company whose only interest is in extracting as much money as possible off people, than a government who generally do good, providing services to people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it.

    It is not a matter of your mental health but your priorities are so far skewed and prejudiced against government (which is essentially just a reflection of the voters who elect them) that you are not thinking objectively on this.

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  5. The reason I trust private companies more than government is because they pay a heavy commercial price for their mistakes. Government and its agencies are immune from the fallout - if they pay any penalties, it is done so with other peoples money (yours and mine), not their own.

    Prejudice is making a judgement without evidence:

    an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.

    My distaste for government is based upon twenty-odd years of direct observation. Jaded and cynical, maybe, but prejudiced, most certainly not.

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  6. Neil, the only way a private company can "extract[] as much money as possible off people" is by providing goods and services that people want to buy where they want to buy them.

    By contrast, Government can "extract[] as much money as possible off people" by legislation and the threat of imprisonment to those who fail to pay!

    There is no requirement for Government to provide services that people want or where they want them!

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  7. longrider: "The reason I trust private companies more than government is because they pay a heavy commercial price for their mistakes"

    Is this always the case? Isn't it the case that private companies with an effective monopoly manipulate markets to control price and provision of service to the detriment of consumers, and who is it who generally trys to stop this abuse? You guessed it, government!

    snafu: "the only way a private company can "extract[] as much money as possible off people" is by providing goods and services that people want to buy where they want to buy them."

    Do you really believe this?

    "There is no requirement for Government to provide services that people want or where they want them!"

    What about elections? Do they not give some power to people on what services are provided? Yes, there is inefficiency and corruption in government, yes our electoral process (especially her and the US) is highly flawed, but these factors are generally outweighed by a desire to provide the best services possible by staff who provide these services and politicians are 'mostly' human beings.

    Longrider: Yes, you are jaded and cynical about government and this cynicism and the daily hostility of our media has made you assume the worst of government all the time (when did you last praise a government initiative?) This one-sidedness seems like prejudice to me.

    Reading your blog, I don't see much evidence to back up your hostility. Yes, governments get things wrong, cover things up, and do stuff that is detrimental to us. But are you suggesting that they do no good? Where is your weighing up of good versus bad?

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  8. (when did you last praise a government initiative?) This one-sidedness seems like prejudice to me.

    Really? I am more than happy with the following:

    The recent amendments to the road traffic act bringing all driver and rider trainers into the same assessment and licensing regime as ADIs.

    The safety critical work regulations regulating the assessment regime for those directly responsible for the movement of rail vehicles. I include in this the HSE guidance for rail companies on competence management regimes.

    The working at height regulations requiring effective risk assessment for anyone carrying out work above ground level.

    I could go on... But my point is made.

    If you really cannot see the evidence of the hostility of this government to those it represents, then you haven't been reading properly. I am not in the business of fawning to government, I am in the business of raising awareness of the dangers it presents. I am no more obliged to be "balanced" than are you. And, you are far from balanced in your writing, so pots, kettles and black it is, then.

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  9. My blog contains both criticism and praise for this government. I am not a fawning supporter of Labour - I disagree with their policies on this blog quite a lot.

    Labour has let people down on a number of isses and yes they have been arrogant sometimes (though we have to bear in mind how the media report these things) but things have generally got better (unlike under the Tories where things really did go down hill).

    Funnily enough the people who seem to moan most about this government are either much better off than they were or living such a comfortable life as it beggars belief as to what the hell they are moaning about. I think that tells us all we need to know.

    You know what really gets my gall about people who constantly knock this government - they say things like 'they are only in it for themselves' and 'our taxes go into Brown's back pocket'.

    I think they really do believe that Labour increases taxes so Blair and Brown can get a bigger holiday home. The irony of it is , you can cut taxes all day for the richest in our society and be rolling in personal wealth from embezzling government funds (like the Tories did).

    I doubt Blair or Brown are interested in amassing personal wealth from their roles in government. I really believe they want to see a better society, they certainly could get more kudos doing something else than being PM and facing the daily barrage of harsh criticism on every decision they make.

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  10. Neil, Rover offered cars to the UK public that were uncompetitive and inferior to rival manufacturers.

    Can you explain how they were "extracting" money from the public except through Government subsidy?

    No private company forces you to buy their product except in the rare cases of monopoly which tend to be regulated anyway!

    Your use of the phrase "extraction" suggests that customers are being forced to part with their money by private companies. Nothing could be further from the truth! Can you give me some examples as I am clearly missing the point!?!

