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Has Big Brother got too big for his boots?

Winston Smith | 22.07.2004 17:13 | Social Struggles

Residents of council owned tower blocks in Stockport, Cheshire have recently decided Big Brother is getting just a little bit too big for his boots.

There is growing opposition to a recent “upgrading” of the security system, which has led to the introduction of “electronic pac fobs” (plus a few extra CCTV cameras for good measure) in place of the old key system. “WTF is an electronic pac fob?” you may ask. Well, it’s basically a swipe “key”, which as stated in the letter which was delivered with the fob from the local Housing Office, is “…assigned to you, the tenant. The use of this fob is monitored and if it appears that someone else is using the fob instead of you, then the fob will be cancelled…” Each fob contains the tenants surname and flat number so on entering security now know who you are and where you are going which in turn also means they know which flat has just been vacated as you leave the building! All visitors have to gain access through security stating who they are, thereby allowing the monitoring of visitors as well as tenants.

This however raises many issues, including breach of local housing tenancy agreements, personal security and Human Rights. Tenants in flats no longer have equal rights to those tenants in council houses as they can no longer give their front door “key” to whoever they choose, for whatever reasons they choose. Examples given in a leaflet produced by and distributed to tenants include ”… if you are on holiday, in hospital or bed ridden… …you can no longer give your key to a friend or relative in order that they might gain access to your home even though you yourself have authorised them!” One tenant has already had their fob blocked for dropping it down from their flat window to a relative to allow them to gain access.

Tenants are being encouraged to swap fobs with other tenants within their block on a regular basis so as to preserve access but render the ability to monitor inoperable, which is within their rights as key holders! The matter has also been taken up by the local Law Centre who state that “the council may be breaking your tenancy agreement if they are saying you cannot pass the fob to people you authorise” and also “Article 8 of the Human Rights Act provides that everyone has the right to respect for his/her private and family life…Privacy includes such things as personal data, photographs, CCTV and video recordings. Respect for the home includes the right to occupy it without interference.”

This system certainly isn’t exclusive to this area; any other tenants experiencing the same invasion of privacy are encouraged to follow a similar line of action. If this became a national issue, rather than a confined local matter it would add strength to the opposition of the Big Brother state nationally.

For exchange of ideas and information please contact

Winston Smith


Display the following 14 comments

  1. just smash it up — gordon bennet
  2. info — capt wardrobe
  3. more — cw
  4. and theres more — cw
  5. more — cw
  6. of course — cw
  7. Thanx Capt! — Winston Smith
  8. more — cw
  9. more — cw
  10. common problem — heather
  11. more info please heather — cw
  12. slowly slowly....... — Winston Smith
  13. link here — cw
  14. where is this all leading us? — capt wardrobe