back to article Automated profiling tech is crap, says Home Office

Automated passenger profiling is rubbish, the Home Office has conceded in an amusing - and we presume inadvertent - blurt. "Attempts at automated profiling have been used in trial operations [at UK ports of entry] and has proved [sic] that the systems and technology available are of limited use," says home secretary Jacqui Smith …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    I've seen these machines in action

    The trouble was, they stopped people coming back from sunny resorts with deep tans, as well as the intended detainees.

  2. W.S. Burroughs

    A matter of potential concern...

    that camera wielding peadophile-terrorists will hijack the LHC & bombard the Palace of Westminster with strangelets. The government must act now to stamp out this menace!

    Or we could just spend our time dealing with disease, hunger & ignorance.

  3. peter

    ...and so is Carlile's report.

    "real anxiety...light aircraft as vehicle bombs against places of public aggregation.."

    As opposed to say....ohhhh I dunno....buying a car and packing it with explosive and driving it into a crowd/building. Or buying a fuel tanker....or hijacking a dangerous good vehicle..... or derailing a train...or...or...or....

    Why to they insist on concentrating on the "bloody difficult and little real effect" when there are so many easier bigger bangs for bucks out there.

    This is just about a stupid as the reaction of Basingstoke Council to an application to allow model planes on local parks. Rejected 'cos the 'terrorists might pack a model plane with explosive and fly it into a high value target' i.e. the Council offices. The fact that there is a car park at the centre of the council buildings did not seem to register.

    Aliens 'cos they are the only ones likely to see the bigger picture.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Next up - Flying schools

    Hello, is that the Westminster Flying School? I'd like to book some lessons in a suitable light aircraft for myself and a couple of fellow Jihadists.

    My name? Sure, it's O.B. Laden...

  5. Tim


    Bollocks, frankly. In order to hijack a private jet you have to get on it in the first place. This is not cheap (tens of thousands in charter fees, even for a baby one) nor is it easy to do clandestinely, given the closed community of professionals that work in general aviation.

    As for the light aircraft idea, that really is ludicrous. A Cessna 172 (common, single engine, four seat) isn't even capable of flying four people with the tanks full, let alone managing a decent haul of explosives. It'd be far easier and vastly more effective to rent a Transit van from SixT than try and turn a spam can into a flying bomb.

    Idiot. He's only saying this because he's a Liberal peer and thus massively pissed off that people are either rich enough to use private jets or interesting enough to enjoy flying themselves in light aircraft.

  6. Jason

    An example of stupidity rather than eBorder intelligence?

    This quote is fantastic!

    "Ryan then gave the example of a passenger who'd booked the day before, paid with cash and was due to spend just one day in the UK before a further connection. Four kilos of cocaine were found in his bags when he was stopped at Heathrow."

    Clearly the numbskull who booked the ticket had an IQ roughly equivalent to his shoe size! It didn't take a hyper-advanced system to figure this one out, just some very basic data mining and then a "oi... heads up!" to customs when he landed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    light aircraft

    If a building is built half way decently impact from a light aircraft wont do much damage. As shown in the recent event in the states where the kid crashed his plane into a resort of somesort.

  8. Frank

    @peter re. ....and so is..

    Really? I'm amazed. It's not that I don't believe you, it's just that I have a hard time believing that anyone could be so uselessly paranoid.

    More likely they didn't want to allow it because of safety considerations, but that would mean doing some reading, research and consultation wrt existing laws and legislation.

    If you say 'prevention of terrorism' then you don't need to think or have to justify yourself, or so it seems nowadays.

  9. peter

    Choice comments from his report

    “National security is a civil liberty of every citizen” Oooh Goody. The more restrictions, the more liberty we are giving you. Excellent argument for yet more invasive Security measures. Its for your own good you know.

    “The amount of money seized in 2007 under those other powers was substantial. £9,155 was seized…” Ha ha ha ha. No. Wait. You are serious aren’t you?

    Para 109 ….interviewed for more than 28 days. This is not at all fanciful: Dr Ahmed, a suspect who died without regaining consciousness more than 28 days after the Glasgow Airport…..

    How many ways is this conclusion utter rubbish?

    Mind you there are some good bits

    "Most important, I repeat my mantra that terrorism related powers should be used only for terrorism related purposes; otherwise their credibility is severely damaged" Hear hear.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    tracing private aircraft...

    is like tracking everyone's money and all boats "in case they might be used by terrorists/people-traffickers/drug smugglers", it's really about tax. see the BIA flannel about e-borders about halfway down.

    terrorism (and terrorists) are cheap, don'tcha know.

  11. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "It is likely that with more effective use of intelligence,..."

    'Nuff said.

    Oh, wait... this is government.

    Never happen.

  12. Graham Marsden

    Yep, we should be worried...

    ... after all, look at the devastating damage that could be caused...!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Gone native

    It appears that Lord Carlile is anything but an independent reviewer - when he isn't actively supporting everything that has been introduced he's advocating introducing new stuff on the flimsiest of pretexts.

    A couple of things I remember from a quick review:

    - Illegal use of anti terror powers by police forces; some of the examples were quite large scale but it doesn't appear anyone will face disciplinary action, though it was suggested some victims be contacted to allow them to sue the police.

    - the significant number of arrests made under 'terror' related offences; as I remember it 50%+ led to no action - given 'intelligence led' policing this seems a rather high rate of misdirected action. The only comment regarding this seemed to be that the figures were OK, and matched the 'perceived' threat. How well they matched the *actual* threat isn't mentioned...

    It's all bullshit. One only hopes that they're just being malicious with all this legislation *insert conspiracy theory here* 'cos if they actually believe all this stuff then we're really fucked.

  14. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Change Conditioning with Core Knowledge

    "Oh, wait... this is government." ..... By Mike Moyle Posted Tuesday 24th June 2008 16:35 GMT

    Ah yes,.....government ..... that Most Recent of Puppets introduced by Deity and Monarchs and Unfit for Common Purpose in Present Condition/Perception.

  15. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the better use of intelligence"

    That would certainly be best served with more intelligent people in charge of security.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Innumerate, illiterate, and generally hapless

    "...the systems and technology available are of limited use..."

    When did "limited" start being used as a euphemism for "zero or undetectable"? When you think about it (which is a lot to ask, I know, with some people's mental equipment) everything in the universe is limited. Otherwise there wouldn't be any room for anything else in the universe.

    I can put up with a lot from these cretins in government, but when they start trying to degrade our language, it's time to call a halt. I propose that, with immediate effect, every candidate for elected public office or any government (or quango) job must first pass a set of examinations to establish that they can speak, write, do sums, and that they have a nodding acquaintance with the basic principles of science.

  17. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    @Graham Marsden

    It's a good job it did not start a fire or the whole building could have been reduced to rubble.

  18. Charles Silver badge

    Re: light aircraft

    Well, that was just a blunt impact. What if it was instead a detonate-on-impact with about 100 kilos of high explosive (which isn't much heavier than the average man so could probably be done by a lone pilot)? Plus you don't have to worry about checkpoints and roadblocks and can probably fly low enough to stay under the radar's line of sight.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Border thingy is like buying locks for (house) window

    you spend a lot of money on it, but is defeated by the patented half brick.

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