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I love (Orwellian) Big Brother!

I love (Orwellian) Big Brother!

First off, let me say that I hate the idea of Big Brother, at least in terms of governments tracking my every movement and data. Mostly because I can’t even trust them to send CDs in the post without it getting lost. I’m totally against any form of ID cards being introduced to the United Kingdom, and won’t be voting for any party that wants to introduce them.

But… for the last two months, I’ve had an Oyster card to get around London – which is basically the electronic version of a traditional paper travelcard. And yes, it does mean that London Transport (a government agency) now has full details of my movements across London in the last two months. Probably the security services too.

But it also means that I can easily see the data on my travel movements via the Oyster website, and I find that accumulation of data oddly fascinating. It could only be better if someone merged it with a Google maps mashup so I could see my travel, and played with some statistics to find my most frequently used journey or something. It also means I get to save money since I no longer have to buy daily travelcards for the convenience of quickly getting in and out of a tube station. To ape Richard Hammond, it’s just brilliant.

And there’s more. (I’m watching too much Top Gear, can’t you tell?)

For the last month, I’ve had a GPS system permanently installed in my car, so my car insurance company knows everywhere I’ve driven to. This should make car insurance cheaper, and have the side benefit of reducing carbon emissions. Now if only the car insurance company would let me see the data that I’ve accumulated, so I can (again) track my movements.

The thing is, I still hate the idea of ID cards. But I’ve lovingly signed up to having my movements tracked electronically. But then I can’t really see the point in ID cards at all. How am I going to benefit from them? And if I’m not going to benefit from them, why should I be forced – or even encouraged – to have one?


  • Surely your insurance company *have* to give you that information? After all, it's about you so therefore under Data Protection they must hand it over if you ask.

  • I feel the same way you do about national ID cards, but let me tell you, the first stop I made last summer once in London was the local Tube station so I could hand over my money for an Oyster card. Oi!

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