Beginning March 27th, all domestic passengers passing through Heathrow’s terminal 5 will have their photograph and four fingerprints taken when they check in. Photographs will be checked against faces before boarding the aircraft and fingerprints will be taken again at this time.
Although the BAA says that the biometric data will be destroyed within 24 hours, the record of where a person is traveling will not be, leaving photographs and travel information to be mined by law enforcement agencies. The BAA says that the information will never be passed on to the police. That may be true now, but because the BAA insists that this information is necessary to catch terrorists and illegal immigrants, it is only a matter of time before this information will be required to be turned over to law enforcement agencies.
If you are going to destroy the fingerprints, what is the point of taking them in the first place? Surely, a photograph will suffice in checking to see if the person who checked in is, indeed, the same person getting on the plane.
International passengers will not be fingerprinted, as they must show a passport when they check in and before they board their flight.
So, international passengers do not need to be fingerprinted in the UK because their passport photo is good enough, but its own citizens have to give up more personally identifiable biometrics? Who thought that made sense?
The BAA had to see this coming, with their decision to allow domestic and international passengers to wander through the same terminal.
The controversial security measure is also set to be introduced at Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow’s Terminal 1, and many airline industry insiders believe fingerprinting could become universal at all UK airports within a few years.
Within the next few weeks BAA will announce plans for voluntary fingerprinting under a so-called “trusted traveller” scheme. Those willing to have their fingerprints and passport information stored would be able to bypass immigration queues by placing their finger on a scanner instead of waiting to have their passport checked.
Oh, I see. This is a scheme to get all citizens to give up their information and allow their biometrics to be stored as well. This is a brilliant scam to fool the people into bypassing privacy laws and give away their information gleefully.
One option could be to routinely check fingerprints against the criminal record database – a step which is currently only taken when immigration officers have a reason to be suspicious.
And there’s the rub. Become a “trusted traveler” or else you’ll be suspected of doing something criminal. It’s funny how none of this was necessary when the IRA was active.
With this new attitude, the terrorists have already won. Far too many people are allowing their governments to give them the allusion of security, while joyfully handing over their long standing freedoms.
Just imagine the carnage that is going to happen when all these people have to wait in even longer lines due to these new security measures and one or two suicide bombers waltz into the airport and blow themselves up.
These draconian measures are quickly turning me off to flying overseas. These new measures will see a drop in tourism to the UK. I will certainly rethink going to the UK again. Maybe I’ll take the train from Paris, until that’s included as well. The more countries that force biometrics mean the more countries I mentally tick off my list of places to visit.