back to article ICO queries Heathrow T5's huge fingerprint scam scan

The government, the British Airports Authority and the Information Commissioner's Office are arguing over fingerprinting at Heathrow's new Terminal 5, which is due to open on Thursday. T5 is to use a 'count them all in, count them all out' biometric system to log entry and exit to the departure lounge, but the ICO thinks the …


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  1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Quite possibly the stupidest idea I've ever heard!

    Putting international and domestic flights through the same departure lounge? WHAT?!? What bright spark thought that would be a good idea? Bet it was the architect, you know; he probably thought "open and airy! Security? Who cares? It's art!"

  2. Dermot Bradley
    Thumb Down

    been in place at T1 for several months

    This fingerprint system is not completely new - it was implemented at T1 a few months ago so now if you arrive at T2/T3/T4 and then go via the Flight Connections Centre at T1 and are going on to domestic departures at T1 then you have your digital photo and 4 fingerprints taken. The reason for this is that the T1 shops are now open to domestic passengers as well as internationals.

  3. David Cherry

    This will cause problems for the Gov's stats

    since, if you come into the country it is counted by family units (no matter how many are in the family they are counted as 1 unit), however when they leave the country they are counted as individuals. Thus a family of 4 are counted as 1 on the way in and 4 on the way out

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    i think you missed the bit in paragraph 6...

    ...From BAA's point of view having all of the passengers in one huge retail complex is good for business...

    As usual it's most likely money that's the reason for all this rubbish. I think it's a stupid idea too, But then, I also very much dislike the fact that airports are turning into one big shopping 'experience', as we're apparently all sheep, and these days any idle time should obviously be spend shopping.

    Still, I refuse to deal with biometric stuff like this, so I won't be traveling from T5... their loss.

  5. MJ
    Black Helicopters

    So what are my options?

    I'm supposed to be flying out of T5 on Friday - what are my options if I don't want to give up my prints (on principle) other than not flying?

    Can I request a security escort to the gate, thereby bypassing their precious shops?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Graham Dawson

    More likely the culprit will be BAA who regard the whole airplane malarkey as getting in the way of turning airports into shopping malls.

    Haven't you noticed that the ever-earlier time you need to turn up at the airport and the curious absence of seating in the departure lounge leaves you all the more time to mooch around BAA's crappy, overpriced shops?

  7. alain williams Silver badge

    Festure creap

    How long before MI5 demands a copy of the fingerprint data - just as they are now demanding a copy of travel logging data collected by London's Oyster cards.

    George Orwell was wrong - he put the date of his novel 25 years too early.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets forge fingerprints

    It should be pretty easy to print fingerprints in plastic on those 3D prototyping printers.

    Because everyone has an excuse to take fingerprints, it makes it easy to collect the fingerprint information needed to copy it (e.g. Disney takes fingerprints, now BAA, the ID card will have it so any retailer/bank etc. will be able to take the fingerprints to 'confirm' identity).

    You could get Tony Blairs, or Blunkett's since it was his brain tsunami that started it. Start handing out fake Blunkett fingerprint moulds at high crime areas....

    Suddenly fingerprints as a means of identifying someone becomes worthless and this nonsense stops.

  9. Max Watson


    Fingerprints are not that big of a deal. As long as they keep to within the data protection act, then the data will only be held for a short while. I would much rather my fingerprint was taken than a photograph.

  10. Beezle Bob
    Black Helicopters

    Distorted skewed priorities

    Profit is the primary motivator for BAA shareholders and everything else is a hindrance to realise any such profit, including security.

    T5 is a perfect example of how BAA misuses 'security' as means to increase footfall for the benefit of the retailers, of which BAA takes quite a large cut from every sale.

    Dispatches on Channel Four discussed this not so long ago.

    See also:

    BAA is not even a British company - 85% of it (or there abouts) is owned by Ferrovial - a Spanish company.

  11. Nomen Publicus

    ME? Paranoid?

    Roughly 10% of the population have indistinct fingerprint for various reasons. How are they going to be processed? Photographs? If so then what we are seeing is a deliberate attempt to make the use of fingerprint identification commonplace.

    The government is desperate to show a working example of fingerprint identification outside very high security areas. An airport is a perfect testing ground. Will the population accept fingerprint identification if we claim it will prevent terrorism?

