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British Airport Will Require Fingerprints From Domestic Passengers 279

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
ProfBooty brings us a story about England's Heathrow airport, which will begin fingerprinting passengers on its domestic flights later this month. Airport executives claim that the data will be stored for no longer than 24 hours, and will not be shared with law enforcement. We've previously discussed airport fingerprinting measures in the United States and Japan. Quoting: "All four million domestic passengers who will pass through Terminal 5 annually after it opens on March 27 will have four fingerprints taken, as well as being photographed, when they check in. To ensure the passenger boarding the aircraft is the same person, the fingerprinting process will be repeated just before they board the aircraft and the photograph will be compared with their face. Dr Gus Hosein, of the London School of Economics, an expert on the impact on technology on civil liberties, is one of the scheme's strongest critics. He said: 'There is no other country in the world that requires passengers travelling on internal flights to be fingerprinted. BAA says the fingerprint data will be destroyed, but the records of who has travelled within the country will not be, and it will provide a rich source of data for the police and intelligence agencies.'"
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British Airport Will Require Fingerprints From Domestic Passengers

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  • So what's the point? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:22PM (#22684012) Journal

    data will be stored for no longer than 24 hours, and will not be shared with law enforcement.
    Then why are you doing it? It seems like they're just trying to get the citizens used to these kinds of abuses so that when they do start cross-checking and retaining data indefinitely nobody will be able to tell the difference, or care.

    And Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I see your Orwellian fear and raise you Brazil !!
    • They can have my fingerprints when they pry them from my cold, dead... oh, wait.
    • by shoemilk (1008173) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:27PM (#22684062) Journal
      Exactly, It's not like the terrorist didn't have leagal and valid id! They were exactly who they said they were! There is no point! I need more exclamation points!
      • by Original Replica (908688) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:13PM (#22684282) Journal
        There is only no point if you still believe that all this new "security" is actually about terrorists. If you view it from the idea of making people used to the idea of being bullied and controlled then it makes perfect sense. "A society will remain as free or as enslaved as the conscious dispositions of individuals determine it shall be. Just as the roots of oppression are found in passivity, the foundations of our liberty reside in highly energized and focused minds that insist upon their independence. There are no shortcuts, no structures or doctrines that can be erected, no hallowed documents to be revered, to save us the effort of continually challenging those who would presume to exercise authority over our lives." -- Butler Shaffer
        • by Admiral Ag (829695) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:45PM (#22684446)
          Since it doesn't seem to matter who you vote for in Britain, it appears that the only way to stop crap like this would be active forms of civil disobedience, which the authorities would then point to to justify what was being protested against in the first place. Joseph Heller would be proud.
          • by Original Replica (908688) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:20PM (#22684622) Journal
            Same problem here in the States. I wonder if the various parties stopped offering real differences in policies around the same time the most powerful political action committees started contributing to both candidates of a single election? I wonder how long nearly meaningless elections will continue to make people believe that they actually have some kind of voice in their government?
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              As a Brit, I envy the differences in policies you're likely to be offered if Obama wins the nomination: on healthcare alone he offers a clear break with the past. Here, nobody with any chance of gaining power ever suggests such a dramatic change, it's always incremental - usually for the worse. This is how we were able to have a report into copyright [openrightsgroup.org] which essentially said: "everything's fine, but we need tougher penalties for filesharers."
          • by buro9 (633210) <david@bu[ ].com ['ro9' in gap]> on Saturday March 08, 2008 @03:44AM (#22685540) Homepage
            Civil disobedience doesn't work any more.

            If you get arrested, and they charge you some for some piddling small offense, then you've just gone and screwed your freedom to travel permanently.

            Any trip this Briton would make to the USA or another country will now not be eligible under Visa Waiver Programs as a criminal record (when not a driving offence) requires that you obtain a visa to travel. The US embassy visa process takes 31 weeks from end to end (starting to gather pre-requisites through to obtaining a B1/B2 visa in your passport).

            And to go through that process I'd have to give a foreign government far more information than that which I would have had to give the people at Terminal 5.

            Civil disobedience in this day and age just marks you negatively for the rest of your life. Unless the action is large and total, it just wouldn't work. And most people don't want to fight, they want to get on their plane and reach their destination.

