Feeds

Sneaky bin chipping still in the bag for UK.gov

No rubbish tax, but something smells a bit off

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A government announcement today that it is scrapping plans to penalise householders for not recycling scores eight out of ten for effort – but it may not go far enough to appease the civil liberties lobby.

Your bins will still be microchipped, and - whether you like it or not - your household waste habits will still be recorded centrally.

The big change, reported in national media today, is from a scheme to reward good recyclers and punish the bad ones, which the last government attempted to pilot last year. These plans stalled, when no councils could be found that were prepared to sign up to a pilot.

Instead, the coalition intends to put in place a scheme to reward those virtuous householders who recycle a significant amount of their waste. The new approach is mostly "carrot", as opposed to "carrot and stick".

Recently appointed Communities Secretary Eric Pickles explained that the coalition backs rewarding people for recycling. Various reports trotted out the good news from Windsor and Maidenhead, where a reward-based pilot was recently declared a success.

According to local councillor Liam Maxwell, the Windsor scheme "increases recycling rates, reduces our environmental impact, reduces council tax and helps local businesses".

The fly in the ointment – or possibly hovering round a nearby waste storage receptacle - is that for such a scheme to work, bins will still have to be chipped. The reward scheme will be run on an "opt-in" basis, as opposed to being compulsory: but it is likely that councils will still have to collect data from all bins, and therefore all households, in order to select out data relevant to those who are opted in.

The alternative would require that data from those who had opted out of the scheme was identified – and filtered out – at the bin collection stage.

This aspect of the scheme may yet raise unwelcome data protection implications. Data does not need to contain name and address to be "personal": rather, it becomes personal as soon as it is possible to identify an individual by combining data sets held by the data processor.

The processing of "opted out" data – even to eliminate that data from future processing – may therefore constitute unfair processing within the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 and, without primary legislation to permit this, councils should brace themselves for future challenges.

Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, is well aware of this aspect of the scheme. He told us: "It’s good that bin taxes have been abandoned for now. They symbolised the worst of our Big Brother state - snooping on our private waste and charging us for the privilege.

"But these punitive and vindictive taxes were at least out in the open. Now exactly the same technology is being introduced, with the bribe of an 'incentive scheme'."

We have yet to receive a response from the Communities Department. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.