back to article Yorkshire cops have begun using on-the-spot fingerprint scanners

A police force in England has been kitted out with fingerprint scanners to run identity checks in the street. Some 250 scanners have been handed to West Yorkshire Police officers, who will be able to run fingerprint checks against two criminal and immigration biometric databases. In an announcement slipped out over the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I always thought it was bizarre that the government cancelled the ID card system, seems we now know why. Who needs a card when you have someones fingers? I also don't for one minute believe that this is not going to be used to record fingerprints.

    I do not like the direction this country is going.

    1. Paul

      agreed, we now have a mobile Big Brother to follow us around

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Trollface

        Late to the party...

        We've had a mobile big brother following us round since November 5, 2007...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Imagine every surveillance camera as a manned Sentry and a watchtower.

        If you imagine every surveillance camera as manned armed Sentry sitting in a Watchtower, you realise how much our Privacy has been eroded over the last 20 years.

        On my commute, the final leg is 20 miles of rural roads, we have recently had roadside electronic displays every half mile installed, showing my speed in Green or Red. Literally every half mile, for 20 miles, and yes, I can remember my speed from 30 seconds ago. We've also had all speed limits reduced, removing any margin of error you previously had.

        So you now have a pole with power, with an 'accepted' harmless fluffy cat surveillance device. What's the harm in having a simple electronic display showing your speed in green or red you say?

        The problem is at any point in the future your can replace that electronic device with a far more sophisticated 'black box', which records video in 8K, ANPR, records audio, checks for a range of issues, driving to close and if the political climate really changes as it seems it is, holding hands with an illegal immigrant.

        Like the Hadecs 3 cameras operating 24/7 on the M4 in Bristol J15, measures will be upgraded/introduced by stealth, letting word of mouth dispense the bad news of a NIP, that these have been silently upgraded, operate 24/7 at 70MPH(+10%+2) even when the smart motorway signage is off.

        It's head clipping of the highest order that disproportionally affects those with the least income and if revenues levels from these cameras drop as more become aware, they can just up the technology to catch a difference offence like lane hogging / driving too close, and those cameras now exist.

        We've moved from a time when surveillance was sold on the basis of offering basic protection, to one of monitoring the general public, 'head clipping' their daily mistakes to general revenue and there seems nothing to stop the scum (because they know exactly what they are doing) lining their pockets off the back of minor infringments, by using absolute black and white 'digital' enforcement, while labeling themselves as whiter than white, and the infringer as someone that had it coming to them.

        Sorry, but that's not the World I'm going to allow happen while I work in Technology, we have to always look to use technology as an enabler, not a form of repression.

        Amber Rudd's approach (and this by Yorkshire Police) to technology is completely wrong, taking routine fingerprints from the innocent, is not harmless fluffy cat fun, that we should accept.

        1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Imagine every surveillance camera as a manned Sentry and a watchtower.

          How do you make it through a single day.....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Imagine every surveillance camera as a manned Sentry and a watchtower.

          The problem is at any point in the future your can replace that electronic device with a far more sophisticated 'black box', which records video in 8K, ANPR, records audio, checks for a range of issues, driving to close and if the political climate really changes as it seems it is, holding hands with an illegal immigrant.

          The good thing is that battery powered angle grinders seem to also be advancing at a similar rate - prey, meet predator.

    2. DaLo

      "I always thought it was bizarre that the government cancelled the ID card system"

      It wasn't bizarre, it was a simple fact that they needed to get a significant amount of people to sign up to the voluntary scheme or else it would not work. As soon as the majority are signed up then you can make it difficult for non-IDers to access services. However it was heading for a disaster, colossal amounts of money for a system that in trials very few people were subscribing to and there was a significant public and media backlash.

      An national ID scheme needed to either be made compulsory, have started a long time ago when people weren't interested in privacy so much, be linked with a decent incentive or be a slow burner where children get to sign up when they are 16/18 as the de-facto age verification/NI card etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        disaster, colossal amounts of money

        You've just described nearly every government digital endeavour.

        1. Ted Treen

          Re: disaster, colossal amounts of money

          Only 'nearly every'?

      2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        There was an age verification card that we got at school circa 2000. They were only useful to prove you weren't old enough for cigarettes and alcohol so they swiftly found themselves in the bin.

        It might be been better if they were sent out for free on an 18 year olds birthday using census data, or at 17 and be mandatory to apply for a provisional driving license *.

        * I am aware you can apply for a provisional license before 17 although they are rare enough to allow those people to make exceptions

        1. robin48gx

          citizens card

          this is pretty much what a citizen card is already. Just costs 15 quid instead of free. But it does allow you to buy beer in sainsburys

          1. Burch

            Re: citizens card

            I'd rather not have the state having that much control over me. Maybe I'm petty like that.

      3. Snorlax

        @DaLo:It wasn't bizarre, it was a simple fact that they needed to get a significant amount of people to sign up to the voluntary scheme or else it would not work.

        Just do what the Irish government did: "This card's not compulsory, but you won't be able to get a driver's licence or social welfare payment without one..."

        1. Stu Mac

          It's a very nice card. Happy to have it. Now, if we could just organise the Referendum so that citizens can authorize the system, or not, please, public servants.

    3. Uberior

      The funny thing is, (almost) everyone over the age of 65 has a government issued photo ID - it's called a "free bus pass". Just think how much better boarding a bus would be if the old dear didn't have to faff around in her handbag and could just touch a finger on the reader...

      The eventual DNA scanning thing could get interesting. Imagine how non-binary groups will react if their DNA betrays their presentation.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Did my DNA just assume my gender? I'm outraged!

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        Non binary DNA

        "Imagine how non-binary groups will react if their DNA betrays their presentation."

        Pub quiz level knowledge (XX=female, XY=male) is a bit of a simplification, old bean.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Non binary DNA

          "Pub quiz level knowledge (XX=female, XY=male) is a bit of a simplification, old bean."

          Then there is XXY, and several other variations.

          1. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: Non binary DNA

            Exactly; I'm XYY. I also have a degree in Genetics and a PhD in Biochemistry and I'm saying it again: anyone who thinks a DNA sequence reveals the "true gender" of a person simply hasn't studied enough biology.

          2. BongoJoe

            Re: Non binary DNA

            Not to mention YYZ...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Non binary DNA

              YYZ? Toronto airport or the Rush track?

        2. kain preacher Silver badge

          Re: Non binary DNA

          Pub quiz level knowledge (XX=female, XY=male) is a bit of a simplification, old bean.

          Yep because you have XYX (which could be either male or female),XXY. YYx, or my fav XO

          1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

            At Kain Preacher...

            Then there's mine: WTF. They can't even figure out if I'm even Human! GO ME! =-D

            1. kain preacher Silver badge

              Re: At Kain Preacher...

              Calls MIB for Shadow Systems

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Non binary DNA

            My fave is OXO.

            Delicious on roast tatties.

        3. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

          Re: Non binary DNA

          Assuming XX == female and XY == male is correct over 99% of the time. Naturally-occurring faults in the genetics of gender generally don't breed true, hence are heavily selected against by evolution (unless a different form of kin selection is at play; see also Social Darwinism).

          That we now have a few edge cases merely means that an exception needs to be put into the software; something on the lines of "This person falls into the *other* category".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Non binary DNA

            about .1-.2 % of the population in the world

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: Non binary DNA

            The point I was making is that karyotype can never "betray one's presentation" ... an XY who self-identifies as female or non-binary cannot be told "ah, but you're really male" and that be justified on the basis of their DNA, even a complete sequence. Not now, and probably not ever.

            The authoritative tone of your comment suggests you are a medic or biosciences PhD, but the content is a bit dubious tbh, at the very least you are being careless with some of these terms. As it is, I'm not sure whether you are disagreeing with me or not.

            As for the computer implementation there's been four recognised genders (0MFX) for decades (ISO5218) , although the amount of software, even in the healthcare arena, written by people who don't seem to know this is absolutely staggering.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Non binary DNA

              Oh I left out CAIS that’s a condition were some who is XY will develop as female and they will never know.

