Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Power Corrupts - HMRC's Global Ambitions

Power CorruptsYesterday on my HMRC site I warned of the dangers of Dave Hartnett's (Permanent Secretary for Tax and Commissioner of HM Revenue & Customs HMRC), aspirations for powers for national tax authorities to access data directly on their taxpayers' assets in other jurisdictions.

"I see automatic exchange of information as the benchmark. That is the position which I would like to reach as standard."

Doubtless the "if you are innocent, you have nothing to hide" retort will be used by some (in fact, if you read the comments on the piece, you will see that someone has already made a comment along those lines).

Many will also retort that the majority of people do not have assets abroad, and so why does it matter?

"In Germany they came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
The they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up

Martin Niemoeller

As I noted, granting governments and their bureaucrats the right to such unlimited access to people's private lives gives these governments (and their bureaucrats) quite some considerable power over the individual.

I would also point out that HMRC has been assiduously acquiring ever more intrusive powers (search my HMRC site), both with respect to intrusive capabilities and the power the levy ever higher fines.

For instance did you know that HMRC can, if they so wish, monitor your Oyster card usage (ie they can track where you go)?

Are we really able to trust these governments and their bureaucrats not to misuse this power?

The state should be afraid of the people, not the people afraid of the state.

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  1. Ken,

    It is my opinion you sum up the situation very clearly. Nanny's desire for more powers and more information about us will cause us all problems in the future. We only need a more authoritarian government at some time in the future, and it could use all that information to control and manage all aspects of our lives even more than now. Information has always been power.
    These new databases are the modern version of Stalinist little red books.....These books effectively contained the citizen's life story....The first contact database starts the life story from birth and I suspect, will be continued on the ID database. I also feel it would be very hard for an incoming government to get rid of all of this information that is held, after all, they may reason that it may come in handy in the future.

    HMRC already has too many powers and, for me, the last straw was when they paid a criminal gang for stolen information about off-shore account holders....I thought, as a general principle of our legal system, no one should benefit from a criminal act, if HMRC received stolen information then surely HMRC and HM government should not be able to gain tax revenue from this illegal activity. Once again, one rule for them another for us plebs.

    I am truly sick to death of hearing the "If you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" mantra of the yes sheep....I have nothing to hide but, I am fed up with having to constantly prove it!!!!!!

  2. Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells1:18 PM

    I'm sure I've heard that HMRC have powers to raid supermarket and other retail outlets' loyalty card databases. It's getting to the point when the taxman will know how many times you go for a shit eat day.
    Ironically the Captcha for this post is "perge"!

  3. Although I don't live near London, I do visit enough times a year to make it worthwhile having an Oyster card. I was aware of the amount of data retained about journeys, so when I did buy one I paid cash. I have always been careful to top it up by cash so that it is not linked to any bank account, credit card, my address or me in any way.

    For similar reasons, I refuse to have an store cards. The woeful discounts they tempt people with are hardly fair compensation for the value of the information they get in return let alone the privacy and security risks associated with holding all that personal data.