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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


Hide the following 14 comments

just smash it up

22.07.2004 18:20

could someone hack the system?

what system is it - swipe card?

are there resourses online?

refuse and resist

gordon bennet


22.07.2004 18:26

Easikey is all about simple and easy access control in a system that controls up to two doors (two readers).

Installation is fast and simple and provides a cost effective solution for entry level applications with up to 1000 users, the ability to handle up eight time profiles and the facility to connect to a printer as standard, for easy reporting.

Easikey 1000 is also available in boxed in a robust metal enclosure pre-wired for quick and easy installation. Commissioning and programming is easy using the built-in keypad and LED display buttons. The optional metal enclosure with cut-out enables easy programming whilst restricting access to the interior of the case.

With the last 1000 transactions (events) recorded in memory, you can easily monitor the movements of people or vehicles through secured access points, such as doors and car park barriers and report them individually or in batches to a printer.

The Easikey 1000 is compatible with a broad range of ID devices including PAC Easi readers, PAC PIN and PAC magnetic stripe readers. The addition of a PAC Wiegand interface allows the connection of other reading technologies such as hands-free, weigand and infra red.

more coming as i get it

capt wardrobe


22.07.2004 18:33

What's With This Magnetic Stripe Stuff?

quite detailed
everything you need to know about swipe card technology


and theres more

22.07.2004 18:48

what kind of cards are they?

auto id

a reader-

Troubleshooting the Security Card Access System/Continuum
lets you know what the system can and can't do-
if you can get into the cards data you can get the housing people to
assign one or more users to any key no problem


are the key fobs 'smart cards'?

if so...

Smart Cards Vulnerable to Photo-Flash Attacks?

Notable because its apparently relatively simple to do and really throws a monkey wrench into a variety of businesses that use smart cards to store important data.



22.07.2004 19:31

PAC international
case studies
of councils

can't find what system your using...

can you find out? let me know?


of course

22.07.2004 19:35

all of this information should be used for obtaining an insight into the possobilities
of the system that is employed in your area

enabling you to understand and question the housing authority



Thanx Capt!

22.07.2004 23:11

Having had a quick look at the links you sent (it's late, have a proper read tomorrow) the systems from look the most similar and are produced in the Stockport area so I'm guessing this is the source for the technology. The new panels may have been purpose designed as they incorporate a key pad, swipe "area" and a small built in camera.
As far as I am aware they are the magnetic stripe type using the KeyPac technology. The system has been fitted into all 7 high rise blocks on the local estate, 462 flats in all and the "concierge" controls all visitors access centrally from 1 or possibly 2 of the blocks, although the system does allow for "direct calling", i.e. visitors could buzz up to the flat they want and the tenant answers, though this isn't used (bit harder to keep a record of visitors this way!)

Hope this helps and thanks again for your help!

"Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act." George Orwell

Winston Smith


23.07.2004 02:17

the final solution- create a master card...javol!!!

The KeyPAC Solo is a single door proximity reader/controller access system. KeyPAC Solo comes with 10 ID devices (Electronic key or proximity card versions are available) and can hold up to 2000 users. Adding and deleting cards is done by presenting one of two programming cards (supplied with KeyPAC Solo) to the reader. Dual LEDs and a built-in sounder give feedback during editing and normal usage.Three versions of KeyPAC Solo are available: Universal, Standard and
Vandal Resistant.

125 khz! [is this useful?]

The KeyPAC products
utilize the popular 125 kHz cards and tokens

[what canthis baby do!!!]


Attendance reporting
You can program designated readers to record personnel entry and exit times. Then, you can use Readykey for Windows to calculate and report on-site hours.

Alarm graphical interface
Allows the graphical handling of alarms and control device states through an easy-to-use system device control that displays dynamic icons on a graphical map of the system.

Global anti-passback
Increases the area over which you can apply anti-passback. You can configure areas that span across Readykey K2200 Series Controllers. This feature prevents passback for up to 32 doors across 7 areas.

Elevator control [particularly sinister i thought]
Allows you to control a card holder’s access to specific floors. The number of floors that you can control varies according to the system hardware.

Guard tour
Allows authorized personnel to perform security tours using identification credentials or keys. Generates alarms if the person arrives early, late, or out-of-sequence to checkpoints. Allows you to set up, administer, and monitor guard tours consisting of „tour-points.„ You can generate printed reports (automatically or manually) from the tour histories.

Serial interface output
Provides text output through the PC serial port for paging systems and display panels.

Audit trail
Provides a record of all changes made to the Readykey for Windows database by each operator. A built-in flexible search facility allows you to search for changes made by an operator or changes made to a field (or both).

specs [interesting...yawn!]

Communications Hardware

K2012 Wiegand Interface

K2015A Alarm Event Manager

K21232 6-wire Bus/RS-232 Converter

K6120-CNC pIPer Network Ethernet Modem (K6100-CNCII and K6300-CNCII)

K6120-DC pIPer Network Ethernet Modem (K2200 and K1200)

the modems :

The K6120-CNC connects to the K6100-CNCII Central Network Controller or the K6300-CNCII Central Network Controller. The modem facilitates dial-up RS-232 signals through an Ethernet connection over an existing local area (LAN) or wide area (WAN) network. Includes power supply and the K6121-CNC Cable.

K6120-DC pIPer Ethernet Modem
The K6120-DC connects to the K2200/K1200 Door Controllers Series. The modem facilitates dial-up RS-232 signals through an Ethernet connection over an existing local area (LAN) or wide area (WAN) network. Includes power supply and the K6121-DC Cable.

dial-up RS-232 signals explained

ethernet RS 232 [more likely]

what is an ethernet

Ethernet connections are those found in networked offices, laboratories and residence hall rooms. An Ethernet connection is much faster than a dial-up phone line connection



23.07.2004 02:32

this is it!!!!

how to make Proximity Cards


common problem

24.07.2004 08:22

its used throughout housing. salford city council have had it for years. its easy to programme and to wipe the fobs. its controlled via a computer in the housing office which uploads its info every night presumeably to the pac fob company. the computer stores and uploads your name, address and level of access (eg. main block, garage etc).


more info please heather

25.07.2004 05:23


we gotta
beat ' em


slowly slowly.......

25.07.2004 15:56

can't work out how to post a pic in main body of text but I have found the actual control panel used here then follow the link for products then "panel range" and it's the second one down.

Will get there in the end!

Winston Smith
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