Downtime: Police records could be coming to a park near you

Downtime was alarmed to read last week that Tony Blair and his cohorts are considering giving frontline council workers access to police intelligence records.

Police records could be coming to a park near you

Downtime was alarmed to read last week that Tony Blair and his cohorts are considering giving frontline council workers access to police intelligence records.

Under the proposals, park keepers, housing officers, neighbourhood wardens, and other council workers would be able to tap intelligence databases to find out about people in their borough, according to the Guardian.

Civil liberties groups will be raising the alarm over this one, no doubt, but Downtime is particularly concerned at the prospect of the local parkie on the prowl for kids flouting the rules of his manor armed with more than just the authority he can muster through his tone of voice.

"I said WALK the bicycle, 11-year-old Jimmy Smith, or that police caution you got last week could get a whole lot more serious."

Where will this end?


Now life reaches a new pitch in the classroom

A yob-busting alarm that uses ultra-high-frequency sound to drive teenage thugs from shopping centres is now being used by said thugs to create classroom ringtones that are inaudible to teachers.

It means that techno-savvy school kids are not only getting away with using mobile phones in class, but also presumably making life uncomfortable for those of their classmates that can't bear the sound.

All of which once again gives Downtime cause to rejoice that its schooldays came before the arrival of our oh-so-essential mobile friends.


Fancy buying the dearest house in US history?

Bill Gates may be the world's richest man, but he clearly isn't the only software tycoon in California with a dime or two to rub together.

Last week it came to Downtime's attention that the rather less-well-known Frank Pritt - who recently sold his company, Attachmate, to private investors - has put his house up for sale in the state's Orange County for a cool £40m.

Now, Pritt - or Frank-O to his friends - clearly lives in a nice house that Downtime, for one, would be more than happy with, but the signs are that it is an optimistic price tag. If he got the asking price, it would make it the most expensive piece of real estate in US history.

Local estates agents are up in arms over the sum Frank-O is after. "It's ridiculous," fumed one. "My personal opinion is that it is an ego trip."

Frank-O, however, is sticking to his guns for now - and probably smirking as he racks up acres of free media coverage.

So here's some more, Frank: any buyers among CW readers?


Forget the job, it's the office party that counts

Back in Blighty, meanwhile, it sounds like another technology tycoon has settled on another way to get through his stash.

Andrew Michael has sold his Fasthosts web hosting company to a German internet service provider for £61.5m, but intends to stay on with the business and continue to throw staff parties at the more lavish end of the spectrum.

The 26-year-old claims he now has "more money than I know what to do with," but Downtime reckons he is doing himself a disservice, given his office-party wheeze.

Last year's party would surely have put him in his staff's good books for more than a few days. At a cost of £600,000, he treated his 200 employees and their spouses to a night out presided over by Jonathan Ross, complete with music from the Darkness.

And there was no "cash-bar" penny-pinching either. Free Cristal champagne was flowing all night, as well as vintage wines and fine sprits. Michael has set out to top it all this year, despite selling the firm. "I am looking forward to next Christmas", he said. "Five decent parties and [the money from the sale] will probably all be gone."

Fancy a job at Fasthosts? Now is surely the time to apply.

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