http://www.guardian.co.uk/government-co ... sfeed=true£9m cost of eye scanning 'would have been better spent on immigration staff'
Report on UK Border Agency criticises IRIS scheme and raises questions on progress of e-Borders and e-gates
* Jo Best
* Guardian Professional, Wednesday 11 April 2012 11.30 BSTMoney spent on the UK Border Agency's (UKBA) IRIS biometric scanning system would have been better used to pay for more staff, the home affairs select committee has found.
IRIS was introduced in UK airports in 2006 and was intended to speed up the process of going through passport control for frequent air travellers. Enrolment for the scheme, which checks scans of passengers' irises against copies held on the agency's database, has now closed, and two airports have stopped using their IRIS scanners.
While the scanners are still in use at both Gatwick and Heathrow airports, they are set to be turned off after the 2012 Olympics. In its report published today, the committee requests that the UKBA provides information about what will happen to the data gathered for IRIS "and whether the retinal scans will be destroyed following the mothballing of the scanners at Heathrow and Gatwick".
The report also criticises the £9m cost of the programme: "[IRIS'] sole value appears to have been that it provided data for the e-gates. This money could have been better spent on border staff - at least 60 immigration officers could have been employed with the money spent on IRIS."