Tuesday, February 21, 2012

UK Border Scandal Update: Independent Inspector's Report Published

The UK's border control scandal of last fall is back in the news as John Vine, an independent inspector of the Border Agency, has released his findings (84-page .pdf available at icinspector.independent.gov.uk) An investigation into border security checks.

One of our slogans at SecurLinx is "Identity management is about people," and the shortcomings in the UK border apparatus seem (and always have seemed) to have been failings of management and communication rather than failures of technology and its proper use. That's why we didn't spend much time on the subject last fall (only one post) and why we won't spend much time on it today.

A small part of the story does seem to deal with biometrics, though.

Terror fear as border checks fail (Sydney Morning Herald)
The report also found that biometric chip checks were routinely suspended before the pilot began. Between January and June last year, chip reading was suspended 14,812 times, but the Border Agency was "unable to explain definitively why these suspensions occurred".
Needless to say, biometrics only work if you use them.

In addition to the above referenced story, here is a selection of other coverage:

The Migrant Rights Network thinks this is all being blown way out of proportion.

The Daily Mail (here & here) is less sanguine.

The Guardian does a good job covering the bureaucratic finger-pointing angle.

Scotland: The Herald's Kate Devlin covers it like she's talking to Joe Friday.