            I personally think we've long ago crossed the line into being a surveillance world. All countries, not just the UK.

            When I go to the US my details are taken, my fingerprints, photos, credit card numbers that were used to book the flight, which hotel I'm staying at, departure date, hire car details.

            It already is the case that every move I make I consider the possible future ramifications of that move and how any action now might affect me in 15 years time.

            This all reminds me of the Stasi. We're all spying on each other now, and all of that data business and government hold and will use against use. Be it credit refusal, travel restrictions, political control. We're already there.
            • by thsths (31372) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @04:12AM (#22685622)

              This all reminds me of the Stasi. We're all spying on each other now, and all of that data business and government hold and will use against use. Be it credit refusal, travel restrictions, political control. We're already there.
              Indeed, and I think it has more to do with communism than most people realise. During the cold war, the western world had a "spiritual" need to demonstrate how open and free they were, compared to the countries in "the other block". Now that communism has collapsed (or is perceived so), there is no longer any pressure to differentiate. Slowly but surely the same methods that we previously despised are being introduced in all western societies.

              And the scary part is the word "all". There seems to be no exception, all civilised countries are following the same trend. So you cannot even vote with your feet.

            • by Cederic (9623) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @05:48AM (#22685880) Journal

              When I go to the US my details are taken, my fingerprints, photos, credit card numbers that were used to book the flight, which hotel I'm staying at, departure date, hire car details.
              So don't go.

              And stop flying through Heathrow. Refuse to let them take your fingerprints.

              It doesn't take many people to start making this stand and the airlines and airports will start complaining to the Government about their reduced revenue.

              No civil disobedience required, just a small amount of personal sacrifice. Or are you personally selling out while decrying the rest of us for doing so?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Builder (103701)
                So how do you propose I travel for work then? Losing my job is not a 'small amount of personal sacrifice'. It means losing my house, my car and probably my wife.

          • by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @06:40AM (#22686008)

            it appears that the only way to stop crap like this would be active forms of civil disobedience
            Then you get arrested, and even if you are found innocent, or released without charge, they take a DNA sample which stays on record forever (or until the EU save us).

            We are fairly far into the rabbit hole at this point.
          • The Lib Dems may well hold the balance, and they dissent from the major parties on this issue. They also have a few heavyweights who know how the world works and are critical of it - Vince Cable is a former chief economist of Shell, no less, and has just delivered a speech attacking the failure to tax rich immigrants.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mcpkaaos (449561)
        Are you so certain? In some cases, didn't some of the hijackers turn up alive a year or so later? Were not several of the identities actually stolen? Can anyone shed more light on this?

        You're welcome.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Z00L00K (682162)
          Some identity papers are better than other. It's very easy to mix up people from areas of the world where those matters are of lesser concern or where the identity papers aren't easily convertible to western standards.

          And just because A and B has a great similarity to their identities and papers doesn't necessarily mean that B is using forged identity papers of A. There may have been a mixup somewhere else.

          And even if B is used A:s forged papers, who is the terrorist? A may still be the terrorist and B

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrbluze (1034940)

      Then why are you doing it?
      Obviously no timebombs are ever designed using a timer that can count beyond 24 hours. *rolles eyes*
    • The Point is ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:40PM (#22684418) Homepage Journal
      >>"Airport executives claim that the data will be stored for no longer than 24 hours, and will not be shared with law enforcement."

      >"Then why are you doing it?"

      It's a way of gently easing the metaphorical butt-cheeks of the British public apart. It's what they did with Traffic cameras. First it was just about license plate data for the congestion charge, and we were all assured that it wouldn't capture images of faces or be used by the police ... Fast Forward a year or two, and faces are captured and the police have full unfettered access - to fight terrorism and organised crime ... and petty crime ... and political dissenters ...

      They want to have their own way with you, so they open you up with a finger, apply a little lurication and allow you to fully relax before they bring out the truncheon.

      Give it a year or so and our collective sphincters will have unclenched and our glorious overlords will tell us they need the data to protect us (coz they really love us) and it'll all be added into our permanent files.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rucs_hack (784150)
        I had my first ever taste of domestic UK flight last year.

