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 Post subject: Times: Hi-tech controls will trap these bogus students
PostPosted: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 01:12:54 +0000 
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Phil Woolas:
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What I find most frustrating, however, is that the very people calling for further measures are opposing the central plank of policy we already have in place - the hi-tech e-Borders system.

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PostPosted: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 01:41:49 +0000 
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http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Normington2.html

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PostPosted: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 15:20:42 +0000 
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The following reply was received the day before yesterday, 1 July 2009. Mr Brodie Clark is on the Board of UKBA with responsibility for the Border Force. His response on behalf of Sir David Normington is much appreciated:

Mr Brodie Clark wrote:
Home Office
UK Border
Agency

Office of the Head of the Border Force
Border Force
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

Ref: TO 128201

26 June 2009


Dear Mr. Moss,

Thank you for your letter of 16 April concerning the effectiveness of facial recogni-tion technology which the UK Border Agency [UKBA] is currently using at Stansted and Manchester Airports. Your letter has been passed to me to respond.

UKBA commenced testing our Automated Clearance System (ACS) at Manchester and Stansted in August and December last year, to assess the accuracy and reliability of the technology. The Home Secretary’s pledge to introduce gates at a total of 10 UK airport terminals by August, includes the two current sites at Manchester and Stansted. It will provide a further opportunity to test the technology on larger numbers of pas-sengers, across a broader range of locations. It also means that the gates will be avail-able to British and EEA citizens throughout the busy summer holiday period.

All passengers using ACS undergo the same checks against government databases, as they would if proceeding via the conventional manual control. The system is moni-tored by UKBA officers, who will examine any passengers rejected by the gate, as well as carrying out random manual checks.

You are already aware, through your previous correspondence with the Home Office Scientific Development Branch, of the results of the Face Recognition Vendor Test 2006. The test’s findings demonstrated considerable improvement in this field, and confirmed that the technology could be applied successfully in a one-to-one (verifica-tion) mode. Contrary to unsubstantiated reports in the Telegraph, the technology has also been robustly tested against abuse by spoofing, tailgating and impostors.

ACS is just one strand of UKBA’s work to balance maintaining border security with the facilitation of legitimate trade and travel. We recognise that the vast majority of the travelling public are legitimate, law-abiding passengers and believe that the gates will deliver an improved service to our customers whilst allowing us to deploy our staff intelligently to areas of greater risk.

Regarding your comment about Interpol, the Prime Minister announced on 25 July 2007 our intention to connect the UK’s watchlist to Interpol’s database of lost and stolen travel docu-ments at the border. This capability was successfully delivered at border crossing points [and for visa and in-country applications] in December 2008. Front-line officers are now able to instantly check whether a travel document has been reported lost or stolen and act accord-ingly.

You also raised concerns about UKBA policies linked to foreign students and the issue of bogus colleges. International students directly contribute £2.5 billion to the UK economy in tuition fees alone and one estimate puts the value of international students at nearly £8.5 bil-lion. The changes to the Points Based System mean that those institutions not registering or making the grade to achieve a sponsorship licence are being driven out of business. UKBA works closely with Ofsted to ensure the continuing effectiveness of the accreditation system and that high standards are maintained.

Both institutions and the international students they bring will continue to be monitored to ensure that they comply with the rules. The tightened controls have resulted in a 2,400 cut in the number of institutions bringing international students to the UK.


Yours sincerely
Brodie Clark

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 Post subject: Re: Times: Hi-tech controls will trap these bogus students
PostPosted: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 15:35:37 +0000 
Quote:
What I find most frustrating, however, is that the very people calling for further measures are opposing the central plank of policy we already have in place - the hi-tech e-Borders system.


A straw man. Most opponents of e-Borders aren't very excited about the 'immigration threat' at all. Some are, but think better border controls in the first place, rather than following individuals about, is the approach that is more cost effective and that threatens our way of life less.


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PostPosted: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 16:02:56 +0000 
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Quote:
Home Office
UK Border
Agency

Office of the Head of the Border Force
Border Force
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

Ref: TO 128201

26 June 2009


Dear Mr. Moss,

Thank you for your letter of 16 April concerning the effectiveness of facial recogni-tion technology which the UK Border Agency [UKBA] is currently using at Stansted and Manchester Airports. Your letter has been passed to me to respond.

