back to article to send your holidays to sunny Manchester

The government is building a new data storage and processing centre near Manchester, as the £1.2bn e-Borders programme gears up to monitor every movement in and out of the UK. According to the Sunday Times, an industrial estate in the Wythenshawe suburb will host the e-Borders Operations Centre (e-BOC) and its reams of data on …


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  1. Stu


    Right, bets on how long it'll have been open forwhen the first attempt to break in and remove the kit is made...?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    That's ok then...

    Here was me all in a tizz about the guvmint syping on us, police state, 1984 and all that but now I know they're sending it to Wythenshawe I'm not worried any more.

    Reasion being, it'll never get onto a computer because the thieving scrotes will have had em all away before they even get unpacked.

    Paris, in another life she'd be a wythenshawe chav too.

  3. Pete Silver badge

    arrests ... but how many convictions?

    > leading to over 2,700 arrests for crimes such as murder, rape and assault

    OK, basic statement of fact: being arrested is not proof of guilt. All it means is that someone, somewhere thinks there may be a case for you to answer. It could be a teenage plastic-piggie (ooops, they don't have powers of arrest - have to get a grown-up to do it for them). it could be from someone sitting behind a desk where your name pops up, or a completely blameless individual who just happens to share the mis-typed name of a possible suspect who might just be a "person of interest".

    All it means is that the arrestee is put to a lot of hassle and delay - frequently leading to missed flights and ruined holidays, disappointed families and lots of unwanted stress. What would be more enlightening would be to know what the success-rate was. I.e. the proportion of people arrested who eventually end up being charged (even then, this is not an indication of wrong-doing) and then convicted of an offence.

    If it's anything like the 2% conviction rate for terrorism arrests, this is figure of 2700 arrests means over 2600 people who were egregiously screwed around for absolutely no reason

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in a related development...

    ..the government announced plans to record and monitor the weekly shopping habits of everyone in the UK. Data will be obtained utilising existing the supermarkets existing loyalty card infrastructure and stored in a giant database located in a disused fish-processing plant in Scunthorpe.

    Hazel Blears, the Minister for Softening the Blow of Yet Another Pointless Invasion of Privacy by Smiling said "this is an important step forward, and is vital in the war on terror, obesity and antisocial behaviour". While she denied reports that certain foods would result in the purchaser recieving a fine by post, she did state "we will look for suspicious patterns of behaviour. While most people enjoy a healthy bowl of muesli, purchasing too much or too many different mixes may be grounds for suspicion. For example; a person buying two packets of different muesli, a bottle of bleach and a packet of barbecue firelighters on the same shopping trip may well be an animal rights terrorist, and we would take immediate action to protect the public". She also added "those who stick to approved DoH guidelines have nothing to fear".

    Details of the database contract are yet to be formally announced, but it is expected to go to H+L Squirrel Pickling, a subsidiary of Tesco.

    In other news, the wave of anti social graffiti continues nationwide, with another 6 Labour constituency offices daubed with identical graffiti bearing the words "Fuck off and die you bunch of nazi c"""s" written in sheeps blood. Hazel Blears Minister for ......

    Enough, FFS!!!

  5. Tim
    Paris Hilton

    Hoorah - that's an arrest rate of 0.0036%

    So 2,700 arrests as a result of 75,000,000 records is a hit rate of 0.0036%.

    And that's arrests, *NOT* convictions, so we can assume that a good proportion of those won't even have led to charges being brought.

    With that kind of result, wouldn't it be cheaper and more accurate just to stop every twenty-ninth passenger carrying a duty-free bag in their left hand and wearing a green hat?

    Paris, for all the obvious reasons...

  6. Tony Hoyle

    Re: Wythensawe?

    Lots of cheap computer hardware on sale on ebay soon I bet... along with half the construction equpment used to build the thing.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another useless database...

    So it's OK for a known undesirable, say a terrorist for example, to be counted in, stay a while then get counted out? What's the fucking point of that? How long can a terrorist stay before his welcome is overdue and the authorities actually decide to go and look for him? You can imagine Osama Bin Laden turning up at Heathrow, a border patrol agent clocks him in and says, "Good day to you Mr. Bin Laden, enjoy your stay but don't forget you have to out by Friday otherwise we'll have to go looking for you and we'd rather not have to bother with all the paperwork.One more thing, do you have a loyalty card? Five entries and you get to stay en extra day."

