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Windrush immigration papers scandal is a big fat GDPR fail for UK.gov

TRT
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Re: Smedley Hydro

The old Barnardos place? Was a college or something for a bit I think... Well well well.

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Re: Smedley Hydro

"Well well well"

Life's full of surprises.

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Hindsight?

Could it be said that the Windrush data was no longer "needed"? In hindsight, no

No need for hindsight. Several members of staff from the time have stated that they regularly went down to the basement to refer to these slips to confirm various things, and they told their management that. Management still went ahead.

So, not even in hindsight. At the time it was very clear to the officials that the data was still needed and used. Heads->roll.

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Re: Heads->roll.

This is the civil service, more likely to be a knighthood and a pension.

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Re: Hindsight?

In other times May would probably have to resign for this utter fuck up on her watch. Says a lot about the state of the Tory party and, in particular about any possible leadership campaign, that she hasn't. She'd have made Enoch Powell proud.

Great article!

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Re: Hindsight?

Here is some valuable insight into what usually happens...

--------

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, this is what we normally do in circumstances like these.

James Hacker: [reads memo] This file contains the complete set of papers, except for a number of secret documents, a few others which are part of still active files, some correspondence lost in the floods of 1967...

James Hacker: Was 1967 a particularly bad winter?

Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, a marvellous winter. We lost no end of embarrassing files.

James Hacker: [reads] Some records which went astray in the move to London and others when the War Office was incorporated in the Ministry of Defence, and the normal withdrawal of papers whose publication could give grounds for an action for libel or breach of confidence or cause embarrassment to friendly governments.

James Hacker: That's pretty comprehensive. How many does that normally leave for them to look at?

James Hacker: How many does it actually leave? About a hundred?... Fifty?... Ten?... Five?... Four?... Three?... Two?... One?... *Zero?*

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, Minister.

--------

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Heads->roll.

All it takes is an accident during the knighting...

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Re: Heads->roll.

All it takes is an accident during the knighting...

Is a sneeze an accident?

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Data protection also means not destroying data that is needed surely?

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Got it in one.

I can tell you're not a politician.

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Data protection also means not destroying data that is needed surely?

Data protection means protecting you from the data

Like fire protection is protecting you from the fire

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There is no data justification

The justification is purely political, so stop looking at anything related to data in this one.

It was a dry run on "cleaning the country from undesirables" using a part of the population which is known to not have resources to put up a good fight. Most of the people affected were in the income bracket we associate with poverty and had no money to afford "lawyering up" for a fight with the Home Office.

The dry run was mostly successful too. They can now proceed to the real thing post-BrExit.

If you think I am joking ask any Eu cittizen who has successfully obtained dual nationality or right to remain before 2011 to do a subject request for his original paperwork from the Home Office. It has been destroyed deliberately the same was as Windrush papers. I understood that by pure chance when having a spat(*) with them regarding the son's passport last year.

Home Office Droid: "Oh, we no longer keep any original paperwork, it has all been shredded".

Me: "WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?"

(*)Spat was on an unrelated matter - they did not like the fact that I applied for his passport instead of his mother. I ended up having to threaten them with both a discrimination lawsuit and asking my MP to officially question them on discriminatory policies in the commons.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is no data justification

It was a dry run on "cleaning the country from undesirables" using a part of the population which is known to not have resources to put up a good fight.

If that was the case, then it shows how stupid and out of touch the government are, because all of the older, more reactionary people I know are bloody furious at the government's incompetence on Windrush (and the similar betrayal in previous years of the Gukhas and foreign civilian interpreters from warzones).

That older generation are of course also united that they'd like the government to keep out the undesirables from within or outside the EU, but that seems to be another area where successive governments of all persuasions have been and remain out of touch and incompetent.

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Meh

Re: There is no data justification

I'm not convinced it was a deliberate dry run - if only for the fact that they picked on a group that had an incontrovertible right to be here. They were not an easy target as events are now showing.

Cockup over conspiracy every time I'm afraid.

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Re: There is no data justification

If the original papers had served their purpose, and a trustworthy document generated, why keep the originals? The existence of the new document is proof that those originals were accurate. If you're really paranoid you could have kept copies yourself.

they did not like the fact that I applied for his passport instead of his mother. I ended up having to threaten them with both a discrimination lawsuit and asking my MP to officially question them on discriminatory policies in the commons.

I'm not so sure that's discriminatory. In the days before DNA testing was commonplace it was generally considered much more reliable to indentify a child's mother than his/her father, so the mother often had priority in such situations.

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Re: There is no data justification

successive governments of all persuasions have been and remain out of touch and incompetent.

Yet no matter who we vote for, the government still gets in.

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Re: There is no data justification

@Phil O'Sophical

Women can have kids wth donated eggs so zero genetic link there.

