The travel plans and personal details of every holidaymaker, business traveller and day-tripper who leaves Britain are to be tracked by the Government, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Anyone departing the UK by land, sea or air will have their trip recorded and stored on a database for a decade.
That’s anyone – whether they travel by private boat, ferry, train, plane, or… swimming.
Even swimmers attempting to cross the Channel and their support teams will be subject to the rules which will require the provision of travellers’ personal information such as passport and credit card details, home and email addresses and exact travel plans. …
Yachtsmen, leisure boaters, trawlermen and private pilots will be given until 2014 to comply with the programme.
They will be expected to use the internet to send their details each time they leave the country and would face a fine of up to £5,000 should they fail to do so.
Similar penalties will be enforced on airlines, train and ship operators if they fail to provide details of every passenger to the UK Border Agency.
In most cases the information will be expected to be provided 24 hours ahead of travel and will then be stored on a Government database for around ten years.
The changes are being brought in as the Government tries to tighten border controls and increase protection against the threat of international terrorism. …
Gwyn Prosser, Labour MP for Dover and a member of the all-party Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “I think e-borders are absolutely necessary,” he said. “Governments of all complexions have always been criticised for not knowing who is in the country. This is a very sophisticated way of counting people in and out.”
It’s rather more than counting, isn’t it?
Ferry firms and Eurostar – who, unlike airlines, do not gather such detailed passenger information – have also raised concerns about the impact on passengers and warned the plans may not even be legal under EU law.
The scheme was condemned by Chris Grayling, the Tories’ home affairs spokesman.
“Of course we need to keep a proper record of people as they come in and leave the country.
Why? What is the ‘legitimate aim’? What is ‘necessary’ or ‘proportionate’ about this?
A UK Border Agency spokesman defended the e-borders scheme. “It allows us to secure the UK’s Borders by screening people as they travel in and out of the UK.
“The e-Borders scheme has already screened over 82m passengers travelling to Britain, leading to more than 2,900 arrests, for crimes including murder, drug dealing and sex offences. e-borders helps the police catch criminals attempt to escape justice.”
Yes, well done – £1.2bn so far. Percentage of travellers arrested: 0.0035%. Cost per arrest (just in terms of eBorders): £413,793. No information on charges or convictions. Absent any information on this from government, why not look at the figures for terrorism: less than half of those arrested are charged; less than a fifth are convicted. If eBorders is similar, the cost per conviction (just in terms of eBorders) would be £2,068,965.