Government to follow me on holiday? Give me a break!

News today of yet another way for us to surrender our personal lives to the Government, while the Government doesn’t reciprocate.

A new database is being built, to store all Britons’ international travel details, including passengers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card details, seat reservations, itineraries, and possibly details of travel companions.

While our travel details will be reported and logged, the Home Office wants to keep the location of their surveillance centre a secret. Believed to be in Wythenshawe, Manchester, staff are supposed to refer to it only as “ a new operations centre in the northwest.”

The Sunday Times has the story:

Under the scheme, once a person buys a ticket to travel to or from the UK by air, sea or rail, the carrier will deliver that person’s data to the agency.

The data is then checked against various watchlists to identify those involved in abuse of UK immigration laws, serious and organised crime, and terrorism.

At the moment limited information about selected routes and travellers is kept on the pilot database run by the agency at an office in Hounslow, west London. In future, all such data will automatically be sent in bulk to the new database, instead of being released in response to specific requests by the authorities.

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This entry was posted in Big mad database and News.


  • No doubt all this information will end up being shared with other countries such as the USA 🙁

  • Peter – if it’s in Wythenshawe, there’s a good chance it’ll get nicked…

  • David from W5 8th Feb '09 - 6:48pm

    And shortly after I book my holiday I’ll get an email from the Government saying “Off to Greece again? Why not try Weston-super-Mare?”

  • Sorry, I do have a sense of humour, really, but this is absolutely horrendous. Can understand where some of the Science Fiction writers are coming from now. Let’s campaignagainst this monster’s implementation.

  • i was surpised that there was less fuss when the americans started overseeing my transfers of cash to my bank account in spain … i’ll say it again, when i move cash from my account in the UK to my own account in spain, every transaction has to be seen by someone in the states. Brussels has said this is bad, but to get the cash moved I have to agree to waive my right to object to the americans’ oversight. i have no links to the states, have never been there and never wish to go there.

    now they even want to see who i’m spending my money on ice creams with – this is all grotesque.

  • David from W5 9th Feb '09 - 10:13am


    I agree that it’s horrendous. I was just trying to show what this would allow if government wanted to take things to extremes.

    The amount of information held by government is getting huge, but it’s not something new. The records of those entering the UK on ships between 1878 and 1960 and those leaving between 1890 and 1960 are now available through commercial family history websites. They don’t include a great deal of information, although dates of birth are there, including mine!!

    The Government’s plans are far worse.

  • David Heigham 9th Feb '09 - 12:10pm

    The problem is not that this data is being collected; but in that the use the government may make of it is not properly controlled. The real mischief is in the the Coroners and Criminal Justice Bill powers to share the information at discretion.

    It is an entertaining question as to whether MPs’ trips sponsored by the British Council are or will be on this database, and if so whether Mr Speaker Martin’s Certificate forbidding disclosure of expenditure on such trips applies to sharing information from the database.

    I suspect that this information is collected under ancient Board of Trade powers (and duty) to maintain records of the names of crews and passengers aboard ships (in case of shipwreck, it was a good idea to know who had been aboard, etc.); plus more modern immigration records powers and crime/terrrorism watch powers. An MP might like to ask just what powers the Home Office thinks it is applying.

    The same MP might ask that the relevant expenditure be identified in the Estimates; as well as what is the estimated cost and the estimated error rate in the data. That is, of course, as a basis for the follow up questions in a year or so.

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