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UK Police Implement Roadside Fingerprinting Tools 191

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the blood-and-urine-samples-next dept.
mormop writes to tell us the BBC is reporting that police in the UK have implemented a pilot program that allows officers to fingerprint drivers using a small handheld scanner connected to a database of approximately 6.5 million prints. From the article: "Officers promise prints will not be kept on file but concerns have been raised about civil liberties. [...] It is primarily aimed at motorists because banned or uninsured drivers often give false names, although pedestrians could also be asked to give prints if they are suspected to have committed an offence."
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UK Police Implement Roadside Fingerprinting Tools

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:38PM (#16953136) Journal
    from the blood-and-urine-samples-next dept.
    Of course, news of a dip-stick test was released two days ago [sciencedaily.com]. I imagine cops might be given authority to draw blood at the scene of a crime and use standard testing kits installed in their cars. Scary? Yeah, kind of--although I think probably cause would have to be very very high for this kind of invasion of privacy. Any lawyers out there know what the law (local or federal) says about forced blood & UA analysis?
    • Papers, please? More like DNA, please lolamirite?

      "Sir, it says here you have an elevated chance of alcoholism in your family. Please come with us."
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:49PM (#16953368) Homepage Journal
      Of course, news of a dip-stick test was released two days ago [sciencedaily.com]. I imagine cops might be given authority to draw blood at the scene of a crime and use standard testing kits installed in their cars. Scary? Yeah, kind of--although I think probably cause would have to be very very high for this kind of invasion of privacy. Any lawyers out there know what the law (local or federal) says about forced blood & UA analysis?


      Well, I'm no lawyer, but the courts have ruled time and time again that roadside breathalyser tests are legal. The basic idea is that you don't have to consent to a breathalyser test; however, the police equally don't have to let you go if they suspect you'd fail it. Essentially you are within your Constitutional right to refuse one, but the police are also within their authority to arrest you on the spot (since they have probable cause) and you'll have to explain yourself to the judge, while the cop tells that judge his estimation of whether or not you were impaired at the time you refused the breathalyser.

      I imagine that roadside "dip-sticking" and roadside fingerprinting would fall under the same category.

    • Only registered medical professionals can draw blood for tests (at least in Texas), peace officers and jailers cannot. You have to have a certain certification to do breathalizer tests, otherwise it can be brought up in court and have the charges possibly dismissed. When arrested for DWI, the officer can ask you for either a breath or blood test (at least in Texas, and my local city's police policy is to ask for both, but legally it isn't required to ask for both, only one of the officer's choosing). If
  • link? (Score:4, Funny)

    by zxnos (813588) <zxnoss@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:39PM (#16953148)
    will i get fingerprinted if i ask for link?
  • although pedestrians could also be asked to give prints if they are suspected to have committed an offence.

    In the US the police need "probable cause" but they usually just make that up if you object to a search or some other privacy infringing action.
    • "Intefering with an investigation" is pretty much against the law everywhere, regardless of how it's worded. Your objection is a crime in and of itself.
    • Re:Probable cause (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Who235 (959706) <{secretagentx9} {at} {cia.com}> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:57PM (#16953570)
      Yeah, but don't worry.
      Officers promise prints will not be kept on file

      See? They promise not to abuse their power, so it's all okey-dokey. They won't put all your information in a huge database and track your every move until the day you lie deep in the cold, cold ground and are no longer a threat.
      In the US the police need "probable cause" but they usually just make that up if you object to a search or some other privacy infringing action.

      Probable cause? What a quaint, old-fashioned notion! Today, if you really piss them off, they can just call you an enemy combatant and disappear your ass to Gitmo. You can talk to your extreme renditioner "Mr Smith" about probable cause all day long while he's making you think you're going to drown and hooking your nuts up to a car battery. Don't fret, though. If you haven't done anything wrong, then you don't have anything to worry about. Just sit back, relax, and watch your rights sail out the window like everyone else's while we band together to bring those big bad terrorists, immigrants, uninsured motorists, pedophiles, deadbeat dads, and jaywalkers to justice.