    Tescos offers goods and services where people want to buy them, so does Murdoch's News Corp. etc...

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  11. If I want to buy a soft drink especially from a vending machine (try finding one that isn't a coca cola product), I have limited choice.

    If I want to watch Live Prem Footy on TV, I have no choice other than to give Murdoch some money. In fact it is impossible for me to avoid giving the git money, unless I carry a list of companies that advertise on his tv, films newspaper and books empire and avoid all the products therein.

    Think of most cleaning products and I have limited choice of companies (all of which have an oligarchy going and are not going to go out of business).

    Think of electrical shops - dominated by a few players - there is no real choice. The big muliti-nationals rule most things now.

    All this stuff about 'what people want', half the time we are largely conditioned to want junk. Companies 'make' markets with advertising that persuades people they want something even if they don't.

    I find all this a lot more scary than a government that provides us with free at the point of use healthcare, education etc and benefits if we are out of work.

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  12. At least you have the option of not funding Murdoch, I am forced to fund the BBC annually!

    If Coca-cola supply drinks in their own vending machines, it seems a very small price to pay for their own drinks!

    There is no choice in the electricals market!?! What do you need that isn't already supplied by them? Are you focusing on cost or quality!?! You should welcome higher costs if it is associated with higher wage levels or over-staffing! Maybe you should set up your business to supply your newly identified market and extract some money so that you are rewarded for it!

    Have you got access to an NHS dentist? The quality of many 'free' schools across the UK are inferior to their private sector equivalents but many people are forced to use them regardless!

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  13. Brighton NO2ID Coordinator19/3/07 1:57 pm

    You are right in highlighting some of the means of surveillance within society. This is simply a re-hash of the government spin club cards etc… e.g. Lot’s of people allow private companies to track them on store cards.

    They do, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right or moral to do so. Unlike a mobile phone, bank account or Tesco’s club card one doesn’t have any choice in having an ID card. The aforementioned do not request our biometric information like ID cards, nor will they fine you £1,000 for non-compliance.

    There are other civil liberty groups such as privacy international who campaign against this form of tracking. NO2ID is a single issue that focuses on this particular aspect of the ‘database state’.

    Aside from the issue of surveillance there are other arguments against ID-CARD namely the huge cost, their ineffectiveness & the increased bureaucracy in people’s lives.

    Labour will lose votes at the next election over ID-CARDS. Lets hope Brown sees some sense and scraps this scheme.

    PS
    People in NO2ID know that you can unplug a phone battery to avoid being tracked.

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  14. I think NO2ID have won the argument in terms of the government's specific ID scheme.

    If Brown persists with the current scheme I think it might well end up losing Labour a few votes although generally I find most people either support ID cards in principle or are ambivalent about them. It is when the cost is mentioned that people tend to voice opposition.

    Personally I have no problem with the database state and tracking people etc. There are huge benefits to be had if it is done right (and most people who object IMHO are just scared of government and use ridiculous scenarios of big brother and futuristic fascist states - they might as well go and live in a cave if they think like that).

    No, bring it on. I think we should track everyone and put their location on the internet for all to see (this way we can watch the watchers), we should DNA test all babies at birth and then every rapist/murderer/criminal etc would be caught first time (and know they can't get away with it). I know it sounds horrible that nobody could lie about their location and partake in criminal activity and easily get away with it- but what would be really horrible are all the victims who suffer because we shy away from using available technology that would protect them.

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  15. I am amazed that anybody in their right mind would hand over the most intimate details of their lives to faceless bureaucrats in 'exchange' for freedom from crime and terrorism. Career criminals and terrorists would forge false ID within weeks Have you never read 1984 or Brave new world ?? or any English History ?

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  16. "I am amazed that anybody in their right mind would hand over the most intimate details of their lives to faceless bureaucrats"

    That is why it has to be on the internet. That way everybody can check the info is correct and check that the powers that be are not trying it on. Honesty is always the best policy.

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  17. I object to the label "paranoid luddite" because I don't wish to give the government my fingerprints and allow them to control and licence my identity on my behalf. I've nothing wrong (and I don't intend to) so the government can **** off and leave me alone - I pay my taxes willingly enough. As for the Luddites - you need a history lesson before using the term in a perjorative sense - as I thought I made clear before

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  18. Neil - putting stuff on the Internet doesn't make it a) true b) complete c) foolproof and secure.

