back to article UK shamed in world privacy league

Former world power and current CCTV capital of the universe the UK has been fingered as the worst place in Europe if you fancy a little bit of privacy. The legions of shopping centre cyclopses, together with teeth-gnashing government incompetence on data, and the funny-if-it-weren't-so-scary ID card wheeze mean that Blighty is …


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  1. Stephen
    Black Helicopters

    Darn China beat us to it.

    Finally the UK is doing well at something, if we get even worse we will finally be able to beat those pesky Chinese to the top of the bad countries table!

    In the meantime I am off to my mountain bunker to try to hide.

  2. Cameron Colley

    If you've got nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear.

    Well, except the ineptitude of your government and it's perversion of your legal system anyhow.

    I do rather think that "London based" Privacy International have shot themselves in the foot somewhat though -- it's their survey and it shows what they're campaigning about to be true.

  3. JeffyPooh

    Video surveillance - in Canada? Bwa ha ha ha ha...

    It would take at least a dozen security cameras to cover just my own 3+ acre forested and topographically-interesting suburban residential property. On average, even weighted by population density (a generous allowance), video surveillance within Canada is a hilarious concept.

    99.99999% of video surveillance in Canada is fed back only to the security desk of the building in question where it is occasionally viewed by the elderly and mostly harmless Commissionaire on duty.

    The only exception to this rule would be several square blocks of downtown Protestville (Ottawa, our Nation's Capital) where 'The Man' has installed an extensive video surveillance system (a couple of dozen cameras)

    Happy New Year.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry

    We're watching your mountain bunker with our fancyy military sattelites.

    Teh Gov

  5. Alec Harkness
    Black Helicopters

    I've got plenty to hide

    Like the fact that I don't intend to vote Labour, or the fact that I've been thinking of attending more protests, or the fact that I know ID cards are a bad thing.

  6. Alan Donaly

    suspected subversives

    All you have to do is let them know you are definitely a subversive and they will avoid you like the plague after all there's no good investigating known subversives only those they suspect may be. Once their sure you join the ranks of the other 80% of the population who think they are worthless.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Hmmmm except for.....

    The government in the UK can find out all they need to know about you. They have the capabilities of knowing where we have been, what we have spent money on.

    On top of this they have some (soon to be most) of ours DNA on record. However they appear to be using this a little over the top.

    A true story:

    Six months ago me and a mate were in a nightclub, doing the usual single men techniques to work our magic on the single young ladies there. In fact we were gentlemenly enough to escort them to the taxi ramp. As they were togther we left them. We noticed them get into a taxi.

    One of those women was sadly raped and left for dead that night. She was in a coma due to head injuries for 3 weeks. She made a complete recovery.

    Due to my mate being involved in a fight (self defence from a bloke hitting his partner) a few weeks before his DNA was on record. His DNA (from a hair) was found on the young lady on her skirt.

    The police armed with his DNA and CCTV pictures of us leaving with them were enough for my mate to be arrested on suspicion of rape. I knew this was a load of crap because he was with me all night and stayed at my flat.

    I went to the police and explained this fact, where I left a statement with the police. Two days later I too was arrested because yes one of my hairs were found on her top.

    We were in the process of being formally charged for this crime, when luckly she woke up enough to give a very brief description of the man who attacked her. Without wanting to sound racist she stated it was a black man 6 and a half foot tall. My mate and me are white and below 6 ft. It transpired that the rapist had jumped her outside her house after the taxi dropped her off. He forced her into his car did the business (without leaving any DNA) and (coincidently) dumped her down the next street to where I live. He has never been caught.

    I suspect that if she had died, this circumstantial evidence from this countries big brother setup could have sent us down for a crime we did not commit as the police did not have any other suspects.

    So Cameron so much for the nothing to hide, nothing to fear crap.

    On the bright side this lady and my mate are now expecting their first child and in the middle of planning their wedding.

  8. System 10 from Navarone

    re: Nothing to hide, nothing to fear!

    I take the glib line "...nothing to hide, nothing to fear" to be ironic, but just in case there is such thing as a Reg reader who doesn't understand what the fuss regarding privacy is about, here's one reason why you do have something to fear:

    The more information an organization (such as a government) has on you, the more power they have over you, and the organization that's collecting your information today may not be the organization that's victimising you tomorrow. The latter organization could be your own government, a foreign government, a multinational company, a criminal organization, etc. The information could be used to make it harder for you to get a job, insurance, credit, health care, etc, etc, etc.

    The perfect people/smug puritans who have never done anything 'wrong' will suffer from this just as much as anyone else, because it's not just about them - they might unknowingly associate with 'undesirables', have a particular postcode, be of a certain demographic type, have visited the wrong country, had a particular illness or even had a sick relative, all of which maybe outside of their control but any one of which could label them as a 'risk' or a 'problem', and there wouldn't be a thing they could do about it.

    Privacy International haven't shot themselves in the foot, they exist because what they're campaigning about is real and there are plenty examples of data/privacy abuse to back them up.

  9. parlau

    anything to hide

    Anybody who thinks they have nothing to hide is living in a dream world.

