back to article Concerns raised over privacy and security of UK Home Office's £842m biometrics programme

An independent ethical advice group has raised concerns about the UK Home Office's £842m Biometrics programme, which will store millions of people's highly sensitive biometric data, due to go live next year. In 2017 the Home Office tasked the National DNA Database Ethics Group to expand its remit to cover the use of forensic …

  1. j.bourne
    Mushroom

    Blow it up.

    ... and start again down an ethical path.

    This is biometrics gone mad. The very concept of linking all these systems together has only one outcome, whatever the intent. The unnecessary and unlawful monitoring of citizens going about their daily business. £842million could be better spent just by giving it to me. I'd spend it in a more beneficial way to the country by Pi****g it up the wall than the govt spending it on Biometrics.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Blow it up.

      You only have to look at the mistaken detentions and deportations due to inaccurate datasets that they've used as part of the hostile environment then multiply it by this to get an idea as to what could possibly go wrong.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blow it up.

      Having seen the brilliance of Leidos in action at NATS (now that is a disaster) there is nothing to fear apart from the loss of £842 million. Then after that another £842 million...

      Anonymous as I've never seen a company treat a client like a wallet as well as Leidos and I've worked in Defence for 30 years...

  2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    what a glorious way to

    keep data

    Quote

    "This includes images of people who haven't been charged with a crime because – unlike the UK's DNA or fingerprint databases – these images are only removed if someone requests it."

    So if your mug shot is recorded on the police database without your knowledge , it will be removed upon your request

    So if I dont know my mug shot is on there, I wont request its removal (and can be arrested if I vaguely look like a criminal IE head, 2 arms, 2 legs, human)

    Or worse still, I can request my mug shot is removed , but then the cops go "ah ha why is he requesting we remove his mugshot unless hes done something wrong" and then they retain it anyway 'just in case' I do anything wrong (and vaguely look like a criminal IE head, 2 arms, 2 legs, human )

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: what a glorious way to

      You left out the important sentence preceding your quote...

      > There are now around 21 million shots of faces and identifying features like scars or tattoos in the custody image database.

      If you have had your photo taken in custody you WILL know it.

      1. cornetman Bronze badge

        Re: what a glorious way to

        > If you have had your photo taken in custody you WILL know it.

        Police are wearing bodycams these days. You don't have to be have been in custody for them to have your picture, merely be "a person of interest" at a rally or political meeting.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: what a glorious way to

        > If you have had your photo taken in custody you WILL know it.

        Nope. I can't remember if my photo or DNA was taken. I recall my fingerprints were.

        It was long enough ago, and I was rather more concerned about having been nicked for something I hadn't done, that I have little recollection of what happened when and where.

        But I know for certain I'm on some database the rozzers have.

  3. Dave 15

    Ffks

    The BIGGEST problem with this story is that HMG has once again shifted the British workforce by spending our money abroad. That's millions of tax money taken from our economy so killing thousands of jobs for engineers, office builders, furniture makers, food suppliers etc etc, raising the costs of benefits and by reducing demand in the UK for developers pushing down salaries and therefore tax take. the bozos in charge here have no idea at all of basic economics, they should all go on a gcse course and learn some very basics. Their stupidity knows no bounds. How many engineers here could have done that job but are sitting at home unemployed? Lots. And that is before you remember that under American law hug have just made all our data automatically available to the nsa

  4. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Should be discussed", but won't be...

    Except that now the Home Office will look at this ethical advice group's fears as a recommendation for the future.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    I'm waiting

    For the announcement that all of the DNA ancestory tests have been regulated into the system and those who haven't yet succumbed to finding out they are not who they thought they were, must have a test by next Tuesday.

    " Papieren! Blut!"

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "all of the DNA ancestory tests have been regulated into the system"

      You mean like in the US, where one of the companies CEO's just handed the keys to the FBI?

      Surely that would never be misused.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bio - hazard

    Biometrics, the password you can never change. And if you love criminals; just put them all in one place, have an incompetent (at least security wise) government manage it.

    Does anyone doubt all this data will be leaked/hacked/abused?

    1. Is It Me Bronze badge

      Re: Bio - hazard

      People still think of biometrics as replacing passwords, they should only be used to replace a username.

    2. Mike 137 Bronze badge

      Re: Bio - hazard

      " the password you can never change"

      It's not a password. A password is an authenticator. Biometrics are identifiers. The banks get this wrong every darned time.

  7. GnuTzu Silver badge
    Mushroom

    As with recent news about the FBI, once they have access to our data, how the hell is anyone going to keep it from being abused. Are we going to have to have on-site auditors year round--with rulers to smack their sticky little fingers?

  8. Cardinal

    @ GnuTzu

    "how the hell is anyone going to keep it from being abused"

    -

    We could try remaining in the EU?

    The way things are going I would much rather trust THEM with protecting their/our citizens rights than I would the government of the UK (or any other English speaking nation) these days.

  9. Winkypop Silver badge
    Headmaster

    You! Yes! You behind the bike sheds! Stand still laddie!

    We will all be back at school again.

    Teach will be observing us and all we get up to.

    1. jospanner

      Re: You! Yes! You behind the bike sheds! Stand still laddie!

      "But it's the only way to keep us safe!"

      This is all the logical conclusion to building a totally risk-averse society.

  10. jospanner

    Mmmm, lovely smell of fascism.

    Remember operation Optic Nerve?

  11. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    I swear UK.gov think ethics is that county to the north east of london

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