      Jebus, people. This is really getting out of control.

      • Re:Probable cause (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ElephanTS (624421) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @02:14PM (#16953940)
        Jebus, people. This is really getting out of control.

        I know. But like the frog slowly being brought to boil not enough people will get this until it is too late. Heck, it probably is too late already. I worry all the time about this and although the majority of people I know and work with agree to some extent nobody is really in a position to do anything about it. Who wants to stick their neck out and maybe get arrested and banned from travelling for instance?

        Conclusion: we're screwed and it will only get worse.

        PS: As a typical /. guy I love all the technology but if it's used to enslave mankind to the machine no amount of blue LEDs is gonna make up for it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Who235 (959706)
          Well, there is something we can do, but we have to do it together.

          People around here are (rightfully) always quoting the Constitution. Allow me to take a line or two from one of our other venerated documents.

          --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying it

        • You know, at first I was against it, but nobody told me about there being blue LEDs.
          Blue LEDs!
          Now I have to rethink my position...

      • by kilodelta (843627)
        In the United States the only way your prints are kept on file is if you commit a crime and are charged. Otherwise civil fingerprint checks only look to see if there is a hit, they don't store the prints.

        I know this because I have intimate knowledge of the system used.
        • Mine are on file here in Indiana because I have a permit to carry a firearm. Given Indiana's ability to effectively share any information at all with other states, or even between our own counties, I'm not too worried about it.
        • by DeadChobi (740395)
          Here in Washington they print Teachers so that they can do background checks. I have no doubt that they hold on to those prints in case we commit a crime.
        • Re:Probable cause (Score:4, Informative)

          by Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:40PM (#16956748)
          Of course that is what they said about DNA sampling in the UK. Then when they found out the police had been illegally storing a massive database, they just changed the law to make it legal. At that point with the obvious duplicity of the police I decided there and then I'd just refuse full stop to help them in any way. They will do the same with the fingerprint checker, I have no doubt of that.
        • by udderly (890305) *
          In the United States the only way your prints are kept on file is if you commit a crime and are charged.

          Just because you are charged doesn't mean that you committed a crime. The FBI keeps more than just crime-related prints: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAFIS [wikipedia.org]
    • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:59PM (#16953624) Homepage Journal
      They'll just invent some form of "implied consent" just like they do when you're driving a car.

      Eventually it's going to get to the point where just by walking out of your house in the morning, you're going to automatically "consent" to being fingerprinted, having your DNA sequenced, your retinas scanned, and your anus probed; and if you don't, they'll invent some sort of punishment for noncompliance. Or just Mace the hell out of you and do it anyway.

      Sure, they'll say, you don't have to consent -- you can just live inside your house 24/7. Just like, theoretically, you can walk everywhere instead of driving a car. By creating a totally impractical straw man, they allow you a "choice" to give up your rights, only without any other realistic option.
    • Here in the UK they have a number of 'cover all' charges. The one that was used against me was 'behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace'.

      Next morning, tired and battered from a night in the cells, are you going to accuse a police officer of lying or are you going to take 'being bound over to keep the peace' for the sake of a quiet life. Believe me, it's a no brainer when you're there.

  • by Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) <joshlindenmuth@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:41PM (#16953188) Journal
    Am I missing something (which is possible, since there's no article to reference), or are they spending a ton of money to solve a problem with a simple solution?

    Their rational is that "it is primarily aimed at motorists because banned or uninsured drivers often give false names". Isn't this what a Driver's License is for? Or do British not have licenses (or not require that drivers carry licenses)?

    If someone doesn't have a license, or any other form of photo identification, they probably shouldn't be driving. It sounds like it would be far cheaper (and less of a privacy concern) to haul in anybody driving without a valid photo ID, since these people are more likely to be uninsured or banned.

    Or if the thought of hauling in folks without IDs is unappealing (since many people just forget to carry IDs), police could just ask the person a few key questions (such as name, address, city, maybe some type of social security #), which would be in the police database. Then this could be cross referenced against the auto registration. Seems easy to verify that the individual is telling the truth using existing data without resorting to finger prints.

