Yesterday, the Mail on Sunday (Council tax spy in the sky) and the Independent on Sunday (Prescott satellite to spy on your home)
both carried claims that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's bureaucratic empire was planning to use "spy satellites" in order to help with the increased taxation of private property.
Coming on top of NuLabour's other intrusive mass surveillance plans, it is right that people like Longrider should be furious.
However, why have none of the mainstream journalists bothered to ask how exactly commercially available satellite imagery , with a resolution of about 1 metre, could possibly be of any real use in determining if your kitchen extension etc. is breaking any planning permission rules or not ? Are we meant to believe that there are thousands of unplanned, shanty town buildings in the UK ?
If such extensions are not breaking the planning rules, then all the data for taxation purposes, unpopular as this will be, is already available to the local council planning departments, down to detailed architects drawings and plans.
Where is the evidence of such widespread failures of the planning inspectors, which casts sufficient doubt on the accuracy of these records, so as to make any remote sensing cost effective ?
Both Satellite and Aerial photography is mentioned, but the headlines and
today's denial in The Times only concentrate on Satellite imagery:
A spokeswoman for the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, pointed out that the document was not a government publication and they were not bound by its suggestions. She added that Mr Prescott has specifically ruled out using satellite technology and that there were “absolutely no current plans” to put the scheme into operation.
Note how this offical spin doctor is careful not to deny any plans for low flying Aerial photography, which, especially if it uses LIDAR is much more accurate, and could potentilly be technically feasible to employ for such purposes.
The while country has been mapped using such techniques, but not for this specific tax snooping purpose, so presumbaly it would all have to be done over again.