    The current government is, even as we speak spending thousands on lawyers trying to prevent us finding out the results of the ID cards gateway reviews.

    And as for the snidy "This is definitely one to keep the anti-road tracking, NO2ID lot"

    NO2ID exists as a non-partisan campaign against the crazy ID cards legislation, nothing more. It is a gross (but not entirely surprising) distortion to confalte that and the road pricing issue - NO2ID is about ID cards - that's all.

    Finally, it's just plain stupid to suggest that becuase a person can be tracked (optionally) by mobile phone, they should have no complaints about the government compulsarily tracking their every move by car - that is a simple non-sequitor.

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  19. Personally I have no problem with the database state and tracking people etc. There are huge benefits to be had
    In all the discussion on this subject, I've never seen a summary of the "benefits" vs the costs that suggested it would be worthwhile. I'm not being gratuitous, but coming from a bloke who proudly told me he could find out my address from my current IP address, I respectfully suggest that once again, you haven't thought this through properly.

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  20. "...ridiculous scenarios of big brother and futuristic fascist states"

    "I think we should track everyone and put their location on the internet for all to see (this way we can watch the watchers), we should DNA test all babies at birth"

    Are you being intentionally ironic? Or just painfully naive?

    Such a position is predicated on an absolute trust of those controlling the system, an absolute trust in the system itself, and an absolute trust in those who created it. I think we've seen enough over the last couple of decades to prove beyond doubt that we should have no such trust.

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  21. "it's just plain stupid to suggest that becuase a person can be tracked (optionally) by mobile phone, they should have no complaints about the government compulsarily tracking their every move by car"

    No it isn't, nearly everyone has a mobile phone, if they are willing to be tracked by that, then road pricing will make no difference, you're just a load of hypocrites.

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  22. "we should DNA test all babies at birth"

    That sounds like a dictatorship's dream when it comes to getting rid of all opponents

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  23. No it isn't, nearly everyone has a mobile phone, if they are willing to be tracked by that, then road pricing will make no difference, you're just a load of hypocrites.
    There is no evidence that people are willing to be tracked via their phone - and there is no proposal even from this government for the government to do so, so the argument doesn't arise. I notice that in spite of beig reminded multiple times that NO2ID is a campaign against ID cards and particularly the databases behind the cards, you are choosing to misrepresent us as an anti road pricing campaign, which we are not. To be called a hypocrit by an ignoramus is something I'd be proud to wear as a badge of honour.

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  24. No it isn't, nearly everyone has a mobile phone, if they are willing to be tracked by that, then road pricing will make no difference, you're just a load of hypocrites.

    I have no desire whatsoever to be tracked via my mobile phone nor have I ever intimated that I do. My position on this has been consistent and logical - i.e. that the state has no business poking about in my private life. Where I go and when I go there is my business and mine alone.

    There is no hypocrisy in such a position, but, then, as is usual, you resort to non sequiturs to make an argument that does not exist and never did.

    Anyway, many thanks for doing a huge public service; for reminding us that without constant vigilance, the state and its acolytes would visit upon us the most unimaginable evil.

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  25. longrider: you may have no desire to be tracked but you consent to it by owning mobile phone. I have never seen anything written on your blog to complain about this.

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  26. Neil, owning a mobile phone is not consent for tracking. Nowhere have I ever indicated that I do consent. What part of the English language do you have difficulty with? Because you certainly do not appear to be using the same version as the rest of us. Just because mobile phones can be used for tracking does not mean that owners consent to it happening. I have never given consent, therefore you cannot assume that I have. The only conclusion you may draw from my ownership of such a device is that I may wish to make the occasional phone call - that, and that alone. Any other conclusion is a product of your imagination.

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  27. you may have no desire to be tracked but you consent to it by owning mobile phone

    Neil, I'm sure that's not a deliberate lie on your part - but it simply isn't true. Did you read the year-old story your linked to? The tracking requires the person being tracked (or someone with access to their phone) to agree to it. In the case cited in the article the journo did this by using his girlfriend's phone to sign it up without her knowledge. That's not the same as consent (although given your enthusiasm for State control of us all I can see why words like "consent" are confusing to you as they imply a degree of individual choice and freedom you find scary and unpleasant).

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  28. You do give consent to being tracked because your mobile phone company knows your location and you know your mobile phone company knows your location when you get a mobile phone, so don't try and deny it.

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