      3. TheProf
        Thumb Up

        Fingerprint bus pass

        And how exactly do you imagine getting a fingerprint from an 'old dear' when she won't even take her woolly mittens off during the summer?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just give them the finger

      That's what they want.

      1. macjules Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Just give them the finger

        Or just palm them off ...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Who needs a card when you have someones fingers?

      ID Cards are preferable. Fingerprints, or more correctly the methods and algorithms used to compare, are not that unique - good enough to lock your phone against random perps, but once your fingerprint is compared to a database of millions which will now grow vastly, possible exponentially, likelihood of match approaches certainty.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        "fingerprint is compared to a database of millions which will now grow vastly, possible exponentially, likelihood of match approaches certainty."

        That happened to a US bloke that got fingered for a terrorist in Spain. He has never left the country. He did not even have a passport.

        1. illuminatus

          You may be interested in this

          It's a wiki link for convenience - the case details are available many other places...

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_McKie

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Fingerprints, or more correctly the methods and algorithms used to compare, are not that unique"

        Exactly - and this has been known for some time.

        Then there are people like my wife whose fingerprints simply do not register in scanners (She has them, but the ridges are so slight they don't get detected). This raises merry hell at immigration.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I do not like the direction this country is going.

      Going? It's already there. Just listen carefully to Josephina Vissarionovna May and her current henchman Amber Yezhova. Their Tory conference speeches where quite enlightening...

    7. adnim Silver badge

      Not on IDENT1

      I have never been arrested nor have I never been finger printed. Does this mean I can refuse to be printed at the side of the road because doing so would be a waste of time?

      Rhetorical question. I know they would print me simply for collection purposes.

      1. illuminatus

        Re: Not on IDENT1

        Which, according to them, would also be a waste of time, because they wouldn't be storing the collected print - *supposedly* deleted immediately after use.

        I mean, what could possibly go wring there, eh?

        1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

          Re: Not on IDENT1

          To be honest, storing a fingerprint recorded by a mobile device is a bit of a waste of time; the thing is most unlikely to give a good enough image to be useful.

          The mobile unit is much more likely to image the fingerprint, create a map of where ridges begin and end, transform this into a long alphanumeric then compare this against similarly-derived alphanumerics stored on a Home Office database. It will also have the facility to report back "Fingerprint too worn to be of use", which is likely to happen quite often where low-paid immigrants are being used as cheap labour on building sites; handling rough stone or brick all day long wears off fingerprints.

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Not on IDENT1

            What does 'low-paid immigrants' have to do with the price of tea in China? Anyone who has worked hard with their hands is going to have this problem. Anyone, including me.

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: Not on IDENT1

              Take it a bit further.. anyone can lose a fingertip due to accidents with tools, etc. Lose the fingertip, you lose your ID. I shudder to think of the bureaucratic BS one have to go through after an accident.

              1. kain preacher Silver badge

                Re: Not on IDENT1

                What if you have no hands ? Oh that has to be a fun one.

          2. genghis_uk

            Re: Not on IDENT1

            I play guitar and have had several 'fun' moments trying to get through immigration in Malaysia (and emigration as they do it on exit too). Even pointing to the instrument on my back did not exactly convince them. They used to do index finger only - I offered thumbs as an alternative but that did not follow their process

            Luckily I have not had a gig just before going to the US as I can see that would be a non starter - I also cant take my guitar there as it is old and made from the wrong kind of wood!

            1. kain preacher Silver badge

              Re: Not on IDENT1

              genghis_uk your real issue is not getting your guitar back in 1000's of pieces . I can't tell how many stories i've hear of musicians getting their guitar back in splinters here in the US.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Not on IDENT1

                " I can't tell how many stories i've hear of musicians getting their guitar back in splinters here in the US."

                The applicable song is "United breaks Guitars"

                And the response to that was to get "Untied.com" shut down for trademark infringement - Only in the USA (actually, only in canada)

      2. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Not on IDENT1

        no no no. Refusal it self will cause suspicion and they will need to print just in case. After all only people with stuff to hide would refuse.

        1. BongoJoe

          Re: Not on IDENT1

          After all only people with stuff to hide would refuse.

          I would refuse. Even if I had nothing to hide.

          No, that's wrong. I do have something to hide: my personal and private business.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not on IDENT1

            "No, that's wrong. I do have something to hide: my personal and private business."

            Privacy is only wanted bu the rich,police,politicians and terrorist/criminals. Which one are you

            1. BongoJoe

              Re: Not on IDENT1

              Privacy is only wanted bu the rich,police,politicians and terrorist/criminals. Which one are you

              None of the above. But at least I am not posting as an AC. So, which of the above are you?

              1. kain preacher Silver badge

                Re: Not on IDENT1

                I should of used the joke icon because I thought the sarcasm of the post and the irony of me posting AC would of been obvious .

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not on IDENT1

              Anonymous.

              Fucking typical.

      3. TheMeerkat

        Re: Not on IDENT1

        The correct answer would be - the police will take you to the police station and fingerprint you there.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not on IDENT1

        They were using LANTERN to check people via fingerprints but it was never compulsory irrespective of what the officers told you.

        Frankly, if asked to provide mine I will flat out refuse.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Feature creep

      A lot of workplaces use fingerprint scanners and there is no opt-out.

      Needless to say the social security folks are looking into using these as it would speed up signing in and other administrative tasks.

      One thing I don't like is that effectively the Police can then say "you're nicked!" if it happens to match up with the one-in-15000 cheap scanner used, so an innocent person can end up locked up for having the wrong kind of fingerprint.

      Add to that well known vulnerabilities such as fake fingerprints and we could be in for a rough ride if criminals start copying phones as well.

    9. gdfsquiq

      So far people are objecting to the police knowing who you are, wait until criminals get hold of this. Any tech like this will leak out over time. Muggings already include a mandatory chip and pin check, add a fingerprint check too and life can become miserable very fast. Easy to change a pin, hard to change biometrics. A marketplace for fingerprint scanners, fingerprints and facial scans is likely to arise from the wide adoption of these technologies.

      Pushing the domain of scanning into unregulated space (ie: the wide world) makes it a lot harder to check a scan is legitimate. Once facial scans and fingerprint scanning is in the public space then targeted criminal activity becomes a lot more feasible, especially if the police maintain their current approach to data retention: ie - too long. They are too focussed on legitimate use rather than the ways criminals will abuse their own tools. I am sure there is some irony in there :)

      Witness protection just became a whole lot more complicated too.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As a law abiding, tax paying, citizen in full time employment, where everyone around seems to be up to no good, dodging tax or on some kind of scam, and whatnot. I'm more than happy about this

    11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      "The Home Office is also planning to merge the IDENT1 and IABS databases "

      What Home Office IT project X "The Usual Suspects (TM)" government IT con-tractors.

      What could possibly go wrong?

    12. Anguilla

      HK - the sensible ID Cards.

      ""

      I always thought it was bizarre that the government cancelled the ID card system, seems we now know why. Who needs a card when you have someones fingers? I also don't for one minute believe that this is not going to be used to record fingerprints.

      I do not like the direction this country is going.""

      Here in Hong Kong, we are legally required to carry I.D. at all times outside of one's home.

      It's no great sweat when used to arrest Commie Chinese malefactors, and others wanted by the law.

      Me? I have held a series of HKID cards for more than 40 years - shortly after I happily dumped UK residence to get away from the trash that had invaded UK.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And what about those Photographs taken at Border control points ?

        Went on Eurostar over the weekend and had to have a mug shot taken and linked to my passport ID, so that it could be added to the Pre-Criminal DB, just in order to be able to abscond from HMP Britannia.

        Looked like a very expensive system to Build and Run.

        And how long do such photos continue to be retained in the absence of any suspected or proven crime ?

  2. Cuddles Silver badge

    But does it actually save time?

    "As an example, the Home Office said that in a trial, using the kit allowed police to identify a driver following a pursuit and issue him with a summons for three offences within 10 minutes, compared with four hours without the tool."