  10. yeah, right.

    @ JeffyPooh

    It's not just about video surveillance, it's about the protection of personal data. Canada has good laws on the subject, unfortunately enforcement is spotty at best and difficult to obtain. Given that the federal privacy commissioner can only recommend action, and cannot take direct action (unlike, say, the B.C. privacy commissioner), the federal law is a bit of a joke even if it does look good on paper.

    The US, on the other hand, has few if any real privacy laws, and what laws they have are completely ignored by their government. As for the UK, well, the less said the better. I'm wondering when they're going to try introducing subdermal RFID chips for all residents.

  11. John

    Re: If you've got nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear

    One of the benefits of the recent visibility of the ineptitude of the large organisations handling our private data, is to start to lay this oft repeated claim to rest. While superficially hard to refute it should be glaringly obvious to most by now that it is based on two fundamental fallacies: First, that the only things one may have desire to conceal are "bad things" about us, and secondly, that the people we entrust with our data are benign in intention, and competent in maintaining its secure.

  12. BitTwister

    @Hmmmm except for.....

    Fsck me - *truly* frightening stuff.

    All the more frightening when understanding that this sort of 'crime free' Brave New World is the *real* reason behind the DNA database. Then, or so the NuLabour science-fiction-as-fact legislating mindset seems to be operating in, it's just a case of matching DNA found at the scene to someone on the database - simple; crime solved and miscreant nabbed. After all, DNA is unique and provides irrefutable evidence linking a person to a crime.

    Er, or not - as yours and many more cases will continue to prove. I wonder how many innocent people will need to rot in jail, having been damned by the DNA 'evidence', for sheeple to realise just how much they've been duped by lying/utterly dense politicians and an infantile media?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Even more so this lot

    They have all the data, dna etc, then send it on dvd's via post and it gets lost, or somebody loses their laptop, or the Chinese or who ever hacks into the system and every body gets a copy via ebay etc.

    But if you have nothing to hide why worry???

    More importantly I feel sorry for Paris Hilton as her millions is going to be given away by her Dad to Africans, I wonder if he investing in the Nigerian banks?.

  14. Mike Bell

    You Aint Seen Nothin' Yet

    A while ago I was at my friend's house when I got a call on my mobile. It was Plod, informing me that my parked car was causing an obstruction to a school entrance. I'll gloss over the fact that it was around 10pm and thus not likely for my car to be much of a threat to anyone. But it worries me that through the use of some database or the other, Plod was easily able to link my car to my mobile phone number.

    Plod will automatically make use of any advance in technology. In addition to mobile CCTV units routinely patrolling the streets of London, foreign readers may be horrified to learn that UK Plod have recently deployed legions of mobile Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems that will cause officers to pounce on passing vehicles if they are flagged as being without insurance. In order for that to work, several databases HAVE to be joined together to form a patchwork quilt of intelligence about you. And if the intelligence is wrong, current default behaviour is to seize the vehicle and argue the toss afterwards. Even though it is *people* that are insured on UK roads - not vehicles - it's an irresistible technology for our boys in blue.

    It's pretty much inevitable that excellent face recognition systems will be developed in the near future so They will know about Us nearly all the time. In the UK at least we can all look forward to a world not even dreamed about by George Orwell.

  15. Andre Thenot

    @ Cameron Colley

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? Fair enough. If you truly believe this, please post the following personal information: Full address, Phone number, Salary, Credit card numbers, social security, etc.

    You won't do this because you don't trust the people reading this. Rightfully so, may I add.

    So if you're confident that complete and full disclosure is not a problem, then you are really saying that you have a complete confidence that your government is perfectly trustworthy, which is to say that every single person part of that administration is flawless, always competent and completely incorruptible. This applies to any country, BTW.

    Even if you discount the possibility of a government going sour a few years or decades from now, there's still the risk of breach of data security.

    I once did a project for a police department which involved the database of all their current and past officers, complete with social security IDs. Are these people doing anything wrong that they want to hide? Presumably not. But nevertheless, when that project was over, I destroyed all the copies I had of that database: no data = no leaking of data. That protects me and protects them.


  16. Anonymous Coward

    re: You Aint Seen Nothin' Yet

    >Even though it is *people* that are insured on UK roads - not vehicles - it's an irresistible technology for our boys in blue.

    This isn't quite right. As I understand it, you can be insured to drive another car by being added as a Named Driver on someone else's insurence (for that car), or you can have 'Driving Other Cars' on your own insurence (as long as you drive with the owner's permission), but the car that's being driven always needs insurence either way. You couldn't for example, drive an uninsured car legally even if your insurence covers you. I don't know of any car insurence which is connected to a car. That's why when a car is written off you need to cancel the insurence.

  17. Mike Bell

    @Anonymous Coward

    It is always a *person* that is insured. There are many people, for example, who are insured to drive any of a number of haulage trucks. This will not show up in an ANPR check. Even if it's being driven by an illegal immigrant terrorist. But Granny out doing her shopping who got her insurance courtesy of a broker this morning is a big red target for Plod.

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