    Of course, you could have someone who stole their neighbors car + memorized their name/address/social, but this type of person would have probably created a good fake ID as well ... meaning they wouldn't have been caught by the finger printing method either.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      "since these people are more likely to be uninsured or banned. "
      not true at all.
      • by Otter (3800)
        Not saying you're wrong, but can you point to some evidence against his assertion, which seems to be self-evidently true?
    • by dave420 (699308) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:47PM (#16953322)
      We have drivers licenses, but we're not required to have it at any time. We are given a grace period in which to produce our details at your local Police station. Forcing everyone to have their ID at the same time will just turn all those who forget their IDs into criminals - as opposed to just those who lie when asked their details. "Papers, please!"
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by operagost (62405)
        I don't see how requiring proof that you are a licensed motor vehicle operator while operating a motor vehicle is a gestapo tactic. Requiring proof of identification when you are not operating a dangerous, fast moving piece of metal, certainly could be.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In Britain there is currently no need to carry any identification on you.

      If you are stopped by the Police whilst driving, you can be required to produce your documents (Driving Licence, Insurance & MOT) at a Police Station within seven days. Only newer Driving Licences have photographs.

      If you are stopped by the Police you will be asked your name, address and date of birth.
    • by IIH (33751) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @02:02PM (#16953696)

      Isn't this what a Driver's License is for? Or do British not have licenses (or not require that drivers carry licenses)?

      No, you aren't required to carry it with you, but are supposed to produce it on request within a certain number of days.

      However, it is clear to me that this is aimed at forcing the adoption of biometric ID cards (or more accurately the ID database behind it), just in smaller steps.

      1. First it will only be used for those without their licence on them. (for reasons given)
      2. Then it will be used to verify they are the person in the licence (pictures can be faked, gotta check your biometrics, sir).
      3. Then as a result of 1 and 2 above, they already have biometrics of most people on file, so the database is mostly complete.
      4. Biometric ID cards introduced (usual reasons given) - "not compulsary" you know)
      5. We have everyones's biometrics, so send them a card whether they requested it or not (we have the data, we're being nice and making it easy for them)
      6. Then, then most people have biometric id cards, make them a legal requirement (everyone has them, and it "stops crime/bad guys")
      7. Viola.

      In short this is step one of the "Barcode Britain" process.

      A parallel step is happening in 2008, where non-EU nationals in the UK will require an ID card to receive several services [bbc.co.uk], but eu people won't, but the obvious question is how will someone prove they are an eu nationals? Result - forcing people to get an ID card in order so they don't need to show ID card. Only a government can think that twisted!

    • Seems like the easier solution, and the far less creepy one, is just to hook the police cars up with terminals that communicate with the drivers-license database, including its photos.

      When you get pulled over, you'd either present your license, which they could then take back to their patrol car (or just note the number) and run into the system to find if it's suspended, or if you forgot your license, they could look you up based on name/address/DOB and using the photo attached to the record in the system,
      • by julesh (229690)
        Seems like the easier solution, and the far less creepy one, is just to hook the police cars up with terminals that communicate with the drivers-license database, including its photos.

        While all new issue drivers licenses in the UK are photocard licenses, this has only been the case for around six or seven years. Licenses issued prior to that don't have an associated photo, and there's no law requiring replacement of licenses over time. These two factors together effectively make such a database (even if o
      • They don't that.

        The idea is to fish for as many crimes as possible to increase their score. As we all know, arrests raise your rank on the server.
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)
      As other people have mentioned you have to have a driving licence, insurance, MOT in order to drive on the road but you do not have to have the documentation on you at all times. In most cases you will be asked to produce the relevant documents at a police station within 7 days if you're stopped.

      The problem the government says this system is addressing is that sometimes people lie about their identity and try to pretend they are someone else so there is no come back when they don't turn up at the station wi
    • r if the thought of hauling in folks without IDs is unappealing (since many people just forget to carry IDs), police could just ask the person a few key questions (such as name, address, city, maybe some type of social security #), which would be in the police database. Then this could be cross referenced against the auto registration. Seems easy to verify that the individual is telling the truth using existing data without resorting to finger prints.