    But what happens when there is an error and at the end of the day the database claims that there are people in the terminal who have been there for days? This should trigger a closure of the building and a complete security search. It will be interesting to see if this ever happens.

  12. Absolute Cynic


    So. They want to prevent an international passenger swapping boarding cards with a domestic passenger. Em.. every international passenger has a passport with a photograph. If the photo doesn't match the passenger or the name on the passport isn't the name on the boarding card then they are caught!

    What is the problem.

  13. Dave

    Skip the fingerprints and the shopping

    For those of us who don't want to provide fingerprints, how about a room with seats and toilet facilities and no shops? I've already made a mental note to avoid T5 and any airline using it.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Re Fingerprints - Max

    'Fingerprints are not that big of a deal. As long as they keep to within the data protection act, then the data will only be held for a short while.'

    Wake up !! Why do people quoting arguments such as these never see the bigger picture or further down the line. We are not suddenly going to hit '1984'. When it does come It will be slowly and rely on people not bothered or willing to look ahead at the possibilties it makes available to any future goverment agency....

    Creeping surveillance is insidious and it’s happening all the time. TV Cameras, Biometric cards, School children ID's and now mass fingerprinting. How long before your caring government forces all fingerprint data on International passengers are kept for ‘Terrorist security reasons’. Then before you know it they will be keeping it all. And wouldn't the general law enforcement just love access to all those millions of prints.....Don't believe it will happen?? Think again.

  15. Nev
    Black Helicopters

    This is a plot...

    ... they've asked BAA to introduce a ludicrous security system so that they can then turn around and come up with a another one of their ID card excuses:

    "The public need ID cards so that we can differentiate between domestic and international passengers at modern mixed airport terminals."

  16. Richard Silver badge

    How about they use some really effective and efficient facial recognition software.

    One that comes equipped with binocular vision, auditory confirmation system and often a nice smile.

    It's called a "Human".

    Taking a photograph is actually *far* more effective than a digital fingerprint, much harder to get wrong and works for 100% of passengers.

    Fingerprints can't be done on many people - such as those who don't have hands!

    Many other people have poor fingerprints for various reasons.

    Also, consider this:

    Person enters terminal, has fingerprint taken. They go to coffee shop, and buy a coffee.

    The coffee is too hot, and slightly burns their fingers - no big deal.

    Person then goes to boarding gate, and their fingerprints don't match!

    It is extremely easy to accidentally change your fingerprints temporarily.

    As passengers only spend a few hours in the terminal building, any slight changes won't have time to disappear.

    Finally - taking fingerprints takes a long time. Usually much more than fifteen seconds:

    1: Boarding card?

    2: Please put down your hand luggage and stick your finger on this.

    Taking a photograph takes under a second:

    1: Boarding card?

    2: Please look here, thanks!

    The comparison system is similarly slow:

    1: Boarding card?

    2: Please put down your hand luggage and stick your finger on this.

    3: Computer says ***

    as opposed to:

    1: Boarding card?

    2: Hello Mr/Mrs XYZ, welcome to blah.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Culs...exactly what do they mean?

    You do realise, of course, that cul means arse in French? I think there might be something being said here...


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ac... disney now take fingerprints..

    Actually, Disney does not take fingerprints....

    What they do is take a bunch of measurements from first and second digits.... convert the measurements to a unique number, and then attach that number to your park ticket. Next time you use the park, it checks the number against the measurements of that day.... if they are different, they don’t let you in until you prove you are the person named on the ticket. I.e. your passport or driving licence.

    It’s to stop you passing your ticket on to someone else to use the next day while you go to sea world......

    i think you have seen 'A Cab Heretic Monk Slot Ply'

  19. Barrie Shepherd


    What's the bet that (soon) there will be a high speed link to the Police National Computer generating automatic emails to Plod "Bank robber Freddy Blaster Vaults is on Flight TNT001 to Switzerland"

    Or more serious emails back "This passenger has not paid their speeding fines - prevent entry until fine paid at boarder"

    Whole thing is too much but we can not stop it, just as schools got away with fingerprinting pupils.

    Very soon we will have the ID chip inserted at birth.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Culs ?

