Feeds

Home Office, civilians all fingers and thumbs on biometrics

UK finds old habits hard to break

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The government's senior biometrics advisor says that the Home Office's biometric programmes have become bogged down in the face of bureaucracy's liking for manual processes.

The Home Office is running various schemes using databases of people's biometric records, including identity cards, border controls and hi-tech passports.

Marek Rejman Greene, senior biometrics advisor of the UK Home Office's scientific development branch, said that one of the biggest obstacles facing the Home Office's biometrics programme was getting people and organisations to change the way they worked. He also noted that the Home Office was used to doing things manually.

"The workflow processes are still a major challenge," he admitted at a Homeland Security conference in Brussels.

He did not elaborate, but Ian Neill, deputy director of the Home Office's e-Borders programme, said at the same forum: "This is not about a technology solution. We are dealing with a massive business change process."

Speaking to an audience of peers from across Europe about the problems the Home Office would have to overcome when it implemented biometrics systems, Greene said ordinary people would present the "most critical" problem. He observed they didn't always follow instructions and tended to get "overwhelmed" when presented with biometric border controls.

This is a problem that has caused the Home Office's Iris e-Borders project to enter crisis talks with its suppliers.

Pat Abrahamsen, strategy and development manager for the Iris system at the Home Office's e-Borders agency, said: "We had a lot of problems with the barriers [in immigration halls]. We still have problems with the barriers. We are under a lot of pressure to make the barriers more reliable and more user-friendly."

One person among the 95,000 enrolled on the Iris fast-track immigration scheme tried to breeze through the barrier as though he was acting out a scene from the Minority Report, the biometric dystopia sci-fi film, and was expecting the scanner to catch his identity in the blink of an eye.

Another traveller, who was not enrolled on Iris, was found trying to get one of the Iris project's eye scanners to read her passport.®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.