Forget ID Cards, UK Police To Begin Scanning Your Fingerprints On The Street

from the papers...-er...-fingerprints-please dept

While there's been plenty of uproar about national ID cards and passports with RFID chips, it seems that police in the UK are taking things one step further, giving police portable fingerprint scanners, in order to identify suspects quickly. They say this will help them identify people who give false identities... but they also say that the person will need to give permission before their fingerprints are scanned. Still, it's not hard to see how this works -- if you don't agree to having your fingerprint scanned, you're suddenly a lot more suspicious looking. Also, there are always questions about how far this eventually goes. The police claim that the device has "safeguards" against misuse, but safeguards don't often stay safe very long, but a bigger issue may simply be others deciding they want to make use of the devices as well. Want to buy something? Rather than presenting ID, why not just have your fingerprints checked against the national database? We've already seen some grocery stores experiment with fingerprint scanners to replace shopper cards, so why not just connect that into a federal database? And, even better, if someone else figures out how to figures out how to copy your fingerprint it's not like you can just go out and get a new finger.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    arrg, Nov 21st, 2006 @ 7:27pm

    licences plate scanner

    well, police in the US are starting to install license plate scanners that scan ALL plates (parked or on the road) as they drive down the street. Kind of reminds me of something... hhmm oh ya the SS or KGB asking "let me see your papers".

    So how far do we go in the name of crime prevention verses privacy or just the comfort that you're not constantly being observed by an increasing powerful police force. These systems do just check the plate they store them in a database with location and time, so basically we are all being constantly tracked, that is if you own a vehicle... Some how I don't think this is what the founding fathers had in mind when they said the word liberty. Here's the definition..

    lib‧er‧ty  /ˈlɪbərti/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[lib-er-tee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun, plural -ties.
    1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
    2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
    3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
    4. freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint: The prisoner soon regained his liberty.

     

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    Lutomes, Nov 21st, 2006 @ 7:36pm

    Trust the police?

    At the end of the day the police already have a variety of tools at their disposal to breach your privacy. If you are worried about what the police can do with your "private data" then this kind of technology should be the least of your problems.

    After all they could just come and beat you with a stick, then make it look like you were doing something wrong. Its easy enough to do...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2006 @ 7:56pm

    its sad

    all this technology is in neighborhoods that don't really need it. its all in the upper-middle class area and not in the areas that need it most.

     

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    mojopagoda, Nov 21st, 2006 @ 8:13pm

    Suspicious

    I agree that you will, initially, look a bit more suspicious if you refuse a fingerprint scan, but if everyone refused then you would look much less suspicious. However, in that event, there would probably be "emergency police powers" enacted to enable police to forcibly take your fingerprints and these, I bet, will be "subject to privacy safeguards" which will, inevitably, be ignored by the government department workers who snoop on everyone's tax info (as has just been discovered by the Tax Office and Social Security in Australia). At the end of the day, our technology always requires a human to use or interpret the results and humans are humans and can't be 100% trusted. If we remember that, then we might not be so prepared to introduce freedom-reducing technologies on a systemic scale.

     

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    lil'bit, Nov 21st, 2006 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Suspicious

    As long as there are morons out there, that spout nonsense about "if you aren't doing anything wrong/have anything to hide, you wouldn't care if you have to give fingerprints/allow a search/they tap your phone/track your car", then refusing police requests will make you more suspicious. Since most of the sheep are quoting cops and prosecuters - well, good luck with a freedom movement.

     

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    BOb, Nov 21st, 2006 @ 11:59pm

    So V for Vendetta doesn't seem to be too stupid anymore. I wonder why...

     

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  7.  
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    dorpus, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 2:59am

    EURONESIANS

    I showed up at the airport at alabama yesterday carrying my canes, and the TSA officer just about foamed at the mouth, made me go behind the black curtain to do an elaborate search.