    French-speaking passengers will note how fitting the "CULS" acronym is.

    A special thought therefore, for distracted passengers being forcibly stripped naked and patted by zealous male security personnel in search of verboten milliliters of fluids and who may start to wonder what "CUL facilities" really mean...

  21. Jeff Deacon
    Paris Hilton

    Just like 'Elf n Safety before it

    Over the past decade or so people have been getting their way with ludicrous things by pleading "'Elf n Safety". Because of course no one would argue in favour of imposing danger on people, now would they? That has clearly run its course, as even the HSE are now trying to "debunk the myths". [ ].

    So governments have been ramping up the fear factor. It doesn't matter what we are afraid of, just so long as we are afraid, very afraid. [ ] "Security" and "Terrorism" are now the words that enable. Clearly they are confident that stealing what remains of our civil liberties will be so much easier if we are constantly afraid.

    As the Information Commissioner's Office is deliberately underfunded by the government, perhaps we should start a public subscription to ensure that their office has sufficient resources to do for "Security" and "Terrorism" what the HSE are doing for "Elf n Safety".

    Paris. Because she knows how to handle the members of the ruling elite.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Poor explanation

    Strange how other airports (e.g. Munich) can apparently mix domestic and international without needing photos or fingerprints.

    They seem to manage this by having the security (passport) check between the international gates and the rest of the gates, shops etc. which you have to pass through if you want to go to or from the international gates to anywhere else. The rest of the security apparatus is shared by all gates.

    So there's one set of security search on entry, one big shopping area before the gates, and the gate area is nice and open. If it wasn't for the glass barriers between the international and domestic gate zones you'd think it was all one area.

    So this move by BAA seems to be purely based on their inability to implement a modern airport layout, even with existing templates to follow.

    The current advise is that this scheme is apparently illegal, that you should refuse to provide fingerprints, and should take a picture of any member of staff attempting to make you give your fingerprints.

    I won't be providing my prints. Partially because I avoid BA and their joke of a service (so won't be going through T5), and partially because my prints don't register particularly well any more; too much wear & tear in the workplace - at least that's the excuse...

  23. kain preacher


    atleast the US is only doing that to those nasty fornigers . Oh wait its a stupid idea in the name of security. Damn you brits. Last thing my gov needs help with , is more stupid Ideas

  24. Aubry Thonon

    Bilingual joke...

    "...Common User Lounge System was developed by Advantage System Solutions..."

    So.... CULS was developed by ASS. Am I the only Francophone to see the horrendous in-joke inherent in these acronyms? (no "cunning linguist" jokes, please).

  25. Anonymous Coward

    It's to keep out the homeless


    The shops don't need fingerprints to separate domestic from international travelers. A place like Newark mixes everyone behind a single security checkpoint without needing to resort to these measures. If you can't show an international flight boarding pass, you're not getting anything tax free. And whatever you buy tax free gets handed to you on board of the plane, so don't bother borrowing someone else's pass.

  26. Jason Law

    Shoe scanners

    I have never bought anything in a BAA "sky-mall" and I never will. It annoys me immensely at Heathrow T1 when after the bloody stupid shoe scanner there are precisely 4 seats for people to sit down on while they put their shoes back on, which you have to do instead whilst hopping on one foot in a perfume shop.

  27. Andrew


    If a fingerprint is the most robust method and a photo not good enough, then why was a photo only method chosen for the new e-passports? Will we soon have to replace our new and expensive e-passport with an even more expensive, now-with-fingerprints version?

  28. Gwyn Kemp-Philp

    Bilingual joke...

    Hmmm. I always thought CULS and Air-port were alternative terms for the same place - where the sum don't shine.

    Seems I may have been right, Perfect for Government intervention.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Ministers rush in where angels fear to tread.

    Airports have a certain porousness to them. People instinctively understand that lots of people move through the airport and so "security is harder to maintain".

    Little wonder then that the Government has picked on airports (where some of those oh so sneaky immigrants get in) to force new ID measures.

    Somewhat like their pitiful excuse for "ID cards to be introduced in airports first". Because, as we all know, at the moment there's no security in airports and whereas council workers all walk around with ID cards in clear holders around their necks, this technology has not caught on at all in airports so we should be grateful for the government coming to the nations rescue by forcing ID cards to be used.

