UK Liberty

Bon voyage

Posted in ID Cards, nothing to hide nothing to fear, relates to ordinary people, stupid by ukliberty on December 24, 2009

(hat-tip Andrew Watson)

Some organisations aren’t accepting the new UK ID card and thereby ruining Christmas.

The Mirror: P&O blocks new ID card

A couple’s Christmas break was ruined after the husband was told he could not use his ID card to catch a ferry.

Norman Eastwood, 64, had been assured the new Government document was valid for travel within Europe.

That is in fact what the IPS website says: “this card can be used for travel within the EU/EEA and Switzerland”.

But when he arrived at Hull for a trip to Rotterdam, P&O told him they had no knowledge of the cards, only available in the North West. …

Manchester Evening News: ID card confusion at travel terminals

One man had to cancel a Christmas cross-Channel break when P&O told him he could not use his ID card. And another said he was ‘treated like an illegal immigrant’ by airport staff who had no idea what his ID card was.

Bricklayer Norman Eastwood, who was one of the first people to get a card, said he was fuming when P&O staff at Hull refused to let him on the ferry to Rotterdam without a passport.

Meanwhile student Cyrus Nayeri, from Denton, said he was treated like a criminal by staff at airline German Wings when he showed them his ID card.

Cyrus, 18, who was travelling from Stansted to Bonn on an educational trip, was taken into a side room and told he could not fly.

He said: “It was like they thought I was trying to use a fake document.

“I was one of the biggest supporters of the scheme but now I definitely wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.”

When Mr Nayeri complained, airline staff eventually phoned British government officials – and let him on the plane at the last minute.

But a German Wings spokesman later confirmed the company would NOT be accepting the ID cards in future, until they are recognised by the German Federal Police.

Manchester Evening News: ID card chaos as travel firms blunder

Some 1,736 people in Greater Manchester have bought the £30 cards after the Home Office promised they could be used to travel in Europe.

But customer service staff at nine major travel companies – including British Airways, Eurostar and BMI baby – told M.E.N reporters posing as customers that the cards could NOT be used instead of passports.

Eight of the nine companies later issued statements saying staff had given the wrong advice – and that the cards COULD be used after all. But Eurostar remained unsure. A spokesman said: “We are unable to confirm whether the ID cards are valid on Eurostar at this time.”

Meanwhile two major German airlines said they would not accept the cards until they had been officially recognised by the German federal authorities.

A P&O spokesman said: “We weren’t aware of the trial of these ID cards. The Home Office did not communicate this scheme to us. UK Borders Agency at Hull told us they weren’t aware of the trial either.”

I’m not sure there is a ‘trial’, as such – ID cards “can be used for travel within the EU/EEA and Switzerland”.

The Register: Multiple travel firms refuse ID cards as passport alternative:

In a statement, the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said it remained confident that the majority of travellers will have no problems using ID cards as an alternative to passports.

The National Identity Card is a valid document for travel and is as good as a passport in Europe.

We expect all carriers in the UK to accept National Identity Cards for travel as a legal duty and we are confident that the vast majority of travellers will have no problems using their Identity Card as a travel document.

The majority?  Best take your passport instead…


We can trust everyone in authority

Posted in nothing to hide nothing to fear, surveillance society by ukliberty on December 21, 2009

The Register:

Forget Google’s Street View – Transport for London is the new black when it comes to privacy-busting surveillance black ops, if this live traffic camera image captured yesterday is anything to go by:

TfL camera in Richmond showing couple in bed

We’re not quite sure what’s going on here and how it affects the flow of traffic to and from Twickenham Bridge, but we reckon it might be a bit of this…

Nothing to hide nothing to fear?

Posted in database state, law and order, nothing to hide nothing to fear by ukliberty on May 29, 2007

As I’ve argued, “nothing to hide nothing to fear” assumes there will be no wrongdoing and no incompetence. My page on data abuse aims to provide real-life (as opposed to hypothetical) examples of what can happen.