      Umm, that's rather what they do now....

      COP: "Dispatch

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JimBobJoe (2758)
      If someone doesn't have a license, or any other form of photo identification, they probably shouldn't be driving.

      The UK only adopted a photo based driver's license in the last...8 years maybe? What's interesting about that is the photo was added because the European Union decided to standardize licenses with a photograph--time and time again, the British claimed that they had no need to have a photo based license and that their non-photo paper licenses worked just fine. (Unlike North American style non-pho
    • by kraut (2788)
      That would be far too cheap, sensible and low-tech for our beloved leader St. Anthony.

      Think about it, we're trying to address a simple problem: We'd like to ascertain, to a reasonable level of confidence, that people driving their cars a) have a valid license and b) valid insurance.

      Most other countries in the world solve this problem by saying that you need to carry your driving license and car papers when you drive, and show them when asked.

      In Britain, they give you seven days to show them at a police stat
    • you are not required to carry your licence in the UK, all documents you don't have with you, have to be produced within 7 days at a police station of your choice.

      However these days the police can check who owns the car who is insured to drive the car when the MOT expires when the road tax expires just by running the registration plate.

      they have access to all the necessary databases to do this, it's just not possible to "produce" a cover note for insurance or MOT as it was in the old days no matter who you
  • Should they consider using either a mouth swab or finger prick to get DNA from each motorist? Fingerprints are so 20th century.

    BTW - any progress on requiring mandatory dander and skin sampling from the cars interior as well as personal clothing to determine likely associations, so that a UK-wide personal interaction map? You know they've thought of it, but just haven't figured out the logistics for a full roll-out.
    • Mouth swabs and finger pricks are clumsy and unreliable methods of DNA collection, traffic cops aren't qualified to administer medical procedures. We need something more self-service. How about handing a pulled-over suspect an underwear catalogue and a cup, and ordering them to.. well, you know?
  • by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:42PM (#16953210) Journal
    • by julesh (229690)
      Officers will scan a vehicle's number plates using a special camera that checks if the car is subject to an offence, like being uninsured.

      Being insured is a state of the driver, not the vehicle. To imply that "not being on a database of cars that have been named by somebody as their primary vehicle when purchasing insurance" is equivalent to being "subject to an offence" is just wrong. This technique throws up a huge number of both false positives and false negatives.

      If the driver does not convince police
      • > Being insured is a state of the driver, not the vehicle. To imply that "not being on a database of cars that have been named
        > by somebody as their primary vehicle when purchasing insurance" is equivalent to being "subject to an offence" is just wrong.
        > This technique throws up a huge number of both false positives and false negatives.

        That may be true for insurance, but in the UK, every car is required to have "road tax" paid on it. The tax is paid on the car, not the driver. If the register
        • by julesh (229690)
          That may be true for insurance, but in the UK, every car is required to have "road tax" paid on it. The tax is paid on the car, not the driver. If the registered owner of the car has not paid roadtax and has not declared the car "off the road", then he is committing an offence - even if he has sold the car to someone else (and hasn't registered the transaction with the DVLA).

          True, but in this case there's no need to identify the driver, is there? So I don't see why fingerprinting the driver would be useful
      • Being insured is a state of the driver, not the vehicle.

        And siezure laws are worded very carefully because of that. You aren't guilty of not registering, the car is. And since it has no due process rights... yoink!
  • by DigitalRaptor (815681) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:43PM (#16953224) Homepage
    Privacy is a myth.

    I did a search a for a company I hadn't done business with in 10 years (no kidding) and visited their website for the first time ever and a week later their catalog showed up in the mail.

    Somehow they had the cookies and partnerships to identify me and send me a catalog in my name.

    If that's the extent of privacy anyway, then I have no problem with people being stopped with reason being required to give fingerprints. In fact, I think the same should be required on any flight entering or leaving the country, if it isn't already. And those should be stored.

  • Officers promise prints will not be kept on file

    Oh. Well. That's OK then. (glazed happy stare)

    Wait. Why is my tail all bushy? Spidey sense tingling.

