back to article Home Office: IPS to hang onto snaps of fingerprints

The Home Office has revealed more about the workings of the biometric database that will support the National Identity Scheme. In response to questions from GC News, the IPS said the National Biometric Identity Store (NBIS), which will be built by the Identity and Passport Service under a £265m contract with IBM, will hold …


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  1. Britt Johnston

    world news corner

    Last weekend, a Swiss referendum approved fingerprints on a passport chip by 5000-odd votes (50.14%). The government, as partner to Schengen, was relieved, but had to promise that police would have no access. The close result is starting a rethink about less justifiable use of centrally stored data.

    The public concious still remembers official files on selected persons, including practicing politicians, and the difficulties in finding out who had been tracked, and what information had been collected.

  2. Paul
    Thumb Down


    How is "the prevention and detection of crime or where it is in the interests of national security" in any sense limited circumstances?

    Why else would the *police* need finger prints and be denied access to them? To decorate their offices with?

    So it is limited to just the circumstances when the police might need them. So this is bringing in mass fingerprinting through the back door.


  3. Paul
    Thumb Down



    An IPS spokesperson said the NBIS will be "separate and distinct" from Ident1, the existing national police fingerprint database.


    For how long ?

  4. Christoph

    "Limited circumstances"

    "will only be provided to the police in limited circumstances set out in legislation"

    Which will then be amended by ministerial fiat

  5. michael

    police access

    ""These include the prevention and detection of crime or where it is in the interests of national security, and will be conditional on conditions detailed in regulations being met.""

    like the police asking nicley?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh yes

    So the police will only have access to the database for the prevention of crime, eh?

    That should keep them out!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inocent people are just...

    ... guilty people waiting to be caught.



    p.s. Vote Libertas in the EU election, because they're the best of a bad lot.

  8. Julian I-Do-Stuff
    Thumb Down

    Prevention and Detection of Crime

    Sorry to come across as Mr Logic here (icon?), but what does this mean? This phrase is used all over the place (business T&C's, law ,etc.) and it's so broad and ill-defined it could be used to justify almost anything.

    And anyway, necessary or sufficient? Obviously if you have know everything about everyone you are in the best possible position to prevent or detect crime. It might be sufficient but...

    A sledgehammer is certainly sufficient to crack a nut, but it's neither necessary nor, given that one probably wants a nut and not an inedible nut-shell mash, is it appropriate.

    ...and look at theses shoes! Only had them three weeks and they're already falling apart...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will Change of Government Mean a Change in Policy?

    I am wondering whether it makes much difference to which government is in power. Some people have said that it is not necessarily a political-driven movement, but a civil service one.

  10. Chris Elvidge

    National Biometric Identity Store

    I read this as a place you could go to buy a new identity.

  11. Guy Herbert

    All ten fingers?

    I'm still waiting for the IPS to discover that there are many people fewer than ten fingers, unscannable scar tissue or corn on some of them - and a few people *with* more than ten fingers. The problem with universal compulsory systems is you have to be prepared to cope with ALL anomalies.

  12. Ash
    Thumb Down

    EU stop non-conviction data retention

    Gov give them same data from passport database.

    I don't believe in "lesser of two evils" in general, but I may well vote Tory just to get Labour out in the next election.

  13. Tom Chiverton

    Well, good news

    Well, at least I wont have to explain terms like 'hash' to people now when discussing the failed ID card project, as the NIR will simply store your whole set of prints, complete.

  14. JohnG

    limited circumstances

    " limited circumstances set out in legislation" What - as limited as the use of RIPA perhaps? I seem to remember a similar promise about RIPA when it was pointed out that the legislation was vaguely worded and would likely be abused.

  15. Rob
    Black Helicopters

    A few choice phrases to sum it all up

    'Project Creep'

    'Expanded Scope'

    'The general public is screwed, thanks for my bonus'

    All of the above phrases can be used individually or together, the cynical choice is yours.

  16. John Smith Gold badge
    Paris Hilton

    A politicians best friend

    is their Statutory Instrument.

    It never lets them down and can be stretched to cover so many matters.

    Paris because she understands the importance of a good instrument that never lets her down.