    I got to stuttgart, the canes let me get the VIP treatment at the airport, a turk wheeled me around places and i was on my way faster than anybody from the plane.

    aaa this kezboard has the letters rearranged, it types funnz!!

    but the weather here is warmer than alabama, the vegetation is more green and tropical, i noticed it from the plane. It has plenty of black people. there's also a huge dead black widow spider on the floor, i havenät seen anz that big in alabama!! So I would have to conclude germany is a more tropical version of alabama? i just got here an hour ago. i got extreemely lost but now im waiting for my girlfriend to show up, her classmate saw her recentlz. Itz some sort of national visit-college daz in germany, so both heidelberg and stuttgart are full of teenyboppers. 2 high school girls helped me find mz waz in the train station, and manz other people also.

    laterz

     

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    rstr5105, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 6:16am

    Yet again.....

    dorpus shows his true idiotic colors. Dorpus, Did you even READ the Article? Wait, that might be too advanced for you, did you pass your kindergarten spelling quizzes?

    now that that's out of the way, my relevent post:

    It seems to me, that the more and more high tech we get, the more and morer we seem to be willing to sacrifice our basic freedoms. It's not just the sheeple either. I've met some VERY intelligent people who are all for the "if you aren't doing anything wrong/have anything to hide, you wouldn't care if you have to give fingerprints/allow a search/they tap your phone/track your car" policy. As a matter of fact I USED to be one of them. However, reading through the constitution and the Dec. of Indpenence (sp?) I have changed my mind on that.

    What we need to do is reduce the power the police have, if not eliminate the police force entirely and allow the citizenry to govern things on that level. It seems that this would be more efficient, because society would have a direct dictation on law enforcement. (although we'd also have to fix how LAWS are made, but that can wait till another post)

    In any event, that's my two cents.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 6:32am

    The real trick is not to convince the masses that enhanced security is bad. But rather let the morons who don't object to being monitored and tracked go about their everyday business whilst I try my damndest to become a politician so that I can be one of the few priviledged in society that control the rest of you.

    Sounds pretty good to me, let's hope my dream of world dominiation comes true. Can't wait 'till you're all forced to build huge statues of me, then see how I laugh at your "but if you're innocent you won't mind". Damn right, if you're a good citizen STFU and get building.

     

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    Reality coming from the movies, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 7:06am

    I say in 20 years, we will see things like embeded ID chips and retina scans like in the movies. With the concerns over our safty and the growing illegal population the goverment is going to have to do something, and it will be drastic.

    Personally, I feel that when a child is born, a DNA sample should be taken and placed on record, that would help catch criminals and ID victms of crimes.

    If we had RFID chips embedded in our skulls then the police could track criminals when the walk through the mall or go in to rob a bank.

    Yes, it is comming to that, and before our Grandchildren have kids something like this will be in place.

     

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  11.  
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    musterion, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 7:15am

    Remember Britian has no right to remain silent

    Refusing to give your fingerprint can be taken as evidence against you. Merrie Olde England is rapdily becoming a surveillance society. Blair is proposing a complete database on all children, and dispatching "super-nannies" (read child psychologists) to help (read interfere with) parents.

     

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  12.  
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    Vincent Clement, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 8:21am

    Re: licences plate scanner

    Exactly how is scanning a license plate that is in clear view similar to asking someone for their fingerprint? It can't be an invasion of privacy when the license plate is in clear view.

     

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    rusty penny, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 8:35am

    All this great technology. It's like religion, it's meant for the good of human kind but misapplied, abused and twisted by the leaders and followed by the narrow minded wanting majority.

     

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  14.  
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    TheQuiteOne, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: licences plate scanner

    And your hand is not in clear view? (unless you want to be shot) The cup they give you to drink at the police station, is not in clear view. Or when the police go to search you tell you to put your hands on the car , clear view? Even better, you just got pulled over, Steering wheel, clear view? The police can take your fingerprints anyway they want. Now or in 10 seconds when you touch something.

     

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  15.  
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    Nick, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 10:33pm

    Re: V for Vendetta

    I thought that movie wasn't that much of an exaggeration of what is already happening today... I hear many TV shows (when I accidentally run into them) that sound exactly like the "Voice of London" and what's his name that sounds so much like Bush...? except we don't have a Zorro or V to safe the day...

     

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  16.  
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    Nick, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 10:39pm

    Re: Yet again.....

    rstr5105, calling dorpus an idiot, and attacking his education diminishes the credibility of your statements.