Adoption - zero genetic link, but parent(s) are legally resposnible for that child.

If someone marries a person who has young kids they typically accept their share of legal rfesponsibility for those unrelated kids.

So, DNA often irrelevant, thus it was discriminatory (not even going into areas of 2 men having kid via surrogate to add more complex example's of zero mother)

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Re: There is no data justification

I'm not so sure that's discriminatory.

The law and precedent is very clear on it - it is.

So it should be either:

1. The way it is in most of Europe where BOTH parents have to jointly apply for the child passport (unless there is a specific court decision giving one parent sole custody).

2. One parent should be entitled to apply and either one of the parents or guardians of the underage person should have absolutely identical rights regardless of do they have something dangling between their legs or not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is no data justification

When we had to get a new US passport for our "accidentally American" son (born while I was working in the US) both my wife and I (neither of us American!) were required to go with him to the US embassy.

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Anonymous Coward

This does not surprise me, the whole scandal looks like some Tory xenophobic plot to make the country as hostile to immigrants as possible. You have to question why when the government has all sorts of records (tax/benefit/school/council/nhs/passports and so on) they are having a problem confirming someone has the right to be here as a citizen.

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You missed a word... "to make the country as hostile to ILLEGAL immigrants"

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Anonymous Coward

"to make the country as hostile to ILLEGAL immigrants"

And making legal ones "ILLEGAL" by destroying the records showing they were legal ones? Maybe that's an ILLEGAL act?

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"This does not surprise me, the whole scandal looks like some Tory xenophobic plot to make the country as hostile to immigrants as possible."

Close but no cigar. Labour politicians from the time have already admitted that the decision to destroy the papers happened in their time in office.

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You missed a word... "to make the country as hostile to ILLEGAL immigrants"

The best way to do so is to make sure that the LEGAL ones are OK.

It is the norm for LEGAL immigrants, families with legal immigrants and their first generation progeny to be on the right side of Attila the Hun on this question. The most hostile group towards ILLEGALS is the LEGALS. The fact that half of UKIP/Vote Leave top brass had an immigrant wife and some of the poster-children of anti-immigrant movement are immigrant's descendants is not a coincidence. It comes with the territory.

However, what the government did was an explicit act to make the LEGAL immigrants ILLEGAL overnight and disguise it as a data protection obligation. That is completely different from "hostile to ILLEGAL immigrants". It did it for people from Eu too - see my other post. At more or less the same time.

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Anonymous Coward

@Doctor Syntax

Whilst that may be true (I don't like either side btw) it was the subsequent changes by the Tories that made it an issue otherwise they wouldn't be needed anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

@FlatSpot

I purposely left off legal or illegal because when someone is xenophobic it matters not.

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WTF?

Hostile to ILLEGAL immigrants

You missed a word... "to make the country as hostile to ILLEGAL immigrants"

And everyone else who gets hurt is just irrelevant collateral damage?

It's like trying to catch criminals by locking up everyone who can't prove they have never committed a crime.

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Anonymous Coward

Whilst that may be true (I don't like either side btw) it was the subsequent changes by the Tories that made it an issue

Ah, no matter who's fault it really was we'll blame the nasty tories?

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"it was the subsequent changes by the Tories that made it an issue"

You may be right but I tend to look at the constant in all this. The Home Office itself.

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"to make the country as hostile to ILLEGAL immigrants practically everybody"

FTFY :(

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Anonymous Coward

nasty tories?

@AC

They are nasty, I could spend five minutes to find an array of articles proving just that.

I could also find an array of articles pointing out flaws in labour policies and ideas..

I could also find an article about the lib-dems if I tried really hard. (I actually don't mind the lib-dem or didn't until they stabbed students in the back with the Tories)

I don't see your point?

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Trollface

Labour/Tory?

Sadly bugger all difference between Nu Labour and Tory.

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Re: Labour/Tory?

Sadly bugger all difference between Nu Labour and Tory.

In general, true. But this particular Tory government has demonstrated callousness and utter contempt towards anyone who is disadvantaged in this country, the like of which I have not seen in all my forty five years of voting. They are truly loathsome.

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Anonymous Coward

Hostility, Hostility, Hostility.

In practice, the present Government is seriously hostile to almost everybody. As white, middle class, male pensioner, who has voted Tory in the past, I can say with great confidence they are extremely hostile to me.

However, they are a lot more hostile than that to some of my African friends.

I have to say that this looks very similar behaviour to what my Jewish grandmother described as the early years of the Nazi government,

Disgusted

Nowhere near Tunbridge Wells

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"You missed a word... "to make the country as hostile to ILLEGAL immigrants""

The home office missed that word as well. They found harrassing LEGAL immigrants who have their NI number, tax code, voter registration, and no proof where they lived 40 years ago (can anyone prove that?) is so much easier than finding ILLEGAL immigrants.

