Feeds

24x7 vehicle surveillance, and how road pricing helps it along

Transport Minister's mythspeaks...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

We said they'd be sorry when the Ten Downing Street e-petitions system first opened for business. And just a few months later we are confronted by the spectacle of a 'stop road pricing' petition soaring effortlessly past the million mark, and Transport Minister Douglas Alexander trudging round the media claiming that the signatories have been misled by "misplaced fears", "falsehoods" and "myths."

Alexander contrived to say "myths" three times on this morning's Today programme, but regrettably neglected to either detail them or refute them. He did however say that he would "listen to the people", and that is was important to deliberate, discuss and then to take a decision. Over the weekend he had said that although trials were due to start in the next few years, no decision had yet been made on whether or not to introduce a national road pricing system.

Which, if so, possibly allows us to nail one myth. In July 2005, explaining the cancellation of the Lorry Road User Charging scheme (which had been going through development as a notapilot for a national road charging scheme), then Transport Minister Alistair Darling told Parliament:

"Mr Speaker a great deal of work has already been done on some of these issues in the development of the Lorry Road User Charging scheme. This has confirmed that a distance-based charge has the potential to be a workable and practical way forward.

"But our thinking on national road pricing has developed further. We are now taking forward work on a national system of road pricing, so it is right for us to take forward the plans for distance based lorry charging as part of the wider work on national road pricing - to work for a single comprehensive, cost-effective system.

"So although the current procurement for lorry road user charging will not continue, we will continue to work with industry and ensure that we carry the full experience gained from the project into the wider work to develop a national road pricing system for cars and lorries."

There remains just about enough wiggle room there for it not to be read as an absolute commitment to a national scheme, but it's close, so it's helpful for Alexander to be dispelling the myths that were inadvertently (surely...) presented to Parliament by his predecessor.

But what about the "myths" promulgated by the backers of the petition? It's difficult to nail down the 'many' claims Alexander says are unfounded, but he did identify two in an interview with the Times. These are that a national road pricing scheme will be used for 24x7 surveillance of motorists, and that it will be used to police speed limits. Alexander has responded by saying that there would be "safeguards" to deal with the privacy issue, and that the system would not be used to catch drivers for speeding.

Observers of the government data kleptocracy will be familiar with the "safeguards" gambit, and of course one would not need to implement privacy safeguards if one were not threatening privacy, right? So it's not exactly a denial.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?