  • function-creep (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brainburger (792239) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:50PM (#16953396)
    Hmmm this isn't good. I wonder if they will simply record the prints for checking against a db later, or if they have wireless abilities to check for a match at the scene? If they don't then they soon will.
    That technology would be very likely to be subject to function-creep. I could imagine a lot of situations where it might be argued that on-the-spot print-matching would protect 'us', from age-checks when buying alcohol, to entitlement to emergency medical care, and more.
    I am afraid that way too many people will cheerfully abandon privacy if they think it will save them in tax.
    Not that I am paranoid, or anything.
    • I am about to be told-off for not RTFA (they do have a db available) - sorry about this but I am in the middle of something else at work. My main point of function-creep still stands.
    • > I wonder if they will simply record the prints for checking against a db later, or if they have wireless abilities to check for a match at the scene?

      The wireless check takes a few minutes and is conducted at the scene, from TFA.

      > to entitlement to emergency medical care

      Much as I deplore the current big-brother creep in UK society, I don't thing we're anywhere, anywhere near denying emergency medical care to anyone.
  • by cucucu (953756) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:52PM (#16953442)
    I think the privacy game will soon be over, and the winner will be your government.

    It is only a matter of time until a suitable technology arises that can accurately verify identities in a non intrusive way.
    For example:
    • Using advanced optics and image recognition to do retina recognition from afar
    • Recognizing your bone structure from afar - without radiation.


    Everybody knows that the one who does the technological breakthrough will be very rich - it is only a matter of time. Then we human beings will be exactly like cars- with an (invisible) license plate.
    • I think the privacy game will soon be over, and the winner will be your government.

      The privacy game ended years ago as far as junk mail goes. No matter how many times I move house I still get junk mail addressed to me...
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      I read a story (By Zelazny, I think) some years back about a society that had accomplished the goal of being able to identify everyone using a big computer system. Everything about the person was recorded in the system. The hero of the story had a backdoor into the system so that he could change his data and assume any identity he wanted to. Since the computer was "infallable" no one every questioned his identity, perfect for the undercover work that he did.

      We're getting closer and closer to such systems

  • On the good side,
    Once we have a completely transparent society of where everyone goes and what everyone does, perhaps it will be more difficult for a lot of fun behavior to be outlawed.
    In the past, everyone did stuff (adultery -- 50% of men AND women by the 7th year of marriage) but pretended it didn't happen and was a bad thing.
    In the new future, your life will be an open book.
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Yeah, but would you WANT anyone to know you'd laid another slashdotter??

      Or worse, that you didn't get laid at all??

      No, reverse that...

      • Well... as the old saying goes,

        Even bad sex is pretty good.

        And I imagine most slashdotters, being geeky, have read Donald Hick's (which I first got by bit-torrent in a collection of 137 other similar books on technique) outstanding work on the g-spot and other similar excellent books*.

        One would hope more than average of them are pretty open-minded and have active fantasy lives too.
        Not so sure about the hygiene part tho.

        ---
        * The top two books I got through BT in the last 3 years resulted in a mind-blowing mu
        • by Reziac (43301) *
          Outside my area of interest, but would appear to show that pleasure is largely related to self-control and anticipation, rather than just barging right on through. Probably a good general philosophy at that.

          Remember, if you smoke after sex, you're doing it too fast. :)

  • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot@exit0.COMMAus minus punct> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:53PM (#16953472) Homepage
    In the UK they have or will have:
    • 360 helmet cams for police.
    • RFID tags in department stores
    • Video surveillance on most streets
    • "Smart" passports
    • and now this

    There also was that street fee thing, but I forget what that was all about. Sounds like the beginnings of a police state to me.

    • by joe 155 (937621)
      that doesn't make it a police state... lets see

      "360 helmet cams for police."
      This will make it easier to record people who actually are committing crimes as well as stopping the police from doing illegal searches or tasering people (because all the evidence of their acts will be there for the court to see). Police state? no.