  30. Dave


    At Stansted the lounge is shared between domestic and international passengers and they seem to cope quite well. All the domestic flights leave from a particular gate area and there's a check on entry to that area. Such precautions ought to work just as well at T5 if they've designed it with any degree of sense. Ah yes, that's the flaw in my statement...

  31. JohnG
    Thumb Down

    Frankfurt have this sort of mixed departure lounge scheme...

    ...with the effect that they have resorted to stopping some flights in an isolated bit of the airport, instead of the designated gate and the immigration people come on board and start their checks there. I experienced this twice coming back from Ukraine and because a bunch of people without visas were on the flight, everyone else started complaining about being held up.

    The whole concept of mixing international and domestic departure areas is stupid.

    Even more daft at Frankfurt, it used to be possible (a few years ago) to get on the monorail between the two terminals from a non-checked-in area and get out in an international departure lounge, without ever showing anyone a passport or having bags checked.

    One would have thought that, when buying an airport terminal, there might be some essential security requirements and that these should take precedence over aesthetics and future retail opportunities.

  32. Wayland Sothcott

    Why finger 'prints'?

    Hands have a back and a front. The thing about a print is that you leave them on things you touch. Which means that they are used for catching theves.

    The back of your hand cannot be used for catching theves, maybe the scanners could use that as ID? Similarly for retinal scan. However facial scan could get you nicked because you leave an image of your face at a crime scene on camera and in peoples memorys.

    So if you're not a criminal why the worry about fingerprints?

    We are all criminals, it's just we have not been caught. So many things are illegal these days that we all break the laws. However so far the practical test is the "Norman Stanlely Fletcher" if they don't catch you then you an't done nofin' wrong. They want to build Titan prisons to hold all the newly caught criminals.

    I am sure in the near future the police will argue that a feed from these machines will be "an indispensable investigative tool".

  33. ED Stroudley

    Spanish practices

    "BAA is not even a British company - 85% of it (or there abouts) is owned by Ferrovial - a Spanish company."

    Corect ...up to a point Lord Copper. Ferrovial is a PRIVATE company owned by a family who have a fine pedigree going back to supporting Mr Franco. Anti Union, in hock uip to the eyeballs.

    Ferrovial was started in 1952, under the times of Fascist Dictaor Franco , and it grew to prominence under Franco’s dictatorial government.The founder, Rafael del Pino, became one of the richest men in the world, with an estimated fortune of $5bn. He was very close to the regime and benefited from the state corporatist nature of the Spanish economy during the Franco years, is inconceivable that he could have achieved that wealth without the closest collaboration with the projects of the regime.

    The company has undertaken work in Libya and reputedly a great deal in Chile under Pinochet.

    The company owns 95% of UK construction group Amey and has a 50% stake in Bristol airport and owns Belfast City airport.

    Nowadays Ferrovial is headed by del Pino’s son and namesake Rafael del Pino y Calvo-Sotelo (Born 1958) The family funds a powerful " charitable foundation "(Rafael Del Pino Foundation) dedicated to spreading the Spanish language and an intense right wing free market philosophy .

    They will have no hesitation in embracing a policy of fingerprinting - probably tattooing a number is more their style.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    hands and fingers knees and toes

    Fingerprint systems use images of ridge patterns on finger tips or hand palms. Biometric systems use live fingerprint scanners for fingerprint acquisition but people leave fingerprints on anything they touch. It is said that on average people leave 25 perfect fingerprints every day. There HAVE been cases of false fingerprint transfers to scenes-of-crime.

    Typically left and right thumbs and index fingers are used in fingerprint systems, the right index finger being the most popular finger used. Therefore most fingerprint-based biometric systems will in fact use the same fingers. Fingerprint biometrics are not secret because their traces are left all over the place. Fingerprints are potentially insecure as they are not revocable and their use in multiple systems can lead to problems with secrecy in case one copy of the biometric sample or characteristic "leaks"

    Attacks similar to dictionary attacks in the password world exist also in the biometric world, the biometric dictionary attacks will focus on more probable and weaker biometric references. Unlike in the password world, there is not much that the data subjects can do to improve the situation.

