I was reading an article by Paul Rigney entitled ‘The all seeing eye – an HMRC success story?”, in itself the story does show a success story, in that the HMRC (for a government department) has managed to combine three discreet function into a fully functioning catch all system that enables HMRC to:
- analyse tax data
- collate information from credit reference agencies to pinpoint individuals and behaviours that may indicate fraud etc
- They can extrapolate who is a director of a number of companies, his/her family connections and the companies that a partner is a director of as well as family trusts.
Investigations which may have taken weeks or even months in the past, can now be carried out in a day or less.
The HMRC system is called ‘Connect’, and its use and application will continue to grow with the planned introduction of quarterly returns and other instruments now in the pipeline.
These tools also enable the HMRC to keep a beady eye on online traders using such sites as eBay or Autorader, or even Amazon and evaluate whether the trading sales activity qualifies as “business activity” or not for purposes of taxable income.
So why am I writing about what seems to be a perfectly valid use of resources and government money (remember it is our money)? Well over the last few years I have written about ‘Big Brother’ government, and its abuses. The latest of which has come to light through a FOI (Freedom of Information) request by one of our national papers, which showed how local government has been misusing the legislation, put in place to cover terrorism, to monitor all weird and wonderful things like, dog pooing in parks, litter louts, parents registration for schools etc – all obvious targets for the terrorism surveillance.
Government has to govern, and indeed we all want to live secure lives free from attack and terror; but what we must not do is give up our right to a free society, one in which we are not observed through discreet surveillance, one in which we can be locked up for disagreeing with government or taking pictures of a demonstration and use of police as examples. the list of abuse is wide, and we as the voting population need to ensure that our freedoms are just that, our freedoms. Ensure that you vote properly when you next have an election, it is your and your family’s future.