Feeds

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

Transport Minister's mythspeaks...

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.