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I think it's reasonable to assume that after 60 years of being here legally that you'd have formalised that arrangement with an indefinite visa or a British passport and/or kept hold of the evidence of when you arrived.

...or are we saying that an entire generation of immigrants ( that bailed us out of an economic hole after the war - this isn't an anti-immigration rant) weren't issued with any paperwork at all?

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I think it's reasonable to assume that after 60 years of being here legally that you'd have formalised that arrangement with an indefinite visa or a British passport and/or kept hold of the evidence of when you arrived.

Maybe. If the idea that you are here illegally ever crossed your mind.

For some people - it did not. Quite rightly too as they were here legally to start off with.

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That's exactly what we are saying. That, together with an earlier point about shredding arrival information about EU nationals at the same time.

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You're missing the point. These people didn't need a visa, because they were already citizens. It wasn't until much later that it was agreed the Empire was over and Commonwealth citizens would not automatically qualify for British nationality. What the Tories are trying to do is retroactively apply that to the people who spent their working lives contributing to Britain, so that we won't have to repay them with care in their retirement. It's a simple attempt to keep the pension system ticking over for their core voter base.

The killer irony is that to a man Britain's racist filth, who voted Brexit to get back to the glory days of Empire and "kick out the darkies", fail to understand that the Empire is the sole reason said "darkies" came here in the first place.

(NB: "racist filth" and "Brexit voter" is not a reversible equation here. All racists voted to leave the EU; not all people who voted to leave the EU are racist.)

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some of the examples I have heard about did hold british passports and only ran into problems when they came to renew their existing passport

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They didn't need any papers when they came over here as the Carribena was part of the British empire .Much like you don't need any papers to move between England/Scotland/Wales nowadays.

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Someone who was taken here by their parents when they were about 3 might not have thought to keep the evidence of their arrival.

They presumably thought that having a National Insurance number, paying tax, being on the electoral register and so on was good enough evidence of their right to be here.

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TRT
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I love Caribena. Tasty, tasty blackcurrant goodness.

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or are we saying that an entire generation of immigrants

They weren't technically immigrants, they were Britons with citizenship who moved from one part of the empire to another. Would you expect a Scot to make special arrangements when moving to England?

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They didn't need any papers when they came over here as the Carribena was part of the British empire .Much like you don't need any papers to move between England/Scotland/Wales nowadays.

Or Northern Ireland. (technically, doing it is a different matter...)

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Facepalm

"you'd have formalised that arrangement with an indefinite visa or a British passport and/or kept hold of the evidence of when you arrived"

Or, you know, we could assume they are in the right and take a look at other records to determine the validity of that. Records like NI contributions, educational history, health records, electoral role, tax payments...

But no, far better to assume that they are illegal and ignore all other evidence to the contrary. Typical of May and Cronies.

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are we saying that an entire generation of immigrants…weren't issued with any paperwork at all?

Yes, that's exactly what we are saying. And the only paperwork that could be used to demonstrate their status was disposed of in what can only really be called an act of criminal negligence.

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@Ben1892 I'm without any original docs (from birth cert through to exam results, the all got destroyed in a building fire)

So original docs can be lst.o

I'm OK as I was born here - so could get copy of birth cert if needed, but I would be screwed if I was a Windrush person (or if I was offsppring of windrush legal who had no papers). Never assume legal docs will not be lost / destroyed by someting beyond someones control

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Unhappy

You're certainly not OK

I'm OK as I was born here - so could get copy of birth cert if needed, but I would be screwed if I was a Windrush person (or if I was offsppring of windrush legal who had no papers).

Except that just being born in the UK doesn't automatically make you British. e.g. If you were born in the UK between 1 January 1983 and 1 July 2006 then you can only be British if at least one parent was British and living in the UK. If your mother wasn't British but your father was, then this only works if he was married to your mother. https://www.gov.uk/types-of-british-nationality/british-citizenship

So, you will have to obtain your birth certificate and a parent's birth certificate and possibly your parent's marriage certificate. And then prove that they all refer to the same people - i.e. your father listed on your birth certificate is the same person that "his" birth certificate describes. And prove that you are the person that "your" birth certificate refers to. Good luck with all that, especially if your parents are dead, or even used different names at different points in their lives (which is surprisingly common). It is what the person verbally says their name is to the registrar when recording a birth that goes on the form.

Hope your not needing to use your car, any medical treatment, a bank account, any rental accommodation or a job. You may have been born here, and never left the country, but that knock you just heard on the door was the immigration service coming to take you away.

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Anonymous Coward

It wasn't until much later that it was agreed the Empire was over realized that China were serious about wanting Hong Kong back with the possibility of several million people there who were UK citizens coming to the "motherland" that it was decided to split UK citizens into those with residency rights in the UK and those who were citizens but living overseas

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