Heathrow starts biometric trial

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UK
Written by Chris Perver  
Tuesday, 05 December 2006 17:00

Terminal three at Heathrow Airport in London has begun a new biometric identification trial today. The miSense scanner was inaugurated by the Labour government's Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, and will provide travellers on participating flights with the ability to skip long check-in queues. miSense works on scanning the iris and finger print of travellers. 

Quote: "Immigration Minister Liam Byrne officially opened the miSense system at Heathrow's terminal three. "In an era of mass movement we can't secure our border effectively unless we deploy biometric technology much more widely than we do today," he told reporters. He said the technology was also crucial for monitoring the entry of foreign nationals into the country, helping to tackle illegal immigration and preventing the use of multiple identities.

A second trial scheme will also involve the use of RFID enabled identity cards. The trial will show how effective Britain's electronic passports and compulsory national identification card system will be. 

Quote: "Passengers will enjoy a speedier journey through the airport as a result, but Mr Byrne said the principal benefit would be increased security. He said: "It's really easy and I've enrolled today. But the reason that this kind of technology is important is not just because it helps travellers go through the system quicker but also because it makes the system more secure. We think it can be part of a much better system to protect identity. "We will next week make an announcement on our plans for ID cards and we want technology like this to plug into a national ID system."

I think it's absolutely ridiculous, that a government that was caught red-handed, knowingly approving counterfeit visas, even visas for people whose claims were clearly fraudulent (e.g. roof worker who had no legs), and then punished the man who brought the scandal to light, has the gall to even speak about "securing borders" and protecting identities. I believe the adoption of this system will not make us more secure, rather our identities will become easier to steal and our lives easier to control.

Quote: "A diplomat who exposed an immigration scandal that led to a minister's resignation was penalised last night for whistle-blowing. James Cameron, a manager in the visa and consular section of the British embassy in Romania, was given a final warning after a four-hour Foreign Office disciplinary hearing. He was also told he would not be promoted for three years and would receive no pay rise for a year. He was banned from returning to his post in Bucharest. Mr Cameron exposed abuses which led Beverley Hughes to quit as immigration minister." "The Foreign Office refused to comment on the penalty imposed on Mr Cameron. But a spokesman said that he would have the right to appeal."

If the Blair government can't even keep track of paper visas, how can we trust them with all our identities stored on a national computer? Welcome to Brave New Britain.

Source Reuters, Spy

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