Car Cloning

The United Kingdom is frequently described as a surveillance state. It is worth noting that it is also a state in which there is a great deal of street crime, and in which identity theft is running at very high levels. We also jail fewer people per crime than comparable states.

Recording identity and movement doesn't therefore protect that many people. I was struck by a conversation with a person today though in which the man I was talking to insisted that he had been the victim of 'car cloning', which I had not previously been aware of. He had, he said, been photographed in a bus lane by a speed camera and had paid the fine rather than dispute his licence plate, but had realised subsequently that he could not have been at the place and time where his putative car was photographed.

On research, car cloning happens a lot. Individual licence plates are copied, attached to similar models of car, and driven in the same general area for a quick turnaround.

It's material for a Hitchcock plot, isn't it? If conviction rates are disguising this sort of thing--it's been estimated that there are ten thousand cloned cars on the roads--what else are the public enduring whilst the authorities continue in sweet complacence?

I'm a barrister, though am not associated with any chambers and I don't practise, nor have I ever done so. But I see the stories of out-of-touch law, and they sprang immediately to mind when I saw this one. Is the agenda that the legal establishment to which I once aspired and which the media presents everyone with every day really now even more of an alien world to the experience of most people?

Because, of course, the implication of sensible working people like the man I was chatting to today paying fines when they know they have done nothing wrong because a type of crime exists that is beyond the comprehension of the authorities is that we are under the arbitrary rule of legislators and not the rule of law.


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