UKBA commenced testing our Automated Clearance System (ACS) at Manchester and Stansted in August and December last year, to assess the accuracy and reliability of the technology. The Home Secretary’s pledge to introduce gates at a total of 10 UK airport terminals by August, includes the two current sites at Manchester and Stansted. It will provide a further opportunity to test the technology on larger numbers of pas-sengers, across a broader range of locations. It also means that the gates will be avail-able to British and EEA citizens throughout the busy summer holiday period.

All passengers using ACS undergo the same checks against government databases, as they would if proceeding via the conventional manual control. The system is moni-tored by UKBA officers, who will examine any passengers rejected by the gate, as well as carrying out random manual checks.

You are already aware, through your previous correspondence with the Home Office Scientific Development Branch, of the results of the Face Recognition Vendor Test 2006. The test’s findings demonstrated considerable improvement in this field, and confirmed that the technology could be applied successfully in a one-to-one (verifica-tion) mode. Contrary to unsubstantiated reports in the Telegraph, the technology has also been robustly tested against abuse by spoofing, tailgating and impostors.

ACS is just one strand of UKBA’s work to balance maintaining border security with the facilitation of legitimate trade and travel. We recognise that the vast majority of the travelling public are legitimate, law-abiding passengers and believe that the gates will deliver an improved service to our customers whilst allowing us to deploy our staff intelligently to areas of greater risk.

Regarding your comment about Interpol, the Prime Minister announced on 25 July 2007 our intention to connect the UK’s watchlist to Interpol’s database of lost and stolen travel docu-ments at the border. This capability was successfully delivered at border crossing points [and for visa and in-country applications] in December 2008. Front-line officers are now able to instantly check whether a travel document has been reported lost or stolen and act accord-ingly.

You also raised concerns about UKBA policies linked to foreign students and the issue of bogus colleges. International students directly contribute £2.5 billion to the UK economy in tuition fees alone and one estimate puts the value of international students at nearly £8.5 bil-lion. The changes to the Points Based System mean that those institutions not registering or making the grade to achieve a sponsorship licence are being driven out of business. UKBA works closely with Ofsted to ensure the continuing effectiveness of the accreditation system and that high standards are maintained.

Both institutions and the international students they bring will continue to be monitored to ensure that they comply with the rules. The tightened controls have resulted in a 2,400 cut in the number of institutions bringing international students to the UK.


Yours sincerely
Brodie Clark



Yes yes yes Mr Brodie, all very exciting, but just how effective is facial recognition?

Justin.

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PostPosted: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 23:53:57 +0000 
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Response to Brodie Clark, Head of the Border Force.
Letter to Lin Homer, Chief Executive, UKBA.

Response from Lin Homer's office:
Quote:
From: xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 19 August 2009 17:40
To: [David Moss]
Subject: Letter to Lin Homer - 08.08.09


Thank you for your letter to Lin Homer, dated 8th August 2009. This has been received in this office and a substantive response will be sent to you in due course.

Kind regards


xxxxxxxxxx


xxxxxxxxxx
Chief Executive's Office
UK Border Agency
xxxxxxxxxx
Marsham Street,
London, SW1P 4DF

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PostPosted: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 09:02:46 +0000 
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For about twenty years the term 'Hi-Tech' has only been used ironically. Yet ministers use it with the intention of impressing us.

Sadly, we have a political class that was raised on the Innovations catalogue, and the 'Hi-Tech' sales pitch that impressed Mr Woolas enough to make him order the revolving tie rack is now used to advertise e-borders.

I suppose they'll be telling us that it was developed by Nasa.


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PostPosted: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 22:40:21 +0000 
Phil Woolas in my opinion is one of the more reasonable people in the Labour Party and not afraid to speak his mind. He is more anti-immigration and multiculturalism than the prevailing political correctness doctrine currently practiced by the party, and he is responding to public pressure over illegal immigration levels.

Now I personally welcome stringent checks on overseas students and I know it is used as a scam, so he is dealing with a legitimate issue here. I'm a bit dubious that computer surveillance is the magic solution, although I do consider it a line of defence that should not be ignored for ideological reasons concerning the database state. You can't have it both ways, i.e. you can't have a government tough on illegal immigration and also against computers. The key here is targeting, you target the problem, you do not have a universal system that checks people who are nothing to do with the problem you are trying to solve, and you never rely on one line of defence.

Thank goodness we don't have Harperson in charge of our borders!


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