      "RFID tags in department stores"
      That they remove when you buy the product - it stops theft and causes no problems for anyone else. Police state? no.

      "Video surveillance on mo
  • I bet mandatory ID cards don't sound like such a bad idea now...
    • by zxnos (813588)
      switching one intrusion for another doesnt sound like a good idea to me.
      • I still don't get it why people think having to carry a photo ID with you is such an intrusion. No, it's not a fundamental human right to remain anonymous. As the article says, people do give false names to the police. "The state" is what *you* make it - in an ideal world, everyone would just behave and none of these things, be it fingerprinting or ID cards, would be necessary. But we don't live in that kind of world and I'd rather just quickly show my photo ID than go through the process of fingerprinting
        • by zxnos (813588)
          if i am in my home country i shouldnt have to prove my identity. that should be done when leaving and coming back.
    • >>I bet mandatory ID cards don't sound like such a bad idea now...
      I guess someone in the government must be waiting for the people to say something like this. I feel it is just a tactic to push for the proposed national ID card in UK. Maybe embedding a IC tag to the back of the head of everyone (like pets) does not seem to be a very far-fetching idea....

  • by geekoid (135745)
    use fingerprints for everything, then when databases start geting comprimized, they will relized it won't work and give up.

    • by cHALiTO (101461)
      Usually these kind of devices only take 2 fingers's images (both indexes), analyze the image and only keep the position and relation of the minutiae in a vector-ish format, which can't be used to reproduce the original print and can't be used to compare to latent prints lifted from a crime scene. It is only used to identify or authenticate a person's identity.
      Here they use them in a different way. Each week or so, a list of wanted criminals (that is, with a search order released by a judge), is updated, an
  • although pedestrians could also be asked to give prints if they are suspected to have committed an offence.

    Last time I checked, standard procedure with pedestrians etc was to bring them in to the police off, then - if need be - fingerprint them. What's the benefit in most cases of doing so on-scene?
    • by Si (9816)
      It's a hellalot quicker to fp everyone you meet than to haul them in to the station. Not suggesting just everyone /would/ be fingerprinted, of course, at least not in the beginning.
      • by phorm (591458)
        Of course it's quicker. The question is, why would you need to FP them quicker? If they're a suspect, and worthy of printing, chances are you're going to need some time to check into them, ask some questions, etc.
  • Typical (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaknet (944488) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:55PM (#16953512)
    I submitted this 6 hours before this one was sumbitted.... but because scuttlemonkey is a regular submitter mine gets binned and it included the link to the BBC story as well.

    Yes I know I'm going to get modded down.... but as it seems to be only the favourites here who are allowed to submit... sod it.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:58PM (#16953602) Homepage Journal
    They say " pedestrians could also be asked to give prints if they are suspected to have committed an offence".

    Considering that anyone can be suspected of anything, this opens the gates for totally random fingerprinting in the street. We already have random checks and detentions for the flimsiest of reasons. Consider the 34 year old woman labeled a terrorist for walking along a cycle path [timesonline.co.uk], the stopping and searching of an 11 year old girl near an RAF base, "the detention of a 21 year old student for taking pictures of the M3 motorway for a web-design company", the ejection [bbc.co.uk] of an 82 year old man at the 2005 Labour Party conference, and the detention of an 80-year-old man carrying an anti-Blair placard, for example [209.85.135.104]. If you refuse, the precedents set by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Terrorism Act 2000, and Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 would ensure it unlikely you'd get off scott-free but instead become more of a suspect.

    Still, I'm not going to do anything about it other than complain about it online, as is my wont. In another 50 years when I'm eating my Soylent Green in my 29th-floor bugged apartment, I can pull out ruffled print-outs of Web pages like these, and think back to a time when at least my bowel movements weren't RFID tagged and scanned for prohibited substances.

    Basically, the British government is corrupt to the core and bordering on fascist. But.. what government isn't these days?
  • by MaWeiTao (908546)
    People like to go on about the US turning into some sort of police state despite the fact that there haven't really been open moves in that direction. What's the worst Americans have seen? More thorough searches at airports? There are too many who vehemently and vocally oppose that sort of thing for it to gain real traction. Interestingly, it seems to be Europe where we're seeing burgeoning police states. Case in point: the United Kingdom.