    Someone who is chased by the police and charged with three offences will surely be arrested and taken to a police station. That will happen regardless of whether you identify them and write up some paperwork at the side of the road, or wait until you have him back at the station. So was there really any time saving here? Issuing a summons in 10 minutes isn't particularly impressive if you're still going to take the same 4 hours to cart him back to the station and sort out all the rest of the arrest paperwork anyway.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: "allowed police to identify a driver following a pursuit"

        Speeding offences, unless it's a very sedate police chase.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: "allowed police to identify a driver following a pursuit"

            You could still be guilty of "failing to stop", and then once they do catch up with you you can bet that they'll find something else to do you for, although being white and polite can help.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: "allowed police to identify a driver following a pursuit"

              I think you missed the little jest phuz

            2. Spanners Silver badge
              Black Helicopters

              Re: "allowed police to identify a driver following a pursuit"

              although being white and polite can help.

              You forgot male and over 45.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "allowed police to identify a driver following a pursuit"

                @ Spanners > You forgot male and over 45.

                Age doesn't matter. I talked my way out of being arrested several times in my early 20s, including a couple where they pretty much caught me red-handed. Being polite, well spoken and intelligent helps as does only answering the exact questions they ask and volunteering nothing extra.

                Being white and / or male may help but since it is impossible for me to become a black woman for a day I couldn't tell you.

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: But does it actually save time?

      "Someone who is chased by the police and charged with three offences will surely be arrested and taken to a police station"

      This is wrong. Which undermines the rest of your argument. Easy proof of identification will often remove the need to arrest (and necessity is an arrest criteria). Surely nobody's campaigning for more unnecessary arrests?

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: But does it actually save time?

        Since I've managed to acquire lots of downvotes in a short period of time, here's the link to the relevant section in PACE:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/24

        Although I suspect the uninformed would rather remain uninformed.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: But does it actually save time?

          "

          Although I suspect the uninformed would rather remain uninformed.

          "

          I am more informed than I would like to be, and I assure you that for anything as serious as provoking a police case, the culprit would most definitely be arrested and taken to the police station (using one of the clauses of part 5 of the PACE document you posted). This will allow the suspect to be questioned and also his car and if necessary home to be searched without a warrant. Also "teaches the scrote a lesson"

    3. grandours
      Pint

      Re: But does it actually save time?

      Imagine the following scenario:

      An officer on vehicle patrol notices a driver commit a driving infraction (e.g. making a turn without signalling). The officer follows the vehicle, which is also speeding, and signals for them to pull over. Not noticing the police car immediately, the subject continues down the road some way before realizing she is being "pursued", and then she pulls over. While they are pulling over, the officer notices that the subject vehicle's rear left turn signal is burned out. A quick finger print check and ten minutes later, and the subject is issued with a summons for three offences (not signalling turn, speeding, burned out turn signal). He is feeling generous, so he lets her off on not having her drivers licence with her. No need to haul the subject in to the station or arrest her.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But does it actually save time?

        "Imagine the following scenario:

        An officer on vehicle patrol notices..."

        No, just humiliate her by the sound of it and for little reason. You sound like a Jobsworth. And when did this suddenly apply to women only, in terms of poor driving?

        1. grandours

          Re: But does it actually save time?

          Hah, that's hilarious! It never entered my mind that someone would take it this way. I purposely used a woman in the example to avoid the impression of police profiling, not to imply female drivers are any worse than men. As far as I'm aware, there's no significant difference in male vs female driver quality as measured by accident rates per mile driven.

          Amazing how people automatically assume they know what other people are thinking, even when they have no clue.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But does it actually save time?

            @grandours: in the modern PC snowflake era your entire text should have no reference to sex or sexual orientation. Your terminology should be gender neutral only and free from any other bias. I'm sure there's a bablefish-style English -> Snowflake converter out there somewhere.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: But does it actually save time?

          "And when did this suddenly apply to women only, in terms of poor driving?"

          "He" was being politically correct and not assuming at all times that it's a man.

          1. Agamemnon

            Re: But does it actually save time?

            Living on the West Coast of the States, you can file that under: "Damned if you're politically correct, double damned if you aren't."

            I just say "The Asshole" so everyone's offended, but isn't. Oddly, it works really well.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But does it actually save time?

          Hahahahaahahahaa. The sexism police strike again. Fabulously sensitive over reaction on a made up scenario.

      2. smudge Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: But does it actually save time?

        He is feeling generous, so he lets her off on not having her drivers licence with her.

        Unless the law has changed without me knowing it - or is different in, say, NI - then you don't have to carry your driver's licence in the UK.

        1. grandours

          Re: But does it actually save time?

          It seems you are correct: https://www.gov.uk/stopped-by-police-while-driving-your-rights

          I did not know this because I don't live in the UK. It would never have occured to me that they would not automatically issue a ticket for not having your license on you while driving. In any event, just ignore that sentence as it has no bearing on the rest of the scenario.

      3. Bob Wheeler

        Re: But does it actually save time?

        @ grandours

        "He is feeling generous, so he lets her off on not having her drivers licence with her."

        There is no requirement to carry your driving licence with you.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: But does it actually save time?

          "There is no requirement to carry your driving licence with you."

          No, but if you don't then you must produce it at a station within 7 days if asked to do so (and that's despite them being able to bring up a copy of it in the car to verify you are who you say you are)

          It's usually easier to have it.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: But does it actually save time?

        "A quick finger print check and ten minutes later, and the subject is issued with a summons for three offences"

        And if you've ever watched shows like Police Interceptors, you'll know those guys have been doing this for some time now. Putting the same tech into the hands of every bobby on the beat will likely throw up a number of abuses, especially along the lines of the bobby not knowing the law properly. Any tall photographers might need to be careful.

        1. Fred Dibnah

          Re: But does it actually save time?

          In my camera bag I carry a printout of rights for photographers in the UK, for the unlikely event that a copper (or someone else) might object to me taking a photo. For example:

          http://www.sirimo.co.uk/2009/05/14/uk-photographers-rights-v2/

          Another handy guide, this time for the mobile fingerpint scenario, is here:

          https://netpol.org/2013/01/28/your-rights-and-mobile-fingerprinting/

          Note the date. This isn't new news.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: But does it actually save time?

            "for the unlikely event that a copper (or someone else) might object to me taking a photo."

            In my experience the "objector" is usually either a PCSO or someone caught doing something naughty.

            They object even more vehemntly when being told they're actually being videoed and "I can, I have, I will continue to do so and you have no power to stop me" - once at which point the smirking policeman standing next to the now-fuming PCSO burst out laughing and said "He's absolutely right, now stop being a twat"

      5. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: But does it actually save time?

        "

        He is feeling generous, so he lets her off on not having her drivers licence with her. No need to haul the subject in to the station or arrest her.

        "

        Rubbish. She would be issued with a "producer" saying she must produce her D/L at a police station within X days. That is routine for anyone stopped who cannot produce the necessary documents.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But does it actually save time?

          Rubbish. She would be issued with a "producer" saying she must produce her D/L at a police station within X days. That is routine for anyone stopped who cannot produce the necessary documents.

          I'm a bit confused with this. If they haven't ID'd you how do they make you produce your licence in X days? Who do they come after if/when you don't turn up?

          If they assume you're the registered owner of the vehicle then they can also check your licence status.

          If they have ID'd you by some other means then they can check your licence status.

          Ergo, what's the fucking point? It's a requirement from decades gone by.

      6. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: But does it actually save time?

        "A quick finger print check and ten minutes later, and the subject is issued with a summons for three offences"

        The way the system is currently setup the fingerprint check will only tell that the person is not already in the system (ie: Known and wanted.)

        About the best use for this is dealing with people who give false names/IDs when questioned at the roadside because they're wanted for other things (there are some locations/situations you must provide ID to the police - a wharf, when driving a car and a few others. For the rest you're legally allowed to decline to do so)

        At best it's an elimination tool (which may be useful in any case). There are too many false positives to work the other way around.

