Automated gates allow banned criminal into UK
Bought a baby for £150 to qualify for council housing
An embarrassing failure to prevent a banned criminal from entering Britain has led to major concerns over the country’s border controls.
The breach raises questions over the effectiveness of ‘facial recognition’ scanners, installed at a cost of millions of pounds to try to prevent known criminals and terrorists from entering the country.
Earlier this year a convicted immigration offender, who had been deported at the end of her prison sentence and banned from re-entering the UK, managed to get past one of the scanners and into the country, raising fears that such abuses could be widespread.
It is the second blow in a week for the Home Office’s electronic border controls, after the department had to cancel a £750 million contract with the US company Raytheon to operate an “e-Borders” scheme.
The automated gates at the centre of the security breach were installed as a replacement for human immigration officers. They measure unique details about the traveller’s face as they pass through, and compare those measurements with details stored on a microchip within the new biometric travel documents known as e-passports.
The Home Office has installed the technology at eight airports including Gatwick and Stansted at a cost of £9 million, with plans to introduce it at Heathrow soon.
The investigation that exposed the flaw was only triggered because the woman who got past the scanner took the unusual step of going public when she appeared at an industrial tribunal, thus alerting the authorities to the fact that she had re-entered the UK.
As a long time geek, I think technology can resolve a helluva lot of questions. Proven technology.
Throwing crap hardware and equally crap software into the field – while piling gold into the coffers of connected corporations – is an exercise in futility and false hope.
We did the same in the United States with electronic monitoring of our southern border. We outsourced millions into contracts for ineffective systems. Drug smugglers probably have better apps than the coppers.
Meanwhile, over in the 51st state, you’re moving from fuzzy-minded followers who were in control of the Labour Party – to a coalition of “less foolish, we hope” beancounters. Good luck with that.