Feeds

UK and US plan realtime police database links

Dry run on immigration databases

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

UK and US immigration databases have been linked in an intelligence sharing experiment that could lead to permanent trans-Atlantic data stores of wanted and suspected people.

Data is already shared in an ad-hoc fashion between London's Metropolitan Police and the US Federal Bureau of Investigations, but direct links between databases have not been possible because different forces use different standards to store and process data.

Troy Potter, biometrics program manager for US-VISIT, the US biometric immigration programme, joined the British Home Office on secondment six months ago and has just launched a test link between both governments' immigration databases.

The pilot was a general purpose exercise to lay a clear path for information sharing between US and UK government agencies, he told The Register. It could lead "potentially" to similar links between UK and US police databases.

"I'm trying to help the UK...ensure future compatibility with the US so we have similar standards that ease information sharing in the future," he told an international conference of biometric experts last week.

"[It's a] pilot programme of information sharing to see, [from] data collected in the UK and US, what else we can find out. It's been quite amazing that by using just a few prints we'll open up lots more information," he said.

A Home Office spokeswoman said it had been "in discussion with a number of countries", including the US, about information sharing. She refused to comment on the FBI pilot.

Robert Mocny, acting director of the US-VISIT programme at the Department of Homeland Security, called for more information to be shared globally between government agencies.

Privacy laws should be followed "very strictly", he said, but added: "We cannot allow to impediment our progress the privacy rights of known criminals."

Joseph Sensibaugh, programme manager for the FBI biometric interoperability office, said US data sharing would in the future finger "suspected terrorists".

Also targeted would be those "remaining recidivist with alert populations", said his presentation slide.

"It helps the Department of Homeland Security determine who's a good guy and who's a bad guy," he said.

Other plans included links to civil government databases, and a shared network of US and UK visa collection points that is currently out to tender in the UK.

"Our first foray was borders, we're now moving to the interior," Mocny said.

He said the "power of biometrics" had been demonstrated by the shared database after it had been used to make 1,300 arrests. He did not say how many had subsequently led to convictions. It had also identified 20,000 people with a past criminal history. He did not say what use there was in a system that determined that people had served and spent past convictions.

But Sensibaugh described in detail each of the nine murders committed by the infamous Railroad Killer, the Mexican immigrant Rafael Resendez-Ramirez. Had the shared biometric database been in place it might have caught Resendez-Ramirez on one of his trips across the southern border and four murders could have been prevented, he said.

Potter said the trans-Atlantic pilot would apply lessons learned about information sharing between the IDENT biometric immigration database of the US-VISIT programme and the FBI's IAFIS fingerprint database.

The US has been working on creating database links between the two agencies since 1995. At present, the systems are updated daily, but the intention is to create realtime links. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
French 'terror law' declares WAR on the INTERNET itself, say digi-rights folks
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Two out of three ain't bad
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.