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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Police will use new device to take fingerprints in street.

Call me paranoid, but I am not for this type of device at all! This quote bothers me quite a bit "Policing of big public occasions, sporting events, festivals, political conferences - as a well as immigration and border controls - could benefit from the equipment, he suggested." It just feels way to Big Brother for me and I think if they try this in the USA there will be major problems!

"Every police force in the UK is to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners - hand held devices that allow police to carry out identity checks on people in the street.

The new technology, which ultimately may be able to receive pictures of suspects, is likely to be in widespread use within 18 months. Tens of thousands of sets - as compact as BlackBerry smart phones - are expected to be distributed.

The police claim the scheme, called Project Midas, will transform the speed of criminal investigations. A similar, heavier machine has been tested during limited trials with motorway patrols.

To address fears about mass surveillance and random searches, the police insist fingerprints taken by the scanners will not be stored or added to databases.

Liberty, the civil rights group, cautioned that the law required fingerprints taken in such circumstances to be deleted after use. Gareth Crossman, Liberty's policy director, said: "Saving time with new technology could help police performance but officers must make absolutely certain that they take fingerprints only when they suspect an individual of an offense and can't establish his identity."

The initial phase of the Mobile Identification At Scene (Midas) project, cost around £30m-£40m, will enable officers to perform rapid checks on the fingerprints of people arrested or detained. The marks will be compared against records on Ident1, the national police database which holds information on 7.5 million individuals.

Geoff Whitaker, a senior technology officer with the NPIA, told the Biometrics 2008 conference that Project Midas would save enormous amounts of police time and reduce the number of wrongful arrests.

At present, officers have to take suspects to custody suites if they need to check fingerprints. On average, the agency's research shows, the procedure takes 67 minutes. "If we scaled this [saving] up to the national level that would equate to 366 additional police officers on the beat," Whitaker said. "One of the benefits is that it will reduce the number of errors - and we can reduce the number of arrests significantly.

"There's a huge range of opportunities [for] mobile ID. It could be used on the deceased at the scene of a crime, on suspects for intelligence in the early part of an investigation, [or even] in a mortuary."

Policing of big public occasions, sporting events, festivals, political conferences - as a well as immigration and border controls - could benefit from the equipment, he suggested.

"Another use is for prisoners in transit; it's not uncommon for prisoners to swap identities on the way to prison," he said.

Project Midas, he said, would give the police "a full, mobile national capability" to check identities."

The full article can be read here

1 comment:

  1. Are you in the UK or the US? Just curious, I just assumed you were from Phoenix...unless that's in reference to the bird that rises from the ashes.

    Okay, duh, sorry, back to your post! This is stunning news. Like big brother doesn't have enough of a grip on the UK with all their street cameras and all. That's some scary shit man!