     

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  17.  
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    Nick, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 11:15pm

    Re: Re: licences plate scanner

    "Clear view" or just leaving your house into public space doesn't automatically mean you have given up your right to privacy and to remain anonymous.

    Many people have gradually bought into justice Scalia's concept that if a right is not explicitly protected by the constitution, a citizen is not entitled to to have it, or the government hasn't the obligation to protect it.

    In a perfect world, having all plates scanned on the premise that in the same net of thousands of people, you'll catch one criminal may not be so distasteful (though extremely costly), if an innocent person were never to get harassed, or if the data collected were never to be abused.

    But, no matter how many safeguards are written into the law, there are lawyers that specialize in finding loopholes so governments, police, and others can have a "reasonable cause" to act marginally. Humans do this, and I don't see any imminent changes in the horizon.

    So the plausible rhetoric of invasion of everyone's privacy for their own protection is one more way to allow governments, police, and others to abuse power, and harass their personal and ideological enemies.

     

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  18.  
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    Donald Duck, Nov 26th, 2006 @ 3:34am

    The post is about portable finger printing

    God can't y'all stay on subject a tad bit better? I mean a license plate scanner is REALLY NOTHING compared to some one out of the clear "BLUE" getting your finger prints, and they your prints just might so happen to be all over a CRIME SCENE. OH yes you could be innocent but he got the goods on you or so it may appear and you’re the one going to the hole.

    If you’re driving on our streets and highways YOU ARE NOT BEING PRIVATE! You dolts are on public road ways that is a privilege NOT A RIGHT. That same dude with a license plate scanner can lean back in his seat and Key Word 'license plate look up' on Google purchase your plates information, print it out and Google a satellite map of your home and download it into his cell and into every one else's cell phone and in the department all under ten minutes while communicating with his cb radio on what your goofy ass looks like while he is secretly taking digital pictures of you with that dash cam.

    Finger printing innocent people should not be so easily done but identifying criminals in a pinch could come in pretty handy.

    Is there abuse out there OMG YES I was gooned because I had the same looking clothes that a suspect had on and the officer made me take every thing out of my coat pockets????

    No one identified me as a criminal he just told me let me see your ID do you have any dangerous weapons on you and I said "No what’s this about" completely shocked he told me that some one stolen something from the store down the street wearing a black coat.

    He then told me "COME HERE" "TAKE EVERY THING OUT OF YOUR POCKETS" I was little stunned and was completely innocent and really didn't want to only because I hadn't cleaned out my pockets in months.

    Winter was almost over in March and I had a million things in my pockets so I comply and out comes my PDA, Cell phone, Walkman, baby land-line phone with head set that works with my cell phone also, Olympic mini recorder, gloves, ear muffs and million pieces of trash from candy wrappers that I haven't thrown away while on break at the office out side smoking.

    The fuss didn't seem to care that I was innocent until he seen that Olympic mini recorder then he kind of gotten nervous and then a man at the store came to where I was in the parking lot and told the police that I wasn't the one that was in the store.

    Some one had stolen something from a store and they had on the same color coat. It alarmed me very much I still get upset about this from time to time because I felt violated but I told the man that he was just doing his job and I was glad some body was. There are a lot of criminals around gas stations and I'm aware of this and just took this as the times we live in.

    Of course I live here and I shop in that store some times just haven't done so in a very long time and my finger prints could have been on the same items that the store claim was stolen. Believe me the cb radio message to the officers when he came up to me was saying, "He had on a black coat" Well hell that was me, right on the money but I wasn't around any stores period, in fact my hair was still damp from the shower I took I was on my way to work.

    So I knew what the dispatcher was relaying to them so I kind of cooperated but it was still a very shocking experience because I didn't want to get beaten down or stun gunned for NOTHING and I found out later that you can tell the fuss that you don't wish to cooperate with a random search according to the Supreme Court.

    I suspect that just asking for your finger prints would fall into the same category as a random search, but you might be intimidated into giving them your finger prints.

     

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  19.  
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    murdock, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 8:31pm

    police taking your freedoms

    nobody said anything about police ignition kill abilities thru the Onstar system

     

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