    I think part of the problem is that the socialist governments of Euro
  • If they don't retain fingerprint data, just what exactly are they matching the drivers' fingerprints to?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IIH (33751)

      If they don't retain fingerprint data, just what exactly are they matching the drivers' fingerprints to?

      If they don't have your print, they can't check it's you, but they can run it against ever fingerprint every taken (about 6.5m at the moment) and if you are unluckly enough to match someone who has committed a crime, you're toasted until you can prove you're not them (at which stage why not put your unique prints so this doesn't happen again, sir?

      The article says it's 95% accurate, so if your prints

      • As you point out you're likely to get a near match with many fingerprints in the national crimes database. However what is not likely is that you'll also match the general description of the criminal for an outstanding unsolved crime ... also I imagine the police will need more than just a near-match of an index print to haul you in. You might get a Mondeo or Ford Transit parked outside your house for a day or two though!

    • Already known criminals. The objective is not to determine who you are, but to determine whether you are a known criminal.

      Of course, being as you get your DNA and fingerprints taken for simply being arrested (not charged), thousands of innocent people are already on the criminal database.
    • If you're arrested, your prints and DNA are recorded and go on the database permanently. Even if you're never charged, the charges are dropped or you're found innocent in court, there's no way to be removed unless it's subsequently proven that *no crime had ever taken place*.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/26/dna_databa se_removal/ [theregister.co.uk]
  • ... just like in Gattaca.
  • by hogghogg (791053) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @03:24PM (#16955400) Homepage Journal

    Although I think a fingerprint can be used to distinguish among a small number of people, it has never been demonstrated, to my knowledge, to be useable to locate a person in a multi-million-person database. The US and UK pretend to have this capability, but I don't think it has ever been demonstrated in a public (much less peer-reviewed, double-blind) test. If I am wrong, please reply to this with references.

    Routine, un-targeted fingerprinting of this kind is a method for scaring people, not catching people.

  • by MtlDty (711230) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @03:46PM (#16955850)
    The best part about this is that if you refuse the roadside test, they can arrest you, take you back to the station and get your FULL fingerprints (rather than the index finger only that the roadside test takes).

    I find it pretty disgusting that the first time we hear of the system its already out there and ready to be used. What happened to discussing these things, getting opinions, considering the implications. Or dare I say was it rushed out to avoid exactly those kinds of questions.
  • by Garry Anderson (194949) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @08:19PM (#16959562) Homepage
    Quote: "The portable gadgets - similar to a pocket PC and linked to a database of 6.5m prints - will enable officers to identify suspects within minutes".

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6170070.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    Well, like I always said - you can be identified with a remote device - the carrying of ID cards is a Red Herring.

    You always carry your biometrics with you.

    Our UK government will have effectively branded you with a unique number - like the Nazi's did to the Jews at Auschwitz.

    Rather than being identified by a tattoo on arm - you will be identified with a scanner - like an animal that has been 'chipped'.

    In their usual devious way - government will say it is because they 'care' for the safety of the public - when we know ID cards would not have stopped London bombing - nor did they stop Madrid.

    This from a UK government that helped force their corrupt form of US friendly 'democracy' on Iraqi people - our government are no more than dictatorial authoritarian fascist reactionaries themselves.

    This is not the sort of 'caring' that true democratic governments would want - one which keeps record of movements and associations of individual members of public - with no privacy.

    As to the ID system itself:

    With computing power doubling every year (and software/firmware enhancements) this identification will get down to seconds when National ID Surveillance System is compulsively introduced - even though database will increase ten-fold.

    Even with current technology - using 1 finger it will correctly identify 19 out of 20 people (95%) - with 2 fingers it will increase accuracy to 19.95 out of 20 (i.e. correctly identifying 19 with no match out of 20 - or 99.75%) - with 3 fingers this will be near 100% accuracy.

    NB: iris and 1 finger scan will produce similar accurate result.

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