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Government using your purchase records.. fair tax or profiling?

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posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 08:36 AM
Now a tax just for living in a nice area

Ministers have purchased sophisticated 'Big Brother' computer systems which calculate the desirability of an area based on the quality of local services and the types of people who live there.

The software, which will be used in the forthcoming revaluation of all 21 million homes in England, contains astonishingly detailed data on the number of households, even those who have pets, wear contact lenses or are vegetarian.

It allows inspectors to put a precise value on each home, based not only by its size and features, but its location.

The move is a further blow to homeowners who are facing the prospect of being fined for refusing to let council tax inspectors come into their homes to photograph any improvements.

Well I nearly spat my earl grey all over the labrador!

Yes, I know it's the Daily Mail, but the story sounds exactly like the kind of systemic snooping we are seeing more and more of... All in the name of "fair taxation", they would have us believe. That's bad enough, but if that's the cover story, what are they REALLY doing with all that data you never expected to be sold to the government... or at least what they COULD do if they so chose.

EDIT additional comment: One of the comments at the bottom of the article also makes a particularly good point..

This kind of software which typically makes assessments for marketing purposes based on 'lifestyle variables' can also be used to make judgements as to likely voting intentions. In the hands of a Government this is scary in the extreme.

[edit on 30-10-2006 by nowthenlookhere]

posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 09:00 AM
You know that has been done for years as marketing tools to access how to target areas due on constumers preferences.

It doesn't take much to keep track of certain area of people spendings.

But when computers are going to be use is because they are getting a lot of data and wants to compile enough information to make maps and have better understanding of how to target better the consumer.

One thing that bothers me is that depending where you live you in the future will have to go somewhere else to purchase goods that would be only sold in one particular region because it would not be popular where you live.

That means that consumer will be controlled by area of what they will have access and what they can buy.


So the next time you go to the markets and can not find one particular item, perhaps will have to drive to the next residential area to find it.

posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 11:42 AM
Well I'd just point out the records and data already freely available to central Gov before folks get too carried away with the whole standard 'totalitarian' riff.

For people living in the UK (and some abroad) H.M.'s British Gov already has almost everybody's' employment and income data through tax & National Insurance records, taxes on savings, VAT receipts, vehicle registration & duty data, child benefit records, they know all about your property through the land registry and council tax data.
There are other sources but hopefully you get the idea?

That's a hell of a lot more comprehensive a set of data than a supposedly scary 'computer system' or program (never properly named) which identifies so-called 'nice areas'.

In fact this story is typical Daily Mail;
They completely ignore the actual reality of the situation already so that they can inflate and pretend any changes or the latest news is a huge scary 'threat'
(and even better it's from those - as every Daily Mail reader knows thanks to their daily indoctrination
- 'secret police-staters' this Labour Gov!

Note how the 'system' (or Gov program it's supposedly a part of) is never specifically referred to by it's official name
(which is quite handy as it stops anyone cross-refing to any other sources/stories for a look at the way this is reported elsewhere).
It's all just cos the Daily Mail said so.
.....and you know how politically unbiased and reliable they are (not).

But they have a market......s'funny, if tragic and deeply sad, how so many of 'us' seem to love all that obvious cr@p tho, eh?

BTW the reference to Northern Ireland property taxes?
Pathetic stupidity, they're laughing at you and your (understandable) ignorance.

Their claim that our recent local rate rises was thanks to this 'system' and that it has created a huge rise in our property tax is simply a gross distortion of what happened here.....actually no, in fact it's quite patently
an outright lie to the ignorant to manipulate them; is actually more like the truth.
ie typical Daily Mail.

'We' in NI haven't had a property 'revaluation' since 1976.

That is why 'we' have had a note-able rates increase (we don't have council tax, we have the old rates system here still).

If you don't know about domestic and business property taxes and 'revaluation' in the UK (or as here they funnily enough 'forget' to mention this aspect of the story or you've simply forgotten the last time it happened in England it is over 10yrs ago now) then I guess that makes you a sucker for this kind of half-truth and outright distortion.

Revaluation is a perfectly normal part of property taxation and is supposed to happen everywhere in the UK so as to reflect the changes in property values over the years since the last time it was done.
It's kind of based on prices but also how relative they are to each other (areas can become desirable or not over time).

It happened in England and Scotland under the tories in the mid 1990's and has just happened in Wales in 2005.

Unfortunately revaluation is usually avoided like the plague and it's normally left for ages because spineless Govs fear the electoral effects it usually brings.
....but the true effect of this is simply to store up trouble for someone else on another day.....and if you are in Gov for long enough it can be a real horror story boomeranging back on you (as the tory party in the mid 1990's found out).

This Gov has now sensibly set a proper legal 10yr timetable where revaluation must occur to remove the 'political football' effect.
Scotland has moved to a set 5yr timetable.

But as for this story?
It is simply a typical Daily Mail lie to say this is happening just because of this 'big brother computer system'.

I know it doesn't really go with the flo but does anyone ever stop to consider that it might just be really all about what the Gov have said it's all about,
(ie to enable better and more responsive Gov via better data collection to add to and improve their already large data portfolio?).

Just maybe?

But as for the Daily Mail here?
A bunch of lying liars lying to us; as per.

[edit on 30-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]

posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 11:47 AM
I don't understand, whats the problem here? Property taxes are dependant upon an assesment of the value of the property, this is using regular data-gathering techniuqes, of the type that marketers use, to factor into proptery value.

This kind of software which typically makes assessments for marketing purposes based on 'lifestyle variables' can also be used to make judgements as to likely voting intentions.

Indeed, they could, for example, gerrymander the voting districts, to divide up, say, one party, and dilute it with voters of another party.
But, then again, that happens already, AND, since no party is permanently in power, it just changes back and forth.

They could use it, to, say, give lower taxes to their supporters, but that'd go both ways too.

posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 02:11 PM

Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
In fact this story is typical Daily Mail


there is no mention of illegal immigrantion and them taking over the UK, so no its not a typical Daily Mail story

posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 04:34 PM

Originally posted by infinite
there is no mention of illegal immigrantion and them taking over the UK, so no its not a typical Daily Mail story

- Naaaaa infinite, this is the Daily Mail's favourite typical story; it's got the lot......a real right-winger's tiddly-pinging wang wiggler - English middle class people, 'nice decent areas', property values, taxation and 'secret scary plans' by big bad Tony and his nasty neo-Marxist Labour Gov.....

.....but their other typical story, you mentioned, the one inviting us all to be afraid of hoards of 'foreign brown people coming here, taking over and forcing us to stop being traditionally British and be just like them' does, I agree, run it very close.

posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 06:40 PM
My main concern is that the data involved goes beyond that needed for property evaluation. Credit card purchase records, store card records etc are an entirely different kettle of fish.

I have no problem with the government knowing how I earn money... they need to, to make sure I pay my taxes, but I don't see why they should be concerned how I spend it.

It's one thing for the police and the security services having access to specific information upon request.. details of a suspects transactions maybe.. There can be judicial process for obtaining this and ensuring the information isn't abused.. But wholesale selling of all of this data to local authorities and government administration departments, which is what I infer from this article, is taking it too far. IMHO.

As for the revaluation plans.. again, I don't see how this could work. I live in a typical north london street, comprising some full houses, some private flats, and some council blocks that contain a mix of council tenants and private owners. All of these properties would fall within the same "locality", yet the ability of the people to pay could not be more different.. The unemployed and the single parent families are not going to be able to pay the same as the A list actor or pop-star down the street.. (like I say, this IS north london...)

[edit on 30-10-2006 by nowthenlookhere]

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