Not Saussure has an article on what happened to his friend when a mistake was made with her CRB check, the outcome of which meant she couldn’t do voluntary work for a church playgroup.  It took five months – and what seems to be a lot of effort by her – to be resolved.

Yes these databases are useful. But let’s not assume they – or their users – are perfect.

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear

Update 2

Because no-one would ever misuse the data or make a mistake, right?

Update 1

The article below I think can be written more simply as follows:

The contention that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear presupposes that those with access to information will not abuse it, whether on behalf of themselves for (say) curiosity or money, or on behalf of the state.

Unfortunately there is plenty of precedent to suggest otherwise, ranging from individual abuses to the facilitation of mass abuse, such as by the Stasi, or those committing genocide.

That is why even those who think they have nothing to hide may in fact have something to fear.

Old article

Do you use some sort of cover for your windows – curtains, or blinds?

Would you be irritated or upset if you discovered someone had eavesdropped on your phone conversations or read your personal correspondence without your permission?

Do you prefer your medical records to remain confidential between you and your doctor?

Do you prefer to keep your vote secret from others?

It seems to me that most people would answer ‘yes’ to such questions, even if they might find it difficult to articulate why.

For example, I can’t explain exactly why I close my curtains at night. I’m not particularly concerned about being spied upon by CCTV operators – I just feel uncomfortable with people in general looking in. But I don’t commit crimes, so what do I have to hide?

What expectations of privacy do you have? What are you prepared to make known to others – what are you prepared to ‘trade-off’ – in order to gain a particular benefit?

Suppose it was proposed that crime could be almost completely eradicated if there was a CCTV camera and microphone and loudspeaker in every room of every home.

Would you support such a proposal?

If it saves the life of just one child it will be worth it, won’t it?

There was a poll (68Kb gif, Telegraph/YouGov) that showed some differences of opinion between people on aspects of the ‘surveillance society’. For example, 97% of the public supported the use of CCTV in banks, and 93% in trains and buses – but only 65% supported CCTV in taxis.


Another example: 50% supported the introduction of a system of identity cards to Britain, but only 16% approved of identity cards being used to track everyone’s movements.


What about the proposal that NHS medical records – by far the most popular topic on this blog – should be centrally stored? Many people are concerned about what information will be stored, who will have access to it, what it will be used for, and so on. Concerned enough to read blogs such as this and click through the links to other articles.


This issue is about where we as individuals draw the line: we each have different expectations of privacy; different concerns about what we prefer to keep to ourselves, what we are willing to trade, and what we don’t particularly mind people knowing.

And it’s about the use and misuse of the data that is associated with you. Unfortunately we don’t live in a utopia: sometimes people make mistakes; sometimes people are dishonest, others are evil. There is certainly a case for rational distrust.

We therefore need to consider the risks involved with entrusting our private information to others – weighing up the pros and cons as best we can. How can mistakes and abuses be prevented? What are the likelihoods of mistakes and abuses? How can the effects of mistakes and abuses be mitigated? What legal remedies will be available to us?

But some people want to deny us those choices.

I don’t believe they have malign intentions.

They believe they know best: they claim it is in your best interests, and/or the best interests of society as a whole.

But they hinder us from gathering as much information we can about their proposals. After all, how can we come to an informed decision if we are unaware of the facts?

And the rules are such that it is difficult if not impossible to make our choices ourselves.

Sometimes they are even dishonest about their plans.

In conclusion, the claim that “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” is, at best, ignorant, and at worst, dishonest.

It is a much more complicated issue than can be summed up in those eleven words, or even an article of this length.

We need to improve education on the pros and cons of surveillance, the database state, individual proposals, and other issues relating to privacy.

When a privacy infringing measure is proposed, we each need to consider what we are willing to trade away in order to save money, prevent crime, prevent terrorism, reduce illegal immigration and working – or whatever is among the benefits of the proposal.

And we need to consider removing from power those people who seek to deny us choice about what we want to keep private and how private we want to keep it.