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Travel on CCTV

UK network of roadside traffic logging CCTVs

22nd March

Update: No Tax No Gas...

Petrol station CCTV set to check cars for tax and insurance before allowing petrol to be sold

Cameras at petrol stations will automatically stop uninsured or untaxed vehicles from being filled with fuel, under new UK government plans. Downing Street officials hope the hi-tech system will crack down on the 1.4million motorists who drive without insurance.

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are already fitted in thousands of petrol station forecourts. Drivers can only fill their cars with fuel once the camera has captured and logged the vehicle's number plate. Currently the system is designed to deter motorists from driving off without paying for petrol. But under the new plans, the cameras will automatically check with the DVLA's database.

Downing Street officials are due to meet representatives from the major fuel companies in the next few weeks to discuss the idea.

Some petrol retailers said the proposals were a step too far - claiming they put cashiers at risk. Brian Madderson, from RMI Petrol said: This proposal will increase the potential for conflict. Our cashiers are not law enforcers.


8th November

 Offsite: Rings of Steel...

Police number plate reading CCTV network

See article from


9th April

Update: Theresa 'Database' May...

UK pushes for extension of travel database to cover EU journeys

Britain is trying to set up an EU-wide network of travel databases to record the movements and personal details of millions of air passengers within Europe.

The home secretary, Theresa May, is hoping that European justice and home affairs ministers will back a massive expansion of EU proposals, which as they stand would apply only to flights in and out of Europe and see travellers' details anonymised after 30 days.

May, who was elected on a pledge to scale back the database state , has been lobbying hard for the data, known as passenger name records (PNR), to also be collected for flights within Europe, tripling the number of journeys tracked. She wants the data to be stored for up to six years. She has already won the backing of 17 other EU member states for the move but is heading for a civil liberties clash with the European parliament and the German government.

She has claimed that the expansion is needed to combat terrorism but it seems that the UK wants to use it for immigration as well.

The 19 separate items of personal information involved include home address, passport number, credit card details, mobile phone number and the traveller's itinerary.


3rd April

Update: Watching Royston...

Britain's first town with every approach road having number plate recognition cameras

The town of Royston in Hertfordshire is to become Britain's first ring of steel town, with hidden Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras installed on every single road in and out of the town by next month.

Town bosses rolled out the usual platitudes to explain the introduction of this nefarious system:

...make Royston the safest town in Hertfordshire...They give the police hard evidence as they track known villains...It will make us the safest town in Hertfordshire and you won't be able to drive in or out of the town without being clocked...We will be the only town in Britain that will have ANPR on every approach to the town.

Chris Farrier, a spokesman for the civil liberties group No CCTV, expressed serious concerns about the dangers of systems like this:

It is a hugely worrying development. It has been developed with no public scrutiny and government legislation. This is the biggest surveillance network that the British public have never heard of. The people of Royston had better get informed because their one is being described as a 'ring of steel.

The public have not been consulted about this cruel abuse of privacy to monitor and store the movements of everyone who visits the town of Royston on a centralised database for 5 years.

The inevitable conclusion is a nationwide network of ANPR cameras, ensuring that all movement of citizens can be monitored.

Update: Mysterious

6th May 2011.  See  article from

Hertfordshire Constabulary attempted to shutdown an anti-ANPR website in Royston. This wasn't done via a court order, but through a bungling communications officer who contacted Andrew Fowley the site host. Andrew feeling threatened by the request, and considering it an order the host took down the site. Only later after advice from this solicitor put it back up, and ask for the police to issue an injunction against it.

Cambridge News reported on all of this, complete with quotes from Steve Jolly the anti-surveillance campaigning who helped defeat project Champion. Steve rightly said that people should be intimidated by the police. This news report from Cambridge News has now vanished from their website, which is odd as normally they keep their stories up for a number of years. 

The anti-ANPR site has been back up a couple of days, but has now switched to displaying a blank page. It's almost like it never happened....


17th July

Update: Passport to Pimlico...

British Government scraps passport requirement for ferries to Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands

Plans to force passengers travelling from Ireland and the Channel Islands to carry a passport for travel to mainland Britain have been quietly shelved.

The move to introduce passport controls within the Common Travel Area - which includes Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands - for the first time in more than 80 years had been criticised by airlines and ferry companies, amid warnings of "travel chaos" at airports and terminals.

Earlier this year, peers in the House of Lords voted against the proposal, contained in the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill.

Alan Johnson, the new Home Secretary, ruled that the Government would not fight to restore the measure, which would have affected the 15 million people who travel within the British Isles each year, when it returned to the Commons, effectively killing the plan off.

Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, said: Conservatives have argued consistently that the Common Travel Area is useful for the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Channel Islands and that the Government was wrong in seeking to abolish it. We are delighted that our arguments have won the day.

A spokesman for the British Air Transport Association said that it had called for the rules to be clarified to avoid confusion at airports.


29th March

Update: No Right to Travel...

Personal details to be logged to travel to the Isle of Wight

Passengers on ferries to the Isle of Wight and Scottish islands such as Mull and Skye will soon have to carry identity papers to comply with new police powers.

