Government Plans New Database

The government is compiling a database to track and store the domestic travel records of millions of Britons.

Computerised records of all 250 million journeys made by individuals within the UK each year will be kept for up to 10 years.

The government says the database is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism.

But opposition MPs and privacy campaigners fear it is a significant step towards a surveillance society.

The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, car licence plate numbers, train tickets, hitchhiking signs and credit card details of travellers.

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: “The government seems to be building databases to track more and more of our lives.

“The justification is always about security or personal protection. But the truth is that we have a government that just can't be trusted over these highly sensitive issues. We must not allow ourselves to become a Big Brother society.”

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “This is another example of an intrusive database without any public debate about safeguards on its use.

“We are sleepwalking into a surveillance state and should remember that George Orwell's 1984 was a warning, not a blueprint.”

A spokesman for campaign group NO2ID said: “When your travel plans, who you are travelling with, where you are going to and when are being recorded you have to ask yourself just how free is this country?”

The 'Nightwatch' scheme covers cars, flights, ferries, bicycle, taxi, ambulance and rail journeys and the Home Office says similar schemes run in other countries including North and South Korea, China, Iraq, Cuba and the historical Nazi Germany.

Minister of State for borders and immigration Phil Woolas said the government was determined to ensure the UK's homeland remained one of the most watched in the world.

“Our hi-tech electronic travel system will allow us to count and record all movements of UK citizens and [it] targets everyone,” he said.

Answering concerns about the security of the database he went on to say, “The government has learnt from previous mistakes and we can categorically state that there will be no new data losses. Nor will there be any abuse of the RIPA rules to allow local councils to spy on their citizens”.

He concluded, “If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear citizen. Beware the terrorist and the illegal immigrant for they spread heresy”.

The original, and just as scary, article is Here. If you look at the number of people that the actual scheme has caught it's 0.0036% of all travellers scanned. Is that cost effective when it comes to (a) money and (b) the damage to civil liberties?

13 thoughts on “Government Plans New Database”

  1. Is the proposed law that anyone can be put to a psychiatric institution, even though they have not committed any crime, dead and buried? Or is it still being considered as a Soviet era style answer to critics of the government?

  2. Funnily enough, criminals are not law abiding! Which means that they will do all they can to avoid getting onto the database and, if their journey is on the database, using stolen plates or different cars. The government are just making another rod for their own back. They want to be seen to be doing something but they're just wasting everyone's time and money

  3. Tom,I agree. It becomes even worse when you put it alongside an EU Council decision made on 20th January this year. The bigger picture is nasty.

    There is to be a pan-European criminal database. Your details will be added to it for committing any of the offences below. Any of us could probably be found guilty of several at some time or other. The implications are horrendous.

    * Offences related to waste

    * Unintentional environmental offences

    * Insult to the State, Nation or State symbols

    * Insult or resistance to a representative of public authority

    * Public order offences, breach of the public peace

    * Revealing a secret or breaching an obligation of secrecy

    * Unintentional damage or destruction of property

    * Offences against migration law – an “Open category” (offences are undefined thus all encompassing)

    * Offences against military obligations – another “Open category”

    * Unauthorised entry or residence

    * Other offencesanother “Open category”

    * Other unintentional offences

    * Prohibition from frequenting some places

    * Prohibition from entry to a mass event

    * Placement under electronic surveillance (“fixed or mobile”e.g., home, car, mobile phone etc)

    * Withdrawal of a hunting or fishing licence

    * Prohibition from playing certain games or sports

    * Prohibition from national territory

    * Personal obligation – another “Open category”

    * “Fine” – all fines, including minor non-criminal offences.

    Remember, fines no longer need proper courts to be issued.

    To see the original document, search for on the Brussels system. Or go straight to

    It manifests our final movement from British to Napoleonic law. Under its terms, refusing to cooperate with a jobsworth will probably see you deemed a criminal, with your very own entry(s) on the database. At this rate, we will shortly be seeing mode 'S' transponders being made mandatory on bicycles.

    Meanwhile, the real crims will be laughing their socks off.


  4. I was absolutely shocked to hear on Radio 4 that there is no national database for tracking where drugs go after they have got as far as the pharmacy. Once it's in a patient's hands, that's it – no record is kept of who gets which batch of a particular drug. This means that if there is a recall, there's no easy way to contact patients who may be affected. Perhaps the government could spend some time and money tracking the batch numbers of medicines from supplier to patient, instead of spying on us.

  5. Every time it's the crime and terrorism excuse. Does the government realise we have seen through their pathetic oft recycled rhetoric?As has been said time again, the criminals and terrorists will always find a way to circumvent any measures the politicians may introduce. This is due to the ill-thought through ham fisted way it would be designed and introduced. Not to mention the billions of pounds the taxpayer would have to forfeit. Some Whitehall quangos have too much power and access to the nation's cash.The only way round to track everyone is to electronically tag the whole population and rig these devices to explode the moment they detect any interference.Oh Rats! I've just given the powers that be an idea!

  6. Agree with all the above, only posted to highlight the fact that “cars, flights, ferries, bicycle, taxi, ambulance and rail journeys” are all grouped in the same category. Certainly feels like that to me sometimes!

  7. wow, that last quote “If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear citizen. Beware the terrorist and the illegal immigrant for they spread heresy.”?I thought someone was mocking the article by quoting 1984 or something to that effect. I'm almost sick now that I've realized it was part of the article.

  8. What makes this even scarier is the amendments to the Data Protection Act that are currently sneaking their way through Parliament, hidden in what seems like an otherwise unremarkable bill. If the Coroners and Justice Bill is made law then “an appropriate Minister…may by order (an information-sharing order) enable any person to share information which consists of or includes personal data”. There are 'Codes of Practice' which will have to be followed, in theory, but the track-record of this Government on data protection is poor to say the least, and for this reason alone the Coroners and Justice Bill needs some serious changes making to it.To read the Coroners and Justice Bill:

    (The bit about Data Protection is in part 8)

  9. I *am* mocking the article – in it's real form the system is 'just' for overseas travel – I altered it to be for *all* travel, which is only a small step.It's why I link to the original article, and stuck in that last sentence as a way to highlight that I altered it.

    If you go look at the original article you'll see the small changes I made.

  10. Now what was that scrap of paper than King John signed …at…er.. the bottom?… ffs! this is bl**dy scary indeed.Scr3w democracy eh?sad sad sad 🙁

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