        I'm not entirely sure why this is a news story. These things have been in use by traffic police for over a decade. The bigger deal is how secured they are and what they're actually comparing, which isn't gone into at all.

    4. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: But does it actually save time?

      "As an example, the Home Office said that in a trial, using the kit allowed police to identify a driver following a pursuit and issue him with a summons for three offences within 10 minutes, compared with four hours without the tool."

      Someone who is chased by the police and charged with three offences will surely be arrested and taken to a police station. That will happen regardless of whether you identify them and write up some paperwork at the side of the road, or wait until you have him back at the station.

      I charitably read it as meaning someone who was pursued, but who did not commit any offences during the pursuit for which sufficient evidence was available to justify arrest, was identified and linked to existing warrants which were therefore able to be executed rather than the suspect being released.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But wait, it is worse

    You will be on record and have a police record, even if you did nothing wrong, and they wont expunge that,.. so if something bad happens and you are arround...

  4. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Holmes

    False positive rate

    The collusion rate for fingerprints is far higher than the government would like to admit, so given that this will be searching against every fingerprint ever found at a crime scene.

    I wonder how meany people will get falsely accused by the DB.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: False positive rate

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/dec/14/fingerprint-evidence-opinion-fact

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: False positive rate

      Somewhere between pathetic and frightening.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: False positive rate

      If you had a complete database of the population (leaving aside the undesirablity of that...), any partial or low-confidence matches would probably with people who are not (presently) "of interest" and the police would presumably become more skeptical of its use over time.

      Given the composition of the database (crims + immigrants), any false result is automatically a person of interest and that will unfortunately reinforce false notions of its accuracy and value.

  5. Clive Galway
    Stop

    "App on their smartphones"

    What, work smartphones? And these stop working when they clock off?

    1. Dave the Cat

      Re: "App on their smartphones"

      It's unlikely the ICO would allow forces to require that officers install this on their personal mobiles and even less likely that the police FED would allow it.

      I would imagine that come the end of the shift, just like I do with my work mobile, I hand it over to the person taking over from me.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "App on their smartphones"

        So it's unlikely, and you imagine a system where they don't use personal phones to run the app.

        Well that's certainly put my mind at rest!

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: "App on their smartphones"

      It runs on work smartphones. And officers take their phones home to read their email and do the same unpaid overtime that the rest of us do.

      Police constables are never fully off-duty, btw. The obligations of the office are continual.

      What's the problem? Are you similarly concerned that they take their uniforms, notebooks and batons home?

      1. Clive Galway

        Re: "App on their smartphones"

        I said nothing about the phone stopping working, but there is ZERO reason for them to need to fingerprint someone while not carrying out their duties, and PLENTY of capacity for misuse of the system if they have 24/7 unfettered access to it.

        Do firearms officers take their guns home? Do traffic cops take their pursuit car home? Do mounted policemen take their horses home?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "App on their smartphones"

          "24/7 unfettered access"

          Accesses are logged.

        2. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: "App on their smartphones"

          "ZERO reason for them to need to fingerprint someone while not carrying out their duties, and PLENTY of capacity for misuse of the system if they have 24/7 unfettered access to it."

          What scenario do you imagine? Sitting at home over Sunday lunch and suddenly forcing granny's finger into a smartphone?

          Or a James Bond style lifting of fingerprints from the empty glasses on the Dog and Duck to find out if Dave from next door really is Dave?

          Anyway, as JB says, everything logged.

        3. rh587

          Re: "App on their smartphones"

          Do firearms officers take their guns home? Do traffic cops take their pursuit car home? Do mounted policemen take their horses home?

          No, though it seems reasonable to suspect that policy will require that even if the phone goes home with Officers, that the fingerprint scanners remain in their locker alongside their Met Vest, belt kit, baton, radio and CS spray (technically a Section 5 firearm thanks to a weird quirk of firearms law wording). Officers can and have been disciplined and sacked for taking home restricted equipment such as ASPs and Tetra handsets.

          Of course the continuing cases (~200/yr IIRC) of officers being disciplined for misusing their access to PNC/PND suggests that trainers have not yet managed to beat Data Protection responsibilities into their trainees adequately, so no doubt a few of the scanners will go walkies.

          I would suggest in such cases that sacking and total loss of pension contributions to date would be adequate disciplinary deterrent. i.e. "Don't ever do this, ever, under any circumstances, it is considered utterly unacceptable".

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            Re: "App on their smartphones"

            "alongside their Met Vest, belt kit, baton, radio and CS spray (technically a Section 5 firearm thanks to a weird quirk of firearms law wording). Officers can and have been disciplined and sacked for taking home restricted equipment such as ASPs and Tetra handsets"

            Hmm, despite using some of the correct terminology - albeit it very dated, you're either wrong or referring to a force I'm not familiar with. Everything listed except the spray (because it's a firearm) is usually taken home.

        4. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: "App on their smartphones"

          "Do firearms officers take their guns home?"

          No, because guns are a teensy bit dangerous and there is legislation governing their storage. And because firearms officers are encouraged to rotate weapons to avoid becoming accustomed to the characteristics of a particular weapon.

          "Do traffic cops take their pursuit car home?"

          No, because those cars average 23 hours a day running time. And because nobody wants that sort of publicity.

          "Do mounted policemen take their horses home?"

          You're absolutely right. A complete hole in my argument, obviously there's no reason people shouldn't take horses home with them to their city flat.

          1. Fred Dibnah

            "And because firearms officers are encouraged to rotate weapons to avoid becoming accustomed to the characteristics of a particular weapon."

            That seems odd to me. I'd have thought that becoming accustomed to a particular weapon would be a good idea, especially if they want to fire them accurately.

        5. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: "App on their smartphones"

          Do firearms officers take their guns home? Do traffic cops take their pursuit car home? Do mounted policemen take their horses home?

          Here in the States... it depends on the police department. Most likely yes to firearms, maybe to the other two... though horse mounted cops are rare.

        6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "App on their smartphones"

          "Do mounted policemen take their horses home?"

          Dog handlers take their dogs home.

        7. M7S

          Re: "App on their smartphones"

          Police dog handlers certainly take their dogs home

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "App on their smartphones"

        There's a few female officers I wouldn't mind finding out if they took the handcuffs home...

      3. Goldmember

        Re: "App on their smartphones"

        "What's the problem? Are you similarly concerned that they take their uniforms, notebooks and batons home?"

        It's more abuse of the system, I think. Imagine being in the pub and getting your mates to give the print scanner a go after a few pints. All fun and games, until it produces a match...

    3. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: "App on their smartphones"

      Complete comprehension failure detected :

      "A police force in Yorkshire has been kitted out with fingerprint scanners to run identity checks in the street. Some 250 scanners have been handed to West Yorkshire Police officers"

      Followed by :

      "The scanners link up to an app on cops' smartphones"

      There is a scanner AND a smart phone, They might have the phone at home but they wont be taking the scanner home.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rudd's big idea to have us in virtual digital shackles / "Welcome to Britains' Open Prison" plan.

    "Using the kit allowed police to identify a driver following a pursuit and issue him with a summons for three offences within 10 minutes, compared with four hours without the tool."

    What was the 'pursuit'? 33 mph in a 30 + underinflated tyre.

    You get the picture what this will end up being used for.

    More of Amber Rudd's (Elmer Fudd's) big idea to have us all in virtual digital shackles, part of "Welcome to Britains' Open Prison" plan.

    That cheating ex-husband who left Amber Rudd nothing in his Will, really turned her into the jealous type, so she could take it out on the rest of us.

    Rudd (or the Police for that matter) really don't get it that technology is actually like a fine delicate string instrument that you need to learn to play properly and with restraint, because use it too much in one area, it opens up a whole can of worms in another. They seem to see it as this all encompassing surveillance utopia, it isn't.

  7. James 51 Silver badge
    FAIL

    government argues wastes time

    Due process always does.

    I wonder what sort of stats will be available. Personaly I would like to see:

    • Such as the false positive and negative rates.
    • An area density map showing were and when they are used.
    • A break down by race, gender and wealth.
    • How it handles people with damaged finerprints.
    • On going costs.

