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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Traveller’s tale

An observant reader told us of what he saw in Bristol when staying at a hotel there last weekend. A notice in the Travel Inn proclaims words to the following effect:

In order to comply with police requests and to improve security, all guests paying for their rooms in cash will be required to provide ID and proof of address.

Our gentle reader’s reaction?

You WHAT?!….So, if I refuse to provide you with information you have no right to, I don’t get my room. If I do, you… Do what with it, precisely? Pass it on to the police as a “potential terrorist”? Breach my personal privacy for your own amusement? Send me incessant advertising garbage? Store it in contravention with the Data Protection Act?

Can you tell he was not impressed?

This is a well spotted ‘minor’ occurrence. No police state can maintain its hold over society without its little helpers, who function, not exactly as the hand of the state, but certainly its ‘dainty’ prying and sticky fingers, deep in the everyday life of those around them. They exist in every society and although Britain is not a police state, I would not want to underestimate their reach, especially given the current government policies in the UK. Big Brother seems to have many cousins…

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1 comment to Traveller’s tale

  • Brian Micklethwait

    This reminds me of the scenes in The Day of the Jackal, in which the French authorities collect info on who stayed at each hotel in France on a daily basis.

    This is not encouraging, because the pretty clear message of that film is that without security measures of that sort, the Jackal would never have been even seriously chaseable, let alone caught.