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 Post subject: Guardian CiF: The illegal e-Borders disaster
PostPosted: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 18:18:05 +0000 
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The illegal e-Borders disaster

The electronic border control system was flawed from the outset. The IT profession needs to learn to stand up to its paymasters

o Michael Cross
o guardian.co.uk, Friday 18 December 2009 16.00 GMT

One of the finalists in this year's e-Government national awards to be presented next month is a project called e-Borders. It is up for a gong in the category "innovation in strategy at a national level". This involves "delivering innovative strategies which have demonstrated above-average results in improved services, processes and effectiveness within the transformational government agenda".

There is one blot on the scheme's chance of winning. E-Borders, it seems, has been found to be illegal and unworkable – and everyone involved must have seen this coming, despite immigration minister Phil Woolas's public defence of its legality today.

As usual, it started with quite a sensible idea, that of requiring intercontinental air travellers to the UK to be screened before they board their planes, not when they arrive physically in the UK. Troubles began to mount up when ministers announced that the same rules should apply to all international passengers, arriving by all carriers. This made enemies of everyone from City commuters to British homeowners in France to recreational sailors, few of whom are able or willing to give 24 hours notice of international travel.

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PostPosted: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 18:22:03 +0000 
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If e-Borders was just about "screening travellers before they arrive", then the records could have been discarded on the day of travel. Instead, UKBA decided that they would keep the records for 10 years, giving them a long-term record of the movements of tens of millions of people.

I submit that e-Borders was never "quite a sensible idea". Instead it was part of the continuing initiative by government to treat everyone as a suspect who should be placed under permanent surveillance - just like the audit trail in the ID cards database, the move to holding ANPR records centrally, the retention of innocent people's DNA on the DNA database and the IMP plans to log all phone calls, text messages and other electronic communication.

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Andrew Watson


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PostPosted: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 21:23:54 +0000 
And to quote the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust report 'Database State':

Quote:
UK Border Agency
Under Council Directive 2004/82/EC, air carriers are required to communicate Advanced Passenger Information regarding passengers to EU Member States’ immigration authorities, and it is also passed to the USA by bilateral agreement. In the UK the data is processed by the UK Border Agency, which through its e-Borders Programme is developing a “joined-up modernised intelligence-led border control and security framework” including pre-boarding electronic checks of all persons flying to the UK. A trial project captured information on 10m inbound and outbound passengers. Data were matched against watch lists from immigration, law enforcement and customs, and used to deliver alerts to government agencies.

The European Council is considering extending this requirement to other Passenger Name Record data, to land and sea travel, and to journeys within the EU. Each member state would set up a unit to carry out a risk assessment of passengers using this data, which could also be used for various purposes related to serious and ‘other’ offences.

The UK visas Biometrics Programme operates in 135 countries and covers the three-quarters of the world’s population who need a visa to come to the UK. Over 2m fingerprint sets have been collected so far, with fingerprint matches against previously unsuccessful applicants (held in the
Immigration and Asylum Fingerprint System) rapidly communicated to visa officers at diplomatic missions. Fingerprints recorded for use in biometric visas are also stored in IAFS. Officers use an IT caseworking system called Proviso that sends information back daily to a Central Reference System database, which is accessible to government departments involved in immigration control, law enforcement and national security. These systems appear to mix scaremongering ‘war on terror’ tactics with legitimate immigration control mechanisms, and with little evidence of effectiveness. Some calm reappraisal would not go amiss, and we rate them as Privacy impact: amber.


Amber means:
Quote:
' that a database has significant problems, and may be unlawful. Depending on the circumstances, it may need to be shrunk, or split, or individuals may have to be given a right to opt out. An incoming government should order an independent assessment of each system to identify and prioritise necessary changes. '


So now whose methodology is flawed? The Joseph Rowntree Trust or the UKBA???


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