Back to Future - A Bit Faster Now

The British press (here and here) is reporting on Gordon Brown's government desire for building "Fortress Britain" after it "unveiled a succession of security measures at airports, railway stations, sports venues and other public places."

By summer 2009, the UK government wants every person entering or leaving Britain to provide 53 pieces of travel information, including credit card information, travel contact numbers of where you are staying, travel plans, email addresses, car registrations being used in travel, the number of pieces of luggage taken, baggage tag numbers, all changes to the travel itinerary, etc.

Furthermore, passengers will have the privilege of paying a fee to the travel organizations who are going to collect and send all of this information to the UK government, and a UK government surtax to pay for its use and storage. But what price is your security, eh?

The UK government hasn't decided (yet) to require that the travel information be provided three days before the intended date of travel, like the US is contemplating. It does appear, however, that both the US and Britain are in a competition to discouraging foreigners from visiting and their own citizens from leaving.

Given the amount of information planned to be captured and stored indefinitely via this scheme and all the others in Big Brother Britain, maybe the smart thing to do is to start buying stock in database, data storage, and business continuity management companies.


Risk Factor

IEEE Spectrum's risk analysis blog, featuring daily news, updates and analysis on computing and IT projects, software and systems failures, successes and innovations, security threats, and more.

Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City