From: David Moss
Sent: 01 July 2010 11:23
To: Information Commissioner's Office
Subject: Complaint -- FoI request 13728/10

Attachments: IPS procurement of Sagem biometrics technology; Reference: FOICR 13728/10 - Ack; Ref: FOICR 13728/10 D Moss - PIT extn letter; Ref: FOICR 13728/09 - PIT Response; RE: FOICR 13728/09 - PIT Response; Ref: FOICR 13728/10 - Response; RE: FOICR 13728/10 - Response; Internal review 13728 - David Moss; Re: Internal review of FoI request 13728 ; foieir_complaints_form-1 13728.doc

 

Sirs

 
I hope that the attached documentation speaks for itself. The public deserve some explanation why the Home Office and others believe that biometrics would help to reduce crime, protect our national borders and make public services more efficient. But the Home Office won't provide it. They ask us to believe in the efficacy of biometrics as a matter of faith.
 
Most of the attached documentation dates from before the general election on 6 May 2010. Since then, the Identity Documents Bill has been debated and should "scrap" ID cards for EEA nationals resident in the UK, including UK citizens. And the National Identity Register should be scrapped, so it looks as though there will be no database on which to store everyone's biometrics. Further, the coalition government have said that they will scrap second generation passports, previously due to be introduced in 2012. So there should be no need to record everyone's flat print fingerprints.
 
Biometric residence permits for non-EEA citizens resident in the UK remain on the menu, however, and the question how reliable biometrics are remains, therefore, relevant. Meanwhile, there is no legislation drafted yet to abandon second generation passports. The contracts with IBM and CSC to create the National Identity Register have not been cancelled. Nor has the contract with Sagem SÚcuritÚ been cancelled. That contract is signed with IBM and is intended to provide facial geometry and flat print fingerprint biometrics for the National Identity Register.
 
So, with the contracts still in place, this is still a relevant issue, it hasn't been invalidated by the accession of the new government. I have previously taken the matter up with the Home Office Scientific Development Branch. The Advertising Standards Authority. The UK Statistics Authority. The Identity & Passport Service. The UK Border Agency. The Permanent Secretary at the Home Office. And others. To no avail. I hope that your office can help.
 
Yours faithfully
David Moss