Terminal 5 Fingerprinting


Lantern Swinger
Just received this from a friend offshore, makes interseting reading:

Terminal 5 opening hit by privacy and legal concerns over the use of fingerprinting system for identification of passengers.

Opening day at Heathrow's shiny new Terminal 5 has been marred by privacy concerns, as operator BAA has delayed the use of fingerprinting for security checks following concerns about the privacy and even legality of the identification technique.
The fingerprinting system came under fire after lobby group Privacy International filed a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) earlier this month, saying the solution was "disproportionately intrusive" and suggesting it was designed to boost passengers' exposure to retail opportunities in the new Terminal 5.
"To diminish privacy rights in order to achieve greater sales revenue is a disquieting development in the evolution of thinking with regard to data protection," the complaint read.
BAA has now agreed to temporarily delay the system, pending further discussions. In a statement, the operator said: "Following a meeting with all relevant parties, including the Information Commissioner and the Border and Immigration Agency, the introduction of fingerprinting for domestic passengers and international passengers transferring on to domestic flights at Heathrow will be temporarily delayed."
From the first British Airway's flight taking off from Terminal Five to Paris this morning, passengers will only have had to prove their identity using an already installed photo system.
BAA added: "We will be working closely with the Information Commissioner and the Home Office over the next few weeks to agree the best approach going forward."
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the ICO said it had contacted BAA about the fingerprinting plans. "We have concerns about the routine collection of fingerprint information from passengers and we will require reassurance from BAA that the data protection implications of the proposals have been fully addressed. We will be weighing up the security benefits of the scheme against the impact on privacy and asking what other, less intrusive alternatives have been considered.

The spokesperson added: "As organisations collect more and more personal data the greater the potential risks to individuals. It is essential that before introducing new systems and technologies, which could accelerate the growth of a surveillance society, full consideration is given to minimising the impact on privacy and that data protection safeguards are in place to limit any risks."
Privacy International's director Simon Davies celebrated the delay. "So much for BAA's brash certainty about the legality of fingerprinting," he said in a statement. "BAA has clearly taken legal advice and concluded that it is acting unlawfully. We predict that this illegal system will never again see the light of day. Within a few weeks BAA will be flogging the technology to Beijing for the Olympics."
While Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, told the Times newspaper that he welcomed the move to scuttle the "intrusive plans", he added: "It is disappointing, however, that the Information Commissioner had to question the legality of this invasive process before BAA agreed to drop it."
Last year, the people behind the £4.3 billion new terminal said that IT would help, not hinder, how it ran.
Diesel2 said:
We've been using it for a couple of years in Hong Kong so what's the problem.

Also Immigration takes about 3 minutes :w00t:
Ah, but that's HK - they probably don't have racist preachers and would be/actual terrorists claiming benefits ..!!

The problem we have here is:

a. that there is a bankrupt (almost) foreign construction company running a major airport, and:

b. an airline that thinks it is fire proof (Hang on! - it is backed by a corrupt, inept, trough snuffling (b***ocks to the tax paying public) sleazy government, so it probably is fireproof !!) and:

c. who couldn't give a toss for the travelling public, as long as they have shops to squeeze the money out of the same travelling public !

Fingerprints, taking photos will not make that airport run any smoother or more comfortable for the travellers. Being responsible is ( and noticeably the two top men of BA appeared to disappear when the going got tough)

And it will not improve when this government forces through Terminal 6 either !

I would like to say, that fortunately I don't use LHR, but LGW and Luton are just as bad and ineptly run by the same company.

I had the misfortune of being one of 4 flights going out of one desk on my last holiday to Spain - strangely enough, on the return flight, there were 6 aircraft and 6 desks -- but then this same construction company doesn't run that Spanish airport - I wonder why ?


Lantern Swinger
The point is it's unnecessary. Israeli airline El Al have always had their own separate security checks; very thorough and not involving crap like this.

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