A note to excitable conspiracy theorists

No-notice, turn-up-and-go international travel out of the UK will not, ever, be banned.

Rather than reading incoherent rants in half-witted newspapers and drawing conclusions from the information they leave out, read the actual details of the eBorders scheme:

[Passenger] data are only mandatory when they are requested to be provided at the time when passengers are on board in preparation for departure and it is no longer possible for further passengers or crew to join the service. When it is requested before that time it only needs to be provided to the extent to which it is known to the carrier.

In other words, the 24-hour rule for data communication only applies to data that the carrier happens to have, and there is no requirement at all to collect data right up until the point where everyone has boarded the plane, train or boat in question and it’s about to set off. The e-Borders programme will do absolutely nothing to restrict people’s freedom to travel – it just means that information on where they’ve been will be passed onto the government afterwards.

5 thoughts on “A note to excitable conspiracy theorists”

  1. *The e-Borders programme will do absolutely nothing to restrict people’s freedom to travel – it just means that information on where they’ve been will be passed onto the government afterwards.*

    However:

    "This information will be collected from the carrier not from the passenger. The carrier will be legally required to collect this information and provide it to us as part of the check-in process. Passengers who do not provide the information are unlikely to be allowed to travel."

    "unlikely to be allowed to travel" sounds pretty close to restriction of movement to me.

  2. Well yeah, but only if you refuse to tell them your name and passport number. I don't think there are many means of transport out of the UK where you'd have got very far without providing that info even before e-Borders was thought of…

  3. But it isn't just your name and passport number. There is all sorts of information to be 'given' to the government, shared with lots of different people, and undoubtedly stored on an unencrypted memory stick later found in a pub car park by Joe Public. If you refuse to hand over the information, for the very sound reason that you would rather as few people had access to it as possible (one of the data, you will unlikely be allowed to travel.

    And sure, you might not have got very far without handing over information to the carrier, as opposed to the authorities, for example a credit or debit card number. But, John, I'd be interested in reading why you think eBorders is a necessary and proportionate system rather than your playing it down / criticising other commentators.

  4. "As you know John", the point of No2ID is to protest both identity cards per se and "the database state". The business end of eBorders is a(nother) bloody great database, against which the information collected can be checked, and upon which all sorts of interesting analytics can be run. That's got all sorts of potential useful applications, but also all sorts of abusive ones, and the balance between allowing our law enforcement agencies to make use of the former, while protecting the ordinary man[1] from the latter, strikes me as the sort of thing that ought to be the subject of very prolonged debate indeed, culminating in primary legislation and a charter of rights and safeguards, not something shoved through on the nod.

    [1] By which, of course, I mean the unordinary man; it is always political dissidents, smelly oddballs and other sorts of unattractive cases that get hassled and interfered with using these shiny tools, but it's a fairly fundamental point that we have to look after their rights too.

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