    Even in situations where only the template is stored (and not the raw biometric data) such templates can be misused to crossmatch several databases. It is necessary to understand that having access to the raw biometric data enables comparisons against any kind of template, as this is the inherent property of biometric templates. And all biometric systems need to process the raw data (which can, and have been, potentially misused).

    Which finger would you like to revoke ?? What will your fingerprint biometric be used for in 20 years time ?? Is 'duty-free' shopping worth compromising your future security ??

    one researcher suggests that those transiting Thiefrow Target 5, sorry Heathrow Terminal 5 , applies a thin layer of SUPERGLUE on one digit, and before it dries do some artistic swirls with a cocktail stick. This will legally perform the function of providing a unique but TEMPORARY token, should T5 need this, probably allowing you enough time to enplane, but decaying before the 'data is destroyed' in compliance with, well you know the score....

  35. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Fingerprint - already kept

    'Fingerprints are not that big of a deal. As long as they keep to within the data protection act, then the data will only be held for a short while.'

    My friends boss recently flew to South Africa from Birmingham. While he was there, all his luggage was stolen... passport, wallet, clothes, the lot. After spending 6-8 hours at the Embassy he got an emergency passport and flew back to Birmingham.

    He was then detained there for 4 hours while they tried to work out if he was who he said he was - despite the emergency passport. They eventually id'd him by matching his fingerprints (yes, Birmingham has fingerprint security tech too) with some taken when he flew out from Heathrow last year. So it would seem fingerprints are being kept for more than a few months already.

  36. Anonymous Coward


    Yes Andrew, the plan (sponsored by ICAO - international civil aviation organisation) was to have the current photo JPEG basic access controlled ePass replaced by <flash> 2009 </flash> the enhanced access controlled digitised fingerprint and JPEG ePass.

    Currently there has been a bit of a squabble about reciprocal state disclosure of master signing signatures which might be putting the date back a bit plus the exciting UK ID card philosophy, but some countries like Germany have already introduced the EAC ePass already. That'll be another hundred quid please and prepare your Iris for the *next* version of the ePass....

  37. Tim Williams
    Thumb Up

    This could save the planet

    Perhaps if we force fingerprinting onto every airport with a single departure lounge (or even domestic flights in general), people will be so put off the idea of using domestic flights that they'll take the train instead and stop using energy wasting short hop flights.

  38. James Anderson


    " how about a room with seats and toilet facilities and no shops? "

    Dave you obviously havent flown with Ryanair.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fingerprints not the most robust

    Well it looks like the BAA and BIA have shot themselves in the foot then. Facial recognition is not only recognised as being less intrusive than fingerprints it is also more robust. ICAO have agreed and set the specifications.

    It is very simple process to remove fingerprints (temporarily) and create a synthetic replacement which can be stuck on and will be read as normal. The same is not possible with facial recognition.

    The real reason is most likely to be that fingerprints are routinely collected for all persons interviewed by the police as a suspect, including drink dirvers. Individuals are not normally photographed until charged with a criminal offence

  40. Darren

    FFS - Data Protection Act

    Why are politicians hiding behind piddly little laws when it comes to tracking and combating terrorism??? Look at all this high-tech sh*t we just bought, but we can't use it because some bureaucrat thinks it will infringe the human rights of some shady character who's come to assassinate the prime minister!!

    Of course I wouldn't want my data infringed, but does that mean that setting up my out of office assistant to say "Sorry I'm not here, but I'm on holiday in the Yukon!!" mean I am infringing my own data protection by letting people know I am not there, I am out of the country, I am on holiday and I am in the Yukon.

    Legal Loophole: Please swipe your fingerprints sir, it's just like a giant out of office assistant that notifies the government you're not here!!

  41. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    If immigrants are terrorists...

    Then terrorists are immigrants and surely we can start the work of "repatriating" them all back to Terroria?

    Actually I can understand immigrants wanting to become terrorists: they usually arrive under false pretenses ("The UK/US/Europe is the paved with gold and you will easily find a well-paid job as a cocktail waitress / train driver / coctor and be able to sends pots of money back to your family who you will be able to visit twice a year...") only to end up working in prostitution or greenhouses and pay for the privilege.