    Oh, and why are they called border patrol agents when they sit on their arse all day? It's not as if they walk up and down the coast watching for anybody trying to sneak in because we all know that high profile terrorists always use international ports of entry.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ac, Related Development

    That's an excellent piece and one I would be happy to put my name to.

  9. Tony


    Do you think it will actually be open before someone tries to break in?

    I'd take odds on someone trying to burn it down before the roof is finished. Not for any political reason you understand... but just because it is there.

  10. Andy Livingstone

    Prying Eyes?

    Is that why the man (supposedly) in charge of the country is no routinely referred to as the "Pry Minister"?

    I'm with Clarkson.

  11. ElFatbob


    'This information is used for law enforcement purposes to detect serious criminals, fraud and other illegal activity - not to check where people go on holiday.'

    ... but in keeping with the spirit of the times, we'll do that anyway.

    After all, it's hardly fair that councils are allowed to follow people to check they're scooping up dog crap while [dangerous criminal] parents might be taking their kids on a foreign holiday during term time and getting away with it...

  12. Martin Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    The usual suspects

    So they monitor all the entries by plane, ferry and train and it will catch all:

    illegal immigrants - except those that enter illegally in the back of a truck.

    drug smugglers - except those that remember the UK is an island with a lot of coastline

    terrorists - except the ones that know about the land border with Eire

  13. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    How does that help?

    Illegal immigrants arriving at Bristol International airport outside office hours are given a card and asked to report to immigration on the next working day. Apparently not all of them do...

  14. Martin


    Of course the real 'undesirables' will simply come in on a yatch and completely miss being counted in or out.

    yet another good idea without an ounce of common sense from, to quote someone almost as daft, the 'one eyed scottish idiot' and his cronies

    'Journalists' from certain cynical web sites better only book one way tickets because they may have trouble getting back in!!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Terrorists will be perfectly safe

    I used to do audits of various government agencies watch list systems.

    One police force a handy rule for name matching - it automatically replaced 'Al' and 'Ali' with Alistair. This allowed them to match arrests reports on 'Mad Ali Frazer' but did seem to miss a lot of those middle eastern chaps.

    Another did use the US OFAC list of naughty people/companies - but they couldn't download the list from the web - so retyped it. If there is an A1 (a-one) Yamani bank out there - then at least one agency is onto your terrorists links.

    A major agency for a bit of the UK known for terrorism and Gaelic spellings couldn't handle accented characters. So you could arrest someone but if they had an é character in their organisation's name it wouldn't match their records.

  16. Matt
    Black Helicopters


    ahhh.... but providing details of the success rates wouldn't breed the levels fear and distrust that they require everyone in this country to have in order to muscle their 'Security' measures into law.

    I may be cynical but if the fear wasn't there, if terrorists weren't hiding in the washing basket or behind the dustbin (What do you mean you haven't seen them? They're there I tell ya, the G'ment says so!), then I suspect our Government would have a hard time explaining what the hell they were playing at!

    Or am I granting the general British populace with too much intelligence and freedom of thought?

    Black helicopter for obvious reasons....

  17. Matt
    Thumb Up


    Dude, you ought to write for The Reg!!!! Someone give that man a Job! :D

  18. Nick Davey
    Thumb Down


    Has no-one though that searching passenger records for some people on an internationl wanted list is going to be a bit pointless? If I was a wanted international criminal mastermind wouldn't I just travel under an assumed name that changes quite a lot?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "Potential threats to public security" - Everyone!

    "The Home Office said the database will however be used to track the movements of people deemed "potential threats to public security"."

    Everyone is a "potential threat to public security", since we all have the potential to choose to commit crimes.

    Even if they don't mean everyone, it's still worryingly vague. Do they include activists who are opposed to the Big Brother Surveillance State, just in case?

    Is this an example of the kind of FUD with which they deter people from actively campaigning against this growing police state? Better avoid drawing attention to yourself, otherwise "300 police and immigration officers" will be closely watching your every move in and out of the country - just think how many will be monitoring you while you're here in your home country!

    Would this be part of why there aren't more people actively campaigning? Simply because of fear of the potential consequences?

  20. Bob Foster


    As a frequent flier I already have to endure running the gauntlet past the yellow shirted job centre rejects parroting "have you got any liquids, creams, wall filler, swarfega, KY Jelly in your luggage? ", before having to half strip for the sodding x ray machines, with an obligatory feel up by a 250lb former rugby player, and then, just when you think your safe, they swoop on you again and demand you take your shoes off for yet another scan.

    Now will be added to this delightful mix the inevitable mix up of my traveling patterns with a known Columbian drug mule!! (Can hear the rubber gloves snapping now ouch!)

