“Millions of passengers flying from British airports will be fingerprinted from next year under the latest controversial Government anti-terror plans. The measures, which will apply to both domestic and international passengers, are being introduced despite opposition from the Information Commissioner, Britain’s privacy watchdog.
The Commissioner forced Heathrow to abandon a similar plan earlier this year after warning that it was potentially illegal under data protection laws. As a result, ?common departure lounges’, where both domestic and international passengers can mix freely, are being introduced at all major UK airports. This poses an obvious security risk in that an incoming international passenger – possibly a terrorist or a criminal – could switch tickets with an accomplice booked on a domestic flight. The international passenger would then be able to fly elsewhere in Britain and enter the country without being checked by immigration authorities.
Now, the Home Office is putting the finishing touches to new rules requiring compulsory fingerprinting for all passengers. The amendments to national aviation security rules will require fingerprints to be scanned when passengers pass through security into the airside terminal. Passengers will be fingerprint-scanned again at their flight departure gate. It is likely that the scheme will later be expanded to cover passengers at major seaports and the Channel Tunnel rail links.
The measures will enable police and the Security Services to check fingerprints against international watch lists and Interpol databases, searching for suspects travelling on false identities. Critics say the main reason for the scheme is that airport operators want to maximise profits by ensuring all passengers are able to spend money in ?duty-free’ shops.”
(via The Daily Mail)