        I was rather annoyed by the whole 'ZOMGH! Your kid is carrying half bottle of flavoured water!' that the couple in front of me went through, followed by a bag search as a reward for their kid being, well, a kid.... They were hugely embarrassed. I mean, what the bleep is up with that?
        I found the whole 'you are suspicious because you are flying with us today' thing irritating.

        Since then I've taken trains. It takes longer for some journeys, but its a lo
    • by Zemran (3101)
      They are only doing this at Heathrow so any bad men can just hop on the shuttle bus and fly from Gatwick... Not any real inconvenience to the average terrorist but a big pain in the rear for Joe Public...
    • by ubermiester (883599) * on Saturday March 08, 2008 @01:34AM (#22685142)
      Freedom has always been worth dying for. Many citizen soldiers have died on the field of battle to establish and defend freedom, and now the struggle has been brought to our doorstep. But we are not soldiers; we have no weapons to wield.

      Our instinct is to take away the weapons of our enemy. But we are horrified to find that they are using freedom against us. We recoil and draw back our trust. No longer can we take the good will of our neighbors for granted. So with the best intentions we seek to contain anyone who throws an ominous shadow.

      But the young men who carried explosives onto trains and buses in London did nothing to draw our special attention. The morning of the bombings, they were seen conferring together by surveillance cameras. But human eyes cannot be everywhere. They could have written their intentions directly on the lens of that camera and no one would have noticed until it was all over. The men who boarded those planes more than seven years ago did not trigger any alarms or overwhelm any security systems, they simply bought some tickets.

      So we are left with a sobering choice. Do we continue to retract our trust in one another; throwing up human and technological defenses against ourselves? Voluntarily retracting one another's personal freedoms in the hope of leveling the playing field? Or do we make something old, new again?

      Though there is certainly a political element to the battle we fight, but the root of the conflict is ideological. Our enemy is not enamored with freedom the way we are. It calls our defense of liberty for all ways of life foolish and self-destructive. There is, after-all, a natural law revealed for all to see, and the failure to recognize and enforce it is the seed of our downfall. Those who threaten our souls should be singled out and punished. It is ultimately our single minded defense of freedom that allows the devil in us to find safe harbor. Perhaps they are right; but only partly so.

      Freedom allows the unfettered expression of the best in us as well as the worst. A natural law revealed in the hearts of people around the world is only served by the freedom to express it. What better way to talk truth to power than to do it freely and openly? What better way to aid your fellow man's soul than to do it without fear of reprisal?

      But reminding those who would strike down this offering with violence or repression is not enough. We must live the ideal if we are to demonstrate its full potential. Thus we are brought back to our choice.

      Continue to limit freedom in the hope of protecting ourselves, or risk our lives by maintaining and expanding it? We have a proud history of defending freedom on the battlefield. Now we must show reactionaries around the world that there is no profit in punishing those who might do harm by limiting the freedom of everyone. We must risk our lives once again by offering freedom to those who would use it to destroy us. We do not have to offer our lives, but we must protect the freedom that might be used by others to take it. What happened in London and New York will happen again, and we must be willing to let it. We cannot search everyone all the time. We cannot watch everyone everywhere. So we must become as selfless as the soldier. We must be willing to die riding on a subway, flying on an airplane or sitting in our homes. We must be willing to sacrifice ourselves to protect that which we hold most dear. We must live free or die.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Archtech (159117)
        Freedom has always been worth *other people* dying for.

        Think it through. If you're dead, are you free? More to the point, do you care? Not much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JimBobJoe (2758)
      Then why are you doing it?

      It's *not* for preventing terrorism.

      Terminal 5 mixes international passengers and domestic passengers into one area. This system hypothetically prevents people who just got off of an international flight from getting on to a domestic flight and not going through immigration.

      I have heard there's a terminal at Gatwick that does the same thing, but they only check passports manually, no biometric check is used.

      You might ask the question--why the hell do they insist on mixing internati
  • WTF. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:24PM (#22684024)
    What the hell is going on these last few years?! Ever since some wackos killed less people than die from AIDS in a day the US, UK, and AU seem hell bent racing each other to see who can become China first! It's time to face the fact: the terrorists have won. Not flamebait, just a sober realization.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515) *
      Politicians have learned that "we can keep you safe" sells these days.