    I could go on but you get the picture.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      ok , time to get my downvotes up .

      Such as the false positive and negative rates.

      Well they will be using 2nd factor ID - they wont be executing people based on the apps say so.

      An area density map showing were and when they are used.

      Areas of suspicious loitering etc i guess

      A break down by race, gender and wealth.

      I can tell you now penniless smackheads need more regular checks than Doctors and nurses

      How it handles people with damaged finerprints.

      the damage will or wont be recorded and is part of the finger print

      On going costs.

      should save some time , and therefor money....

      1. James 51 Silver badge
        FAIL

        These are supposed to ID people the police suspect are lying to them about their identity in the street and therefore probably don't have a passport with their real name on it with them. If the police go for 2nd factor ID it is probably in a station and the whole point of on the spot fingerprinting for ID purposes becomes an expensive practical joke. If they are going to lift everyone regardless of the sensors say to avoid letting bad people slip through the net then it is just entirely stupid to even deploy them.

        The usage maps might help some communities with the impression they are unfairly targeted or confirm that they are.

        If a penniless smack head is not lying about their identity there is no need to use this system. Black communities in London have been complaining for a long time about how discriminatory stop and search is against them. If black doctors, religious leaders and other upstanding members of the community keep getting targeted over and over again you might need to look at how the system is being used.

        We have no clue about how damage is handled by the system. Does it just focus on another part of the print? Does wear and tear affect the error rate? Your answer does nothing to convince me this will be a useable system.

        As for saving time and money, if they lift everyone to use 2nd factor as they won’t let anyone go on the apps say so, it will have saved nothing.

  8. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    As far as I can tell from other sources, the Police are only using fingerprint scanners after they detain someone, they aren't doing random stop checks with these.

    If you watch the TV Series 'Police Interceptors' , you'll see the Police often pull over a vehicle after it's flagged up on ANPR for not having insurance, or the registered owner being under a driving ban, then they'll try to ascertain the identity of the driver. In some cases, the drivers have lied about their identity, and then they get fingerprinted.

    I'm more concerned about the five year retention of finger print data harvested from people arrested or charged with a serious offense, who are either not prosecuted, or found not guilty. If the accused isn't found guilty, they should have the same status as before the accusation, and the same as any other innocent citizen. Retaining the data is the 'there's no smoke without fire' attitude.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      " Retaining the data is the 'there's no smoke without fire' attitude."

      Wether that happens or not is nothing to do with fingerprints - if you get charged with a serious offence , and not prosecuted - it should come off your record.

      I dont see a problem with keeping the fingerprints against a "clean sheet"

      1. James 51 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        One Scottish police woman was hounded for years because a finger print expert made a mistake and said a print at a crime scene was her. Years later it was proven not to be hers. Powers that be closed ranks to protect the system once the mistake was made. Not to mention all you'll need is a picture of the print, some gummy bears and a food 3D printer and you could have you some fun.

      2. James 51 Silver badge
        Boffin

        @Prst Ever hear of signal to noise ratio?

  9. alain williams Silver badge

    I am quite OK with technology trials like this ...

    as long as the first location is always the palace of Westminster. If the inhabitants there raise no objections about loss of their privacy after they have been scanned a few times - then who am I to complain ?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: I am quite OK with technology trials like this ...

      Silly pleb.

      You do what you're bloody told and you leave the thinking and privacy to those above you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am quite OK with technology trials like this ...

        You jest, but that's what they think! We have a court case to prove it. Jacob Rees Mogg thrives on it, like some pathogen in the anaerobic process of a sewage works.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  10. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    It was also at pains to emphasise that prints "are automatically deleted from the device once they have been checked".

    The important weasel-words in that sentence are from the device. Given that the 'device' in question is networked to two separate police databases, it leads to a significant possibility that the data posted to those databases in order to match the fingerprints is retained, or that the system can be modified in future to retain that data with few people knowing.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      A clear case of...

      Illegal use of the retained fingerprint data. Any decent Lawyer (and providing you can afford them) would get it thrown out of court.

      But we all know that it won't.

      Big Brother obviously.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      We know the device does not magically know who you are without the databases behind this, we know the databases will be refreshed with the latest scan, and we know entries will be made in a database somewhere else saying where, when, and at what time you had your fingerprints scanned (too many times is bad, citizen).

      They're not even weasel words. To anyone working in IT it's like being smacked round the head with a truncheon. To anyone with any powers of critical thinking, it sets off alarm bells. However it seems the majority of the population neither work in IT or possess critical thinking skills.

    3. Neverwas

      Retained without being stored? too Zen for me ;)

      The actual words from the announcement are

      "fingerprints are not stored and are automatically deleted from the device once they have been checked"

      Odd how the article (and many other reports) omitted the "are not stored".

      And yes, you can argue that it's a lie and they will be stored after all. After all, none of the many people who would have to be privy to that would leak the fact, would they?

  11. Disgusted of Cheltenham

    Digital?

    The help finding next of kin is an interesting digression, but this whole system only works for those with a criminal record or non-EU immigrants. Any idea what proportion of the population of West Yorkshire that is?

    I never carry ID - the grey beard says over 18, but then it's rare to even see police in rural Gloucestershire; What powers are being used to demand it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Digital?

      What powers are being used to demand it?

      Being the UK's most corrupt police force, from the miner's strike to Hillsborough.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Digital?

        @AC - the perpetrators of the miners' strike atrocities° and the Hillsborough mess-up were *South* Yorkshire police, not *West* Yorkshire.

        ° Well, until Thatcher brought in coppers from everywhere else in the country, and possibly some soldiers too...

    2. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Digital?

      "the grey beard says over 18"

      My beard has said I was over 18 ever since I was 14, though only now I'm well over 18 is it turning grey. I call it "The font of middle age", everyone has thought I was early to mid thirties since I was a teen, I've never had anyone check my age.

  12. Flywheel Silver badge
    WTF?

    automatically deleted from the device

    How breathtakingly stupid they must think we are. Of course it'll be read and transmitted from the device, but then the data will be stored in a secure server someone else's cloud for posterity.

    Do these people actually understand what's being suggested? /s

  13. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Big Brother

    >Cops will be able to use the scanners on people on the street if they cannot provide identification, withhold their name [...]

    I'm pretty sure I'm not legally obligated to do either one of those things. Hell, I stopped carrying anything in my wallet with my name on specifically because of that.

    *edit*

    Though iirc, one's legally required to identify themselves in the case of traffic accidents and violations.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I'm pretty sure I'm not legally obligated to do either one of those things.

      Unless arrested, being noted for having committed a reportable offence, or being involved in a traffic incident, no, you're not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is there anything that says you have to identify yourself when arrested? That sounds like you're doing the police's job for them.

  14. wyatt

    Boring, they've been able to do this for ages. However, now they're able to do this via a smart phone rather than a dedicated device.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2008/oct/27/project-midas-fingerprint-scanner-liberty

    I worked on this with NGIT (1st/2nd line support) years ago, it worked well. Nothing was saved and results were returned fairly quickly. Only issue with the old devices is that if your battery went flat you were screwed and it was RTB for the kit.

  15. steamnut

    What a waste.

    Assuming this wonderful technology actually works and the Police find an illegal immigrant what happens next? Well, the person would be taken to a Police station and probably bailed until an immigration /extradition hearing and then they would disappear again.

    So what's the point?

    It may be unpopular but we should have instigated an ID card scheme. The ID card could be used Police checks, confirmation ID for banking and NHS treatment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a waste.

      Someone celebrating the idea of digital virtual shackles, they attach to you too, don't forget.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: What a waste.

      If an 'illegal immigrant' is happily wandering down the street, minding his or her own business, doing nothing specifically illegal (except perhaps breathing or having the wrong colour of skin), perhaps on their way to work in a not-very-pleasant job - why should we worry?

      If they cause problems then you have an excuse to deport them.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: What a waste.

