Friday 22 September 2017

Deep in the Forest, Something Stirs

The Grauniad lets rip with an 'exclusive' today
UK banks to check 70m bank accounts in search for illegal immigrants: from January banks will be enrolled in Theresa May’s plans ... part of Immigration Act 2016 measures to create a hostile environment for illegal migrants.
And why not? - you may say.  What did you imagine?  Joined-up government at last!  Yes, it sounds like more an issue for Graun readers to worry about than C@W: and it will most probably fall on deaf ears, like all these flash-in-the-pan exclusives.

However, it jogged a recent memory of something also very much data-trawl related.  I recently learned that Ofgem plans a major exercise in "data-matching" to assist with establishing the eligibilty of people for various schemes related to fuel poverty and energy efficiency measures, involving Ofgem getting automated access to everyone's tax and benefits information.  This is all possible, apparently, under the Digital Economy Act 2017 - which was rushed through in April of this year just before Parliament dissolved for the Election.   "... to make provision about data-sharing ... and for connected purposes".

You may well be straight back into Why Not? / What Did You Imagine? / Joined-up Government mode again.  Call me naive if you wish.  But I don't think you need to be an outright libertarian to wonder what's going on here.  "A number of expert witnesses to the Digital Economy Bill Committee expressed concerns about the bill", says wiki - them, plus the usual suspects: the 'Open Rights Group', 'Big Brother Watch' et al.  

The fact that they're the perennial awkward squad doesn't always mean they are wrong.  With the two stories above in mind, someone who has a bit of spare time might want to have a look at the detail of that Act again with a sceptical eye.  We know local authorities use anti-terror legislation to hunt down people suspected of mis-using wheelie-bins etc etc.  Do any of us trust Mrs May's instincts?  

Or Mr McDonnell's?



hovis said...

How long before your tax and benefits entitlements are sold off ? What then?

And yes I would proudly be part of the awkward squaud on this.

If you are a Capitalist you should believe in private property, and your data should be just that, your private property. The fact that you may give it up without thought does not render it any less valuable and any less yours.

Don't have time to look at the Act at this moment, but this is an intersting one to watch. It will be interesting what may come to light.

roym said...

Sounds like more red tape for banks to me

Anonymous said...

@ What Did You Imagine? Call me naive if you wish.

Sounds about right.

Jan said...

Personally I can think of more pressing needs for their (government's)snooping powers. How about a database of landlords and seeing of they obey the regulations regarding their properties and also to see if they are paying their taxes. This is long overdue.

Steven_L said...

We know local authorities use anti-terror legislation to hunt down people suspected of mis-using wheelie-bins etc

I've told you lot this before. RIPA (and RIPSA up here) is not 'anti-terror legislation'. It is criminal investigation and procedure legislation regulates Police and Local Authority investigatory powers where covert surveillance is concerned.

If Parliament didn't intend the legislation to apply to criminal investigations and surveillance conducted by LA's, then why was it drafted as applying to LA's???

Lord T said...

Won't be long before you have to account for every cash withdrawal you make. Maybe a transaction code issued by the government via a license.

Has any government legislation ever not had a negative impact on the man on the street.

The only way to handle illegal immigrants is to make sure they don't get any benefits, housing etc. The rest will look after itself.

Electro-Kevin said...

Taking it at face value, what do they do if they find the illegals ?

Presently I think it is better to leave them under the radar than be half hearted about kicking them out when we've caught them - or allowing amnesties, as the London Evening Standard seems to be moving towards in its anti modern slavery campaign.

There is nothing 'modern' about slavery. If I recall it gets a bit of a mention in Exodus - I could be wrong.

We told them for years and years, time and time and TIME again that lax borders and mass immigration were dragging us backwards.

Using the word 'modern' is a deceit. An establishment get-out. "Bah. It caught us by surprise. We DID listen but you're racist and anyway - we didn't expect this new fangled *modern* slavery to start happening. Never mind. AM-NES-TEE !"

We already know there are anti-democrats in charge.

If Brexit doesn't happen (and Osborne's LES gets its amnesties) then just add your bank account being poked around by officials as just another little step towards the gulags.

Electro-Kevin said...


From the news. Now we know.

The PM's heart is not really in Brexit.

That's precisely why she was appointed.

Anonymous said...

A lesson from history? Will Amber Rudd now set up a special department.

Lilith said...

Years ago I wandered into a South London branch of Lloyds to get some cash as the cashpoint was out of order. The queue wasn't moving. Turns out, the chap at the front was having difficulty withdrawing cash as he had no ID. He wanted the £20 back that he'd opened his account with. He started shouting "I can't give you proof of my identity/address...I'M AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT"

Nick Drew said...

surely not, Lilith!

actually there's a central Croydon bank I often use, where it's entirely normal to overhear "well I haven't got my card, but there's £100 in the account, definitely, so can you just give me £50 ...", or "it's my mum's account, and she said I could have £50 ..."

(for some reason it's always £50)

Anonymous said...

@EK, what do they do when they find "illegals", they cancel their driving licence and close the bank accounts. This usually happens to people who are not actually illegal immigrants, including British citizens.

@ND, it is probably because many high street banks now only allow £50 to be withdrawn when showing your ID but without the card.