It's reported in the papers today (13th November) that Britain's top traffic pig Meredydd Hughes wants to install cameras every 400 yards on motorways to spy on drivers. Other cameras would infest supermarket carparks, service stations and town centres.
The new cameras would be hard to spot because they won't be painted in bright colours. They will use new number-plate recognition technology to send details automatically to a central computer so that the authorities can tell exactly where you are and where you're going.
They would also be used to police variable speed limits, but their main purpose would be to identify drivers who aren't insured or taxed. Fair enough, you'd think - but they'll keep the record of every journey you make on file for at least two years, whether you've done anything wrong or not.
"Don't mind!" I hear you say, "I've nothing to hide."
Except, of course, it wouldn't be that simple, would it? Nipping off to a football match when you're supposed to be working? Popping down the motorway for a bit of how's-your-father with the girlfriend nobody knows about? Secret shopping-trip to surprise your wife on your anniversary?
Not any more, you won't! Information of that sort has a nasty habit of escaping from Big Brother's computer files. Four men were charged in April this year with selling information from the police national computer to the Daily Mirror and the Mail on Sunday.
Last October it was revealed that animal rights terrorists had used the DVLA computer to get the names and addresses of people who work at a particular company they wanted to target. And in August this year the DVLA announced that it was planning to boost its profits by selling data products and reports to the private sector, based on information held in its databases. It already offers vehicle data information through private sector companies including Carwatch and Experian.
Sinister, or what? Big Brother is alive and well, and living in a control centre in Hendon.
By the way, the GOS has been saying for a long time that people who religiously obey speed limits are dangerous. Now he's found the evidence - from, of all places, the Department for Transport's own Road Safety Research Report No.13 published in 2000. It says ....
Those observed to be conforming consistently to the speed limit differed from those observed to consistently break the speed limit in several ways. They were older, drove lower annual mileages, were more likely to be female and were more likely to report having been accident involved in the previous three years.
Of course in Canada they've known that for a long time. In British Columbia they found that drivers travelling 10 to 15 kilometres an hour over the speed limit were less likely to have accidents than those travelling 10 to 15 kilometres an hour under it. Their report said their statistics "show few fast drivers involved in crashes, and many more slow drivers involved in crashes". Read about it here.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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