        "why should we worry?"

        . . . Because while a single individual isin't a problem, it becomes a problem at nationwide scale.

        If a certain group of predominately very well off people had not have ignored and justified illegal immigration, tried to NewSpeak said term to "undocumented migration" and condemn as ThoughtCrime any moderate discussion of this then we probably wouldn't have seen "far right" groups existing to any noticible degree, and the UK probably wouldn't be heading out of the EU.

        At this point, it's more than a bit daft to continue arguing that it's ok to quietly ignore the problem.

    3. stopthebollocks
      Facepalm

      Re: What's the problem.

      You lot make me laugh.

      If you know you haven't done anything wrong what is your problem with this? If there are people in our country who should not be here or up to no good, I want them caught. Stop moaning about your rights, if you are a good person the police are not interested in you.

      I will agree that any info the police capture should be instantly deleted if you are found to be not guilty of any crime.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: What's the problem.

        "Stop moaning about your rights, if you are a good person the police are not interested in you."

        I take you are not a Brazilian electrician?

  16. Christoph Silver badge

    Don't worry

    "These are quite OK. The data will be deleted after the scan. It will only be used where there is already suspicion, and never ever to check people guilty of walking while black.

    So it's quite safe and OK. There's no need to protest."

    Very shortly after they have become widespread: "We've just made these teeny, tiny changes in the conditions of use. And we have really good reasons for needing this."

    A few months later: "Ah, just one slight extra adjustment to when we use them. Oh, and just in case of terrorism, we really do need to retain all the data".

    Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.

    Once they have these, there is no limit on what they will want to do with them and will demand the right to do.

  17. John G Imrie Silver badge
    WTF?

    WTF

    A prior information notice for the work said one scenario would be for both to move to the public cloud.

    Do I need to add any more to this?

  18. hatti

    fine with it.

    "There's no recognition of how breathtakingly invasive this proposal is," said Emma Norton of Liberty.

    This is no less invasive than being finger printed at a police station surely and saves time and therefore money to boot. Possibly Liberty's position on this is to ensure those that shouldn't be walking the streets are free to do so.

    1. localzuk

      Re: fine with it.

      The problem isn't with the technology - it never is. The problem is with overreach. Police will find more excuses to fingerprint people - usually following their biases (which time and time again come out to show the police are institutionally racist).

      It also allows the police to use this same tech for further uses in the future - registering finger prints, etc...

      Being taken to a police station affords you the right to legal representation - something you don't have on the street.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: fine with it.

      Yes, no more invasive than being fingerprinted at the Police Station (and a lot cleaner - that ink is foul!)

      But how legal is it for the police to seize someone at random on the street and drag them down to the Station to take their fingerprints on the off-chance they're muslim-looking a wrong 'un.

      1. stopthebollocks

        Re: fine with it.

        Hey Mr PC! Stop being a drama queen, if you were in trouble I bet you would be the first on the phone calling the police, after helping you and getting your arse out of trouble they would be great then, wouldn't they?

        Its too easy to paint all police as racists, most are doing a great job under immense pressure. Yes some are racist but no more than in the rest of society.

        1. localzuk

          Re: fine with it.

          @stopthebollocks - sorry, but the police, as an institution, has been shown time and time again to be racist. A quick Google for "police institutional racism uk" gives you ample evidence of this.

          The problem is not that all police are racists, but decisions made are made on the back of information that is itself biased and racist. Its why stop and search invariably targets young black men. Its why black men in the USA are more likely to be killed when coming into contact with police than white men are.

          If you have a requirement for due process when fingerprinting, then you eliminate a type of misuse. If its as quick as forcing someone on the street to scan their fingers on the whim of a police officer, then you create a much larger chance for misuse and abuse.

          And, depending on the reason I'd need to call the police, sure, I'd call them its kinda one of the things my taxes pay for. I don't hold the overall bias of the force against individuals. Or the actions of individuals against all of them.

          1. stopthebollocks

            Re: fine with it.

            The reason why young black youths are stopped more often is because in certain parts of town they are the ones most likely to be carrying knives. It has nothing to do with racism. This has been proved time and time again but most PC loving peeps chose to ignore it.

            Its all part of inner city gang culture. Black gangs fighting other black gangs. You can go on and on about how unfair it is that black youths are stopped and searched in these areas or you can admit that this is where its mostly happening and agree that something needs to be done about it.

            I say this knowing full well that it is young black people in these communities who are suffering as knife wielding gangs roam the streets with impunity. Whether these youths are black, white, asian or whatever this situation cannot be allowed to continue.

            Young people are dying more or less everyday because of knife crime and it has to stop. White youths are also stopped and searched but you don't get to hear of that because it doesn't fit the media's PC narrative.

  19. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
    Big Brother

    You think this is invasive

    Just wait till they've got on the spot DNA scanners.

    scene: bloke down the park pushing his kids on the swing, police officer enters stage right

    officer: what are you doing with these kids

    bloke: they're my children

    officer: click click click I don't think so sonny, you're nicked

    1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

      Re: You think this is invasive

      You jest, but it turns out that chimera DNA causes exactly that.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia_Fairchild

  20. adam payne Silver badge

    In an announcement slipped out over the weekend,

    At the weekend and no doubt hoped no one saw it.

    In a bid to put a positive spin on the handheld scanners, the Home Office suggested it could be used to identify someone in a medical emergency. It was also at pains to emphasise that prints "are automatically deleted from the device once they have been checked

    The scanners only link to criminal and immigration databases so not quite sure how that is really going to help if like me the person isn't on them.

    Unless of course there going to be systems creep and you intend to expand the scope?

    You say prints are automatically deleted, are you completely sure or do you want to check that? you know just in case we need a judge to rule on it later, saves money that way.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      You say prints are automatically deleted,

      From the device

      Like their previous claim that an ID card wouldn't contain your travel,medical and tax history "on the card" - just in the database it links to.

    2. inmypjs Silver badge

      "databases so not quite sure how that is really going to help iif like me the person isn't on them"

      You will be on them the second time you are stopped.......

      The police harvesting fingerprints on a whim or randomly is the biggest downside I see.

  21. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Basically this comes down to "Do you want our police to be able to identify people"

    If you think it should be legal to refuse to identify yourself to a representative of the law - then i can see why you'd be concerned.

    If you think "In order for the police to have *any* chance of keeping law and order they need to be able to identify people - then this is a tool to facilitate that.

    ..make with the downvotes

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In general you have no legal obligation to identify yourself to the police unless you are being charged with an offence. Policing in the UK is still (at the moment) "by consent".

    2. viscount

      "If you think it should be legal to refuse to identify yourself to a representative of the law..."

      Well, yes it is legal (and should remain so). What is your argument for changing that situation?

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        "What is your argument for changing that situation?"

        Well if a criminal stole my car , and was then pulled over for a check - if he refused to identify himself . The police wouldnt know he wasnt me , and would let him go.

  22. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Do we have a lawyer commentard?

    How legal is it to tell copper with device 'Up yours constable'?

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Do we have a lawyer commentard?

      Nail on head there buddy.

      That is the crux of the issue.

      Although I think the answer to your question is "not very"

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Do we have a lawyer commentard?

        Step1 - They will only be able to force you if you are arrested.

        Step2 - Refusing to voluntarily give your prints will be an arrestable offence

  23. Chris G Silver badge

    Get a hobby

    Preferably one that requires the use of lashings of superglue, its really difficult to avoid getting it on your fingers.

    Everyone should have a hobby like that.

    1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: Get a hobby

      Or better yet, involves immersing your fingers in pineapple juice for long periods of time...

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: Get a hobby

        Doesn't work.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7eLBwCAwmo

      2. dave 81

        Re: Get a hobby

        >Or better yet, involves immersing your fingers in pineapple juice for long periods of time...