      • Re:WTF. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Admiral Ag (829695) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:25PM (#22684656)
        They have always known, as Frank Herbert did, that fear is the mind killer.

        Those who are afraid will hand over their liberties to the strong leader who promises to rid them of whatever made them afraid. However, the leader himself has an endless stock of new things to be feared, so the state of emergency persists perpetually. Why else do you think that conservative politicians always run on a law and order platform. Even when crime has been decreasing, they will rename or reimagine some common crime in a way that terrifies people. e.g. "home invasions". Goebbels would be proud.
        • by QuantumG (50515) *
          In western liberal democracies we used to believe ourselves immune to such scare tactics as we are educated enough to see the false threats from the real ones.. so politicians didn't really play these games. But since 9/11 people have lost all concept of this and so when politicians play the boogie-man card people listen.. whereas before 9/11 they would mock.

    • Re:WTF. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ngarrang (1023425) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:41PM (#22684120) Journal
      You can blame the citizens of each country. They are allowing it. Oh, sure, some individuals will complain that THEY did not allow it, but what did they do to try and stop these measures as each one as each one has crept into our lives? Most of us are guilty of allowing our rights to privacy to be steadily eroded in the name of security by those that only wish to cement their future authority.

      What is next? Retinal scans and Blood samples? Forced embedding of an ID chip?

      Well, I admit to be one of those people who complain, yet do little or nothing. I have not written by state rep or senator, I don't organize rallies. Heck, I haven't even created a web page to at least advertise my disapproval.
      • by timmarhy (659436)
        there's a reason you haven't done anything - because it hasn't affected you. for the most part civil liberties types over hype these kinds of things and thats why they get ignored.

        once enough people get pissed off by it then we will see change, until then just pray you aren't one of the unlucky ones.

        • Re:WTF. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by megaditto (982598) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:24PM (#22684346)
          But I still don't think that answers GP's question: why is this happening now instead of back when IRA blew up bomb and killed people pretty much weekly?

          Is it the teletubbies instilling their gay agenda into the young minds? All the mercury in marmite rotting their brains? The hot East-European chicks infecting the populate with the highly contageous BendOverForAuthoritis?

          Why are Britons turning into a bunch of craven pussy chickenshits (for lack of a better word)?
          • Whenever globespanning Empires crumble, the residue of their greatness is usually somewhat less than impressive. I must say I'm bitterly disappointed in the direction their government has taken, especially given their history ... but no more so than I am in my own government, my own fellow citizens.
          • Re:WTF. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ZDRuX (1010435) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:34PM (#22684704)

            But I still don't think that answers GP's question: why is this happening now instead of back when IRA blew up bomb and killed people pretty much weekly?


            Because people wouldn't put up with it back then. The government needed a catalyst for propell this Orwellian state onto people. 9/11 did the job quite nicely. If you look closely, all this "total control" has been creeping into our lives quite slowly over the last 50 years, but it really accelerated after 9/11.

            If the U.S./UK governments are responsible for 9/11 is beyond the scope of this reply, but you at least have to marvell at the inguinity of it all, and how it all seemleslly fell into place. Problem-Reaction-Solution, the rest is up to you to figure out people. That is all.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Citizens have no choice but to allow these measures -- they have no say in the matter and no real voice other than through protest and possibly voting for a particular political party to lead/control the country every few years. So I don't think citizens are entirely to blame for the current state of affairs.

        Any refusal to comply with government enforced measures is not a great idea, and usually ends up with a nice trip to jail and/or a criminal record or, at the very least, being inconvenienced by the auth
      • Re:WTF. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Admiral Ag (829695) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:03PM (#22684518)
        What are they supposed to do? It's all very well for young people to talk about overthrowing the entire political class, because that is who is driving this agenda. It's not one party or one side, but all the mainstream political entities that are for this Orwellian bullshit. Bob the baby boomer doesn't like this, but he's not going to risk his investments, property and future by supporting some radical movement for "freedom" that might decide to make the economy more like Sweden's or Cuba's (and our Lords and Masters would do anything to stop that).

