Home Office Director General for Identity Services
Identity & Passport Service
30 October 2009
Dear Mr Hall
The FBI imply that IPS and UKBA are wasting money on face recognition technology
According to a recent press release , among other sources, the Home Office are relying on face recognition technology (and fingerprinting) to make it possible for ePassports, biometric visas and ID cards to verify peopleís identity reliably.
on 21 October 2009 at the Biometrics
2009 conference 
Face recognition would be the killer application of biometrics, Mr Loudermilk told the hundreds of conference delegates. The FBI would love to be able to use face recognition in their fight against crime. But they canít. The algorithms just donít exist to deliver the highly reliable verification required. They have been evaluating face recognition technology since 1963. They didnít invest then. And theyíre still not investing now.
Many critics of IPS and UKBAís dependence on face recognition technology can be ignored. When it comes from the FBI, that is a different order of (implicit) criticism. It canít be ignored. It demands a response, including a public examination of the statistics on the basis of which IPS and UKBA decided to invest in face recognition technology.
Given that, according to the FBI, the algorithms just donít exist to deliver the highly reliable verification required, two questions for you:
∑ Are IPS and UKBA wasting their time and wasting taxpayersí money on face recognition technology?
∑ And while weíre about it, are IPS and UKBA wasting their time and wasting taxpayersí money on the particular fingerprinting technology chosen?
cc††††††† Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman, Home Affairs Committee
††††††††††† Phil Willis MP, Chairman, Science and Technology Committee
††††††††††† Sir David Normington KCB, Permanent Secretary, Home Office
††††††††††† Sir Michael Scholar KCB,
††††††††††† Brodie Clark, Head of the Border
††††††††††† John Vine CBE QPM,
††††††††††† Lin Homer,
 7 October 2009, Sagem
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