  17. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    @AC - Gov v. Civil Service

    I've always thought it was some sick-building syndrome, fungus, virus or more likely, mind altering parasite (see e.g. in the Home Office... as soon as a new Home. Sec is appointed they seem to start speaking and acting against both their own political and civil society's interests and very quickly become incapable of rational thought.

    However the infection is obviously fought off by the body - a couple of years after ceasing to be Home. Sec most seem to make a significant recovery, but since their credibility never recovers hardly anyone listens to them.

    We don't need a revolution, we just need to fumigate the HO/HO staff (if they're not infected they have nothing to fear).

  18. Andy ORourke

    You know what we need?

    Some kind of central database holding records of everyone's fingerprints and DNA, that way there would be no crime because it would be easy to catch criminals.

    Joke icon, just in case :-)

  19. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "limited" != vague and ill-defined

    "the prevention and detection of crime or where it is in the interests of national security"

    And who decides these "interests"? The Police? Some Civil Servant? Wacky Jacqui?

    Or are we looking at just more Function Creep where these "limits" will be extended time and time again because "well, it might be useful"...?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Sadly, there is good reasoning behind this...

    There is one very good reason to retain the original images. Biometric templates are a proprietary format. Should the IPS wish to change the search algorithm, they would have to regenerate all the templates. They can either do that from the original images or get everyone to come in again and re-enrol.

    Or get locked into one supplier forever.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    What they mean is.......

    the fingerprints will be given to everyone and anyone that wishes to have them, even councils looking for owners of fouling dogs as with RIPA. This Government talks crap and is crap and needs to be slung out soon. By the way read this. Don't sound too happy with

    the IPCC do they ?.;

    Having had a chance to review your proposed letter to the HS re Hardwick,

    > on behalf of the JCC, we think it should focus on her wholly inadequate

    > and unsatisfactory response to your challenging question from the floor of

    > conference


    > Our fear is that your letter in its current format will merely illicit the

    > same response from her. ie "not my job to censure him"


    > You allude at the very end to the question

    > 'who polices those who police the police'. But feel that as a result of

    > her dismissive attitude last Weds that this is now the substantive issue


    > We think you need to cut that avenue of escape off for her this time by

    > simply referring her back to the content of your original letter and then

    > challenge her to tell us who's job it is to smack him down when he over steps

    >his authority if its not hers?!


    > Or is he beyond the law?




    > Regards

    Oh and The Register, if Plod attempts to get my info I hope youll tell them to F off

    and not cave in.

  22. davenewman
    Black Helicopters

    Fingerprint faking

    With a complete stored image, they can create rubber finger covers with your fingerprints on them, and leave them in incriminating places.

  23. Stevie


    Good luck. Remember the software that is charged with making the matches has no implied warranty (yet).

  24. Anonymous Coward

    "Separate and distinct" is a blatant bare-faced lie.

    > An IPS spokesperson said the NBIS will be "separate and distinct" from Ident1, the existing national police fingerprint database.

    Yeah, right.

    Except that the government is even now as we speak rushing the Coroners and Justice Bill through parliament, and they've hidden away in it a clause that gives any minister power to issue a data-sharing order that rips up the rule book and allows anything to be shared with anyone they choose at any time and for any reason. Basically, they can exempt themselves and anyone else they choose from the laws on data protection.

    They wouldn't pass a bill giving themselves impunity before the law if they weren't planinng on riding roughshod over it, or in other words, doing things that would otherwise be illegal.

    However, I'll admit it's a change for them to modify the law first, rather than break it first and give themselves retrospective permission afterward. But it's not a change for the better.

  25. C. P. Cosgrove

    Chris Cosgrove

    If adding fingerprints to passports is a Schengen Group requirement, then obviously the British Government is planning on joining the Schengen Group in the near future.

    In that case, we won't need passports to move around Europe, and therefore we won't need an Identity and Passport Service will we ?

    Chris Cosgrove

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Now look you lot...

    "will only be provided to the police in limited circumstances set out in legislation" means what it means. If that means we have to redfine the limited to erm, unlimited; well then that's what we'll have to do. If that means we have to define it as limited and let the coppers redefine it any way they want, well then that's for the courts to sort out now, innit?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    10 finger prints

    So all us "Honest" citizens will have all our finger prints taken, stored, lost.

    But no mention of Hook Prints i see hmmmm

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