        We should be absolutely clear that voting won't work. Those who have the greatest power in our societies have the largest stake in the current system. That's why a political party that ran on a platform of opposing this would find itself marginalized by the news media, or otherwise hog-tied so that it became unelectable. Plus you have all the people like Bob, who are all for it unless they have to make a personal sacrifice.

        Yes, it sucks.
      • The thing is, though, what the hell are you supposed to do if everyone else is going blindly down that road? What the hell can you do beyond voting (with your fingers crossed), letters, blog posts, debates, books, and shouting in the streets (the last few of which may require a time investment that takes away from your source of income, and therefore food)?

        Are you supposed to resort to assassinations or something? Booth killed Lincoln, and look how well that worked out for the south: over a decade of puni
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by necro2607 (771790)
      That "terrorist act" is just used as an excuse/"reason" for them to come down hard on our freedoms and do whatever they feel like doing, in the name of "safety" and "security".. That's it. Just a bullshit excuse for raping the shit out of ordinary peoples' freedoms and liberties.

      This scenario of them fingerprinting for domestic flights is a GREAT WAY to desensitize people to such "security measures", so they can take it yet another step further a little while into the future.

      As usual, it's a slippery-as-
    • Re:WTF. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mrbluze (1034940) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:38PM (#22684414) Journal

      The terrorists have won
      Indeed. But who are the terrorists? I know who I'm afraid of, and it's not some long-bearded renal failure patient wasting away in a desert cave on the other side of the planet.
    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      Because fear sells [imdb.com] these days.
    • Re:WTF. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @04:32AM (#22685696)
      Ever since some wackos killed less people than die from AIDS in a day the US,

      Actually, AIDS doesnt kill a lot of people in the UK. However, armed police have killed more people in the last five years than terrorists have, and our police are not routinely armed.

      The government ARE the terrorists.

  • There is no other country in the world that requires passengers travelling on internal flights to be fingerprinted. BAA says the fingerprint data will be destroyed, but the records of who has travelled within the country will not be, and it will provide a rich source of data for the police and intelligence agencies.
    So these intelligence agencies are perfectly fine with the prospect of not receiving fingerprints when they have already been collected? Where's the evidence these fingerprints are going to be destroyed? Or does it go like this: We destroyed the file containing your fingerprints... but about any copies of the file we really can't speak.
  • by siddesu (698447) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:25PM (#22684034)
    "The company said the move had been necessitated by the design of Terminal 5, where international and domestic passengers share the same lounges and public areas after they have checked in. "

    Nothing to add here.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fyrewulff (702920)
      Besides my natural "what the fuck do you need my fingerprints for", it seems it would have honestly been cheaper to segregate the areas instead of having to maintain a fingerprints system for _x_ years.

      But then again, maybe it's cheaper to have those systems now. Even one of the local grocery store chains has a check cashing method where you just have to scan your fingerprint.
      • by siddesu (698447)
        Oh, no doubt it could be cheaper. Especially if the gubbermint would sponsor it. All in the name of national security and safety from the terrorists, naturally.
    • by thirty-seven (568076) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:56PM (#22684492)

      international and domestic passengers share the same lounges and public areas after they have checked in

      Except why do they need to fingerprint international travellers leaving the country?

      • by siddesu (698447)
        well, obviously, you just fingerprint everyone. the legal system will tell the guilty apart later.
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:25PM (#22684042)
    A totally usless security measure. If you want to prevent hijacking of aircraft "reinforce the flight deck door and then lock the flight deck door". This was first recomended in the 1970's and if this recomendation had been followed by the airline industry then 9/11 could never have happened.
    • This was first recomended in the 1970's and if this recomendation had been followed by the airline industry then 9/11 could never have happened.

      Actually, it probably would have. If the 19 terrorists had gone to the next level, and started killing passengers and stews, one a minute until the cockpit door was opened...how long do you think the pilots would have held out? About 2 mins.
      After 9/11, when the standard hijack scenario of "Take me to Farkistan!" went out (or through) the window...different story.
      • Really? Ever try to kill several people with a box cutter in a confined space with dozens of other people around. Besides disiplined air crew would have landed the plane first.
      • That's not the issue.

        The issue that you're missing is that the pilot could be the damn terrorist in the first place. He could announce to all the passengers that "All your live are belong to me, hahaha make your time" and because the damn door is locked all you can do is watch yourself die.