        Tom Scott tried that on his youtube channel. Did not turn out well. 2nd degree burns...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get a hobby

      That's a remarkable coincidence - my hobby involves supergluing pineapple pieces together! And then sandpapering them, naturally, to make sure everything is very smooth indeed.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A contract notice for the work, budgeted at up to £308m, is due at the end of the month. ®"

    300m to "merge" two databases. In ideal condions I assume this could be dome in 5 minutes with a couple of lines of SQL. "Insert into" or some such. (two much simpler smaller example DBs obviously)

    There is no need to increase the price a million fold because the databases are "big" and "important"

    Computing power these days is huge. You average home pc could easily hold a database of name and address of everyone in the country. theres only 70m people! you could give them a megabyte of space each for 700gb

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      I suspect that there isn't a one to one mapping of any of the fields in either database.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        So it is going to take 30,000 minimum wage assistants each on £10,000 salaries to merge them

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      "300m to "merge" two databases. In ideal condions I assume this could be dome in 5 minutes with a couple of lines of SQL. "Insert into" or some such. (two much simpler smaller example DBs obviously)"

      Says someone who has obviously never been involved in even a moderately large data migration project.

      Your solution will work BUT :

      You have three John smiths in the database are they the same person? are they different?

      You also have two Steve Mcfaddens they have different national insurance numbers but every other detail is identical - they are obviously the same person - which is correct.

      Which database is your master? Can you even identify the master on a DB level or is it conditional on some data in one of the databases? if so what data?

      You don't seem to have put ant thought into data integrity so I doubt that you have allocated any time for testing that the apps and reports built on top of the original data still work?

      And your comments about a normal PC being able to hold the database are just laughable, I assume youre either trolling or its your first day working on the helpdesk at some big IT company and you think that you know better than everyone else?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You have three John smiths

        You also have two Steve Mcfaddens

        Which database is your master?

        Trivialities! :p

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          TBF, by the time I've had three John Smiths I am seeing two Steve McFaddens.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Brought to you...

    ...by the country that exited the EU because (in part) because it didn't want to be forced to follow its human right standards.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Brought to you...

      "the country that exited the EU because (in part) because it didn't want to be forced to follow its human right standards."

      Which were mostly written by the country that is now exiting the EU.

    2. stopthebollocks

      Re: Brought to you...

      You should know that it was the UK that helped to create those standards and they will be set in UK law when we leave the EU. Stop being so cynical.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Brought to you...

        You should know that it was the UK that helped to create those standards and they will be set in UK law when we leave the EU. Stop being so cynical.

        Except our Dear Leader has been "very clear" that given half a chance, those standards will be replaced with a new "British bill of rights" or similar. This begs the obvious question; if the new 'rights' will be as strong, or stronger than, the existing rights, why revoke the existing ones first? The only possible reason for wanting to do that is if the new ones are weaker and therefore the existing rights would be breached by their introduction.

        The British lawmakers and diplomats involved in the drafting of the rights we now enjoy were highly skilled individuals seeking to ensure that the terrible abuses of human rights that had occurred in the preceding decades of European history would not be repeated. They were remarkably successful in that aim, and the finger of suspicion should be pointed firmly at anyone who tries to revoke them, especially if that person has a consistent track record of doing so. Anyone who is paying attention really should be alarmed.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another interesting question would be how rigorous is the checking done by this system, e.g. points of similarity vs points of difference. The more strict it is then the lower the false match/nomatch count, but the more useful the scanned data for storing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Another interesting question would be how rigorous is the checking done by this system, e.g. points of similarity vs points of difference.

      I usually find doing a few nuts up by hand on my old car is enough to bugger up finger print scanners for quite a while. I hate to think how well these things for people who do a proper manual job rather than spending their lives bashing keyboards.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's nice that the UK reminds me why I've decided to turn my life around, get a BSc and get the fuck out of here.

  29. Floydian Slip
    Alien

    Sandpaper

    Think I'll start selling packs of 2" (about 5cm for you decimilized peeps) of sandpaper - just the thing to fit in your driver's door pocket to sand your prints off when caught.

    Alien icon cos we all knowz that aliens don't have fingerprints

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Sandpaper

      You realise that if they suspect that you have committed a crime and you cant be identified they just arrest you?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long

    Until it's linked to DHS immigration database?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How long

      "Until it's linked to DHS immigration database?"

      Already is. They also check the background of parents of immigrant children attending schools.

      https://schoolsweek.co.uk/schools-must-collect-data-on-immigrant-children-from-autumn/

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: How long

        And to their face-id "trial".

  31. David Pearce

    The digital storage of finger prints is very proprietary and most governments end up with several databases of them that cannot be compared

    I carry a certificate issued by the national registration department stating that my finger print cannot be read for my identity card, once you are over 50 your print quality collapses

  32. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Meh

    It was also at pains to emphasise that prints "are automatically deleted from the device once they have been checked".

    Er, what? I'm always suspicious when someone takes pains to answer a question they weren't asked. Always reminds me of the "what's under the carpet? Ha ha, it's not a dead body." "Nobody asked you what was under the carpet" type of gag...

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Or, based on previous experience they knew it would come up and decided to save everyone some time?

  33. steelpillow Silver badge
    WTF?

    Am I missing something?

    There are two issues here:

    1. Digital fingerprint scanning against a national database.

    2. Going mobile.

    How is the first worse than the old ink-and-filing-cabinets method?

    How is the second worse than wasting time down the nick?

    I'm not trolling, just genuinely ignorant.

    1. Justicesays

      Re: Am I missing something?

      Automatic cross referencing the fingerprints of anyone questioned by the police against a national scale database of every criminal , illegal immigrant and unsolved crime, on the spot, with no suspicion of the person being questioned of being involved in a particular crime.

      What could go wrong?

      Lets see, your fingerprint is a false positive match for 40 unsolved burglaries two counties over.

      The police arrest you on suspicion of being "light fingered Bob" (police nickname for uncaught criminal).

      You can prove where you are for some of the burglaries and have an alibi , but some of them you were alone at home watching telly.

      Police report just the ones where you don't have an alibi to the CPS, who are down on their quota for cases this month.

      Trial eventually collapses (if you are lucky) without additional evidence being provided.

      You get pulled over again later - this time you are light fingered Bob with previous arrest and trial against your record.

      repeat ad nauseum.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Am I missing something?

        "Automatic cross referencing the fingerprints of anyone questioned by the police against a national scale database of every criminal , illegal immigrant and unsolved crime, on the spot, with no suspicion of the person being questioned of being involved in a particular crime."

        That sir is bollocks. Big hairy sweaty bollocks.

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Am I missing something?

        Also, in addition to my previous comment.

        None of what you said in your comment is unique to mobile handheld scanners, the above could happen just as easily with the current process of taking you into the station*

        * Though Ill point out that "Lantern" mobile fingerprint scanners have been in use for YEARS so the only difference here is that the price of the tech has come down allowing wider adoption.

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: Am I missing something?

      It costs time and money to haul someone down to finger print 'em; and, if I understand UK Law, they are entitled to have a solicitor, and waiting for them to slither in arrive can use up more time/money.

      This is a Good Thing. If a person can get something with no outlay of resources, than either a)that thing becomes valueless, b) the person gets as much of >thing< as they can, or c) all of the above.

      People didn't have a problem with tapped calls when it took a warrant, a lineman, and some poor schlub to listen to the calls. However, when the lineman was replaced with a trunk-wide tap, and the poor schlub was replaced with a key-word filter, it soon became clear that the warrant had only been used to manage resources.

      If the plod need to take you to the station to get your prints, they will only do so when there is a strong reason to, with a portable scanner, they will take prints on a whim (as above, probably with time + location "metadata" attached) and, given fingerprinting's less-than-stellar record for avoiding collisions, the more prints they take the more likely you are to be done for something you did not do.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: Am I missing something?

        "with a portable scanner, they will take prints on a whim"

        They are supposed to have good reason before doing so. But yes, it does make abuse of the system that much easier. Thanks.

        Still, I can't see such obviously timesaving technology being withdrawn. Maybe we should be demanding greater accountability, an audit trail accessible to the citizen, and such like. You can't put the scanner back on the desktop any more than you can put the phone tap back on the telegraph pole.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Am I missing something?

