Disillusioned Discordian


Biometric Fingerprinting at Terminal 5 put on hold
March 27, 2008, 9:59 am
Filed under: ID Cards / Surveillance

The information commissioner’s Office (ICO) has successfully put the planned biometric fingerprinting scheme at the new Heathrow Terminal five (sorry T5) on hold. The scheme was meant to be a shinning example of new biometric security measures, in line with the current moves within the EU to collect this information on all travellers. The technology itself has some serious flaws in that it is relatively easy to fool the scanners by creating a fake print from products you could by in a local iron mongers. It also seems to be a step too far for most people, in terms of an unwanted intrusion into our private lives. There is something very personal about giving over such data, that effects people on a psychological level that goes beyond the rational arguments against this level of state surveillance.

The ICO is the thin red line protecting the citizens against the state and perhaps more worrying private companies intrusion into our private lives. BAA is stating that the scheme is on hold. They might be able to persuade the ICO to let the scheme go ahead if the data collected is destroyed promptly with proper safe guards. Unfortunately once this kind of systematic collection has started, it’s only a very short matter of time before various agencies start requesting access to it, or requesting it is placed on file for future use. We are not just talking about the usual suspects of Interpol, the Police, Immigration control and MI5, but also hundreds of other governmental and quasi-governmental agencies. How long before the local Job Office starts asking for details on passengers passing through the terminal in order to track down benefit frauds going on holiday?

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