        Or what happens if the pilot has a heart attack or something which if movie plots is anything to go by happens on every flight.
      • by OECD (639690) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:16PM (#22684306) Journal

        Actually, it probably would have. If the 19 terrorists had gone to the next level, and started killing passengers and stews, one a minute until the cockpit door was opened...how long do you think the pilots would have held out? About 2 mins.

        Not if I was the pilot.

        Your larger point stands, and the fact is, of course, that the threat of 9/11 ended in a field in PA.

        But that message doesn't help anyone in office, does it?

  • Police World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kongit (758125) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:34PM (#22684096)
    These measures that are being taken to supposedly make things safer are just getting out of hand. I am getting pissed off, but I am also getting scared. I do not want to live in a police state. And it is getting where there is nowhere to go if my government finally gets too much like a police state. While I don't think that there will be a sudden shift to a police state, it is getting easier and easier for a government to become one. The technology is here and the first steps have been taken. It's just a matter of "Oh they won't mind a little more surveillance." All this "security" does not make me feel any safer: I am more likely to die from a car crash then from a hijacked plane. While it might reduce the risks involved in flying, my number 1 fear while flying is that the plane will crash, and that rarely happens so I am not that afraid of it. There are so many other things to say on this subject. It hasn't gotten to the level of stupidity, but its getting damn close.
    • Most governments are staffed by, get this, government employees!

      If you are really worried about it, maybe you should become a government employee too, and *cough*, *cough*, make a few more errors and bureaucratic screw ups than average for such workers...

      I am worried about the loss of liberty, sure, theoretically. I am for sure worried about how much they are going to tax me to hire all these wankers.

  • It's already started (Score:5, Interesting)

    by g_hill (944797) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:35PM (#22684098)
    They're not waiting for Terminal 5, I was photographed and fingerprinted like a criminal today on my way home from a meeting in Hamburg, via Heathrow Terminal 1. I wasn't happy, why should I as a UK passport holder have my fingerprints taken? It's a police state.
    • by Plutonite (999141) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:03PM (#22684228)
      Take issue with whoever is representing you in parliament/government. If you can't do that (get in touch with elected authority), and if a large number of people can't do that either, democracy has failed.

      The internet is a good (or perhaps a bad) way to bring together "large numbers" of unsatisfied people. Market niche: web portal that simplifies concerted efforts to reach government officials in both free and not-so-free nations, divided by locale. You heard it here first.
      • Take issue with whoever is representing you in parliament/government. If you can't do that (get in touch with elected authority), and if a large number of people can't do that either, democracy has failed.

        The internet is a good (or perhaps a bad) way to bring together "large numbers" of unsatisfied people. Market niche: web portal that simplifies concerted efforts to reach government officials in both free and not-so-free nations, divided by locale. You heard it here first.

        This is precisely why they want everybody's fingerprints and photos. Do they have yours? If not, they sure want it. "What is this democracy you speak of? People need to be aware that this is a different time we're living in...we are required to make sacrifices to live in safety." --We hear this so much I might as well be modded redundant.

    • by rabiddeity (941737) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @05:26AM (#22685830) Homepage
      Uh huh. And if you refuse, are they going to keep you, a citizen, from re-entering your own country? Arrest you? I wonder what the charges would be.

      No, sir, here's the proper chain of dialog in this situation:

      Them: Passport please.
      You: Here you are.
      Them: Fingers on the reader, please.
      You: No.
      Them: I can't let you into the country without fingerprints.
      You: I'm a British citizen. The passport and photo prove it. Are you going to keep me out of my own country?
      Them: ...
      You: I'm a citizen, and I'm suspected of no crime. You have no right to take my fingerprints. I refuse to give them.

      Do it calmly and nonviolently.

      I suppose they'd arrest you then and get your fingerprints anyway. But if you did it, it would cause a row. If you and 4 other people did it, you might make the news. If you and 19 other people did it, it would certainly make the news. If you got a hundred people together to do it, it would make international headlines. And then things might have a chance at being changed. How much does a flight to Paris and back cost?
  • Not too expansive (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dedeman (726830) <dedeman1NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:41PM (#22684118)
    Luckily, the country isn't so large that other forms of travel are not feasible.