And travellers flying between British cities or to Northern Ireland face having their personal data logged when booking tickets and checking in.

Until now ferry passengers on most routes in Britain have not been required to produce ID and internal flight passengers only face random police checks.

But under new Government security rules that will come into force next year, personal data, including name, date of birth and home address, will be typed into a computer record for the police by the booking clerk or travel agent.

Under the new powers, police will be able to track the movements of around 60million domestic passengers a year. The controversial measures were due to be introduced two years ago, but were dropped after protests from Ulster politicians, who said the plan would construct ‘internal borders' in the UK.

But last week the Government used the release of its anti-terrorism strategy to quietly reintroduce them. Buried on Page 113 of the 174-page ‘CONTEST' document was the announcement of new police powers to collect advanced passenger data on some domestic air and sea journeys.

Last night a Home Office spokesman confirmed the measures would require passengers to show photo ID, such as a driving licence or the (proposed) Government ID cards, when booking tickets for domestic air and sea journeys.

He added that ferry journeys to the Isle of Wight or the Isle of Skye and private jet passengers would be included in the new measures, due to be formally announced later this year. The powers will be introduced using a so-called statutory instrument signed off by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, without the need for a full debate in the House of Commons.


14th March

Update: Prison Island...

UK e-borders database monstrosity gets ever more expansive

The travel plans and personal details of every traveller 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.

Passengers leaving every international sea port, station or airport will have to supply detailed personal information as well as their travel plans. So-called booze crusiers who cross the Channel for a couple of hours to stock up on wine, beer and cigarettes will be subject to the rules.

In addition, weekend sailors and sea fishermen will be caught by the system if they plan to travel to another country - or face the possibility of criminal prosecution.

The owners of light aircraft will also be brought under the system, known as e-borders, which will eventually track 250 million journeys annually.

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.

The full extent of the impact of the government's e-borders scheme emerged amid warnings that passengers face increased congestion as air, rail and ferry companies introduce some of the changes over the Easter holidays.

95%of people leaving the country being subject to the plans by the end 2010. 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.

Britain is not the only country to require such information from travel operators. The USA also demands the same information be supplied from passengers wishing to visit America. But the scale of the scheme has alarmed civil liberties campaigners.

Your travel data is much more sensitive than you might think, Phil Booth of the privacy group, NO2ID said: Given that for obvious reasons we're encouraged not to put our home address on our luggage labels, and especially given the Government's appalling record on looking after our data, it just doesn't seem sensible for it to pass details like this and sensitive financial information around.

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 changes would mean that Eurostar, Eurotunnel and ferry companies will now have to demand passport details from passengers at the time of booking, along with the credit card information and email address which they would have taken at the time of the reservation.


2nd March

Update: Speeding to a Police State...

More CCTV cameras hooked into travel surveillance database

The police and MI5 have been given access to a network of infrared cameras that can track millions of car journeys across Britain.

The 1,090 cameras read numberplates of cars on all motorways and major trunk roads, recording the time, date and location of the vehicle and storing the data for five years.

The Highways Agency installed the bright green cameras supposedly to calculate journey times. But last week a senior agency official confirmed they are being linked to a police database.

Thousands of CCTV cameras across the country have also been converted to read numberplates – as have mobile cameras. Police helicopters can spot plates from the air and officers have live access to London's Congestion Charge cameras.

The database is central to an operation orchestrated by the Association of Chief Police Officers and backed by £32million of Government cash.

But privacy campaigners attacked the move. Simon Davies, of Privacy International, said: This is the latest layer in a plan to monitor people from the second they leave their front door to the moment they return. It is being constructed in secret.'


8th February

Update: Travel Watch...

UK to store all travel details in database

I hope you enjoyed your holiday in Pattaya.
Your teaching licence has now been revoked
on grounds of immorality

The government is building a database to track and hold the international travel records of all 60m Britons.

The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250m passenger movements in and out of the UK each year.

The computerised pattern of every individual's travel history will be stored for up to 10 years, the Home Office admits.

The government claims the new database, to be housed in an industrial estate in Wythenshawe, near Manchester, is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism. However, opposition MPs, privacy campaigners and some government officials fear it is a significant step towards a total surveillance society.

Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary, said: The government seems to be building databases to track more and more of our lives. The justification is always about security or personal protection. But the truth is that we have a government that just can't be trusted over these highly sensitive issues. We must not allow ourselves to become a Big Brother society.

Some immigration officials with knowledge of the plans admit there is likely to be public concern. A lot of this stuff will have a legitimate use in the fight against crime and terrorism, but it's what else it could be used for that presents a problem, said one: It will be able to detect whether parents are taking their children abroad during school holidays. It could be useful to the tax authorities because it will tell them how long non-UK domiciled people are spending in the UK.

The Wythenshawe spy centre will house more than 300 police and immigration officers. A similar number of technicians will help check travellers' details against police, MI5, benefit agency and other government “watch lists”.

The database is the unpublicised part of the government's so-called e-borders programme, intended to count everyone who comes in and out of the country by 2014. At the moment the UK Border Agency is running a pilot which monitors the travel movements of passengers on high-risk routes from airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick.

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.


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