BAA grounds Heathrow T5 fingerprinting system
Data protection forces 11th hour climbdown
BAA has been forced to suspend plans to fingerprint domestic travellers at the new Heathrow Terminal 5 after confusion over the legality of the scheme.
The suspension of the plan - based around a multi-million biometric system - comes just hours before the building opens to the public tomorrow.
The British Airport Authority (BAA) said this afternoon the scheme would be put on hold until further notice.
The Information Commissioner's Office had raised concerns with BAA that the plan could breach the Data Protection Act.
BAA sent us this statement:
Following a meeting with all relevant parties, including the Information Commissioner and the Border and Immigration Agency, the introduction of fingerprinting for domestic passengers and international passengers transferring onto domestic flights at Heathrow will be temporarily delayed. BAA will be opening Terminal 5 using a photographic identification process during this time which is already in place.
We will be working closely with the Information Commissioner and the Home Office over the next few weeks to agree the best approach going forward.
Heathrow Terminal 5 is not the first in the UK where domestic and international passengers will share a departure lounge. But it is the first UK airport where the operator wanted to fingerprint everybody in a "count them all in, count them all out" process.
The ICO has asked BAA to explain why fingerprinting is needed at all. ®
I was on the T5 trial specifically degined to look at this.
I overheard several people moaning at security (first point of scanning) that they did not like it, how long is it kept for etc...
As an aside my mate and i swapped cards, it didn't pick it up.....
( I thought it may be the only time I get away with it without being hurled to the floor!)
Otherwise T5 is the dogs nads :)
If only we had ID documents (NO Not f*in cards)
Last time I flew we had this little thing called a passport its like a kind of identity document, used for identifying the passangers. I seem to recall several airports where passport control is at the gates after Security & Shopping err no sorry Lounge.
What If I Say "No"?
Here's an interesting little question for people to ponder if this system does get introduced at some later date...
I book a ticket from Paris to Manchester and my airline routes it with a change in Heathrow. On landing at Heathrow the plane I'm on is directed to T5.
When I get to the top of the air stairs the man at the desk asks for my finger prints. As there is no legal requirement for me to give them I refuse.
What happens next?
Some form of personal escort through the airport? Do they march me back down to the aircraft and force the airline to fly me back to Paris?