    Mine's the black one with the hood and bag of Belfast rock and an alarm clock.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    BAA Aberdeen airport - mixed and no extra security

    I use BAA's Aberdeen airport for both domestic and international travel and note that the same lounge and facilities are common to both yet with no extra security check. Aberdeen ran the pilot for the photo scheme now in place at Gatwick, but for some reason ditched it themselves.

    It is also interesting to note that although photo ID checks (passports etc) are done against the boarding pass at Aberdeen, I have been on both a domestic and an international flight where someone was onboard the plane heading for the wrong destination, and only changed flights when they themselves realised their mistake.

    Having used fingerprints as a means of check-in and boarding in Norway, I think it's quicker and easier but am uncertain if it is better or worse from a privacy point of view.

    What is clear is that when security is such a hot topic, prioritising the design of an airport based on the retail facilities is madness.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    You're kidding mean they (authorities/elites) lie to us? No way!? There was me thinking that structures and systems in place and the laws which they tell us govern the world we live in were immutable and actually meant something! Next you'll be telling us that we are really just domesticated primates who are barely out of the jungle, and most if not all of us are pretty much driven by our selfish reptilian/mamalian brain... If everyone's ready now, how about we save ourselves any revelations in the future and just all work from the basis that it's ALL BULLSHIT, and ALL SELF SERVING for the government and their shadowy friends behind the curtain/s.

  44. Tim Brown

    Why stop there?

    Why not go the whole hog and just give everyone a quick swab to collect their DNA?

    Then in the future those with a genetic disposition to in-flight traumas can be safely taken off to the domestic internment, er sorry, holiday camp without ever setting foot on a plane.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Lets forge fingerprints

    Actually it's easier than that. As shown on Mythbusters (tested myself too), you can fool even the highest-strength industry fingerprint terminals using a photocopy of the fingerprint..

    Although you would need a latex ingraved glove to do the same on a PC fingerprint secure terminal, those are rarely used on biometric gathering devices.

  46. daniel

    Re: Ministers rush in where angels fear to tread

    Not so...

    It would seem that anyone asking BAA about this fingerprinting lark would get a standard answer that it is a department of transport requirement.

    A No2ID member contact the DOT who answered "never heard of this requirement. Go talk to Customs and Immigration".

    He did. After his email going round the houses a HM. Inspector answered that it was not a matter that was required by his agency, and to take the matter up with BAA... will be craftng a press release around this according to their mailing list...

    So, Why is BAA implementing this as a government intiative where all concerned governement agencies have never heard of it all?

    This is like in the US where Amtrak internal security are doing random stop & search on passengers on trains and busses "because the Department of Homeland Security do it in international airports". No real requirements but it makes the company directors "feel" safe while actually doing 2 thinks :

    1) pissing the customers off

    2) doing *nothing* for real secfurity.

    (yes, I know there is no F in ....)


  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Fingerprints WTF ?

    NO WAY !!!!!

    Suppose that means I can only leave the Country using the Channel Tunnel (for now).

    If you think the Security Services don't already have access to these Systems, think again.

    I know these things........Shhhhhhhhh.

  48. Karl Lattimer

    fatally flawed

    if there only reasoning is that people can swap tickets, then a) you shouldn't have had a combined lounge f*ckwhits, b) you maybe should have realised it is also trivial to use fake fingerprints...

  49. Mister Cheese

    Which minister has shares in a fingerprint-tech company?


    Helsinki airport has a shared lounge. It's simple. Passport-control is between the lounge (where Internal/Schengen gates are) and the International gates. People get into the lounge by using a form of ID (e.g. an ID card which the rest of the planet seems to have apart from us, or a passport) plus a valid boarding-pass. Then to get into the international zone, you need the same. The clever people behind the little windows look at the faces in the passport, check the passport matches the boarding-pass, and verify that the passport is genuine. They don't need an expensive biometric identity verification system as they check passports on exit as well as entry.

  50. Stuza


    Domestic flights - no fingerprints, no fly. No ifs, no buts, no nothing... you won't be allowed past ticket presentation.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hot water

    Do BAA still have a policy of hot water only in toilets, so if you want something to drink you HAVE to buy it in their phenomenally overpriced cafes? I avoid BAA airports if at all possible - particularly the hole that is Heathrow. Travellers friends they are not.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Absolute Cynic

    Like it or not, cabin crew when boarding a plane do not do a thorough check of passport photo to ID. My GF who used to be Virgin Atlantic cabin crew admitted this herself.