    Not like in the US, where if you're in NY, trying to go to LA (or other destinations west), air travel is one of the few options available.

    I'm starting to wonder if there's some running joke, or competition, between lawmakers/politicians in the US and UK, seeing who can come up with the most idiotic, errrr I mean, essential to safety and liberty, stresses on freedom. Or maybe they're angling for the population to revolt.

    Either way, laws like this win. If you follow them, you'll be safe, and so we must maintain them, because to maintain freedom and safety, we must be EVER VIGILANT. If they are broken, or cause civil unrest, they are justified in their creation, because look how many people there will be who want to wreak havoc on safety and order.

    I never fly, unless absolutely necessary. If they want to make poorly thought regulation part of the new safety routine, I don't involve myself.
    • by siddesu (698447)
      Once it rolls out and costs go down, it'll be a matter of time before they put such systems in place for the other means of public transportation.

      London buses are demonstrably a threat, right? So is the subway (Tokyo, Seoul, etc.). So is the railway. You may think highways are had to monitor, but in Japan we've had fingerprint locks on cars for a while, and people like it. How long until the locks are hooked to the wireless highway toll stations we already have, or to the wireless navigation that is being r
  • by Shihar (153932) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:42PM (#22684130)
    The measures we go through to stop terrorism have reached such a point of insanity that I am simply blown away. The way to react to a tiny handful of deaths has been so out of proportion to the threat, that I wake up thankful every single day that US Constitution provides at least some (admittedly constantly weakening) safeguards against democracy.

    This latest scheme in Britain is just one more example of the utter insanity of the masses and their complete and utter inability to make rational decisions. You are radically more likely to be killed by your pool or a car than you are to be struck down by a terrorist. Despite this, we go through insane, fanatical, and expensive measures to prevent one of the rarest ways to die in a western democracy. Death through airplane exploded by terrorist rates somewhere near the absolute bottom in terms of likely ways to die... well below being struck down by lightening.

    Honestly, I think that we have seen why democracies don't work. If we continue down this utterly insane path spending more and more resources to defend utterly insignificant attacks with wildly out of proportion, expensive, AND a costly to civil liberties methods, we might actually succeed where terrorist always fail. Terrorist in the west always fail to cause any real significant or costly damage. Even 9/11 was a drop in the bucket next to auto accident, cancer, heart attacks, or hurricanes. Yet, we treat a tragedy that can normally be shrugged off without flinching in such a violent way that we cause incalculable harm to ourselves. The money and lives lost in the response to 9/11 or the London bombings make the actual attacks like like pock change.

    It is like getting a pin prick on your finger tip and responding by chopping your own arm off. Uh, yeah, you can't get pin pricked again... but you chopped off your fucking arm.

    As much as I want to blame the politicians/corporations/neo-cons/fill-in-evil-entity-of-choice-here, the real problem is democracy. A system that changes itself in response to the utterly stupid and irrational emotions of the masses dooms itself. What is the alternative? The hell of I know. I thought that the US constitution offers up a good alternative to democracy as it seems to be written in pretty clear and absolute language. Despite this, the US has reverted to democracy in its most vile of forms. It might not be as far gone as Britain, but it is desperately trying. I honestly don't know the answer You can't ignore the irrational masses as you will fall into the trap of tyranny. That said, if you listen to the stupid cows, you get this crap, which is tyranny in another form.
    • You're right about the paranoia, but you seem to have gone on an anti-democratic rant on the way. What makes you think that such measures are anything to do with democracy? Do you think that passengers and other citizens actually want this useless inconvenience?
  • Do people REALLY believe the data will be deleted in 24 hours and used only to compare for boarding?

    HA! They will be screened against databases and probably stored "forever", if not by the airport, by some aspect of the government. What proof would anyone have such data would not be abused now nor in the future?

    The insanity continues...
  • of what Jean-Francois Revel is rumored to have said:

    "Dark night of fascism is forever descending upon America, but it touches ground only in Europe."
  • by RiffRafff (234408) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:53PM (#22684188) Homepage
    "Airport executives claim that the data will be stored for no longer than 24 hours, and will not be shared with law enforcement."

    Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AHuxley (892839)
      Just with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States in real time.
      Only the KGB uses tape backup: real spies just upload their important stuff.
  • If countries do this sort of thing, then they deserve to become targets of terrorism of some sort. Certainly they are becoming as antagonistic to my personal liberty as any other infallible and fundamental group in the human world. As I understand it, personal liberty is not very important within the commonwealth and clearly this is evident on occasions like this. As long as there is a queen and bangers for breakfast everything must be ok.

    Admittedly terrorism is bad if it targets the host nation that pro
  • From the article:

    Dr Gus Hosein, of the London School of Economics, an expert on the impact on technology on civil liberties, is one of the scheme's strongest critics.

    Is it just me, or does "Hosein" look close enough to "Hussein" that people will try to connect his criticism of the system with assumed ties to the Arab world and perhaps Arab terrorism? Some of you who follow the U.S. Democratic Party presidential primary campaign might have seen what happened when it came out that Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein [google.com].

  • So, does a site exist where I can see which airports / countries are going to invade my civil rights?

    I'm thinking about a trip to Europe later this year and as a Canadian I don't particularly want my fingerprint / other biometric data in any foreign databases.
  • Since all the previous airport hassles have FAILED at improving security, they need to resort to even more random bullshit.

    Let's face it: there is no methodical screening process that can properly account for the fact that people hate your country. This has nothing to do with terrorism, at least not the kind that the WTC was blamed on. Hell, if I were pissed off enough and just happened to have the resources to blow shit up, I would be somewhat tempted to raise hell in Washington or Buckingham or any othe
    • by rhizome (115711)
      If the US Government hadn't been shitting on Iraq for the last two decades, maybe those folks wouldn't be so angry in the first place. Then again, maybe someone would have detonated the WTC anyway just to instigate this mess

      LOL, a conflation of Iraq and terrorism par excellence!
    • if I were pissed off enough and just happened to have the resources to blow shit up, I would be somewhat tempted to raise hell in Washington or Buckingham

      You want to raise hell in Buckingham [google.com]? What would be the point?

      At least look up the capital city of the country you're talking about, getting it wrong devalues your point somewhat. :)

  • End the dependence of the western world on mid-east oil.

    Once the Saudi's have only the Chinese as customers, anything
    that happens in the middle east becomes irrelavent to the western world.

    When middle-eastern economies degrade to the point that they have to depend
    on sand as an export product, all this nonsense will stop.

    However, as long as American presidents like Bush hold hands with
    Saudi princes, we will never be rid of the 'terrorists' and we will have to put
    up with this, and worse, until the o
  • URL:http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2004/05/292199.jpg>
  • I'm surprised they aren't collecting DNA as well. After all there is a penchant for the British police to get a cheek swab from every single person for absolutely any reason.

    Just look at that guy that bought the laptop with the secret classified CDROM hidden under the keyboard, he had to give a cheek swab and all he did was buy a used a computer and turn in the classified CDROM as a punishment for being honest and doing the right thing.
    • by Rakishi (759894)

      After all there is a penchant for the British police to get a cheek swab from every single person for absolutely any reason.
      Of course they do and they don't have to ever get rid of what they collect. If you're even suspected of a crime your DNA will be on file permanently even if you're found innocent or never even charged. The UK police have if I remember more DNA on file in raw numbers, not per capita, than the US despite having a fifth of the population.
  • "British Airport will require no income or revenue from domestic customers."

    'nuff said.
  • Another country (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Slisochies (1183131) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:41PM (#22684756)
    Another country to add to my list of places not to visit...
  • by Zadaz (950521)
    This is so it'll be easier to identify the bodies after the plane blows up, right?
  • by tsa (15680)
    And while you are waiting in line to get your fingers printed I'm already halfway through the country by train.
    • by mikeb (6025)
      Give 'em time and they'll be trying to collect fingerprints for train journeys too.

      However, in the meantime I've emailed BAA (corporateresponsibility@baa.com) to congratulate them on an initiative that will help to reduce carbon emissions by putting people off traveling by plane. At least it's put me off. And it's suggested a new business for me - the sale of latex fingertips with other people's fingerprints on them. Can you imagine the market for them, with a choice of patterns? Bush, Blair, Paris Hilton .

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