          They are supposed to have good reason before doing so.

          Like wearing a loud shirt in a built up area, or loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing?

  34. Toilet Duk

    The fingerprints are "automatically deleted from the device" after they've been scanned in? I don't believe that for a second. It will be some legalistic use of words - eg they are deleted from the machine AFTER they've been uploaded to a database to be kept for eternity whether you're a criminal or not.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Big Brother

      My guess/interpretation of that statment

      • The device scans the fingerprint, and generates the hash.
      • The phone/app uploads the hash to the CopNet DB, along with time + location
      • The DB queries the hash against "known baddies" (Which includes any hash in the DB), then stores the uploaded hash + metadata
      • The hash is then deleted from the device and perhaps even the phone, if TPTB decide to go that route

      Et Viola, your fingerprint was never even saved.

  35. unwarranted triumphalism

    The usual suspects complaining

    Only criminals need fear this sensible measure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The usual suspects complaining

      What happens when you get fingerprinted and your fingerprint ends up in a database? You have no worries because you're not a criminal, that's great. Now what happens when that print or partial print turns up on Professor Plums Candlestick in the Billiard Room? Fingerprints are not infallible you know. How would you feel if you got woke up at 4am dressed only in your leather assless chaps and dragged down to the police station to be charged with someone else's murder? The court then convict you based on this fingerprint because the jury believes them to be infallible. When you wake up in prison the following day are you still all for this fingerprinting or are you looking forward to your first tasty nutritious meal and shower?

      Source:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/04/06/identity/

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: The usual suspects complaining

        I have no idea what that bizarre rant (involving your sick fantasies, no thanks) is supposed to mean.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The usual suspects complaining

          It's a question, are fingerprints infallible? Could you get arrested for a crime you didn't commit? How would you feel if it happened to you?

          I'm not trying to change your view, all I am trying to do is introduce you to scenarios where your view causes you problems. There are probably a thousand other scenarios I could have used but the one I chose added a bit of cheekiness.

          You clearly have the view that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, which is fine but I would recommend you engage your brain and think about the possibility that if you go through life thinking that then what happens when it causes you a problem? I'm sure there were people under the stasi that had the same thoughts as you but came undone when they annoyed someone with power and information. It's very easy to say I do nothing wrong and look the other way while a government takes more control and power away from it's citizens, what isn't easy is to put that genie back in the bottle when a government decides to abuse those powers.

          It's not a bizarre rant, I'm just following on from a previous comment about cyclists in lycra.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: The usual suspects complaining

            > It's a question, are fingerprints infallible?

            No

            More specifically whilst they're believed to be unique this has never been fully tested and the number of loci used for generating a match doesn't scale to the number of fingerprints now being stored.

            It was much easier when you only kept prints of the crims and were only matching against known baddies or direct suspects.

            It's the same problem with "DNA matching" - the actual levels of match have been vastly exaggerated in courts and led to juries being misled. DNA and fingerprints are great for eliminating suspects but when it comes to generating matches you're in a different ballgame.

            > Could you get arrested for a crime you didn't commit?

            It's happened on a bunch of occasions

            > How would you feel if it happened to you?

            How would you feel?

            1. David Pearce

              Re: The usual suspects complaining

              Finger prints are not unique.

              Digital minutiae are far from unique as they sample "features" of the finger print, usually ridges that just stop somewhere, forks and kinks. The number of truly unique and possible vales this allows varies with the scanner, but its not very many. This makes finger prints useful for confirming identity, but only useful as a hint to identifying an unknown person

            2. Munkstar

              Re: The usual suspects complaining

              A rapist has just been convicted based on his stored DNA.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: The usual suspects complaining

                "A rapist has just been convicted based on his stored DNA."

                And a _much_ larger number of convicted people have been exonerated based on DNA

                As I said previously. DNA (and fingerprints) is a fantastic tool for _eliminating_ suspects.

                When it comes to matching, you're in a different ballgame and you need to be a hell of a lot more careful.

          2. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: The usual suspects complaining

            "It's a question, are fingerprints infallible? Could you get arrested for a crime you didn't commit?"

            The answer to both of those is YES.

            However the question you didnt ask : "Could this happen WITHOUT the mobile devices" is also YES.

            The only thing changing here is that to be finger printed you dont need to be taken to the station.

    2. steelpillow Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The usual suspects complaining

      "Only criminals need fear this sensible measure."

      Thank goodness we don't have sarcasm in these comment threads. For a moment there....

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Papieren! BITTE!

    alternatively, I'd cordon off the street with a platoon, and take dna samples from everybody. Overwhelming, sure, but soon, the whole population will have been on OUR DATABASE. And then, you'll all be SAFE!!!

    Trust ME, I've got a platoon of friendly soldiers to prove it! :/

  37. David McCoy

    The more things change

    Ah technology, Soon the old cry of the Totalitarian State "Papers! Now! will be replaced by "Give us yer dabs, Chum"

    I expect to see this roll out across the Commonwealth after the next CHOGM.

    So glad my grandfather and other family members who fought to preserve the rights of man are long dead.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The dystopian future

    Has just arrived...

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: The dystopian future

      "Has been here for a while..."

      FTFY

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM

    Isn't this how IBM got one of it's bigger contracts a while back in Germany?

    1. Snorlax
      Headmaster

      Re: IBM

      "Isn't this how IBM got one of it's bigger contracts a while back in Germany?"

      They quite literally got the trains to run on time...

  40. Sarg

    If you've got nothing to hide, don't worry about it!

    People complain about the lack of police, yet something like this comes out to help the police and the snowflakes put it down.

    Having worked in the defence industry for many years, I simply cannot understand why anyone is afraid of being ID checked.

    1. dave 81

      > I simply cannot understand why anyone is afraid of being ID checked.

      What is the point of having right if you don't stand up for them? "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" only works if you trust those in power. From the past 20 years of politics, the people in power are the last people to trust in any way what so ever. Corrupt, lying scumbags, and Blue ISIS just keeps them in power. No thank you.

      1. silverfern

        @ dave 81:

        Not quite.

        The principle of "If you have nothing to hide, you gave nothing to fear" only works if those in power can be trusted.

  41. EBG

    as Jean-Jacques once said

    L'homme est né libre, et partout son 'digital self' est dans les fers.

  42. Crisp Silver badge

    Prints "are automatically deleted from the device once they have been checked"

    I'm not falling for that lie twice!

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Care factor - 0

    If you don't do naughty things then what's to worry about? I would prefer them fingerprinting a miscreant on the spot and potentially nabbing him/her for another crime.

    1. silverfern

      See my earlier comment.

  44. lukewarmdog
    Joke

    OTOH

    Yeah on the one hand I quite like this, on the other hand...

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the love god

    Please people in the UK do not let this happen to your country. Recently in America ICE boarded a bus and demanded proof that people were here legally. This was not a in a port but a random stop. They were not looking for any one specific. They had no proof that illegals were on the bus .

    Papers please has turned into ID please.

  46. Munkstar

    Small Brother

    When they follow up with summary executions then I might worry.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't See The Problem

    At the moment if I get stopped and asked for my name and the copper doesn't believe me he takes me to the police station then after a few hours it's proved I'm right and I'm released, ie turfed out on the street miles away from where I was stopped.

    With this device I'd be on my way after 5 mins.

    Also the chances of a real baddy getting away are reduced.

    As long as the prints aren't stored then bring it on, my only concern would be that the police would harvest people's prints, in spite of assurances to the contrary, but that comes with living in the South Yorkshire Police area.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get a grip

    This is not an 'invasion of privacy'. This is just simply saving time; if they need to fingerprint you they can take you to the station (4 hours) or do it on the street (10 mins). Your 'choice' is irrelevant

    As to the person who has never been finger printed and thinks the police are going to stop him just to add him to their database ... your more likely to be stopped because of all the crack your smoking.

    1. kwhitefoot

      Re: Get a grip

      So now they will print 24 times as many. As Stalin is reputed to have said quantity has a quality different from the individual item.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019