    Mind you, if there is a hell when you die boiling lava and red hot irons will be a cinch compared to what they put you through at the average UK airport.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    European borders?

    What about European borders? Aren't Europeans supposed to have free travel between countries?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jacqui Smith should stand for election

    She's defending her surveillance society on the Guardians letter page current. If she believes she has the backing of society, she can stand for election and we will see.

    If she has the backing of even Parliament, then why does she have to use tricks to avoid a Parliamentary vote? So I think she knows how bad it has become and doesn't see a way to fix it, but just wants to save her political neck.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Hombre sin nombre


    "The Home Office said the database will however be used to track the movements of people deemed 'potential threats to public security'"

    The gov is always coming up with fancy ways to say 'everyone'.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the real scandal is...

    the twunts will be tapping into all the shengen information without signing up to the agreement.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The article comments don't add up ..

    ... if a case of credit card fraud I happen to know about could not result in a conviction because it took the stupid card company over a year to accept that it was a fraud and not some poor soul trying to half hitch 22k and claim it was fraud. By that time the airline no longer had any record of which passenger had flown. How come the card company did not report it as a fraud and ask the police / government for access to their database?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Are these people vetted

    I hope every one in the data center has the new super CRB check, as I take my children on holiday and they will be on the database too.

    So are all the people in this super center vetted?

    Mines the one with the tissues and a clean hanky in the pocket ( what dads always have)

  28. Graham Marsden
    Black Helicopters

    People deemed...

    "potential threats to public security".

    Start with the occupant of Number 10 Downing Street and work your way downwards, then!

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Glad I'm out of it

    "This information is used for law enforcement purposes to detect serious criminals, fraud and other illegal activity - not to check where people go on holiday."

    So presumably, if they check you out, and you're not found to be a terrorist, they delete all the data on you.

    I think not.

    Anyway, weren't the only terrorists that actually successfully terrorised the UK (London) in recent times British nationals? You've got to wonder what the point is.

    Mine is the one with the Canadian plane tickets in the pocket.....

  31. Magani

    Except some holiday destinations

    "This information is used for law enforcement purposes to detect serious criminals, fraud and other illegal activity - not to check where people go on holiday[*]."

    [*] With the possible exception of the 'stans, Nth Korea, Iran, etc?

    Mine's the one with "Afganistan on $20 a day" in the pocket.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Wrong tactic if you want this not to happen

    Instead of complaining loudly, I think that there could be a simple tactic that will allow you to stay clear of this kind of system forever. Just give the project to a consortium of the four or five biggest consulting firms. Of course, it needs to be full of expensive consultants in the latest technologies as well as security experts (not only IT security but all kinds of security) Of course it will cost an arm and a leg, but by giving the project those two features you're almost assuring yourselves that the project will be a spectacular failure.

    Yes, there's a price for everything, including freedom. But this one looks really cheap (after all, what's a few billions more in these times of bailouts?) and you'll not be able to tell the difference between this project and other failed big IT initiatives.

    The icing on the cake would be that it could also help alleviate the troubles of unemployed IT workers, but probably the executive bonuses will eat all available cash.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So the data centre is to be situated near Wythenshaw? Well, may be the government won't listen to the people, but there might just be one saving grace for us all...with any luck, the teenagers from the Wythenshaw will burn the place down! (Not that I'm advocating violence mind you).

    The Wythenshaw housing estate is said to be the largest in Europe, and trust me, having lived in Manchester for 10 years, it's bad reputation is well earned.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Ac, Related Development

    Bravo. Well said that man!

    You people do realise that your betters don't actually WANT you to travel?

    Soon only the very important and the very rich will be ALLOWED to travel.

    Better get used to it.

  35. AM in Brussels
    Thumb Down


    Eire? No such place. Unless you are speaking in Irish. In the English language, the name of the place is Ireland.

    Also, in case you aren't already aware, there will be border checks between NI and GB. But there won't be border checks between NI and Ireland. So your arguement doesn't really stand up on that particular instance.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward - And in a related development...

    your post made my day lol, we NEED a revolution, afraid Manchester seems to be NoobLabours 'favourite' place at the moment.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Real reason Wacky Jacqui was there

    When she visited Wythenshaw last week:

  38. Tom Chiverton Silver badge


    This is exactly the sort of pointless system work against.

    Join today !

  39. Anonymous Coward


    Then surely this is a initiative ?

    Or are you going to tell that nice Mr. Robinson that he's no longer a subject of the United Kingdom?

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