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“It’s all in the database”

Laban Tall, blogging at Biased BBC, has posted the latest BBC public service advertisement warning citizens not to fail to pay for a TV licence.

I thought it might be of interest to Samizdata readers.

16 comments to “It’s all in the database”

  • Yeah I heard that on radio 4 starting a couple of weeks ago and was on the verge of emailing Perry. I thought the Samizdatistas would have picked this up sooner.

  • liminal

    I took the BBC advert to surely be satirical, well done to whomever managed to sneek it through the censors.

  • I thought the Samizdatistas would have picked this up sooner.

    But I don’t watch the BBC 🙂

  • Just watched,

    that is a vile ad.

  • This thing out-Orwells Orwell. If ever I heard a clarion call for pitchforks and torches this would be it.

  • Alsadius

    Holy crap, I’m so glad I don’t live in the UK right now.

  • Gregory

    Heh. Even in dear old totalitarian Malaysia we scrapped the TV tax years (could be eons by now) ago.

    Could be the fact that we’re all hooked on to ASTRO satTV now (even the ruddy squatters) and couldn’t give a toss about state-funded TV (I mean, who could watch 24 hours of poorly scripted and/or subtitled crap, not to mention the five times a day prayer transmissions?)

    Someone should consider telling Her Majesty’s Government they’re waayyy behind the times. Oh, and apropos of nothing, tell the old Ma’am that she should make young Harry the King after she pops off instead of Charlie.

  • This thing out-Orwells Orwell.

    That it does. “Big Brother is watching you!” ain’t got nothing on “Your town, your street, your home, it’s all in our database.”

    Not to mention:
    “[I]mpossible to hide if you don’t” *knock, knock, knock*

    That is the creepiest thing I’ve seen out of the UK since you posted the “Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes” poster.

    Lance (long time reader, first time commenter)

  • RAB

    Mrs Jones was just putting her coat on to go to work, when she saw a TV Detector van pull up outside the house.
    Two men got out and knocked on the door.

    Mrs Jones?


    We do not appear to have a record of your TV Licence Madam.

    Oh dear! Well we’ve definately got one, but I’m in a terrible rush right now.
    My husband will be back in half an hour. Get him to show it to you. He wont know where it is though, so tell him it’s behind the clock on the mantlepiece.

    So they wait and Mr Jones comes home.
    They knock on the door again.

    Mr Jones we dont have a record of your TV Licence.

    Dew mun, I know we’ve got one, but my wife takes care of things like that. I havent got a clue where it is.

    It’s behind the clock on the mantlepiece sir.

    Bloody hell!
    I knew those vans were good
    but I didn’t think they were that good!

  • Emilio Rivaud

    Great thing, those TV licenses:
    “If you are blind or severely sight impaired, you can apply for a 50% concession on the cost of your TV Licence”.

    Generosity at its best…

  • Are you sure it’s not a hoax?

  • No, Alisa, it ain’t a hoax. We have ads about benefit fraud which show long-shots of people walking down the street with a circle around them. You read my email about that poor sod in South Shields?

  • RAB

    It makes you wonder if the BBC Licence database is any more fit for purpose than the rest of Govt databases.
    About a month ago I had a letter from the TV Licencing people, saying that they had no trace of me having a licence.

    Well I have lived in this house for 29 years and pay by direct debit.
    How hard is that to keep track of?

  • Jerry

    A question from ‘across the pond’.
    How many cameras are in London ??
    How big of a ‘DASD farm’ – and at what cost/ROI –
    does this take ??
    Please tell me that people are NOT paid to sit around and WATCH the monitors constantly !! How many
    people would that take ??

    My &Diety, can you people go to the bathroom ( loo )
    without being ‘tracked’ !!!????

    Secondly, RAB brings up a GOOD point.
    This is WHY massive databases are a bad idea ( I speak from experience ). They can NEVER be totally
    up to date and ACCURATE. No incentive to do so.
    If the data is wrong, it’s your fault/responsibility to see that it gets corrected !!

    This includes so called ‘National ID’s’ and biometric cards.

    But but but, you say, biometric cards can’t be counterfeited !! ( I give you China )

    Wanna bet ??

    If it can be manufactured, it can be counterfeited, copied, changed etc.

    Then, if the data is wrong or doesn’t ‘match’, guess who’s on the hook ! ( Hint – it isn’t gov’t or the bureaucrats !! )

  • nick g.

    You people are sOOO pessimistic! Surely you can trust the BBC to put all that information securely on one disk, and keep it safe! How likely is it that it will be lost in the mail???? …. sorry…. I’d forgotten about that incident. Did they ever find those missing disks with all the tax details on it?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Another database is starting up…


    A little bit off topic, but I thought it might be of interest.