back to article 7,800 people's biometric data held on police anti-terrorism database

The British plod is not only holding onto the biometrics data of 7,800 subjects of counter-terrorism investigations – most of whom have never been charged with an offence – it is also losing information on some suspects before they've been assessed as a national security risk, the Biometrics Commissioner revealed today. In his …

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    expected

    "the UK's counter-terror databases have evolved without there being in place the sort of comprehensive and clearly documented governance arrangements, policies and protocols that one might reasonably expect.”

    Only the naive would expect that when default mindset is we can haz all teh data

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: expected

      Yes. Especially when there is already governance in place. "Terrorism" is ultimately criminal activity. The government have been told repeatedly that their holding data on people who have not been charged, or more importantly convicted, of any offence is illegal. Why would there need to be a different policy here?

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: expected @daveak

        "Terrorism" is ultimately criminal activity." Absolutely correct, though it is *very* advantageous for some that they have created an extra category. It is clearly being overused, too, since the article states that the data on 7,800 people* is being held. There is no way that number of potential terrorists exist in the country, so it is being used for something else.

        *Okay - "subjects of counter-terrorism investigations", which might not be the same thing.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Re: expected

      "the UK's counter-terror databases have evolved without there being in place the sort of comprehensive and clearly documented governance arrangements, policies and protocols that one might reasonably expect.”

      In any case, if there was such a statement in place, two seconds after the contract was let the first change request would be generated.

  2. James 51

    "As I indicated in my Report I will continue to keep these problems – and the urgent work that is being done by the Metropolitan Police in relation to them – under close and active review."

    Just a pity he doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So to get around this, they simply decide to take no further action without DECLARING their decision to take no further action?

    What about the massive surveillance database?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/12/16/big_brother_born_ntac_gchq_mi5_mass_surveillance_data_slurping/?page=1

    "published Crown Prosecution Service guidance to senior prosecutors refers to secret "Preston briefings" which they can be given if tapping evidence in a case they are prosecuting reveals that a defendant may be innocent. (The guidance also notes that the briefing may be given after exculpatory intercept evidence has been destroyed.)"

    I don't believe that that the only time this surveillance database is handed to Crown Prosecution Service is to prove innocence. It sounds like a cover story, proving someone did NOT do something would require 100% surveillance of that person. If you had 50% surveillance, how do you know the other 50% is where the proof of guilt lies?

    What if CPS decided to prosecute even despite these "Preston Briefings", was the Court told that evidence? If not why not? If yes, where's the court notes?

    So I think that is a cover for Parallel Construction, and its used to provide evidence of guilt which is then covered with a false cover story told to the court. To hide the surveillance, just as it was done in the USA.

    So 7800 biometric record you say? And how may in the massive surveillance database? That includes passport info which includes all the biometrics for most Brits. How many times has that been accessed without warrant or judicial oversight?

    1. Paul Shirley

      Only takes one observation to establish an alibi, 100% surveillance isn't always needed.

    2. Vic

      proving someone did NOT do something would require 100% surveillance of that person.

      But that's not what happens here; "exculpatory evidence" could be a small amount of surveillance that, for example, provides a watertight alibi. It would require 100% surveillance to guarantee to find all such exculpatory evidence, but that does not preclude some being found in a lesser degree of surveillance.

      So I think that is a cover for Parallel Construction

      It's possible - but note that in the UK, we don't have the "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine, so unless the security services were simply trying to disguise their capabilities, parallel construction is unlikely to be necessary.

      That includes passport info which includes all the biometrics for most Brits.

      No, not any more. All that big biometric gulp has been abandoned. Current passports contain very little (I think mine just has a digital photograph).

      Vic.

  4. Velv
    Joke

    The way things are going they'd be better keeping a database of people who aren't "criminals".

    That way when you get stopped :" ah, you're free to go Sir, you're on the known good list" or "sorry Sir, you're not on the list, we need to take you in"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Securidee theatre with the bizzies...

    Just as well Thames House keeps everything, for ever...

  6. Alister Silver badge

    The BBC's reporting of this story contains the following gem:

    The Report revealed up to 50,000 records of under-18s on the Police National Computer (PNC) may be incorrectly showing that their DNA profiles need to be erased after five years, when they should be stored indefinitely.

    However, a number of problems have emerged which indicate that profiles are being wrongly kept on the database, including 4,650 profiles of people classed as "Wanted/Missing" on the PNC.

    So if I read this correctly, any under-18 should have their DNA profile stored indefinitely. Surely this is wrong?

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    FAIL

    Yawn.

    7,800 individuals, so that's less than one tenth of one percent of the UK population. That's not making a mountain out of a molehill, it's making a mountain out of a mole dropping.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yawn.

      Did you know you are on it, Citizen Bryant?

      Yawn.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. MonkeyCee

        Re: Yawn.

        Of course he is. Matt knows he has nothing to fear from the authorities, so has made sure he's in all bio metric databases. He also voluntarily submits his entire browsing history to the Home Office, and files his weekly thoughtcrime reports.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: MonkeyCee Re: Yawn.

          ".... Matt knows he has nothing to fear from the authorities....." Correct. As a law-abiding, non-paranoid individual, I have nothing to fear. I cannot comment on whether it is your state of mind or legal status that makes you so afraid.

          "....voluntarily submits his entire browsing history....." As a person that is subject to vetting and certain employment rules I do expect my Internet traffic to be periodically inspected. As I said before, no ill effect so far, just plenty of work opportunities you probably don't qualify for.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: MonkeyCee Yawn.

            Well good for you, Matt. Your anecdote shows that there is absolutely nothing to worry about, and I'll change my opinion of the inadvisability of massive State over-reach immediately!

            Of course, what you have written just reinforces the opinion of those who think you are an apologist for State surveillance because you are part of it ...

          2. Dr_N Silver badge

            Re: MonkeyCee Yawn.

            "Correct. As a law-abiding, non-paranoid individual, I have nothing to fear."

            Apart from posting cliches in online comments sections?

            There should be a special register for people who make public declarations that they have "nothing to fear" as chances are they have some dirty secret(s) they are trying to cover up.

      3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: AC Re: Yawn.

        "Did you know you are on it, Citizen Bryant?...." Having been vetted, my personal details are already listed in plenty of places, just not on that list (or my clearance would have been revoked). So far, zero adverse effects, just plenty of work opportunities you probably can't qualify for.

  8. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Irony Detector overload alert

    > As a law-abiding, non-paranoid individual, I have nothing to fear.

    Hmm, what's that phrase.... ah yes. Wake Up Sheeple!

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Androgynous Cupboard Re: Irony Detector overload alert

      ".....Wake Up Sheeple!" <Yawn> Yeah, that makes several decades where you and the rest of the conspiracy theorists/nutters have been insisting the sky was going to fall tomorrow. Guess what - didn't happen.

  9. Dave 15 Silver badge

    er... what

    What about the biometrics the home office takes from vistors and all those police records which are never deleted of the biometrics taken when you happened to walk past a police station on a day of the week containing 'y'

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