    Think back, how many times have you given over just your ticket and not your passport .... more than you might think!

  53. Tim J
    Thumb Up

    If you've got nothing to hide...'ve got nothing to fear. Really.

    Let's just get on with it and give the government a complete set of biometrics and a DNA sample for all citizens and residents of the UK. End of debate.

    I bet a lot of you whining 'liberals' are actually criminals in hiding...

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    According to QI (as hosted by Stephen Fry), pineapples contain bromelain (?) that can remove your fingerprints (or at least obscure them). Not sure how long it takes though or if they come back when you stop - but at least it may cause the systems (and yourself probably) some grief.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    When I was a lad...

    ...the only ID you needed was a note from your Mum, a school badge and a friendly wave to your local shop-keeper.

    This new fangled world of spies, wires and gadgets is all too much. What next, Police check points on the highways?

  56. Andy Davies

    ..makes even less sense

    If this is the same as:

    it makes even less sense than BAA (a *private* company) say:

    I arrived at Heathrow from Bombay with a connecting flight to Manchester and my bags checked right through. On arrival we went through security (having already been through Bombay Airport security and BA security) then shuttle bus to Terminal 1 (all airside). We were then asked for this bio Id - to the despair of swmbo I refused. We had to go back out through security and through passport control then round to domestic departures where we emerged in exactly the same place as those who had done the Id! At Manchester we again had to go through passport control.

    There was clearly no point in the exercise other than some sort of trial run by BAA.

    The police have to have a good reason to request my prints, why should a private company be allowed to? As to the assurance that they are destroyed after 24 hours; they also assured me that all the data is encrypted - so how could *anyone* verify that it is destroyed?

    Let's hear it for the Data Protection Registrar (never thought I'd say that!)

    AndyD 8-)#

  57. daniel

    No2ID press release on Heathrow fingerprinting



  58. Gordon

    I hope it's better...

    Than the technology used in my Laptop. Otherwise each passenger will be forced to...stop... find fingerprint panel.. Swipe finger.. Swear... Swipe again... Wipe finger on trousers... Swipe finger... Get embaressed about holding up the que... Try is faster... Try it slower... Try it pressing more... try another finger, try just the tips..... Try it pressing less.....get pissed off an annoying "booop" noise everytime it fails.... Put down hang luggage and clean finger with alcohol wipe... Expain to security they cannot get their finger to swipe... Repeat all of above under watchfull eye of security.... Clean finger again... Expain to security that, no, they're not a complete retard and didn't use the "wrong" hand when they "Swiped in"... Have finger examined by security.. Be patronised rigid whilst security rub their finger again on the reader, repeating once again all of the above... Then watch security clean reader with alcohol before repeating again.... l cringe as they isten to accouncement about the delay in the departure of their flight... Finally stand around whilst security call someone to check their passport details and let them on the damned plane.

    Where they'll wait for 2 hours whilst they repeat all of the above with the test of the self-loading cargo... The aeroplane with be cleaned by an illegal immigrant who is on the run from the police in his own country, regularly attends fundementalist rallies and who's security is "in processing" and has been for the last six months since the least-cost contract cleaning company picked him up from an employment agency staffed by McDonalds rejects and run by a despot who doesn't care who he employs provided they are cheap and he gets his commission....

  59. Gordon

    @ Anon coward.

    What next, Police check points on the highways?

    The have those already. They're call "Census Points". Oddly enough they usually have ANPR cameras and pursuit cars around. Gosh they must be desperate for that census data!

  60. Anonymous Coward

    re: This could save the planet

    > Perhaps if we force fingerprinting onto every airport with a single departure lounge (or even domestic flights in general), people will be so put off the idea of using domestic flights that they'll take the train instead and stop using energy wasting short hop flights.

    Dream on. If this came to pass, the pigopolis will just move their biometric rectal probing and the pantomime of x-raying toothpaste to the railway stations.

    As for saving the planet, it's too late. We're fucked. The country will be glowing green and full of Anne Widdecome lookalikes from all the genetic mutation once the nice new nuclear power stations get to work.

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